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#21

Here’s another one of my tuning projects born out of curiosity, serving as a case of what could have been.

Killer Kramer: The Story of the K23 V8 and How It Launched Mason Motor Sports

Enterprising race driver Troy Mason once drove for Albury Motors, the brand’s factory team, before acrimoniously leaving after the 1972 season due to not being offered a contract for the following year, despite a string of good results. Undaunted, he set up a new operation - Mason Motor Sports - in March 1973 along with a few of his close friends and other associates. Initially, the brand focused on tuning Kramer products such as the K216.

His first project was fitting a mechanical fuel injection system to a K23 Sprint’s 12-valve straight-six. Coupled to a set of more aggressive cams and a higher compression ratio, it felt much more eager at high revs, and had far superior throttle response. The tradeoff was increased fuel consumption, but the improvements in reliability negated this somewhat. This package was fitted to a few hundred K23 Sprints, until it was discontinued when Kramer started offering their own fuel injection system as an option in 1978.

But Mason was not content with modifying the K23’s existing engine, and having grown accustomed to the sheer grunt of a pushrod V8 over the past few years, he soon began craving more power. One night in September 1974, he spotted a 5.7-litre Albury Universal V8 engine for sale at a local car parts store. Without further ado, he bought the engine - a non-blueprinted one, but a V8 nonetheless - and the next day, he set about retrofitting his personal K23 Sprint with it.

The results were startling. It was immediately obvious that the extra power and torque provided by the V8 made it much more of a straight-line performer. Of note were the significantly increased top speed (now over 140 mph) and the far quicker 0-60 mph time (6.9 seconds). It was thirstier than a stock Sprint, and its weight distribution was even more nose-heavy, but this did not matter to enthusiasts, especially those in America, where new Federal legislation had drawn the teeth of many contemporary muscle cars.

The resulting car was called the K23 Super, and apart from its characteristic V8 rumble emanating from its wider exhaust pipes, there was little to distinguish it from a stock K23 Sprint. Using his links to Albury Motors, he was able to procure a steady supply of Albury V8s to offer as part of the conversion kit until 1980, when the last K23 left the Kramer production line. In addition, he also offered a handling pack alongside the engine swap; it consisted of rear disc brakes and a retuned suspension with monotube dampers and could be ordered separately, or along with the Super kit.

Ultimately, this would be just the first step in Mason Motor Sports’ growth, firmly establishing its reputation as one of the world’s best-known tuners in the years to come. As for Troy Mason himself, after the K23 Super was discontinued, he went back to fettling Albury V8s in 1982, by which time they had port fuel injection as standard. Eventually, his business became so successful that, twenty years later, he released a twin-turbocharged, all-carbonfibre, scissor-doored supercar - the Goshawk - and the rest is history.


#22

The Darkest Kimura

Kimura, at one point, was featured in a very top-secret illegal street racing ring.

Some of you may know it.


Pictured on the right is a 1967 Kimura K24-C. Debuting originally with a affordable price tag, contemporary styling, 4-wheel disc brakes, and high-output 2.4L DOHC Inline-6 with 166 HP, the K24-C was an immediate hit. Thanks to it’s ease of tuning, it quickly took over the Japanese car tuning industry. Unfortunately, Kimura killed the K24-C in 1972; the Helruna became it’s spiritual successor.


The Mid Night Club was a notorious street racing gang who broke the molds of what was possible on the famous C1 loop. Reaching speeds of over 300 KM/H, the group certainly was questionable, but is notable for their prioritizing pedestrian safety. However, in 1999, a high-speed chain-reaction crash immediately led to the clubs disbandment.


The K24-C was featured in the Mid Night Club and was the only car of it’s kind. Running for but a brief month before being destroyed in the accident, the car - nicknamed “Murashi,” an amalgamation of the Japanese words for Purple and Angel - was rumored to harbor a bored and stroked H-Series engine previously found in the Auriga. The unit in the family sedan was a 3-Liter engine with around 190 HP; Murashi had been bored and stroked to almost 4 liters. In addition, twin-turbochargers were added to boost output to what has been said to be over 900 WHP through a highly modified 6-speed manual. Short videos have been shown with Murashi, but only one official picture was ever revealed.

The tale of Murashi did not die with the car; many have tried to replicate it’s iconic style. Very few members of the Mid Night Club are willing to comment, though, and as such an accurate replica is uncertain. All we know is what history has foretold.


