Morley - 1969 MkI Van
Morley's 1969 MkI van has been featured in Classic
Ford & various issues of Retro Ford beginning
in April 2006.
faced with the challenge of explaining where I'm at or what I've
been up to with my retro Fords, my first thought was,"Where
do I start?!" I guess the Mk1 van is as good a place as any.
Built up by myself, my dad and a few other helpers along the way
for the 2005 show season... we did kinda leave it a bit late! The
gap from the paint drying to the first show was about six weeks.
But we made it, just. My aim with the van was to build something
a bit different that would maybe stand out from the crowd. I reckon
I came close with an XE-engined, five-linked, turreted, caged, Le-Mans
green 1969 Mk1 van! The signwriting was done in a similar style
to that of my late Grandfather's first Morris Minor van in the 1960's,
when he set up Morley Auto Services. This was in part a tribute
to him and also a thank you to my dad for his help.
engine has been "tickled" by OAP race engines(01342844566)
- it's 2.1 litres with forged pistons and a fully lightened and
balanced bottom end. Top end it remains standard for the minute,
(although camshafts are definitely in the pipeline), running a
mildly ported head and SBD's (0208 391 0121) fantastic tapered
throttle body kit. I am very much into my naturally aspirated
power, and love the response and drivability that the throttle
bodies give you.. oh yeah and the noise, I love the noise!
are a few bits and bobs that I want to get sorted though. It runs
a lowered rack mount crossmember and it suffers badly from bump
steer, so I need to have a look at that. the brakes are good,
but I can't help but feel they could do with beefing up.
2006, I will be turning the bulk of my attention to the Mk1Cortina that
is now part of the ever-growing Morley fleet! When the 'Tina came up
(an unwelded pre-Airflow model) complete with twin cam engine on 45s,
we just couldn't turn it down. Plans are perhaps a rack and pinion conversion,
a fresh paint job and some sensible stopping power.
the busy bee that I am, I will also be building an XE-powered Mk1 Escort
for one of my pals, hoping to see progress with my RS, tinkering with
my girlfriends's Mk2 and all this while planning my next project! However,
hanging around with Mr Birch has me questioning all of my morals - he's
got me toying with the idea of turbo power. That presents me with a
problem; me being me means that whatever I decide to do, it's gonna
have to be different, and different can often mean expensive! 'Til next
Engine: 2.1-litre Vauxhall C20XE, fully lightened and balanced bottom end, ARP
bolts, Accralite high intruder forged pistons, Coscast head, standard
cams, SBD TP208 tapered throttle bodies, MBE management
Transmission: Quaife five-speed professional gear set, rose-jointed quick-shift, Helix
paddle clutch, 3.7:1 plate type LSD
Suspension: Front Bilstein 360 struts converted to coilover, 200lb springs, adjustable
TCAs, concentric top mounts, spax rear coilovers, 160lb springs, five-linked
Brakes: Bias pedal box, Austin princess four-pot front calipers, 257mm vented
discs, Granada Scorpio rear calipers, Ka vented discs
& Tyres: 7 x 13" Minilite style wheels, 175/50 Yokohama tyres
Exterior: Front and rear quarter bumpers Teflon-coated black, fibreglass front
Mexico wings, carbon fibre door mirrors
Interior: Front section of rear bulkhead removed to allow link boxes to be fitted,
full custom cage, pillar gussets, Sparco Rev bucket seats, modified
2-dial clocks fitted with Smiths classic gauges, custom centre console,
push-button starter, snap-off steering wheel
car was next featured in the Retro Ford July 2006 testing standard
Vauxhall XE cams against a pair of fast road cams.
Vauxhall XE - some love the idea of putting one in their Escort/Cortina,
while other purists would rather eat an actual camel's hoof than
commit such sacrilege. One thing's for sure though, the two-litre
16v lump is an absolute stonker of an engine
150 bhp as
standard and the potential for lots more for not a lot of money.
But how exactly do you extract this extra power? Black magic would
seem like one rather unnecessary route, but another more orthodox
option is to fit a pair of uprated cams. In true Retro Ford fashion,
that's exactly what we're gonna do - this feature will prove whether
they're worth investing your hard earned money in and exactly
what differences they'll make to your XE.
The engine we're conducting this test on is Mr Morley's, as fitted
in his Mk1 Escort van. It's fairly typical of an XE fitted to
an old-skool Ford, because the standard injection system has been
binned as has the dizzy (yes, we know you can move the dizzy to
the front of the engine, but most people get rid). The spec of
the engine is as follows: bored to 2.1-litres, lightened and balanced
crank and rods, ARP rod bolts, Accralite 11:1 compression pistons,
SBD/Jenvey 45mm tapered throttle bodies, MBE engine management,
Vauxhall Astra GTE 16v fuel injectors and fuel pump, SBD Clubman
exhaust manifold, home made exhaust system. It's quite a simple
setup and not overly difficult or expensive to achieve, but what
if you XE isn't quite as modified as this one? Read on
I spoke to SBD (020 8391 0121) about the benefits of fitting uprated
cams to a more standard-spec XE, and this what was said: "If you
fit uprated cams in an Xe, first check the piston/valve clearance is
okay. Then, as long as your inlet and exhaust are suitable, the cams
should gives gains - the inlet and exhaust system have to be better
than a standard Astra/Cavalier etc". This is good news for us,
as everyone ditches the standard exhaust manifold for a bespoke item,
and also gets rid of the injection system for carbs or throttle bodies
This brings me on nicely to another question I asked SBD. I wondered
whether or not you'd see the same kind of gains on a carb'd XE as you
would on our throttle-bodied XE by fitting uprated cams? The answer?
