The Continuing Saga of "Son of Mindless" By Bob Fryer & Cath Roberts.

For those of you who don’t know, “Son of Mindless” was/is my four-wheel drive V8-engined Dax Rush.  Those of you who do know the car you will also know the ongoing saga of broken gearboxes, engines, gearboxes, engines and gearboxes.  SOM’s last outing was to Barbon Hillclimb in Yorkshire in May 2002 when I came away with a 3rd in class and a damaged crank.  Again.

SOM has resided in my garage since then, forming a useful shelving unit, and occasionally dug-out of the melee and pondered upon as various rebuild options were considered.  Following purchase of assorted Ford Sierras and Granadas I have become a convert to the worship of Cosworth (what might be termed a “Road to Dagenham” experience?) and the latest-publicised and most convincing plan to-date was to transplant a Granada Cosworth 24V V6 into the Dax chassis.
Great idea I thought, and sawed half the chassis rail away to fit it in (the 24V engine is about twice as wide as the 12 valve).  Then I toyed with the idea of converting the car to left-hand drive to fit the drivetrain in (let’s face it, the Rush is so narrow, it doesn’t really matter which side you’re sitting on).  Then I left the project for a while to “mature”.

Some months later I had another go, in the course of which I picked up the V6 engine, promptly put it down again, considered the implications of an even heavier lump in the front-end than the old V8, and went to watch Mini Miglia racing at Snetterton instead.
On the way home from Snett, with George (aged 15) and Cath (aged - never you mind) I proposed installing a straightforward Cosworth straight 4 (pun intended).  The verdict was unanimously vetoed – pointless, boring, been done before and insufficiently “Bob-esque” (George’s word)

At this point, another road to Damascus moment (A11 to Thetford actually) and an idea was born. A day or two earlier, I’d been to see Dave at Brunswick Racing in Cottenham, and happened to see their RX7 race car. The Wankel rotary engine is minute and also very light and has lots of tuning potential (up to 600HP). Theirs now has a single turbo from something like an MAN truck, with intercooler to suit.
Obvious wasn’t it? I have decided to fit a RX7 Turbo 2 engine in the Dax.  A few complications but none that are insurmountable (he says, confidently).  Plus a substantial “Bob-esque” factor, and Unanimous Family Approval.

So, how to find an engine? Ebay, obviously. I put an ad in the Mazda section and asked if anyone had an engine for sale. Ninety minutes later a phone call from Chesterfield from a guy who had three. Yup, three.   It seems he has an RX7 and wants to put a different engine in it with some serious torque.  He has one good engine and two others in need of rebuilding along with two gearboxes.

What was he thinking of installing in the Mazda? I asked, curiously, as you do.

Wait for it…

…a Granada Cosworth 24 V engine.  Of which I just happen to have four in total. 

Someone Up There is in favour of this project!  It’s a sign!  So the deal is I get his engines and gearboxes and he gets a good Cosworth 24V engine with loom and other assorted bits.  Not a lot of money changing hands I can assure you, and I have already sold the two gearboxes on to the point where I break even.  Job done.  Except for fitting the engine, making up a gearbox adapter plate, fabricating an exhaust (4 inch!!), wiring a loom, constructing an intercooler etc.  What else do you do on winter evenings?

Only difference from the old SOM will be the lack of torque, Wankels have none.  On the up-side the torque from the V8 is what trashed the gearboxes, so maybe I won’t have to rebuild gearboxes every 1000 miles. 
See you at Le Mans 2005, honest. That is my aim.  Actually I reckon that with the fascinating problems/challenges this project offers I could well have it running before Christmas (Cath: surely that should be “despite”? No?). Maybe ready for the Roger Holmes PCT in January.

Will keep you posted!

Bob Fryer, and Cath

Previous Features:
To save your poor machine having to download all the images from the articles you've already read , these pages are now stored separately. Click below to recall them...

1.      Le Mans Diary 2000  Five Go Mad at La Sarthe

2.    Gentlemen and Cads  The Terrible Turbo versus the Sublime Supercharger.

3.    Hidden Brooklands.  Poking around in the undergrowth.

4.    The Mysteries of  the Lucas Wiring System Explained. Well, you've got to have a system....

5. The Petrol head's Pilgrimage.  USA  Road Trip summer 2001

6.    Brazilian Car Stereo. Choose your weapons.- Bob Marley at 50 Paces.

7. Restoring a Constellation. Never mind cars,  Mike rebuilds airliners. - (admittedly not single-handed.)

8. Allan Winn - Breathing Life into Brooklands. Eoin Young interviews a fellow Kiwi

9. Son Of Mindless. The legends are true! A 4WD monster lurking in the Fens

10. Brooklands Double Twelve 2008. Event of the year.- Or how to compete against your own car..

11. Farewell to the QE2. Last voyage of a great liner