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#1 Henk Vasmel

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Posted 04 October 2022 - 19:35

In an other thread there is a discussion at the moment about the car (chassis) or the engine being the main part of a car which governs the identity.

These days, cars are obviously the main unit, and engines can and will be replaced during a weekend, especially in the higher classes where financial constraints are less urgent.

However, the past is a foreign country where they do things differently. Cars and engines were considered to belong together then.

So, I was wondering if the collective memories at this forum can come up with the first instance where a car has raced with two different engines (at first at different meetings, I would guess) and then when for the first time a car has used different engines at the same meeting.

 



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#2 uechtel

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Posted 04 October 2022 - 20:49

The Rolland-Pilains with Schmid engines in 1924 are probably candidates.

 

Also there seems to have been a lot of engine swapping among Bugatti 35 variants.



#3 Sterzo

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Posted 04 October 2022 - 20:54

The Alfa Romeo team was said to dismantle their 158s after each race, and reassemble them from the pile of parts without much interest in a car's identity.



#4 sabrejet

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Posted 04 October 2022 - 21:20

Stirling Moss famously raced his Cooper as a 500 single and a 1000 twin at the same meeting. Likely a number of times.

 

I'm just reading the book, "The Past and the Spurious", which is enlightening!



#5 Doug Nye

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Posted 04 October 2022 - 22:27

I really doubt that "cars and engines were considered to belong together then" was ever actually true, except in the production road car sense.   

 

There is an American-developed obsession within the car collecting world that 'matching numbers' are vital, but that appears to be a conviction (one of many) born of relative ignorance, and largely fostered by the grasping motor trade, and one or two largely self-styled arbiters of 'taste'.  

 

Maserati engine and chassis numbers were for many years out of synch, while engine changes were standard practice not only for Grand Prix cars but - admittedly to a much lesser degree - for works-team sports cars.  There was in period no obsession with fitting 'the correct' matching-numbered engine into the appropriate chassis before it was sold to a first owner ex-works.  If it happened it was much more likely to be simply happenstance.

 

Ferrari Classiche's almost punitively expensive service has included 'restoring' matching-number engines to host vehicles which have become long-since separated from their original power unit.  This was a policy largely adopted by Fiat apparatchiks simply feeding the developing obsessions of the so-called classic or Vintage car dealing trade, and of nitwit one-marque owners' club members.

 

This notion that a factory-sanctioned engine built brand-new, bearing equally fresh factory-sanctioned number stampings matching the chassis serial, retrieves a state of "genuine-ness" defies both reality, and common sense.

 

But even the most fundamentalist of classic and Vintage car philosophies just follow the money. 

 

The fine art world is certainly no shining example of archaeological truth and integrity, but the old car world can most decidedly learn many lessons from it where the fine checks and balances of 'fake or fortune' are involved.

 

DCN


Edited by Doug Nye, 04 October 2022 - 22:29.


#6 Ray Bell

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Posted 04 October 2022 - 22:54

I've heard a story of the Mildren team going to New Zealand...

 

Two 2-litre Waggott TC4V engines fitted in the cars and another as a spare. So all of this was duly recorded by Customs Officers in the Shaky Isles. But on their return, there'd been a shake-up of the location of each engine, engine B in car A, the spare in car B.

 

Customs wanted to know, "Why?" and "What are you trying to get away with?"



#7 10kDA

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Posted 04 October 2022 - 23:26

 

 

There is an American-developed obsession within the car collecting world that 'matching numbers' are vital, but that appears to be a conviction (one of many) born of relative ignorance, and largely fostered by the grasping motor trade, and one or two largely self-styled arbiters of 'taste'.  

 

 

 and of nitwit one-marque owners' club members.

 


DCN

 

In the US I would estimate a significantly larger number than one or two self-styled arbiters of taste, which of course does not mean any of them are in the right, and...

 

" ...of nitwit one-marque owners' club(s) members."

 

Is where many of the significant numbers can be found. Just about any marque's US club members could be found guilty.



#8 Lee Nicolle

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 00:54

As someone who sells collector car parts I get sick of fools wanting part numbers. Or date codes. Part numbers that are frequently superceded by later part numbers on replacement parts. Or overhauled parts. I sell new factory style replacement rims [from the original manufacturer] and I get the wankers wanting a 1970 date code on a 2022 made rim,,, drrrrr!

As a racer for a period I had hassles with scrutineers because the engine number was not in the log book,, in fact it had 6/V8 [by CAMS] in it as over a period I used both. And on one of my Chev V8s the engine number pad had been removed in the quest for weight. In the period I raced that car it used one 6 cyl engine and 3 different Chevs,, all of which had iterations as the car got faster with better parts. Another competitor was hassled because he had a 5 speed in a car with 4 speed in the log book. He actually used both depending on track. 



#9 GregThomas

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 01:31

I've heard a story of the Mildren team going to New Zealand...

 

Two 2-litre Waggott TC4V engines fitted in the cars and another as a spare. So all of this was duly recorded by Customs Officers in the Shaky Isles. But on their return, there'd been a shake-up of the location of each engine, engine B in car A, the spare in car B.

 

Customs wanted to know, "Why?" and "What are you trying to get away with?"

The stories of how cars and parts remained in NZ after they'd officially left the shores are legion. It was a flourishing cottage industry here for many years.

Not surprising when you could only import if you had access to "overseas funds"

Any car which has spent time in NZ and been re-exported should IMO be viewed with caution....And that's not to mention the bikes I personally know about. More "works" Velocettes than the works ever built have come out of NZ.