"Very nearly, but driveability wouldn't be as good. On a carb'd
XE with uprated cams you have to use a big choke size to utilise the
cams in order to get good peak power. This means you trade off a bit
of bottom-end flexibility. On a throttle-bodied engine, choke size is
important but not as important, and the ability to fine-tune the ignition
and injector flow means you don't get a trade-off between bottom-end/mid-range
and top-end power." Past tests I've done have shown me that this
is true, but most of the time, carb'd engine and throttle bodied engine
of similar spec end up with the same PEAK bhp.
There's not a lot exciting to say about these - they're standard! Vauxhall,
like any car manufacturer, designed and made these cams to fulfil may
roles and not just that of balls-out performance. They had to take smooth
day-to-day driving into account, as well as fuel economy, emissions
and other such boring considerations. We expect to see a smooth like
a baby's bottom. Set as they would be from the factory with standard
pulleys etc, it was time to see what they were helping our XE to kick
"On the road the engine has smooth power delivery, it didn't
come on cam like a tuned Pinto does so, although it is nice to
drive, it doesn't really set the world alight. When you open it
up, it feels like you're flogging a dead horse trying to rev it
past 6000rpm, as you can feel it running out of puff at this point."
"As expected really - a smooth graph with no real negative
points but nothing to write home about. The engine could definitely
be made to come alive with different cams I reckon."
"The first thing I noticed after the cams were fitted was
the increased induction noise when revved. This inspired me with
confidence as it sounded like the engine was working harder. Behind
the wheel this hunch was proved right - on full throttle the engine
has really woken up. Before, the car would run out of steam at
high revs, now it just keeps pulling and you can really feel it
come 'on cam'. On the road I didn't really notice a difference
in low-down grunt, so I'm very pleased from a driving perspective!
"They work! You can see the extra power they make, but I'd
bet that with a remap you'd see even more throughout the mid range
as well a better, smoother torque curve."
Well, as you can see from the graph, we picked up an extra 11bhp
with these cams (Piper285 cams). From the graphs it may look like
turned the engine into a clichéd XE screamer - we lost torque
- but a few other factors are essential here. First up is that the
car is still just running a base fuelling and ignition map. Both
the rolling road operator and SBD are confident that with a remap
you'd see the car pick up the lost torque curves massively. We'll
be having remap and letting you know the results of this next month
so watch out for that.
also reckons that the cams and indeed the whole engine, are being
held back by the 4-2-1 'Clubman' style exhaust manifold (1.75"
primaries, 2" secondaries and 2.5" outlet). SBD's advice
is that one of its high-spec 4-2-1 manifolds with 1 7/8"
primaries, 2 1/8" secondaries and 2.5" outlet would
really enable the cams to work and would help them to improve
the torque as well as the power.
this really is a lesson in specing the parts of your engine to
work in harmony with each other - your inlet and exhaust have
got to be sorted if you want to get the best from theses sticks.
Saying that, on the road, Ben didn't notice the drop off in torque
but really did notice the big difference in how that car pulled
and pulled to the redline
he had so much fun he nearly puked!
So it's horses for courses, but there's not denying these cams
add a big dollop of power an bring the engine to life.. a little
bit of fine-tuning and you'd see the torque come back (like I
said, watch our for this in Ben's project car page next month)
and end up with an all-round stonking engine.
had his car mapped at Track
'n' Road as reported in Retro Ford August 2006
owe a huge thanks, not only to Steve Broughton, but to Steve Pitcher
and Steve Greenald at Track 'n' Road. With years of experience
behind them, these guys really know what's right for you car.
Their single roller system is accurate to within 1%, and after
seeing a video of an F1 car on a power run, it can handle big
power too. So whether you need a power run, your carbs balancing
or a full 3D map, give these guys a call!"
was meant to be so easy
Just take the van to Track 'n' Road
in Essex and get the engine management re-mapped by Steve Broughton
of SB Developments, Steve Greenald and Steve Pitcher: if nothing
else it was going to be easy to remember names! I headed round
the M25, sat in the usual traffic for the best part of half an
hour and had to pay £1.80 to go though the Dartford Toll
(because it's a van). The pain of the traffic and the extortionate
road tolls soon faded after a brief, but nonetheless exciting,
full throttle blat through the Dartford Tunnel - Induction noise
+ long tunnel = big smile.
I got to T&R, the three Steves set to work, for all of five
minutes, until they discovered that the throttle linkage was still
no good. I still wasn't getting full throttle and thanks to the
design of the Bias pedal box, the cable was at a bad angle and
slowly cutting its way through the bulkhead. The guys at T&R
really came through for me though, they spent a good few hours
making up a new throttle linkage. Before the old girl even saw
a power run, the feel of the throttle was totally different. Then
it was on to being 3D mapped, using Steve Broughton's new closed
loop mapping system. The van really went through its paces on
Track 'n' Road's unique single roller system, and when finished
it was a totally different drive.
beauty of 3D mapping is that you can pinpoint any throttle position
at any point in the rev range and adjust the ignition timing and
fuelling to suit. This means that you rally can get the most out
of the engine. The difference from before to after was black and
white: the power delivery was totally transformed. The throttle
was so much more responsive and it pulled so much stronger from
any point in the rev range. The only problem now is that my power
is really been restricted by the exhaust manifold and system that
I am running - all three Steves were confident that I should see
s significant gain in both power an torque if I get myself a 'proper'
exhaust; so that is next on the shopping list. But for the time
being at least, the van has really come alive, and to anyone that
is considering putting an XE in their retro Ford, I can't recommend
SBD's tapered throttle body kit nearly enough.
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