Originally posted by Hobson
Engine swapped with the seals entact.
I’m sure lots of cars have had their engines taken out past the scrutineers’ seals but a particularly good version is how the first Escort Mexico Trophy was won.
Coming to the last round at Brands Hatch someone needed to win the race and get the extra point for fastest lap. Apparently 1300GT pistons in a 1600 Mexico provided a helpfully high compression ratio.
So far so good but the driver, a hefty, flamboyant gentleman better known for his escapades in Dealer Team Vauxhalls and manslaughter on the public highway and what not couldn’t do the job subtly of course; he had to win at a gallop and break the lap record by a country mile [Rule 1; - when you’ve got a REALLY good tweak … make it look difficult!
]. All hell broke loose!
Of course they’d planned for that. The car was road-registered and one of the mechanics often took it home so while the driver was talking to Brian Jones the car went out through the paddock gate, off down Scratcher’s Lane and disappeared. The row in the paddock went on for several hours while Larry Sevitt explained that the mechanic had gone off to a family wedding somewhere and since it was still 1971 and noone had invented mobile phones yet they couldn’t contact him etc etc. Finally, as per plan, the car came back around midnight and since it was late and cold and dark and the scrutineers were tired they sealed the engine with every seal known to man and announced the RAC inspection would take place on the following Wednesday.
Monday and Tuesday were quite busy at a workshop in Cricklewood. They unpicked the bodyshell seams at the A-post; took the whole front off the car from the windscreen forward, pulled the engine backwards out of the front half of the car leaving all the nice seals intact, rebuilt it and then re-welded the two halves of the Escort back together.
Wednesday wasn’t so busy. The strip-down in front of the RAC scrutineers revealed no anomalies and the result [and the lap record] stood!
Funnily the same mechanic had the same “creative” attitude towards scrutineers when he ran production saloons for me in the ‘80s. Although strangely I can’t believe or remember anything we did that wasn’t totally legal
I’ll merely observe that you might just want to gave up and burst into tears when, hypothetically, you might have completely by-passed the wastegate on a Turbocharged car so you're running absolutely unlimited boost and another competitor in an identical model Production Saleoon breezes past you down the Revitt Straight!
The same mechanic also ran Formula Three cars for Alan Jones and Brian McGuire and he uncovered the great Roger Williamson cheat. 1971 was the first year of F3 air restrictors and apparently James Hunt had made good use of a crude collar at the front of the airbox which he unscrewed as he sat in the car to expose some extra holes and let more air in. But that could be found easily. A year later when someone went up to Holbay to collect an engine for Jones he picked up the wrong one and brought Williamson’s special engine back by mistake. Knowing the guy I suspect he didn’t pick up the wrong donkey by accident.
They found, Boy did it pull! It had been beautifully built so that when it was at high revs the oil pressure through a special feed opened a flap in the airbox. But whenever it was tested on a gasflow rig a very strong spring held the flap shut. This time the row went the other way and I gather that since they were Brabham customers even Mr Ecclestone got involved to hush that particular one up ......