Rambler turbo Indy motor

Posted by: Twisted6 I.I #3220

Rambler turbo Indy motor - 04/12/08 12:48 PM

Barney Navarro-built Rambler turbo Indy motor.
Posted by: tlowe #1716

Re: Rambler turbo Indy motor - 04/12/08 05:15 PM

awesome score for him. i like reading stuff like this. tom
Posted by: Xerxes

Re: Rambler turbo Indy motor - 04/12/08 06:01 PM

what a great post.. Thanks!
Posted by: Zeke Fishburn

Re: Rambler turbo Indy motor - 04/13/08 08:00 AM

Posted your link on H.A.M.B. just now. Awesome research and a wonderful link. THANKS!!!!
Posted by: Leif

Re: Rambler turbo Indy motor - 04/13/08 09:53 AM

Neat to see! There is another one of these in the Wally Parks museum in Pomona.

Posted by: tom jennings

Re: Rambler turbo Indy motor - 07/15/08 09:56 AM

Yeah, I'm the lucky SOB with the Navarro motor. I still don't know quite what to do with it... it's not so valuable or complete that it goes in a museum, not like the one in the Wally Parks museum. First, that one is the twin-turbo, and is more or less complete (but it sure didn't run a stock Delco points distributor that's in it now!).

Mine's a shelf of parts, and a mish-mash of single-turbo and twin-turbo engines. What I *think* I know is, this was an early test mule, the block is single-turbo (because a guy named Marino, worked for Barney, outright asked me 'are the mains drilled for two bolts?' nope, mine's stock, hence the early motor). But I've got the twin-turbo cast stainless (yes) manifold. Or some non-magnetic but ferrous-seeming alloy (not aluminum fer sher).

Anyhoo mainly I don't know what car to wrap around it. I'm two motor projects behind right now so I have time to think. I'm assuming a fenderless roadster type car, rather than a passenger car, but right now I don't have a shop to build a chassis in. So it waits...

I'm currently obsessed with the earlier Nash/Rambler 195.6 OHV. Just started on a "performance" (sic) head for one.
Posted by: $UM FUN

Re: Rambler turbo Indy motor - 07/15/08 10:37 PM

If you are into Nash engines, have you seen Bruce Crower’s 4valve Nash motor he built and ran at Bonneville. It is a work of art.
Posted by: tom jennings

Re: Rambler turbo Indy motor - 07/16/08 12:23 PM

No! Google finds no reference to it. Where would I find out about it? There's a brief mention on the crower.com page but it doesn't even say what decade it was done in!

700hp from a '31 Nash 8? Must have a big blower pushing $100 bills into it at a high rate!
Posted by: Greybeard

Re: Rambler turbo Indy motor - 07/17/08 09:41 AM


Rex Carson, who ran a speed and dyno shop for many years in Glendale, now lives in Sequim WA. He was a good friend of Barney and may have some history on the project. Although he's not as quick of limb as he once was, his mind is still very sharp. I see him a couple times a year when I go visit family and friends and am planning a trip very soon. I'll ask him about it while I'm there and if he has something to share. He's a bit like Barney was, rather be doing than talking.

Mike Mantle
Posted by: tom jennings

Re: Rambler turbo Indy motor - 07/17/08 11:49 AM

I would appreciate any contact with anyone who knows anything about Navarro's #50 car, especially the motors. Marino, the guy that did work for Barney, says there never was a carbed version, that it was always injected, but there's a photo and mention somewhere of a huge Dellorto (spelling?) side draft, with some mention of carb issues (freeze up) hence the move to injection. It was a long time ago...

There's a lot of speed knowledge embedded in the heads I have. I'm a decent mechanic, but I feel like I'm looking at alien UFO technology when I see this thing. 4 hp/cu in in 1968, 68 from a Rambler six for 500 miles is pretty intimidating to think about. I don't know what the boosts were, but they must have been crazy high, 50, 60, 70 psig. No intercooler! How did that work at all?

There's stuff I'll probably never figure out. Like I have a cam, "new in the box", but it's the wrong box. Early motor? Or late? A friend ran a profile on it, specs on my website somewhere. What's the story of the "R & D" cylinder head?

Rambler or not, it's a weird story. I'm surprised no one with race knowledge has ever wanted to see it.

Another racer, Cecil Yother, a pretty successful driver (Dodges?), bought some of the other Rambler parts, and got a new-in-box crank, the connecting rods (one item I'm missing), and other stuff. I got his business card, talked to him on the phone once, but he never returned any other calls or email. Sure would like to know what he's got. Yeah, I'd like to own the conn rods, but mainly I'd like photos and data of the parts.