#23

Offroad fun!

An enthusiast modified a Conte Pulga Mk2 to turn it into an offroad Baja machine!


The 1985 Contendiente Pulga was launched as an affordable, practical yet somewhat fun package. Making 70hp from a 1.1L I3, with semi independent rear suspension and macpherson struts at the front, this car was nothing special as you might imagine.


This one, however, is a special one. With wider offroad tyres, a 2015 Pulga engine swap, kept N/A and retuned to make 115hp, rally shocks and springs and a lift kit, combined with a mechanical limited slip differential, this Pulga is a offroad fun machine. The interior has been stripped as well, with only two bucket seats remaining. The weight has gone down to a mere 720kg.

We found it in the Baja California, Mexico. Its owner, Eduardo, took us for a spin around some dirt roads and it was quite the blast: jumping and sliding on the dirt are Eduardo’s main pastime, and we understand why. All of the imperfections of the roads and the bumps can be felt, the adrenaline shot the car gives you as its tiny I3 pushes it through the turns and straights, with the driver scandinavian flicking the turns, was an incredible experience.

He intends to enter some minor local rallies with it next year; we wished him luck before leaving, and thanked him for his time and for showing us his car.


#24

I like it.


#25

Into Another Dimension: A Tale of Two Hierophants

Special thanks to @Deskyx for providing me with the car.

When Houston mechanic Carl Blake first heard about the '94 Dimension Hierophant, he knew that it would be his dream car sooner or later. In fact, he had enough money in the bank to buy two: a non-turbo for daily use, and a turbo model for the track. But having owned and driven both of them for a few months, he realized that they would make great tuning projects. Yet from then on, the two could not have had stories that were any more different.

For the non-turbo model, he installed a new close-ratio gearbox, tweaked the cam profile, added a high-flow exhaust system, reinforced the bottom end, fitted 4-piston front brakes, retuned the suspension and replaced the oversized wheels with 17-inch items to improve ride comfort. The result was a much faster (nearly 10 mph more at the top end, and more than a second faster to 60) and better resolved car, with astounding straight-line performance for something with less than 300 bhp. But Blake was not satisfied and soon found himself wanting more.

The Hierophant Turbo, meanwhile, received similar engine, gearbox, and suspension mods to its NA counterpart, and also shared that car’s fancy brakes, but in addition to all that, it was fitted with a new turbocharger installation with ball-bearing turbos, a water-to-air intercooler, and 40% more boost, among other things, while the rev limiter was decreased to 7200 rpm for reliability’s sake. As such, its power delivery was even more violent, with much more torque and less lag than previously. However, the extra grunt, especially in the mid-range, made it much more of a handful than before - as Carl Blake himself found out the hard way when he spun 360 degrees on an autocross run, fortunately without any damage to him or the Hierophant.

Fearing that he might not be so lucky next time, he put the turbo Hierophant into storage and used the non-turbo model as his daily driver for the next few years. It wasn’t until drifting became popular in the United States that he seriously thought about using it again. And when he finally brought the beast out of retirement, he was surprised to find out that he had finally found a use for it - as a drift car. With ample midrange torque, he found it easy to kick the tail out in the corners, although it took a while for him to keep it under control. But when he mastered it, he laughed maniacally at the insane drift angles he was consistently getting. So he used it as a street-legal drift car and entered it in various sanctioned amateur competitions, which he duly proceeded to dominate.

Both cars survive to this very day, and while Blake believes he could have done a few things differently, he does not regret what he did at all. In fact, he is proud of what he had built, and only recently has he thought about offering the pair for sale - he now wants a single car that can easily do double duty as a track weapon and a daily driver. So if you want to own a piece or two of '90s nostalgia, with the ability to beat the Japanese at their own game handily, now might be the right time to do so.


#26

“SooperPulga” 1973 Pulga Mk1

(Thanks to @Mr.Computah for letting me have some “fun” with the Pulga )


When you think of a Contendiente Pulga Mk1, what often comes to mind is a tiny Spanish car with a quaint, little 850cc i3 engine in the rear, powering the rear wheels. What doesn’t quite spring to mind is a track tearing, spatial rending monster that wants to kill its driver.

Well that is exactly what Contendiende did, with a little help from Nohda, proving that you dont have to own a million dollar hypercar to outdo everyone on the track, but instead purchase a small 1973 Pulga, and shove a superbike engine in the rear.