#10 Charlieman

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 06:03

The Cadillac performance for the 1908 Dewar Trophy demonstrated that interchangeability was about more than engine and chassis.



#11 AJCee

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 06:54

It’s just as well the same pointless matching of ‘original’ parts to determine authenticity isn’t applied in the field of organ transplants.

#12 Stephen W

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 07:14

I am sure that there are many instances of one engine being removed and replaced by another but this would be of the same make e.g. BRM 3 Litre V12 engines in the P153 and P160 chassis.

 

There have also been cases in the British Hillclimb Championship where supercharged and non-supercharged engines were used in the same chassis in the same year.

 

It would have been possible to swap out one make of GM V8 for another make again in British Speed events but I doubt that would have happened at the same meeting.



#13 sabrejet

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 07:27

It's also worth noting that "matching numbers" doesn't mean "matching the same numbers". My old Super Snipe was a 'matching numbers' car, despite the engine number bearing no resemblance to the chassis number. But the chassis plate confirmed the link between the two.

 

I suspect that ignorance has thus 'reunited' major assemblies with chassis they had no previous association with. It's also rendered pointless if you are claiming matching numbers for a car which you then paint as the No.23 racer in which Higgins won the Monte, despite several serious crashes, engine and gearbox blow-ups in the years before he took that win.

 

But, like over-restoration of 'concours' cars in more recent years, it's a trend which is more than likely going to die out as the market becomes obsessed by some other trend. Patination and original dirt probably.



#14 Catalina Park

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 08:46

Matching-Numbers.jpg



#15 uechtel

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 09:09

Ferrari converted Tipo 125s into 166s and vice versa, so at least for the naming of the MODEL only the engine did matter.



#16 BRG

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Posted 05 October 2022 - 09:50

There seems to be an undue hostility towards the 'matching numbers' idea.  Surely if you are buying a pure classic ROAD car, having the same chassis and engine with which it left the factory is a sign (but only a sign, not a definitive proof) of authenticity.  There are precious few other straws that you could grasp to prove it.  So I see no issue with this at all.  If it adds value to the vehicle then that is because it is what the market demands.

 

When it comes to RACING cars, there is no such thing as matching numbers.  If you have a Lotus 72 (lucky you) it will have accommodated a dozen or more different DFVs over the years.  Which is the 'right' one. Clearly a nonsense, and that is why nobody to my knowledge worries about this.

 

The problem arises with production cars that were used for racing -  your 250GTO or Carrera RS for instance.  If a car was used for serious competition, the chances of the engine fitted in the factory surviving very long were remote.  To demand 'matching numbers' in this case is futile and I agree that those who do are just asking to be scammed by the unscrupulous.



#17 Henk Vasmel

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Posted 06 October 2022 - 20:11

From your remarks, it is pretty clear that the engine has been a replaceable part of the car since at least last century's twenties. These days it is indeed perfectly common practice.

On the other hand, there have always been private owners with insufficient funds to have more than one serviceable engine for their car. But that was the exception, not the rule.

Also, there were unique car-engine combinations where it was not really possible to replace the engine because a second copy could not be found. Again a rarity and not the rule.

Now if we want to know whether there have been days when cars and engines really belonged together, we have to concentrate on the period before WWI, or more than a century ago.

 

Are there any people here with specific knowledge on that period which can supply some details?



#18 Henri Greuter

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Posted 07 October 2022 - 07:28

From your remarks, it is pretty clear that the engine has been a replaceable part of the car since at least last century's twenties. These days it is indeed perfectly common practice.

On the other hand, there have always been private owners with insufficient funds to have more than one serviceable engine for their car. But that was the exception, not the rule.

Also, there were unique car-engine combinations where it was not really possible to replace the engine because a second copy could not be found. Again a rarity and not the rule.

Now if we want to know whether there have been days when cars and engines really belonged together, we have to concentrate on the period before WWI, or more than a century ago.

 

Are there any people here with specific knowledge on that period which can supply some details?

 

Not for an F1 car but of a case I know personally.

 

In 1941 the Offenhauser Engineering Co built one example of an 3 liter supercharged  V8 engine for Lew Welch, it was then named Winfield V8. This engine was built into the Welch owned 1935 built front wheel drive Miller chassis that once had been one of the disastrous 1935 Miller-Ford project.

 

The engine then went into Welch's newly built Frontdrive Kurtis chassis, that became the first postwar Novi.

The Miller chassis wasn't used anymore, but it somehow survived.

 

Eventually, that car was restored back into running condition with a genuine Novi engine.

But: that engine isn't the original 1941 engine. I know that because back in 1988 I had the opportunity to see some of the original Novi hardware and I was shown a heavily damaged cylinder block of which my host pointed out that it was one of the original 1941 blocks. And how it could be identified and that this block was no longer usable anymore due to the damage.

There were more things told to me but my informant told me that much of this was unconfirmed and at that time not proven and sorted out yet but all of that makes it for me near certain that this particular car is indeed 100% Novi history but not 100% entirely correct for that particular car. Unless there have been furthere developments with that damaged cylinderblock and the engine in the car that I am not aware of.

 

Assuming that my details are indeed still correct nowadays,Is that a problem for historians, and if so, how serious?

 

Personally, I am OK with it. I've seen and heard that car being driven and it is a sight ( and sound .... ) to behold.