Seeking information on Wray superchargers

Posts relating to early (Pre 1985) Hotrodding History in Australia, including Hotrod and Custom Shows plus early Drag Racing, Speedway, Hillclimbs etc.
Harv
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Seeking information on Wray superchargers

Post by Harv »

Ladies and gents,

My ongoing interest in Norman superchargers lead me to write an anecdote recently about Eldred Norman (with thanks to many on the forum for their help – see http://forums.autosport.com/topic/19355 ... -anecdote/). The era has tickled my curiosity, and I am in the process of gathering material to write a similar anecdote about the Wray supercharger (and J.G. Wray). It’s early days, and I have little information to hand on either the man or his machines. The illustrious Mike McInerney is already on the trail for me (with thanks Mike).

Appreciate any information (or sources) the forum may have to offer.

Cheers,
Harv
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fredeuce
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Re: Seeking information on Wray superchargers

Post by fredeuce »

John Wray was based in Adelaide as I understand it . My deceased brother in-law and a mate of his both bought them to fit to their Morris 850 and Morris 1100's respectively. This was in 1968. They were a vain type Supercharger. They were aimed at the 4 and 6 cylinder market . V8's then weren't as prevalent as they are now. I remember seeing a Austin Healey with a 179 Holden engine and one of these Superchargers race at Mallala around this time. I think my brother has one of these in his shed somewhere but is not complete as the manifold is missing .
I have some old Racing Car News magazines from that period and I recall there being adverts for them published there. There are probably tech articles published in the day but would require some searching . Sports Car World would also be another likely source . I have a stack of them as well so will have a look at them over the long weekend. I will ask around among the guys in our SA Vintage Speedcar Club to see what I can turn up. You might also want to contact the Sporting Car Club here in SA. Ask to speak to Dean Hosking who works in the Library. He was a circuit racer in those days and also worked at Indy Speed Shop . He may be able to turn up something for you.
http://www.sportingcarclub.com.au/
fredeuce
Harv
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Re: Seeking information on Wray superchargers

Post by Harv »

Thanks Fredeuce - appreciated.

I've managed to hunt down three of the employees who work in J.G. Wray Engineering, along with one of the guys who test-piloted a prototype, and the gentleman who ended up purchasing the Wray moulds and tooling. The picture is starting to come together, though every little bit helps. Finding info on John G. Wray himself has been harder.

Many thanks for the contacts - some good leads to chase down.

Cheers,
Harv
Harv
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Re: Seeking information on Wray superchargers

Post by Harv »

Quick update - the Wray supercharger anecdote is coming along well, and running to about 40 A4 pages. I've managed to locate quite a few former (and current) owners of Wray-blown equipment, along with a decent amount of the history (including the second generation of Wrays that were built by a new owner of the tooling... some pretty cool stuff). Lots of photos, and some interesting stories.

Hoping to have the anecdote wrapped up in about a fortnight, and will publish here. If anyone has any more info on Wrays, I'd love to see it.

Cheers,
Harv
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fredeuce
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Re: Seeking information on Wray superchargers

Post by fredeuce »

Harv,
Good to hear you have been able to source relevant information. I look forward to your paper on this subject.
Fred
fredeuce
Harv
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Re: Seeking information on Wray superchargers

Post by Harv »

Ladies and gents,

Following on from my Eldred Norman anecdote, I got to thinking about the period in Australia’s automotive history. The 1950’s and 1960’s were a period where we still relied heavily on local product – the market flooding of readily available imported go-fast parts for the small block Chev had yet to occur. This need for local equipment spurred on some very cool Australian engineering, including Eldred’s work. In the local forced induction field, there were numerous people bolting on (or making kits for) imported superchargers. This is a phenomena we see today with both Harrop (who kit out the Eaton TVS machines), the Castlemaine Rod Shop (who kit out the Aisin SC14 machine), and Yella Terra (who kit out the Eaton M90). Sprintex are perhaps the only Australian company who manufacture their own (twin screw) machines.

