Go-Fast Technology, Technostalgia

Designing the 1986 Cosworth F1 Engine


Ford Cosworth GBA 1.5 liter turbocharged V6 F1 engine. Click for Largerizer

I was rooting around through YouTube videos, looking for something else entirely, when I came across these videos that I think everyone will find interesting. They’re from the BBC series Equinox and document a part of the early years of the Formula one turbo era. In particular, they follow the efforts of the Ford Cosworth engineers to design and build a competitive turbocharged 1.5 liter engine for the Beatrice (remember them?) F1 team.

This post might be better fodder for Hooniverse, but there are all sorts of technology in evidence that was cutting edge in the mid-80s but is antique junk now. The computer technology for example, is very quaint and brings back memories that I’d just as soon be rid of to make room for something else, like all of the tricks that I used to use for programming and burning EPROMs. Totally useless today.

There are evidently 3 videos in the series of which I could only locate the first two, each about 50 minutes long. The two videos cover the design and debugging the the engines, and I think the last one follows the team’s travails in the 1986 F1 season. If anyone can find an embeddable copy of the third video, let me know and I’ll add it.

Continue reading Designing the 1986 Cosworth F1 Engine

User Input

User Input: Move Fast

I fixed this.

When I was a young boy, my dad was issued a Ford Bronco II as his company car. Well, actually, he was issued something much larger and more unwieldy, but being that he was high enough up the food chain, he told them he wanted something more fuel efficient. It […]

Prototypes and Experiments

Wind Tunnels: Not New, Just Better

I recently came across the photo above. Some of you may recognize the Ford GT40 “J Car”. I immediately recognized Ford Wind Tunnel #2.
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Boys’ Life: Along The River Rouge

Today’s Boys’ Life advertisement from 1960 is a little different than most we have seen, as it seems to be geared more to the young fellow’s parents, not so much the boy in question. Perhaps a motivated youth could use his new knowledge of modern manufacturing to convince Dad that what Mom really wanted for Mother’s day was a shiny new Comet, made from genuine American cold rolled steel. Back when Ford wanted to control all facets of manufacturing, they built the River Rouge Complex, a large integrated manufacturing facility. One of the primary components is the steel mill, and for a quick primer on just how Ford made their steel, click through the jump!

Continue reading Boys’ Life: Along The River Rouge

Bizarre Powerplants, Moments in History

You Don’t Just Walk Into A Store And Buy Plutonium

At least in 1958 you couldn’t. The hope was that this newly discovered energy source could someday propel our cars. Ford, overcome with delirious hope for the future, even built a model of what they called the Nucleon. It was their take on what a nuclear-powered car in some shimmering future would look […]

User Input

User Input: Made of Bubble Gum and Popsicle Sticks

The Flowbee. World record holder for highest jokes-told-to-units-sold ratio.

Today is the day when Americans celebrate gaining independence from the British. The week following, everyone will go crazy for a royal visit from the Duke of Cambridge (Prince William, if you don’t feel like looking that up). Enjoy the irony. The […]

Military-Grade Awesome

Simple, Rugged, Versatile

It’s Memorial Day here in the US. A day set aside for us to take a moment between BBQs and games of cornhole to remember those who gave their lives in defense of our nation.

This morning I struggled with an appropriate AT-style tribute. I mean, there’s so much tech that goes into both keeping our fighting men and women safe as well as keeping the tip of the spear sharp. Then it hit me.

The jeep.
Continue reading Simple, Rugged, Versatile

Computers You Should Know

Computers You Should Know: EEC

The ever-present EEC-IV

From the dawn of the automobile until the mid-20th century the car was a very nearly a purely mechanical beast. Air and fuel were fed through a carburetor with spark being generated by an engine-driven magneto. Then something happened. Engine designers realized that they could get more power by a method called fuel injection. By squirting a high pressure, atomized stream of fuel into the intake they could get a more complete burn. By converting more fuel to heat they turned the crank a bit more and got a few more horsepowers out of the engine. The first fuel injection systems were mechanical, but by the late 1960s Bosch and others were putting simple computers in cars to control just the fuel injection systems.

These exotic cars, such as the Porsche 911T, were just the fodder for teenage boy bedroom walls. But soon the US government would make engine management computers standard fare. Continue reading Computers You Should Know: EEC