Drag Racing Variety: The Nitro-Burning Daimler Dragster

The game of drag racing has grown to have worldwide attraction, and immediately you’ll discover all kinds of automobiles contesting the 1/4-mile across the globe. One of many extra uncommon —and superb— examples of range and innovation is the Daimler-powered dragster of England’s Robin Learn. He’s cranked out a better of 6.37-seconds and a pace of virtually 210 mph on the famend Santa Pod Raceway in Northamptonshire, United Kingdom. And that’s with solely 153 cubic inches.

Robin Learn launches at Santa Pod Raceway en path to a 6.37 elapsed time within the 1/4-mile. Learn’s digger incorporates a 250-inch wheelbase chassis constructed by Wayne Allman to SFI Spec 2.5C, with Robin and Brian Thomas constructing the physique.

Learn’s present 250-inch wheelbase dragster is the epitome of resourcefulness, because the automotive is run on a decent price range. The chassis was constructed by Wayne Allman of the Intergalactic Customized Store in 2020 to SFI Spec 2.5C (good for e.t’s over 5.90), with Robin and Brian Thomas constructing the physique.

Credit score Boghos Nahoualakian for the upholstery and Denis Lowry the wiring.

Right here’s Robin Learn and his Daimler SP250 sports activities automotive with its “bonnet” open to disclose the little 2.5L Hemi V8 that’s the idea of the ability in his distinctive fueler.

That is the fourth in a sequence of diggers raced by Robin —the primary being a front-engined Volvo-powered automotive in-built 1974. On the time, it was presupposed to be the world’s quickest and quickest naturally aspirated four-cylinder gas-burning drag automobile and credited with a greatest performances of 10.70s, within the excessive 130 mile-per-hour vary. After Robin bought the automotive it received three European championships in Comp Eliminator.

Energy to the bottom comes by way of a 3-disc clutch fabricated by Bertie Hopkinson, Robin’s proper hand man, housed in a Boninfante titanium can, by a Lenco C4 transmission and a Unusual modular aluminum rearend.

Energy for Learn’s “Spirit of Le Patron” (so-named as a tribute to his late father, Jim, who raced a Professional Comp automotive named “Le Patron”) comes from the distinctive Daimler SP250 sports activities automotive. Constructed between 1959-64 by Daimler Motor Firm Ltd. of Coventry, England (not affiliated with Daimler-Benz), the SP250 has a 2.5L V-8 engine that does resemble a scaled-down early Chrysler Hemi. It has an identical cylinder head with hemispherical combustion chambers and twin rocker shaft design, however the cam makes use of motorcycle-type lifters. It was initially designed by Edward Turner, who’s greatest identified for his Triumph and Arial Sq.-4 motorbike engines.

To harness the combustion energy of the supercharged, nitro-burning engine Learn fortified the Daimler block with custom-built four-bolt primary caps, secured with ARP {hardware}.

The premise of Learn’s engine is a inventory 2.5L Daimler forged iron block that has been closely fortified on the underside finish by Robin and his longtime “chief engineer” Bertie Hopkinson. A billet aluminum model is deliberate for the long run. Learn and Hopkinson have developed straight-port billet aluminum heads to interchange the OEM solid aluminum items, with the ever-resourceful crew machining “hand-me-down” titanium consumption valves from Professional groups to suit the Daimler; the exhaust valves are chrome steel from GS. Credit score Bertie Hopkinson for fabricating the shaft rocker arm setup, too.

Aluminum connecting rods for Daimler engines are hardly obtainable available on the market, so Bertie machined up billet beams, added Daimler caps, and employed ARP rod bolts as a crowning glory.

The flat-tapped “fats” camshaft is a product of Kent Cams that has outsized journals and facilitates larger raise lobes, with lifters from Kershaw Engineering and titanium pushrods (3/8-inch tube on the intakes and three/8-inch strong heat-treated titanium on the exhaust facet) with Daimler suggestions made by Hopkinson. A set of Crane valve springs initially meant for a Chevy LS motor are additionally employed. The top studs, primary studs, and all different fasteners are ARP. Bearings have been manufactured by ACL to “Triple R” (Robin Learn Racing) specs.

The OEM solid aluminum Daimler cylinder head is proven subsequent to the billet aluminum masterpiece crafted by Bertie Hopkinson. A lot consideration has been paid to the bolstered shaft rocker arm system.

An Enderle 1200 gasoline pump is employed to feed an 88 p.c nitro load to the tiny Daimler by a specifically constructed carbon-fiber injector from John Hansell of Fibrelyte. The the combination is compelled into the engine by way of a modified 4-71 blower from Littlefield. It has a particular 2-inch thick rear finish plate to facilitate operating foot-long 6-71 rotors. The blower sits on a fabricated aluminum manifold. Be aware that the Daimler valley is significantly shorter than an early Chrysler, therefore the 4-71 case.