What is interesting (and also rather cool) is that Eldred was not the only Australian who was manufacturing superchargers (and not just kits) in the 1950’s and 1960’s period. One of Eldred’s contemporaries, competitors, and fellow South Australian was John G. Wray. The anecdote below tries to paint a picture of the Wray supercharger history. Just like my Eldred Norman anecdote, a word of warning regarding the information below. Some of the people who witnessed the events below have sadly passed away, including John Wray. It has also been half a century since the Wray supercharger was conceived. This anecdote has been written drawing together information from a broad variety of sources, many of whom are trying to remember events of fifty years ago. There may be inconsistencies with the information, or outright errors. Caveat emptor. I also owe a debt of thanks to a great number of people who helped pulled together the pieces of the “patchwork quilt” that became my Wray anecdote.

1. J.G. Wray
John Graham Wray was born in 1930, at an unknown location, in Australia. John married, and he and his wife Margaret did not have children. John spent some of his early years in England with his wife on a working holiday. His interest there was in automotive engineering and sporting cars. On return to Australia John was working as a Castrol sales representative, with Margaret working as a nurse. Over time John accumulated quite a few engineering tools and machines. He eventually started a small engineering shop (J.G. Wray General & Maintenance Engineering) at Newman Lane Glenelg, South Australia. The shop catered for general and maintenance engineering with John and staff being involved with the following activities:
• Small production runs of components for machinery,
• Design, manufacture and maintenance of machinery for the testing and manufacturing of automotive components,
• Design, manufacture and maintenance of machinery for the textile industry,
• Manufacture of marine components,
• Manufacture and maintenance of mining equipment, and
• Jobbing and ‘one off’ work.
Wray Engineering raised patents for example on a “burr beater” agricultural implement.

John owned a white hardtop MGA 1558cc twin-cam that he either brought back from or imported from the UK. He later sold the MGA to purchase an Alpha Romeo GTA. John’s main interest at that time was with yachts, bringing with that interest numerous customers to the company with the manufacture and development of marine parts and marine maintenance. John constructed a 30ft double-ended fibreglass ocean going yacht in one of the workshop bays. He used the yacht for many years until health issues forced him to sell it. His other interest in later years was exploring outback Australia in his 4WD. John passed away about eight years ago in Adelaide. The following article is drawn from the (Adelaide) Advertiser of the 14th of October 1954:

Vintage Racing Car Has History
Historic Racer
A vintage racing car, now being rebuilt in South Australia, has one of the most colourful histories of any vehicle in this State, and because of its age an even more colourful one than the ex-Prince Birabongse, MG K3, owned by Andy Brown. The car is a 1923 2-litre Miller, owned by Gordon Haviland, and at present being rebuilt by John Wray and Len Poultridge. Believed to be the first Miller to leave America, the car was taken to Europe in 1923 with two other Millers to compete in under 2-litre formula races. Count Louis Zborowski took delivery of the first car and entered it in the Spanish Grand Prix, run at Sitges-Terramar, in which he finished second. The other Millers also ran against Zborowski in the Grand Prix de l’Europe, at Monza, one of them, driven by Murphy, scoring third position. Count Zborowski kept his car when the other two returned to the US, and raced it in late 1923 and early 1924 before competing in the 1924 French Grand Prix. Well known author and writer in 'Autocar,' S. C. H. Davis was Zborowski's mechanic on this occasion. The introduction of the supercharger on other vehicles gave the Miller a considerable disadvantage in this event, but when 'blowers' were fitted, an American driver, Harry Hartz, covered 50 miles at 135 m.p.h in 1925. The Miller did not finish in the French Grand Prix, and Count Zborowski was killed at Monza shortly afterwards when his Mercedes skidded into a tree during the running of the Italian Grand Prix. All Zborowski's cars were then sold. The car was bought by Dan Higgen and raced at Southport Sands, in England in 1925. The Miller covered the flying kilometre in 25 seconds, and finished fourth. It raced in several events at Brooklands and in other meetings during 1925 and 1926. The car came to Australia a year or so later. It has had several owners in this country and competed in numerous hill climb and other events. The body has been lowered, but it still retains its original Miller engine. Picture shows John Wray working on the car this week.

