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After the pretty successful 1981 season I was trying to work out what to do next. Sue Sanders work was becoming more demanding so another friend Malcolm Jones agreed to take the co-drivers seat.
The 1600cc class had been very competitive with lots of fast teams so it seemed that the 1300cc class might be the way to go. I had also met a charismatic engine builder called Terry Brown who reckoned he could build a really quick 1300cc Alfa Romeo twin-cam unit at a pretty cheap price.
Terry Brown was very well know in grasstrack racing and had his own built supercharged 2000cc Alfa Romeo engine in his car. He was also in the process of fitting a V8 Alfa Romeo Montreal engine so you can tell he is a bit unorthodox. Anyway, I found a cheap Alfa 1300cc engine in a scrapyard and took it to Terry for him to work on.
Fitting the Alfa engine in a Sunbeam is quite easy and had been done before. I spoke to a guy called Pat Messer who had already done it and he sold me a pair of his engine mounting adapters so it fitted straight onto the standard Sunbeam mounts. We made up our own gearbox mounting to take the Alfa box which had come with the engine and had a prop shaft made by Transcarden in Worcester. The Sunbeam exhaust lined up quite well with the Alfa manifold and that was it.
Terry had now finished the engine and had it running on Weber 45DCOE carbs. It revved very freely and promised a fun season to come.
|Testing at Down Ampney
|Borrowed car to test our pace-notes