Now, you may think this sounds a little silly, and it is. The Pulga is a small little city car designed to do nothing more than ferry its passengers from one parking spot to another; but dont worry, this Pulga is hiding a little secret.

Pull away the body panels, which are of course custom made from lightweight kevlar reinforced fibreglass, and you will indeed find a 1973 Pulga Mk1 Chassis. Except for the suspension, because that is lifted straight from a Conte Enemigo WTCC race car.

Going to the back where the new 1.0L Nohda inline 4 sits. Now this isn’t any ordinary Nohda inline 4. No, this Nohda inline 4 is “borrowed” from the 2013 Nohda SB0013 World Superbike, and has been modified to fit a turbocharger. Which lets the car produce around 380hp and redlines at 11,000 RPM. This is then mated with a gearbox and differential lifted a 2016 Conte Pulga rally car, and what you have is a go kart on steroids.

The lack of weight (the car only weighs in at roughly 600kg), mixed with the tricked out engine, gearbox and differential means the “SooperPulga” goes from 0-60 in just 2.5 seconds, much faster than most sports cars, and considering that it is still RWD, quite amazing.

The only thing left to do now is to take it down to the local test track in Dunsfold and take it for a whirl


“After taking the car round the track several times, I noted that on most occasions, the car tried to kill me. Whoever had the bright idea that shoving a superbike engine in such a lightweight car is a crazed lunatic…if you want me Ill be back at home on the sofa watching reruns of Top Gear on Dave” :wink: Matt Sierra


After being dragged back into the Pulga, I set off on the timed lap. Fighting the wheel (as it had no power steering) I managed to get the car around the track in an astonishing 1.13.31. This made it about .5 seconds faster than the Pagani Huayra while only costing a fraction of the cost, roughly $30,000 at 100% markup. Of course, you wont get everything the Huayra has like nice seats, soundproofing, a radio, carpets or even airbags, but at least you will have a certain smug face as you pass it in the corners.

Overall, this “SooperPulga” is without a doubt, the epitome of the “Thinn Meme” :wink: Matt Sierra signing out…


Oh and one extra thing…

Cough 380hp from a 1 Liter inline-4. I think you’ll find this is higher :stuck_out_tongue:


#27

I am literally speechless.


#28

As far as UE4 cars go this one is utterly psychotic - huge turbo lag, minimal weight, loads of grunt and an engine slung out at the back.


#29

Instant Torque; Instant Fun

story by Jamie Harvey

Think of Belgium. What do you think of? Probably not an Electric Vehicle parts supplier, right? Well, I’ve come to Belgium to talk with Benjamin Chagnon, the co-founder and CEO of Electric Vehicle Engineering, about his rather… strange sports car. From what I know about Mr. Chagnon, he’s a former engineer for Merciel, who left the company in 2010 to pursue his interest in the future of the Electric Vehicle. He joined together with Belgian national, Stijn Poissonnier, and they made EVE a reality in 2012.

Now, enough about the history, onto my arrival at EVE headquarters in Liege. I arrived by Uber to a rather fancy looking, mostly glass building situated not too far from the University of Liege. I was greeted at the door by Mr. Changon, who struck conversation with me about working at Speedhunters, and other car related things.

“Now, You’re probably thinking 'Hey, where’s the Electric Vehicles, Benjamin!” Mr. Chagnon said to me in a very Belgian-French accent, “I’ll tell you. Hidden. Mine’s the only one you can see. My one is special.” He lead me through production rooms, building motors, and other components related to the EV. “Through here, quickly.” He lead me through a rather cramped storage room, but that room lead to easily the most wonderful looking 240z I’ve laid my eyes upon.

"Now, there’s always an odd thing about the way I got this car. Not many of these 240z’s are around in Belgium, or Northern France. I got this one from a friend in the USA. Was empty, had been sitting in the Nevada Desert for maybe 10 or 15 years. No VIN, no engine, nothing. Wanna know how much I paid for it? 250 American Dollars. So f***ing cheap.

"It arrived at my home in 2013. My instant plans were to put [EVE] parts into the car. Because why not, right? Be unique, cool, interesting. We have four motors, one per wheel. It’s an AWD 240z. We just launch off of the line real fast. I mean, we rarely take it anywhere. I’d dare say Belgium is the worst place to be a petrol head, maybe behind Denmark, or The Netherlands, but we have little in the way of night culture. Want to go to a car meet, best bet is heading to France, or Germany. I mean, we’re not too far from Spa, but that’s only alive when a race meet is there.