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A South Australian with a passion for old race vehicles who goes on to build his own superchargers? Sounds like another gentleman we have met before . As an aside, Count Zborowski built and raced the original Chitty Chitty Bang Bang… with a 23-litre Maybach aero engine (!). The Miller 122 shown in the photograph above is centrifugally supercharged.

Wray superchargers were manufactured at the Glenelg factory up until about 1967. The company moved to larger premises at nearby 46 Byre Avenue, Somerton Park in 1970 (now home to Tintworks window tinting), where production continued until about 1983. The image below, lifted from the internet, shows the Somerton Park facility in 2009, which is very similar to how it looked in the early 1980s.

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John Wray’s direct involvement in the manufacture of the superchargers continued until about 1974. Wray superchargers manufactured after that time were still made at Wray Engineering, but manufactured by staff after hours and on weekends, with little to no advice from John. Batches of superchargers would be made, and sold to speed shops. It is estimated that around fifty superchargers were built in this fashion. Whilst quite a few people were employed at the Wray works, a few were heavily involved in the supercharger side of the business. James (Robbie) Robinson started at the Glenelg workshop and moved to Somerton Park. He was a leading hand until he left about the mid 1970’s. Greg Pill started as an apprentice in 1970 and worked there until 1985, having been a leading hand for about nine years. Robert (Bob) Cronin worked as a machinist from about 1975 until 1983. We will hear more about Robbie, Greg and Bob (and their vehicles) later in this anecdote.

2. Wray Supercharger Models
Like the Norman and Judson superchargers, the Wray supercharger was a sliding vane unit operating at relatively low pressure (~5psi boost). Like the Judson, and unlike some Normans, all Wray supercharger casings are 100% air-cooled. Wray offered two sizes, the smaller having a displacement of 60ci/rev (960cc) and the larger a displacement of 96ci/rev (1530cc). Note that these capacities of swept volume are calculated using the “modern” method of measuring them. In the example drawing below this means work out the volume shown in red, and multiplying it by six (yes, yes, I know, the Wray has four vanes… . it’s just an example ).

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An alternate method was used in this period by Eldred Norman (and is noted in his book Supercharge!). Referring to the drawing above, Eldred’s method determines the volume shown in orange. Eldred’s method is neither more right nor more wrong than the “modern” method… just different. It also gives different results – a lot smaller number than the modern method. As an example, when we measure a Type 65 Norman supercharger using the modern method, we get 118ci/rev. However, when we measure the Type 65 using Eldred’s method, we get 67ci/rev (near enough to 65ci, and hence the name). The modern method is heavily dependent on port timing, whereas Eldred’s method is independent of port location. Using Eldred’s method, the table below compares the Wray superchargers to their contemporaries:

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Both Wray supercharger sizes were available with the inlet and outlet port 180º apart (the “T” model) or 270º apart (the “L” model), giving a total of four variants – L60, T60, L96 and T96. Whilst the literature shown later in this anecdote indicates a T60 being made, it is not certain that this ever eventuated.

The L superchargers allow a more compact design, allowing installation between the engine block and the firewall of BMC vehicles. The supercharger was bolted directly to the cylinder head, the inlet manifold ran across the bottom of the casing, extending past the end plate. A downdraft carburettor was located next to the end plate between the engine block and the firewall. The larger supercharger casings were produced in two models: the first with the same design porting (90º) as the smaller superchargers, and the second with a cross-flow (180º) porting. The variations were achieved by utilizing an internal chamber (in the casting) between the liner and the outlet port. The liner porting was the same for both models.

The small L60 and T60 superchargers were originally marketed and sold in kit form for the various BMC ‘A’ and ‘B’ engines (including Minis), Ford Cortina 1.2-1.6L four cylinder engines and Renault R8/R10 956cc-1289cc models. The larger L96 and T96 superchargers targeted the 132.5-138ci Holden grey engine. Over the years the superchargers were sold and put to use on numerous applications ranging from 750cc motorcycle engines through to the 202ci Holden red engine.