I deeply regret not going into deep debt to buy all the parts at the auction. I went on a lark, to see the twin-turbo motor (that I think is the one in the Parks museum). At the last minute I saw the other stuff. One guy got the transaxle (ouch) and Yother got the rest. I should have borrowed money to get it all just to document it if nothing else.
Posted by: Turbo-6

Re: Rambler turbo Indy motor - 07/20/08 02:49 PM

Tom Jennings,
I sent Tom Lowe an article on that motor, that was in a hot rod book, that he was going to copy and post. At that time it did have a carb! It did not have an intercooler since it ran alcohol.
Posted by: Nexxussian

Re: Rambler turbo Indy motor - 07/20/08 11:25 PM

Mr. Jennings, neat score.

Just a humble suggestion, but a front engine rear drive Indy 'big car' (2 seat or single) would be cool and potentially somewhat more cost effective to build (as opposed to a mid engine Indy car of the appropriate vintage). Not having seen what you have, it is entirely possible that it would look too far off to work out aesthetically.
Posted by: tom jennings

Re: Rambler turbo Indy motor - 07/30/08 05:25 PM

Yeah, I think practically-speaking, front engine, rear drive, track-nose roadster type car would be overall the best choice. Eg. I could actually get it done :-)

My other choice for the motor would be a period-appropriate Rambler, 64, 65 American or my favorite, 64 Classic. Both have great style, but somehow, that doesn't seem right...

I've been slowly going over the parts. I just did a routine head job (and TBI conversion) on my 232-powered Classic wagon, and in the process had a dead-stock '64 head cleaned up. Same casting as the factory-numbered Navarro head I have. I put all three on the bench to compare...

I looked again at the block, and the box of pistons. I was assuming the pistons were for this motor, but I think they may be Brand C or Brand F (as some AMC guys call those "other" cars :-) One I checked is 4.723", below the top ring groove, and pin height is 2.084, the pin is .928 diameter.

The AMC 199 has a looong rod, 6.125 for a 3" stroke (take THAT! GM 250 :-) and stock pin height is 1.65. It seems unlikely that barney would have shortened the rod! So I suspect these TRUE FORGED pistons are not for this AMC motor; I will this weekend mike them more carefully, and all of them, and post the dimensions and see if someone here can ID them.

Pix here


I measured only one piston, then, I'll do all of them soon.

ANYWAYS -- a traditional rod layout makes the most sense. Transmission choices are gonna be tough, with the older Nash bellhousing pattern.
Posted by: tom jennings

Re: Rambler turbo Indy motor - 07/30/08 05:27 PM

re: carb -- that's good to hear! I would love to see that article! Even one poor photo of the carb would help...!

I think these days EFI is the way to go with a big turbo. It's no longer exotic.
Posted by: Ramblinon

Re: Rambler turbo Indy motor - 08/01/08 05:24 AM

I really enjoyed reading about the Rambler Turbo 6. I have a similar engine in my 27 Ford T. A 258 AMC bored to 267. Early Buick turbocharger, 4-bbl carb. Have had engine in various forms for years. An earlier turbocharged version with a S&S Harley carb tured 14.20 at drags in a 1965 Rambler American. Present set-up in a car half the weight is awesome. Good luck on your project. I am new to this site so when I figure out how to post pictures I will. Mike
Posted by: tom jennings

Re: Rambler turbo Indy motor - 08/10/08 03:13 PM

Oh man I wanna see photos and more details!

I wish I could help you with the trans vaccuum issue.
Posted by: Ramblinon

Re: Rambler turbo Indy motor - 08/11/08 02:47 PM

Tom, My Rambler 6 is a 258 bored .060 over with Federal Mogul pistons. The pistons are a full 360 degree dish and were supposedly for a 232 but came highly polished with the full dish, not like other 232 pistons I have had. They also sit .090 down in the bore. Am using a comp cam 260H with Clifford springs, retainers and roller rockers. Using an Offy intake, modified exh manifold to position outlet straight out. Turbo is from a late seventies carbureated buick v6. Using a edelbrock 500 cfm carb. Trans is a jeep turbo 400 converted to standard tailshaft. Car is a 1927 ford t bucket. Weight is about 1500 pounds. Sort of a retro rat rod. A pretty basic low buck set-up [img]s37.photobucket.com/albums/e100/Ramblinon6[/img] .