Full Race Modification with Mercedes Power Train - A Case Study

If you have been to a club track event in the UK you may have been lucky enough to catch Darren Brock’s very modified 1954 ZA (KAE13/9320 reg’d 225 FMK).DSC00312crop

 This is almost a single-family- from-new car. Darren’s father acquired it from the family doctor in 1957. After service as the family car it ended up going into storage until Darren took it on early in his driving career. His mates eventually convinced him that it wasn’t doing his street cred any good so it went back into storage for another spell. Then Darren was taken with the idea of competing in motorsport and he decided that the Magnette deserved another life as his track car. Faced with the need to turn a lightly modified 1950s saloon into something that could hold its own in club events, Darren went back to the drawing board and took a radical approach.DSC00290web

 There is no disguising this car’s competitive intent. It has some very obvious external visual clues. Along with the huge wheels, the extra air vents in the bodywork are the most noticeable. At the front there is a huge intake pod grafted onto the nearside of the bonnet, with the adjacent wing cut away to match. This supplies air to the engine induction system. The bonnet is louvered along most of its top surface to rid the engine bay of heat. The front end also carries ducts to take cooling air to the disc brakes and the oil cooler.  On the offside front wing there is a small duct outlet that vents fumes from the catch-tank and behind the off-side rear door is a vent to keep air moving through the cockpit.DSC00298web

 Lift the bonnet and the reason for all this extra air becomes obvious. Notwithstanding the MG badge araldited to it, the engine is a 1997cc Mercedes unit built to DTM (German Touring Car Championship) spec with gearbox to match. The bonnet catch platform, the inner wings and the cross-brace have all been removed to accommodate the plumbing and accessories that this drive-train modification brings with it. The big radiator is custom-made in aluminium, with a remote header tank that sits on the nearside of the bulkhead. An electric fan is fixed in front of the radiator and, in the absence of its standard catch, the bonnet is held in place by external spring clips and safety straps either side of the grille. DSC00299webTo replace the structural stability lost with the inner wings and the cross-brace, the car has diagonal bracing struts mounted between the top corners of the bulkhead and the front of the chassis legs, above the suspension tie-rods. Behind that air intake runs a huge carbon fibre duct channelling air to the fuel injection throttle body. In almost surreal contrast, behind all this muscle the standard master cylinder sits on its usual bracket but Darren says it is perfectly sized to deliver the right amount of pressure to the callipers.


DSC00292webTo transfer all this extra power to the road via the wide TR6 wheels, the rear suspension has been completely re-worked with twin trailing arms, telescopic dampers and a Panhard rod. There are also disc brakes to the rear. Finding wheels strong enough to take the extra BHP is a problem. 

 Darren readily admits that this is not a car for the originality purist but, as modifications go, this one is well conceived and well executed, giving the car a very purposeful look that says “I mean business!”





You have no rights to post comments