The image shown below is taken from the 1968 Aunger Speed Equipment Retail and Mail Order Catalogue, and shows some of the Wray kits offered. It is a little cheeky… the image to the bottom right is a Judson supercharger kit and Holley carburettor to suit an Austin Healey Sprite.

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The image below shows both the larger and smaller Wray superchargers (photo: Fred Radman). Note the absence of the T60 supercharger in the image… it may never have been made by J.G. Wray.

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Some Wray superchargers were stamped with serial numbers, including the first one (Mike McInerney, who test-piloted it, can remember John Wray stamping the machine). However, the process was not systematic – none of the those manufactured during Greg’s time at Wray Engineering were numbered, nor any that returned for maintenance.

The newspaper clipping below is from Adelaide’s The Advertiser of Tuesday, February 7th 1967:

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Interestingly, Andrew Mustard was a sales agent for Wray. From my earlier anecdote, Mustard was involved in the Bluebird land speed trials, and owned the Norman-blown Elfin which still holds Australian land speed records. The Elfin, and those records, get a mention in the sales literature below, which I have drawn from Fred’s collection:

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It is interesting that Mustard describes phenomena that still apply today – the lower engine stress associated with supercharging, and the effect of valve overlap on boost.
Most of the Wray superchargers were installed by the purchasers, while a few custom installations were done at the factory.

3. Wray Supercharger Construction
John Wray designed and made all of the drawings, timber patterns, tooling and jigs for the Wray superchargers. The pattern for the L96 is shown below (photo: Fred Radman).

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The main castings were cast elsewhere, while the machining and assembly was all completed in the engineering factory. With the move from Glenelg to Somerton Park a privately owned foundry was located at the rear of the property, and they provided the castings.

Early Wray superchargers were manufactured with cast iron liners, which were machined and honed. The liners were changed to a seamless steel design which reduced previous issues with liners cracking and/or breaking (we’ll hear more about one such event later). The steel liners were not treated or honed. The liner shown below (photos: Fred Radman) is an early one. The ports (oval slots) are parallel to the casing, and were referred to by Wray as Mark 1 porting. Norman superchargers have similar parallel porting.

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The steel pointer in the Fred’s photo below is indicating the wear in the bridge pieces between the oval ports (inlet side).

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Later Wray liners had Mark 2 diagonal porting, which imparted a wiping action to alleviate the wear. Judson superchargers used a diamond shaped port for similar reasons. The Mark 2 porting can be seen by the diagonal bridges in the photo below (photo: Fred Radman):

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The early model Wray superchargers had a cast aluminium rotor. Due to a lack of quality control at the foundry these rotors had porosity in the castings, which caused a lack of strength. They occasionally exploded at high speed…. and sometimes at not so high speed too.

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The photograph above (photo: Fred Radman) shows an early supercharger owned by Fred Radman (we’ll meet him later in this anecdote), complete with cast rotor. The supercharger later split a rotor, though after cutting the drive belt the car was able to be driven home. With the end plate off there was visible wear to the vane slots, with the ends starting to flare out. The split rotor is shown in Fred’s photo below - the crack originated at the corner of the slot, which is a stress riser:

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In about 1970 the cast rotors were no longer produced, and instead aluminium billet extrusions were used. This reduced the frequency of rotor failures, though is no guarantee – some of the later rotors have cracked. The photo below, from John Bowles, shows a later rotor with a crack under the black “C” mark:

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The rotor drive shafts were generally of a standard length. Custom orders were catered for with longer shafts and drive plate end castings with longer snouts to support the longer drive shafts. Wray supercharger rotors employ four vanes made from fibre reinforced Tufnol (Tufnol, like Bakelite, is a cotton reinforced phenolic resin). The vanes were cut to a rough size, then ground to final size (length, width and thickness) on a tool and cutter grinder. No springs or grooves were used with the vanes. The photo below, from Fred Radman, shows the vane profile:

