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Thread: AMC 209 CI project

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    AMC 209 CI project

    CamKing, your post in the Jerry Grant thread shows a photo of the 209 CI AMC project car...can you provide some insight about this engine and how the project came to be?

    The photo is interesting...I was wondering why the intake plenum has a cylinder on the top surface.


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    Well, my dad worked for Champion Spark Plug co, and his job was to help racers who used Champion Spark Plugs to win races. My Dad's turbo offys kept Champion in the winners circle at indy until the rule changes made the offy less competitive. This put Ford and Autolite in the winners circle. The engine costs were also skyrocketing. These were two things my dad could not stand to see. He looked at the rules, and decided the package that would make the most power was the 209ci V8 stock block 2-valve engine. I don't know who contacted who first, but AMC and Champion went in on the project, and it was built at Champion's Dyno facility in Long Beach. It used a stock Iron block. My dad went with a 180deg crank, and had Hiborn make the injectors. Originally, it was going to be twin turbo, but they outlawed twin turbos while the engine was being developed. The engine made more HP then any engine it ran against, but was so heavy, it couldn't get thru the corners. I think the highest it qualified at Indy was 11th. It ran at Indy from 76-79. AMC pulled their support, so my dad took the project to GM, and re-designed it around the Small Block Chevy. My dad had GM cast the blocks out of Aluminum, and went with Brodix heads. The chevy 209 ran from 80-83, then Champion started cutting their support in racing.

    As for the cylinder running the length of the top of the plenum, that was to normallize the pressure across the plenum. The turbo fed into the rear of that cylinder. down the length of the cylinder there was a slit cut for the air to enter the plenum. The area of the slit was the same as the flange the turbo fed into.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CamKing View Post
    As for the cylinder running the length of the top of the plenum, that was to normallize the pressure across the plenum. The turbo fed into the rear of that cylinder. down the length of the cylinder there was a slit cut for the air to enter the plenum. The area of the slit was the same as the flange the turbo fed into.
    That's interesting...I get the thinking but it would seem the pressure in the plenum to be constant with such a small volume. To me anyway...

    The Offys just dumped the turbo output into one end of the plenum, didn't they?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rrrr View Post
    The Offys just dumped the turbo output into one end of the plenum, didn't they?
    Yes, and when they ran 110" of boost, that worked OK.

    With the V8, and the lower boost limits, when they tried just pumping the turbo right into the plenum, you ended up with high and low pressure areas in the plenum, so some cylinders would run rich, and some lean. The long thin inlet along the top fixed that. A much larger plenum would have probably fixed it also.

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    Thanks for the info.

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    One more question...

    Was the slit in the plenum cylinder constant or did the width vary as a function of distance from the turbo flange?

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    "The engine made more HP then any engine it ran against, but was so heavy, it couldn't get thru the corners."

    I assume that they started with a block similar to the one that Penske/Donohue used for their F-5000 Lola a few years earlier. What I remember is that the engine had a high center of gravity, but I never did hear why it was designed like that.

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    Funny this should come up today, yesterday I was re-arrainging the crap in my shed and had the '77 500 on. During the broadcast Paul Page asks Freddie A. to describe the different engines in the field and he talks about the AMC, how it's doing better than many expected and speculates it may be in aluminum block configuration in "the next year or two".
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    Quote Originally Posted by rrrr View Post
    One more question...

    Was the slit in the plenum cylinder constant or did the width vary as a function of distance from the turbo flange?
    Constant width.
    One other thing. The pop-off valve was on the plenum, so the pressure in the cylinder above, was higher.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flatlander_48 View Post
    "The engine made more HP then any engine it ran against, but was so heavy, it couldn't get thru the corners."

    I assume that they started with a block similar to the one that Penske/Donohue used for their F-5000 Lola a few years earlier. What I remember is that the engine had a high center of gravity, but I never did hear why it was designed like that.
    I really don't know which AMC block it was. Not sure how many AMC had to choose from. When my dad was done with it, it was a really short deck height. The stroke was well under 3", with a 2:1 rod to stroke ratio, but I don't remember the exact specs.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jandj View Post
    Funny this should come up today, yesterday I was re-arrainging the crap in my shed and had the '77 500 on. During the broadcast Paul Page asks Freddie A. to describe the different engines in the field and he talks about the AMC, how it's doing better than many expected and speculates it may be in aluminum block configuration in "the next year or two".
    I met Freddie agabashian for the first time, one year before that(76' Indy 500). I knew people called him and my dad "twins", but I diddn't know how much they looked alike, until I walked into the Champion office at the speedway, and they were both standing next to each other. Funny that they both worked for Champion too.

    The AMC engine was just too darn heavy to get thru the corners. By the time the GM aluminum block 209's were developed, all the chassis were being designed around the cosworth engine, and they could never get the chassis to work with the much larger stock block.

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    In the '77 broadcast along with speculating about an aluminum AMC, Freddie also mentions the "new" V8 Offy in the works....