The lobes on Daimler engines are comparatively small because of the cam bearing limitations. No downside…the block was hogged out and bigger bearings assist an aggressive flat-tappet unit from Kent Cams within the UK.

Housed contained in the Daimler block is a stock-stroke (2.800-inch) billet metal crankshaft (S132 materials) made by Arrow Precision, together with a set of hybrid connecting rods made by Bertie that characteristic billet aluminum beams and metal Daimler caps which can be secured with ARP rod bolts. Robin purchased a field of solid aluminum Venolia pistons (3.030-inch bore) from Joe Pisano in 1987 and nonetheless makes use of them. Cosworth equipped the wrist pins. Lubrication is dealt with by way of Kendall 70-weight oil, a modified Daimler oil pump with 2-inch lengthy gear rotors (195 psi) with a System 1 distant oil filter dealing with the cleaning and the pan a modified Daimler/Jaguar unit. The cylinder fees are fired by an MSD 44-amp Professional magazine operating by 7mm MSD wire.

The Daimler SP250 Story

We all know that Gottlieb Daimler of Germany is credited with creating the trendy inside combustion engine in 1885, and he subsequently teamed-up with Karl Benz to kind Daimler-Benz in 1926 to fabricate cars. That firm has grown to turn into the Mercedes-Benz Group. Nevertheless, earlier than then he partnered with British buyers and fashioned the Daimler Motor Firm Restricted, headquartered in Coventry, England. They have been largely identified for constructing stately saloons favored by royalty, however within the late Fifties determined to develop a sports activities automotive —primarily for the American market. It featured a fiberglass physique and a sturdy little V-8 engine. In reality, some have been put into service by the London police to catch speeders. Debuted on the 1959 New York Auto because the “Daimler Dart,” the title was unexpectedly modified to “SP250” as Chrysler had trademarked “Dart” within the U.S.

Solely about 2,600 Daimler SP250 sports activities automobiles have been produced from 1959-1964, with half coming to the U.S. and most others staying in Europe. Initially, they did nicely in SCCA sports activities automotive racing, with Duncan Black (of Black & Decker instrument fame) profitable the C/Manufacturing nationwide championship in 1960. Daimler was acquired by Jaguar in 1960, and deserted the SP250 sports activities automotive a couple of years later in favor of their beautiful new XKE. Jaguar continued to make use of the two.5L Hemi in its Daimler-badged Mark 2 saloonsfrom 1962-69, simply recognized by its fluted grille shell.

Among the many surviving SP250s is one restored by well-known automotive fanatic, Jay Leno. His “Jay Leno’s Storage” video on the Daimler will be seen HERE.

Proven in motion at England’s well-known Santa Pod Raceway, Robin Learn’s superb Daimler-powered nitro-burner has carded a better of 6.37 at virtually 210 mph within the quarter-mile on solely 153 cubic inches of classic Hemi.

Different particulars on the 1,765-pound automotive embrace carbon-fiber wings entrance and rear made by Reverie, a Unusual modular aluminum rearend (90inch Ford) and disc brakes, with extra stopping energy courtesy of DJ Security chutes. DJ additionally made the sump “diaper” and blankets for the Lenco CS4 transmission. Energy is transmitted to the rearend by way of a 3-disc clutch primarily based on a Crowerglide that was fabricated by Hopkinson. It’s housed in a titanium can from Boninfante. Information logging is from a John Drive hand-me-down Racepak.

Learn started drag racing in 1974 with this front-engined Volvo-powered automotive. On the time, it was reputed to be the world’s quickest naturally-aspirated four-cylinder gas-burning drag automobile.

In 2008 the Learn household was inducted into the British Drag Racing Corridor of Fame. Along with his success with the “Le Patron” Professional Comp automotive, Jim Learn was Chairman of the BDRA for 10 years. Robin has been drag racing since 1974, had strong success within the European Competitors Automotive Championships, and in 1984 turned the primary to  run a 6-second e.t with a British-engined automotive with the predecessor of “Spirit of Le Patron.”

Wanting very similar to a scaled-down model of what’s employed in immediately’s “huge present” High Gasoline Dragsters, the Daimler energy plant in Robin Learn’s “Spirit of Le Patron” has made it the world’s quickest automotive powered by a British engine. The blower is a Littlefield 4-71, stretched with 6-71 rotors.

As we speak, the Robin Learn Racing crew continues on its quest to discipline the world’s quickest and quickest British-engined race automotive. Robin, Bertie, and teammates Mark Evans (crew chief), Invoice Mears, Ella Chapman, Damian Burke, Herb Andrews and Dave Wilson have been collectively for over 30 years and plan on persevering with to up the efficiency of the superb little Daimler. Is a 5-second 1/4-mile run sooner or later?

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