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Lachlan Kinnear remembers a discussion with Alec Rowe quite a few years ago. The conversation discussed the first Norman superchargers, and how Eldred had found a Judson supercharger. Apparently Eldred measured the critical dimensions to make the initial Normans. Whilst the Wray rotor dimensions are similar to Norman and Judson superchargers, they are not identical. The measurements may have been changed slightly by Eldred, or may have been scaled from photographs. Dimensions for the Judsons, Wrays and a range of Normans are shown below:

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The Wray supercharger drive end was fitted with two 6303 sealed single race ball bearings and a spacer sleeve retained with a circlip. The non-drive end used one 6303 bearing retained with a circlip and a welsh-plug end cover. Note that this is similar to a Judson (which uses a single 6203 ball bearing at each end of the rotor), but different to a Norman, which has a single race ball bearing at the drive end and a roller bearing at the non-drive end, which slips the inner and outer races to allow the rotor to grow under heat. The Wray, like the Norman, uses a single lip seal (TC12420 for the Wray, with the Normans using a variety of seals) to seal the drive end. The Judson is different, using two seals on the drive end and a single seal on the non-drive end.

The Wray supercharger cast end plates were machined in a lathe. The clearance between the rotor and the drive end plate was set and the non-drive end clearance governed by the expansion of the rotor and housing. The expansion of the alloy rotor and the housing was similar and if the initial manufactured clearances were correct there were never any issues of seizing. This again is different to the early Normans, where there is significant difference in the growth of the steel rotors and alloy casings.

Wray Engineering manufactured various cast aluminium manifolds which were supplied with the ‘kits’ and these along with other designs were also available to customers to assist with other variations for individual installations. Otherwise, fabricated steel manifolds were easy to manufacture. The ‘kits’ did not have relief valves, though many of the later custom installations incorporated the valves, which were manufactured in the workshop. The image below (photo: Fred Radman) shows the T96 intake manifold. Note that the same casting is used for a single-barrel downdraft carburettor (the upper image), or a sidedraught carburettor (the lower image). The sidedraught option is effected by cutting the casting off at the flange. The pattern was originally made to suit the downdraught carburettor and then was modified at a later stage

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Two-stroke oil was generally added to the petrol in the fuel tank for lubrication. Some customers added ‘oil injectors’ (like the Marvel Mystery Oiler used in Judson superchargers) to the inlet manifold to negate the need for premixing oil/petrol in the fuel tank. Typical Marvel oilers are shown below (photo: Fred Radman). Water injection was also used in some installations.

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Various carburettors could be used; the preferred choice for later Holden installations being a 2” SU carburettor and a downdraught for the BMC kits. Manifolds could generally be machined or modified to suit various choices of carburettor. The photo below shows a T96 supercharger with a Weber DCOE adaptor, whilst the second image shows a fabricated Weber DCOE to L60 adaptor (photos: Fred Radman):

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The engineering drawings below come from Fred’s collection:

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4. Wray-blown Vehicles
Wray superchargers were fitted on a very wide range of vehicles. The first was Mike McInerney’s FJ, shown below.