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    Quote Originally Posted by CamKing View Post
    I really don't know which AMC block it was. Not sure how many AMC had to choose from. When my dad was done with it, it was a really short deck height. The stroke was well under 3", with a 2:1 rod to stroke ratio, but I don't remember the exact specs.
    Was anybody acid-dipping rough short block castings back then?

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    Quote Originally Posted by flatlander_48 View Post
    Was anybody acid-dipping rough short block castings back then?
    what for?

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    Removing material like they used to do with the NASCAR and Trans-Am bodies-in-white. Back in the 60's, there were a few shops that had acid tanks big enough to immerse any entire car body. How long you left it in the acid bath determined how much material was removed. I assume that something similar could have been done with engine blocks before the machining process. That could have removed some weight, but wouldn't have much effect on the center of gravity.

    There were a few Trans-Am Camaros run by Penske/Donohue back in the day that had vinyl tops. As I understand it, that was their way of covering the roof because it was left in the acid bath too long. It had holes and thin spots.

  16. #16
    There's a story in The Unfair Advantage about dipping iron 427 blocks for Can Am, before aluminum blocks were readily available.

    Blocks were dipped to different times (because no one knew how much was too much), color coded, put into a Chevrolet engine manufacturing plant for machining....and lost.

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    This was Indy Car in the 70's. You just put the block up on the Bridgeport, and milled off everything you didn't need. There were no rules on what you could do to the block.

    Acid is for lightening something that needs to look stock.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CamKing View Post
    Acid is for lightening something that needs to look stock.
    I would suggest acid dipping is used on sheet metal, as compared to a solid lump. The acid can be used to remove (relatively speaking) small amounts of material over a large surface area.
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    We use acid a lot on intake and cylinder head ports, to increase flow, but to still look un-touched.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by CamKing View Post
    Well, my dad worked for Champion Spark Plug co, and his job was to help racers who used Champion Spark Plugs to win races. My Dad's turbo offys kept Champion in the winners circle at indy until the rule changes made the offy less competitive. This put Ford and Autolite in the winners circle. The engine costs were also skyrocketing. These were two things my dad could not stand to see. He looked at the rules, and decided the package that would make the most power was the 209ci V8 stock block 2-valve engine. I don't know who contacted who first, but AMC and Champion went in on the project, and it was built at Champion's Dyno facility in Long Beach. It used a stock Iron block. My dad went with a 180deg crank, and had Hiborn make the injectors. Originally, it was going to be twin turbo, but they outlawed twin turbos while the engine was being developed. The engine made more HP then any engine it ran against, but was so heavy, it couldn't get thru the corners. I think the highest it qualified at Indy was 11th. It ran at Indy from 76-79. AMC pulled their support, so my dad took the project to GM, and re-designed it around the Small Block Chevy. My dad had GM cast the blocks out of Aluminum, and went with Brodix heads. The chevy 209 ran from 80-83, then Champion started cutting their support in racing.

    As for the cylinder running the length of the top of the plenum, that was to normallize the pressure across the plenum. The turbo fed into the rear of that cylinder. down the length of the cylinder there was a slit cut for the air to enter the plenum. The area of the slit was the same as the flange the turbo fed into.



    Camking,

    thanks for telling all this!
    Few thoughs and questions.
    You mention the project be kind of continued as a Chevy. Was that the engine as used by Tom Klausler in the Schkee in 1981? And was there any relationship between this project you mention and the engines Dan Gurney used in 1982 for Mike Mosley at Indy that year?
    I always wondered why a turbocharged Chevy V8 was used almost at the same time when a V6 was tried as well, Lindsey Hopkins used one of those one year. So that was before AJ Foyt and Howard Gilbert tried that Chevy V6 of them in the late 80's Do you know perhaps who was behind that early 80's Chevy V6 project and were that completely separate projects with no common interest at all?

    Many thanks for anything you can tell about these matters.

    Indyote

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    Yes, that was the Chevy Tom Klausler drove. I think some of the other drivers that drove it were Pete Halsmer, Rodger McClusky, and Loydd Ruby.
    I use to have the Helmet Tom used at Indy, but I don't know what happened to it.

    There was no connection between the V8 project, and the V6 project.
    Gurney was building the V6's in their shop. We did a couple cams for them, and I had to go down there a couple times.

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    I have nothing to add, except that - as a lurker here at CamKing's Tech Talk - the Mechanical Joint - I absolutely love these threads.

    As always, thanks for the info!

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    IIRC Neil Bonnett tested one of the AMC-powered cars at Ontario one year.
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  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by CamKing View Post
    Yes, that was the Chevy Tom Klausler drove. I think some of the other drivers that drove it were Pete Halsmer, Rodger McClusky, and Loydd Ruby.
    I use to have the Helmet Tom used at Indy, but I don't know what happened to it.

    There was no connection between the V8 project, and the V6 project.
    Gurney was building the V6's in their shop. We did a couple cams for them, and I had to go down there a couple times.
    Thanks for confirming this Camking, it raised one question.
    From what I remember I read in the entry lists, Gurney used turbocharged stock block V8's. Was he really using a V6 as you wrote? Then I've been wrongfooted for some 25 or so years....


