The Lycoming Special
Ferrum Engineering has a long association with New Zealand's most famous and successful racing car. The Lycoming Special was at the forefront of New Zealand Motorsport throughout the 1950's, 60's and into the 70's.
The Lycoming was built by Ralph Watson in the early 1950's. It was a revolutionary design with the air cooled 5244cc aircraft engine running through a Studebaker gearbox to a Ford V8 differential. The engine is upsidedown and back to front. Ralph Watson designed and built his own fuel injection system for the Lycoming.
During its long and successful racing career it has been raced by many notable drivers including;
- Jim Boyd (Officially timed at Pukekohe reaching 151mph/240kph - although no written record exists)
- Malcolm Gill
- Jim Clark (F1 World Champion)
- Bruce McLaren (Founder of the McLaren Racing Team which still competes in F1 today)
Around1982 Ralph Smith purchased the car and set about rebuilding it from two trailer loads of parts with no instruction manual. Since the restoration Ralph has regularly competed at Classic and Historic Race meetings throughout New Zealand. He has taken the car to Race Meetings in Australia and the United States including Philip Island and Laguna Seca.
Ferrum Engineering is very proud of its association with the Lycoming and feel privileged to be assisting in the preservation of New Zealand's most successful racing car.
The Citroen Spyder is another New Zealand built special. It was built by Doug Haig of Timaru and first raced in 1951. It competed in the first ever Dunedin Street Race in 1953 and won the 150 mile C W F Hamilton Trophy at Mairehua in 1954.
It is powered by a 1911cc Citroen Light 15 engine coupled to the original Citroen gearbox. The crown wheel and pinion have been reversed to convert the powertrain from the standard front wheel drive of the street car to the rear wheel drive application in the race car. Reverse gear was removed from the 3 speed gearbox to make way for a 4th gear. The car was clocked at 127mph/200kph down the back straight at the Wigram Air Base circuit.
It has been suggested that this was the first rear engined race car in the Southern Hemisphere although no documentation has been produced to verify this. Like the Lycoming, the Citroen Spyder was very advanced for its time. Doug used many P40 Kittyhawk Areoplane components in the car.
A Phase One Vanguard engine had been installed when the Citroen engine broke a crankshaft (twice). Ferrum Engineering took an active role in the restoration of the Citroen Spyder during 2002/03. Many components were either made from scratch or remachined to allow the re-fitting of the original Citroen engine.
Most recently, Ferrum Engineering made a new rear stub axle for the Spyder after the original broke while competing in the Southern Festival of Speed series at Levels Raceway, Timaru, NZ.