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Retro Ford
September 2012
Retro Ford September 2012

SBD at 20!

SBD Motorsport has been at the forefront of engine tuning for two decades now. We took a wander round its premises to see what it's up to in 2012.

Words and pics: Paul
 
I'll admit, when I arrived at the SBD Motorsport's headquarters in Surbiton, Surrey, I was expecting a far larger operation The company supplies engines to customers all around the globe, produce a myriad of components designed and manufactured by itself and is committed to a range of testing and development programs to further increase the quality and performance of its products - yet it operates out of a humble industrial unit on a quiet industrial estate. As they say though, it's what on the inside that counts.

Company founder Steve Broughton is quick to meet us at the door when we arrive with a smile and a handshake. He is soon showing us around and telling us all about SBD and where it has all grown from. Like many, Steve's background is in engine building and the like, stemmed from competing.

"I had a job in British Aerospace engineering and got involved with a guy called Dick who used to do rallying. I helped him out for a while, then when he gave up, I decided to have a go myself. I has a Chevette that I poured everything I had in to. Eventually I started building my own engines and doing alright, that after the business I was in at the time started dropping off, it was time to go out and start on my own and SBD was born. It was hard, but after a while things began to pick up. I started building engines and doing work for a works team, I now teach programming and get to travel and program all sorts of cars all over the world.

The story of SBD very much grew from small acorns, but now the oak has well and truly blossomed and things are going from strength to strength for the company.

SBD has developed numerous packages to accommodate the Vauxhall XE engine over the years, and has now developed similar packages for the Duratec, seeing great results in the process: "We can supply numerous packages to customers dependant on their budget and needs," says Steve. "Take the Duratec for example. We can supply all the bits to get it running and it will produce over 200bhp, and be ultra reliable and smooth in its power delivery. Going up the scale, we have now developed an engine that delivers 307bhp and 200lb ft of torque! There's still more to come from that too..."

SBD's XE engines are also extremely impressive, and Steve rates them very highly indeed. Their revvy nature and cost in comparison to a Duratec, at present, makes them the more feasible option for many still, and SBD has everything available off-the-shelf to make your XE very naughty indeed. SBD's top spec unit is putting out 292bhp and 197lb ft of torque. "It's a really good engine, with a bespoke con rod, piston and cam. It will put from idle, but rev all the way through too. It's very versatile," he enthuses.

Retro Ford September 2012

The parts that SBD has sitting on its shelves have more than likely been made by the team's own fair hands, in-house. They will also be developed, refined and honed to not only make them more affordable to SBD's customers, but to be, quite simply, the best!

An unfortunate side-effect of such success is that many competitors have endeavored to steal Steve's work, but by the time they're selling it for themselves, he has already improved on the original design and has gotten it back out to market. It is this dedication to constantly improving and changing his products, as well as keeping them reliable and affordable, that has meant Steve and the team at SBD have managed to sustain their success for as long as they have.

These accomplishments have brought them numerous lucrative contracts over the years, and has involved them working with General Motors, John Read Racing Engines and supplying components to the likes of Camillus Bradley and a large swathe of the Irish scene.

Some top cars have appeared on the retro Ford scene bearing the SBD name too, the most prominent being Matt Downer's awesome Mk2 Escort. The SBD Duratec-powered hillclimb/stage weapon is a very quick, savage beast, and that's all thanks to the all singing and dancing 294bhp Duratec residing under the bonnet. The car has been used as a bit of a developmental tool, and is sure to feature any new ideas that out of the SBD stables.

Part of the SBD product range includes is adoption of the latest in technological developments when it comes to engines. The team have designed their own fly-by-wire throttle system, launch control and traction control systems, are the distributors for the MBE ECUs and are masters of ECU programming.

Moving with the times has coincided with the business moving forward too. SBD aim to stay at the top of the tree for years to come, and with a work ethic like Steve and his team have, we see no reasons why they wouldn't.

Happy 20th SBD Motorsport!

 
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