    I also want to express that I more than appreciate your personal experiences and knowledge you share with us here.

    regards,

    Indyote

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    Quote Originally Posted by Indyote View Post
    Thanks for confirming this Camking, it raised one question.
    From what I remember I read in the entry lists, Gurney used turbocharged stock block V8's. Was he really using a V6 as you wrote? Then I've been wrongfooted for some 25 or so years....


    I also want to express that I more than appreciate your personal experiences and knowledge you share with us here.

    regards,

    Indyote
    From what I remember, the yellow and white Pepsi Challenger that was driven by Mike Mosley and Geoff Brabham, had a normally aspirated V-8 with a homemade fuel injection/throttle body arrangement. They nicknamed that arrangement as the Double Plenty. The engine was originally badged as a Pontiac. That's what I recall from the Zimmermann book, but I can't confirm it as I'm 600+ miles from home.

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    I'm not 100% sure, but I think the Gurney Turbos were all V6. Flatlander is correct. the engine in Mike Mosley's car was a N/A V8.
    It was a heck of a long time ago, so some things are kinda cloudy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CamKing View Post
    I'm not 100% sure, but I think the Gurney Turbos were all V6. Flatlander is correct. the engine in Mike Mosley's car was a N/A V8.
    It was a heck of a long time ago, so some things are kinda cloudy.
    Personally, I like to think that we are aging gracefully, but unfortunately it might not look like that on the outside...

    By the way, I know that the regulations changed a few times regarding NA pushrod engines. I think the engine we're talking about was 355 cid. Maybe some of the earlier Ford-based engines were 320 cid?

  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by flatlander_48 View Post
    From what I remember, the yellow and white Pepsi Challenger that was driven by Mike Mosley and Geoff Brabham, had a normally aspirated V-8 with a homemade fuel injection/throttle body arrangement. They nicknamed that arrangement as the Double Plenty. The engine was originally badged as a Pontiac. That's what I recall from the Zimmermann book, but I can't confirm it as I'm 600+ miles from home.


    The 1981 car (front row qualifier) was indeed a normally aspirated V8. But the 1982 car was turbocharged and somehow I still had the idea that it was a turbocharged V8. Must look it up in my Hungness on the entry list another time. Maybe I mixed up with looking in the 81 and seeing that one being an 8 cylinder.
    CI's and Inches ain's my strong point in determining if i'm dealing with a 355 atmo V8 or a 209 Turbo V6.
    I will get back on this,
    But in the mean time, many thanks to all of you for putting me on the right lane.


    indyote

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    I think the history of stock blocks at IMS, and other events, is interesting. Lots of politics going on in the background, from what I understand. Dan Gurney and his folks seemed to be the real driving force, along with the Buick folks as time went on. The thing about the displacement is interesting because when they make stock blocks legal, they didn't want to make them equal (speaking about N/A engines, but I think it also applies to supercharged engines). 320 cid wasn't quite enough to get the job done, but at the time I guess it was better than nothing. When they raised the limit to 355 cid was when things started happening.

    Anyway, from what I've pieced together, that's how it seemed to me. Be interesting to get C/K's spin on it...

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by Indyote View Post
    The 1981 car (front row qualifier) was indeed a normally aspirated V8. But the 1982 car was turbocharged and somehow I still had the idea that it was a turbocharged V8. Must look it up in my Hungness on the entry list another time. Maybe I mixed up with looking in the 81 and seeing that one being an 8 cylinder.
    CI's and Inches ain's my strong point in determining if i'm dealing with a 355 atmo V8 or a 209 Turbo V6.
    I will get back on this,
    But in the mean time, many thanks to all of you for putting me on the right lane.


    indyote
    Promise fulfilled:

    I checked the ’82 Hungness and the Fox Tome, Seems that I was often close, but no cigar.

    The 82 Hungness entry list (page 96) states that the #48 Gurney car driven by Mosley had a normally aspirated Chevy engine. But when I check the `Missed the Show` section page 191, picture left top corner I see that car #48 looks different in sidepod design then the majority of the Eagles entered that year. And when I look closely, I miss the ear scoop air entries on the sides of the bonnet to allow fresh air into the engine cover that you see on other atmo-Chevy powered cars. Besides that, looking closely I think I can recognize parts of a turbocharger and exit out of the turbo on the rear deck of the car.
    I also looked on the picture of the car in the DNQ section of the Fox but other that clearly visible that the car doesn’t have the ear scoop air entries that atmo Chevy cars do have.
    So, is the entry list right or not? If indeed turbo after all, no clue found in the Hungness if it was a V6 or V8. Would other people who have the Hungness take a look and tell what they thing they see in that picture on page 191?

    There was no Chevy V6 car in the race, but Pete Halsmer drove an Arciero-Eagle with turbocharged Chevy V8, a 209 CI.
    Camking, could Halsmer's engine be a continuation of the champion funded engine used by Tom Klausler the year before?

    Thanks again.

    Regards,

    Indyote

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