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January 2008
Classic Ford January 2008
The Specialist
SBD Motorsport
It's already earned a healthy reputation thanks to its exploits with the XE, but things are only going to get better for Surrey-based SBD as it stretches its wings with developing the mighty Duratec...
Classic Ford January 2008
Early Days
The car that started it all: Dick's 1300 Crossflow-packing club motorsport Escort back in 1984
Reputation is a powerful thing, and SBD Motorsport's is as strong as any of its famed Vauxhall XE race components. Things have come a long way for SBD since the days when it was associated with all things go-faster Griffin though, with the company flexing its development muscles in the direction of the Hayabusa engine and most importantly for blue oval fans, the Duratec.

We've been championing the Duratec for a while now and SBD has been focussing its expertise in recent times to devastating effect. So it's fair to say if you're attempting any kind of motorsport or simply need a wild creation fuelled correctly, SBD should be one of the first places you turn. The man behind the brand is Steve Broughton, who set up on his own in the early '90s: "I originally worked at British Aerospace, then the ordinary motor trade before I went rallying, helping Dick (Hulbert, who still works at SBD now) in an Escort," Steve explains. "The motor trade was fading so I thought, 'where can I go from here?' and motorsport was obvious. I made nothing for about the first six months, but then I did work for a club driver with an Astra: I built him an engine and he started beating works cars! I then went on to work for Opel teams - doing club and works - until I got a big deal just as Opel pulled the plug on it."

Next Big Thing

Although the Opel work end prematurely, there was still plenty of time for Steve to make a strong name for himself within motorsport, and the kind of reputation you build businesses on. Nowadays SBD's biggest market is still developing and making performance components for the XE (followed by the electronics for the Suzuki Hayabusa bike engine), but the Duratec is undoubtedly the next big thing. "The biggest problem with the Vauxhall is running out of blocks," says Steve. "We looked at what else was on the market; the Honda was too expensive, but the Duratec looked like it would fill the criteria." So much so that SBD has recently developed the 2-litre, naturally aspirated lump to a reliable 304bhp in its Westfield test car.

We’ll give you the details of how SBD have managed to get to the headline figure of 304 bhp (with more to come!) in next month’s Classic Ford, but if you fancy 9000 rpm of naturally-aspirated blue oval action, then SBD is only too happy to provide everything you could need — with kits varying in tuning severity available.

Upgrade kits for XEs start at 225 bhp and rise to a balls-out full race 292-295 bhp, while the Duratec ranges from 214 bhp to the mighty 304 of the latest developments. Of course, all manner of upgraded parts are available off the shelf as individual items, from conrods, pistons and camshafts (developed in conjunction with Kent Cams), to steel cranks, head gaskets and MBE management systems. “We try and carry enough stock for the Vauxhall and Duratec,” says Steve, as these are the motorsport bread and butter, “as motorsport often requires the stuff tomorrow.”

Classic Ford January 2008
It's a small team at SBD, with five members of staff, all of who really know their stuff, from general engineering to XE & Duratec specifics. Above: Kim Kingham & Steve Broughton, proudly modelling an MBE ECU
Classic Ford January 2008 Headline Figures

Obviously, motorsport makes up the majority of SBD’s business, with a lot of components being shipped straight out to trade customers — whether it’s rally, sprint or circuit, there aren’t many cars out there that aren’t running at least one SBD-developed part. “My aim is to go out and show what we’ve developed and what we can do,” says Steve. Even more impressively, while Steve believes development of the XE has gone as far as possible — he literally doesn’t know how it can be improved on as an all-round package — he reckons there’s still more to come with the Duratec, which could see the headline figure pushing 320 bhp plus. But more on that next month...

One thing’s for sure, SBD has come a long way since the days when Steve started off in his garage and, after a couple of moves, has settled into its unit in Surbiton, Surrey. With only five members of staff, there’s still the close-knit workshop feel that belies the scale on which SBD operates. Product development is all dealt with in-house, and only shipped out for production en masse: “The main aim is to make everything affordable for the customer,” says Steve. “I’m not into making everything bespoke, as I want the customer to be able to buy off the shelf. Reliability has to be first though — people usually end up with an engine so reliable they don’t have to come back for more parts.”

Cleaning Up

We like flashy machines at Classic Ford, and on top of the constant research and development into the XE, Duratec, Hayabusa and induction, SBD’s recent investment in an injector cleaner allows it to offer customers a cleaning and testing service for £18 an injector. As well as providing a valuable service for customers, the Asnu ‘injector diagnostic testing and servicing system’ enables SBD to test new injectors; comparing brands for flow and spray characteristics to optimize atomisation in the engine.

So, if you want expert advice, a reliable engine for your rally, sprint or track day toy, an engine mapped and fuelled correctly, or simply want a set of injectors cleaned and tested, then from what we’ve seen at SBD you can’t go far wrong. “The biggest problem with the basic kit is convincing people injection will do the same on its own as cams and a set of carbs,” says Steve. Given time, continued motorsport excellence and Duratec development, we’re pretty confident it won’t take long for the word to spread.
Classic Ford January 2008
SBD:You'll see plenty of this name under the bonnet of competition cars the world over. All manifolds leaving SBD are manufactured by BTB & developed in-house.
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SBD Motorsport Ltd, Unit 15, Red Lion Business Park, Red Lion Road, Surbiton, Surrey. KT6 7QD. Tel: 0208 391 0121.
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