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Thread: Another quiz

  1. #11
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    Default Re: Another quiz

    Dwight and Bill Kerchenfaut were sitting around after Bill left Sandberg's deal, and got to talking about the Rolls/Packard connecting rods being a weak point when Merlins were spun up to Reno rpms. Dwight got out an Allison rod and the two figured out that the Allison rod could work. A full Mouse has those Allison rods and massive strengthening of everything. It also runs a different supercharger gear ratio, which allows a Merlin with more "torque, sort of" at lower rpms than the Nixon/Hovey/Zeuschel/Sandberg high rev motors. He also strapped down various bits and did a LOT of other stuff. So you ended up with a motor running at say, 135 inches and 3400 rpm rather than 105 inches and 3800 rpm with the other model. A cuffed Hamilton Standard prop completed the picture.
    When it all worked you ended up with a 465 mph and up Mustang rather than a 445 mph Mustang. Both sorts of Merlin blew up regularly, but when the Mouse roared, as in 1987, the racing world was amazed.
    Dwight called this very different motor a "Mouse Motor" and the name stuck.

    I'm still curious about the 1985 and 1986 Strega engines...

    Neal

  2. #12

    Default Re: Another quiz

    Quote Originally Posted by wingman View Post
    Great photo, Sledge. Are you sure that's Dwight? That person looks taller, and the hair looks wrong, or maybe I just have never seen him with a crew cut. The glasses look right, though. That's also the earliest race photo of Bob that I remember seeing. Looks like he still had some color in his hair.

    Was Dwight officially the crew chief that first year?

    Neal

    Dwight (1937-2008), looks taller because he was seated on that tool box, maybe his feet didn't reach the ground ??.

    RE: Dwight being the crew chief of the Chuck Lyford owned, Bardahl sponsored P-51, flown on the pylons by Bob Love and Lyford in the cross-country at Reno '64.

    ""Ron Musson Bardahl's Director of Marketing and Promotions directed the "Miss Bardahl" hydroplane crew to assist Lyford's crew chief Dwight Thorn.

    When the "Bardahl Special" was finished, it had the most powerful Rolls-Royce engine that had ever been put into a Mustang"" (up to that time)

    Quote from "A Race to Freedom-The Mira Slovak Story" by David Williams -Page 26


    The first time I posted this photo (11 years ago).

    http://www.aafo.com/hangartalk/showt...f-Hearts/page2

  3. #13
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    Default Re: Another quiz

    Thank you, Sledge. I have learned a bit here. This was all long before my time, and the published articles of the time rarely mentioned crew chiefs. I didn't meet Dwight Thorn til the late 1970s and didn't really get to know him til the mid 80s. 1964 never came up in conversation (nor did 1972). I wish I'd spent more time asking questions of both Dwight and Bill Kerchenfaut. I miss them both.

    So what do you know about 1972? My understanding is that Dwight built those engines for #5 (what was Jack Hovey's involvement in those days?). Jim Larsen was again involved. Who was the crew chief for Gunther Balz?

    That's still the only picture I've seen of Dwight with a crew cut. I've seen shots of him during the development of #8 and his curly locks are much like they were 40 years later. Maybe Rosie made him get a haircut for the new Races?? LOL

    Neal

  4. #14
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    Default Re: Another quiz

    Quote Originally Posted by wingman View Post
    Great photo, Sledge. Are you sure that's Dwight? That person looks taller, and the hair looks wrong, or maybe I just have never seen him with a crew cut. The glasses look right, though. That's also the earliest race photo of Bob that I remember seeing. Looks like he still had some color in his hair.

    Was Dwight officially the crew chief that first year?

    Neal
    Almost looks like Bill Eck (SP?)
    Wayne Sagar
    "Pusher of Electrons"

  5. #15
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    Default Re: Another quiz

    Quote Originally Posted by wingman View Post
    Good reasoning. It's 1986. I don't really know the answer to my question about what Dwight was thinking, but I know he really wanted a Championship. It had been a very long time without and he had real hopes that he, Tiger and Kerchenfaut could do it. This was early in the week and Strega was having issues, and he came over to have a look at the new competition. This look was the result.

