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Retro Ford
February 2008
Retro Ford February 2008
Masters of the Tuniverse
If you're turning to the dark side and planning to run a Vauxhall engine you'll need someone to get the most out of it, that's just where SBD come into play.
Words: Chris, Pics: Matt Barnes
The world of old Fords is a fast-paced and varied one. All you have to do is look back through a few issues of Retro Ford to see that people like to be different, they like to try new things and they like to get the most of their old Fords. It's that last bit we need to look at though; getting the most out of them. That's not always the easiest thing to do. The mechanicals that some old Fords were built with are a little less than reliable, meaning that the Sunday blast you were promising yourself could well turn out to be a Sunday on the spanners. Enjoyable from time to time, but not what you were looking forward to.

What's the solution then? You have a retro Ford sat in the garage and you want to make sure it runs every time you turn the key. You could update the ignition to a fully electronic system, but even this might fail from time to time.. No, the most popular solution is to slot a more modern four-pot between the struts; the most common of which is the trusty Vauxhall XE engine. It's possibly the cheapest and easiest way to slot 200 horses under your right foot, maybe even more. This is where the good folk of SBD become very important.

Steve Broughton Developments, or SBD as it has come to be known, was born out of a desire to get the most of a car. Steve, and his partner in business, Dick Hulbert, have known each other since their ages ended with 'teen', due to them both being apprentices at British Aerospace. A few years later when the apprenticeships were finished, Dick spent his time rallying a two door Mk2 Escort 1300 while Steve was busy running his business, which catered to interiors and sunroofs. It was Dick who planted the rallying bug in Steve's mind which led to him drastically changing the direction of his business; no longer was he going to fit trim and Webastos, he was going to put his engineering qualifications to good use and figure out a way to make the cars even quicker. Annoyingly, he couldn't use Dick's car due to him moving out to the Middle East though work commitments, but he wasn't too bothered. He has the bug, the idea and the desire to make his new venture work. With this in mind, he bought himself and XE, took it apart and worked how to get more from it; SBD was born.

By 1994, SBD had been operating for three years, Steve was doing well with his engine development but the time had come where he needed extra hands. Luckily, given the circumstances, Dick was made redundant from BA meaning he could come back to Blightly and give Steve a hand. From that point on, the business was on the up and up, the guys developed throttle body kits, manifolds, cam profiles and head work that would stand to make their XEs the most powered a petrolhead could get his hands on.

Retro Ford February 2008

As is the way with any reputable company, word got around and the orders were coming in thick and fast. This was by all means a good thing, the only problem that the guys were having was not having enough time to develop their designs. They knew that their current range was doing well, but without any further development they would be overtaken by the competition. In 2000 they decided to focus on the development of their engines; designed new parts and systems which would be be manufactured by a contracted fabricator. It was a wise move too; the engine kits were flying off the shelves, which kept the business ticking over. It also meant they could develop the XE into a 300bhp monster, for those brave enough to fit one!

So, everything was going well, the XE was (and still is) doing extremely well, but what else could they do? After some head-scratching and coming to the conclusion that a lot of their XEs were finding a home in Fords, it seemed only logical to develop a Ford engine; the Duratec. This has proved to be equally as popular as the XE, but then again, it would. They have recently managed to get 304bhp for a normally aspirated Duratec, which is pretty good going! That's something that the guys have stuck to from the start though, no turbos or super chargers, just carbs, throttle bodies and natural aspiration. It's a formula they have stuck to and it's worked well for them.

Retro Ford February 2008
All the research & development is carried out in-house, with hours being spent designing every little detail, quality is the order of the day at SBD.
So that was how they got to where they are, but what about the services they can offer you now? Well, if you have an XE or a Duratec engine they can do pretty much anything with it. The kits are staged so you can opt for a simple throttle body kit or you can go up to the scale and have a fully set up race bread monster. It doesn't have to be something that is only available in the kit; SBD thrives on development and ideas, so if you have an engine but you don't know what direction to move in then you need to give these guys a call. They certainly know their stuff.

We can't go into the intricacies of the kits that SBD has to offer, there simply isn't the space. The important thing is to convey just how switched on the staff at SBD are. Resting on their current success isn't an option, the desire to push forward with new ideas and designs is as evident now as it was when the company first came into the limelight. It's at the leading edge of engine design for both the XE and the Duratec, so if you're toying with the idea of having one of the company's kits fitted to your car there is only one thing we can say; do it!

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