"This is making I think 400hp to the road, but we are pushing an acceleration time in the low 3s. I mean, range on this thing varies, but I drive it when I can. Most days, I’m driving it to work. It’s a nice distance, there-and-back. When I finished this I’d get looks. I know it sounds odd, I’m in an EV, they can’t hear me. That’s part of why I got, and still get looks. I’m in a f***ing silent car from the late 60’s. Everyone is confused.

“We shamelessly took heavy design inspiration from Pandem, and Rocket Bunny. It’s a nice style that I enjoy, the Japanese Widebody look. It makes the car look big, heavy, powerful. We got this thing lighter than a the normal 240z by 10kg. Such a slim margin, but we did it.”

Mr. Chagnon is an odd man, at the helm of an odd company, with easily the best 240z I’ve seen in a long while.

I want one.


This trip took place on October 17th, 2017. Photos were taken by Jamie Harvey


#30

Barn find, restoration and tuning: a '58 Brivio Vieste, the “Punisher”.


(Props to @CadillacDave for lending me the car!)

Hi, I’m Nathan García and this is my latest creation. A 1958 Brivio Vieste I like to call “Punisher”.


The car in its original state.

I found this antique a couple of weeks ago, back from a roadtrip in my beloved rat rod Erin Visto Mk3. I stopped at my local dinner to get a burger and some fries when I saw this thing abandoned at the parking lot, inside a sea of Shromets, Kimuras and the ocassional Nohda and Cavallera, with a “for sale” sign on it, and couldn’t help but approach the car. Seeing as the car was pretty rusty and the tyres deflated, I called the number on the sign and managed to buy it for only $2000. I brought it to the shop and I started working on it.

The first thing I did to it was removing the rust. A couple hours of scrubbing with a chemical agent later, the chassis was free of rust. The next thing I did was take the engine out and see if it would run, but unfortunately it wouldn’t, so I left it for later. I replaced the worn shocks and springs for stiffer springs and gas dampers; I replaced each and every corner of the car, and the worst part was the rear end (them Europeans insisting on fancy independent systems).

I then removed the rear seats, replaced the front ones with leather bucket seats (the American way!) and removed the radio and safety systems. And to top it all off, I gave the front a nice lip to generate some downforce and a splitter at the rear with the same purpose. After all these modifications, it was time to give the car a nice new set of shoes, so I shoved some nice radials there and swapped the wire rims with some nice alloy American Racings.

So naturally the engine was the next step. And I was going to do it proper: carburetors and natural aspiration. No turbo bullshit here. The original engine was pushing 114 horsepower approximately from its 2.5 liters of displacement; I started by replacing the crank, conrods and pistons for forged components, installing a custom high end cam, and replacing the alternator and deleting the mufflers. The jewel of the crown, though, were the three Weber carburetors feeding the engine; I tuned them to deliver around 1 part of fuel for each 13,8 parts of air, then gave the engine quite a few degrees of advancement and shaved off the head until the gas was compressed in a 11.0:1 compression, roughly. The previously 92 octane leaded fuel was replaced with 95 octane premium unleaded. To top it all off, I extended the rev range, hell yeah!

When the moment of truth came, the engine was placed back into the car and on the dyno. The engine was producing 230 horses at 7100rpm. Might not have the low end of a big block, but it sure packs quite a punch. With all that sorted, I replaced the old 4 speed trans with a 5 speed manual from a Caliban Thunder kit car, and played around with the ratios. The last two things were a Quaife LSD and a British green paintjob. Why British green on an Italian car? Because I felt it could give it that “posh” touch.

So I took it for a ride, and while it’s not too powerful, this thing pulls! The LSD and 5 speed box make it capable of going from 0 to 62 in just 5.9 seconds, and top out at 145, which is more than a lot of classic muscle cars can achieve.

The cornering was also greatly enhanced by the shocks and springs. The Punisher was now pulling 1.12Gs at 20 metres and 1.08Gs at 250m.

In retrospect, modifying the car was very much worth it. While hard to work with due to its sheer age, the car greatly rewarded me with a quick, corner happy experience, while at the same time being as classy as only a 50s car can be.

Would I modify another Brivio? Goddamn right I would, but probably a different one from a different era. Perhaps I could try to see what these guys made back in the day and see if I can get my hands on any of them machines? Who knows. But for now, I’ll just enjoy this grand tourer turned rocket.