    I do have a further question for the board though. Dwight joined Strega some time in 1985. The whole Destefani operation was in some disarray at that point, and Kerch joined some time later that year. Strega won at a very high speed at Bakersfield, and struggled for the next two Renos. Then came 1987, and the all conquering (for one year) Mouse phenomenon. Was the winning engine at Bakersfield still the Nixon motor Strega had been running previously, or was it a new Thorn motor? Were the Reno 85 and 86 motors newly built by Thorn in part or in full? Was 1987 the first time Strega had Dwight's full on mouse?

    Neal

    It's funny I was just reading about this in Birch Matthew's Mustang book this morning! There's a great quote in there about how qualifying went down.

    Directly from the book;

    Kerchanfaut radioed Destefani and told him, "...They got you at something over 460miles per hour!" "Tiger" said "Bull****, I don't have it at full power." Hinton's crew called him on the radio to alert him to Destefani's speed, since Tsunami had been programmed to qualify at 465 miles per hour. When Hinton was told that Strega had done 466 plus mph he thought his crew was taunting him. He flew his qualifying lap as planned.

    It goes on to say that Tiger smashed the prior record held by Dreadnought (452) at 466.674 and Steve was two miles per hour slower!

  6. #16
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    Default Re: Another quiz

    Also Neal, I have to say it was a pleasant surprise to check in here today and see you posting again. I've missed your presence here! Your photos and knowledge of the sport are a real treasure!

    -Connor

  7. #17

    Default Re: Another quiz

    Quote Originally Posted by wingman View Post
    Thank you, Sledge. I have learned a bit here. This was all long before my time, and the published articles of the time rarely mentioned crew chiefs. I didn't meet Dwight Thorn til the late 1970s and didn't really get to know him til the mid 80s. 1964 never came up in conversation (nor did 1972). I wish I'd spent more time asking questions of both Dwight and Bill Kerchenfaut. I miss them both.

    So what do you know about 1972? My understanding is that Dwight built those engines for #5 (what was Jack Hovey's involvement in those days?). Jim Larsen was again involved. Who was the crew chief for Gunther Balz?

    That's still the only picture I've seen of Dwight with a crew cut. I've seen shots of him during the development of #8 and his curly locks are much like they were 40 years later. Maybe Rosie made him get a haircut for the new Races?? LOL

    Neal
    1971-72 info

    Dwight Thorn was Gunther Balz crew chief at Reno

    source: vault.si.com/vault/1972/10/02/how-to-succeed-while-flying-scared


    Dwight Thorn, Jim Larsen, Bill Kerchenfaut, and Jack Hovey were all involved with Balz

    Gunther Balz "I got Hovey and Thorn to do the engine, and Jim Larsen to do the engineering"

    source: pylon1.org/articles/publish/article_98.shtml

  8. #18
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    Default Re: Another quiz

    Quote Originally Posted by wingman View Post
    Dwight called this very different motor a "Mouse Motor" and the name stuck.
    It actually is a drag racing reference. Small block engines are Mouse Motors, large block engines are Rat Motors. In this case, the Mouse Motor was the Merlin, while the Rat was the Griffon...it just was the name he chose for the Allison rod modification.

    And the key to such modifications are all about where the oiling holes in the rods are drilled.

  9. #19
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    Default Re: Another quiz

    So Brad -- while you're here, could you run down some of Dwight's major racing involvements before 1985?

    There was obviously 1964, and presumably the Lyford efforts after that, with the Nitrous and such.

    There was #5 and Balz.

    In the 70s I think he was doing Bob Love's motors for #97. It's always seemed a shame that Bob just didn't ever seem to have the money or sponsorship to make it to the top. He gave Lyle a good run for the money a couple of times though. I remember Lyle talking about how he felt when Bob would pull up on him -- he was not a big fan of racing against Bob Love.

    Around 1980 he test ran the first Allison rod motor.

    and what else?

    Do you know the provenance of the 1985 (and Bakersfield) and 1986 motors in Strega? Did any of these engines have Allison rods?

    Neal

  10. #20
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    Default Re: Another quiz

    Thank you again, Sledge. I actually have that Kallio interview with Gunther printed out somewhere in my files. I never thought to check it.

    Neal

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