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The FJ was Mike’s first car, an ex-Department of Supply 132.5ci FJ Holden utility (in Maralinga Gray colour) which he bought at auction in 1960 for £165. The Department of Supply was an Australian government department that existed between March 1950 and June 1974, and managed aluminium production, tin import, control of atomic energy materials, supply of war material, building and repair of merchant ships and promotion and production of liquid fuels. Mike used the vehicle for milk-rounds from 1962 through 1965. In 1965, with the Wray works still operating from Glenelg, Mike fitted the first prototype large Wray supercharger. An adjustable oil injector was used to provide lubrication, with the bottle mounted on the scuttle. A sight glass was fitted to the injector to show the flow of straight 30- weight engine oil. Mike milled the head to take Holden 179ci red motor stellite valves (10% larger on the inlet and 5% on the exhaust than the standard grey) and lowered the compression ratio. Mike also milled and fitted main bearing cap bridges to the crank. The three-speed crashbox had a floor shift built by Alex Rowe (a joy to double clutch), 11” disc brakes on the front (a NSW-based company made them to fit onto the standard FJ Holden 15" wheel hubs), Dunlop R5 racing tyres, and ladder braces to strengthen the subframe to the chassis rails. The engine could pull from 10mph through to a top speed of about 90 mph in top gear, was very quick off the lights and very flexible throughout the rev range. The engine did not have a ‘big’ camshaft. It had a sign on the back, opposite the number plate – “Supercharged by Wray”… reminiscent of the “Supercharged by Norman” emblems of the era.
Mike did not have a relief valve fitted between the supercharger and the cylinder head, giving no overpressure protection in the event of a blower bang. Following a bang in Mildura, the blower cracked the cast iron liner bridges which act like a grille across the supercharger discharge port. The bridge pieces ended up in #6 cylinder of the grey motor. Mike disconnected the blower belt and drove back to Adelaide at low speed (some 400km…). On pull down of the grey, there was a damaged #6 piston and some hammer damage to the valves and valve seats. On tear down of the blower, it was noted that the rotor vane slots were wearing. The supercharger was rebuilt using a tougher alloy for the rotor and the casing liner was engineered from bore casing steel. The sleeve was pinned using a dowel with the front end plate as the locator. It was decided to follow the wisdom of Alex Rowe and mix two-stroke oil (about 2-2.5%) with main fuel for vane lubrication. The oil injector was deleted, and a relief valve installed. Mike took the ute to Darwin in August of 1968 and sold her in December 1969 to buy a brand new 1969 Holden V8 4-speed ute.

The photo below is of the Wray fitted to Mike’s FJ, running a single grey motor Stromberg carburettor (photo: Mike McInerney).

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Note the “W” and fins cast into the inlet manifold.

A few months after Mike supercharged the FJ, Ian Robinson (Ronnie) installed the smaller model Wray supercharger on his street-driven 1310cc Mini Cooper S. The Mini is shown below:

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The photo below shows the interior of the Cooper… with a suspicious looking boost gauge on the far right hand side of the cluster .

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The Mini’s engine is shown below.

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Robbie had bought the Mini new, having to wait twentyone weeks for the vehicle to be imported from the UK. The car was the 6th in South Australia. Robbie had a penchant for speed, with the brand new (and as yet naturally aspirated) Mini clocking some 90mph down Pirie Street, Adelaide in the early hours of his first day of ownership.

On fitting the supercharger, the car was found to run hot. A second radiator was installed in what was becoming a very cramped engine bay. The twin down-draught carb shown in the photo above would later be replaced with an 1¾” SU from a Jaguar. The SU’s needles were turned down on a lathe to suit the increased fuel load. The Mini was fed a diet of 115 octane fuel from BP, along with upper cylinder head lubricant added to the tank. A decompression plate was manufactured from 1/8” steel plate, with XW Falcon pushrods being used to bridge the increased distance.

The Wray-blown brick was quite a weapon… Robbie would own the machine for three years, and only hold his license for a few months in that time. The locals would pause in sipping their pints at the local hotel as the Mini spun 360º on it’s way past from the train station. A journey from Adelaide to Mildura (some 400km) was completed by the brick in 3¼ hours… the 75mph (120km/h) average speed probably had something to do with the empty fuel tank five miles from the journey’s end.

The local Police were equipped with Valiants, with Robbie keeping them busy. One journey over the ranges had the Mini clocked at 130mph, followed by 115mph past the local shopping centre. Slowing down over the railway tracks, Robbie made a wrong turn and ended up in a dead-end. The Valiant, in hot pursuit, was not as agile as the Mini and failed to negotiate the last corner. The Police, climbing from the damaged Valiant, were none too amused, and decided Robbie would probably be better off walking for the next 5½ months.

On getting his license back, some testing was in order. A large model Wray had been fitted to a bloke’s white Mark 1 Cortina GT. This engine was a five-bearing 1500cc with four-speed gearbox. The Corty was almost too hairy to drive, easily breaking traction in first gear, especially if the road was wet. The “test run” between the Cortina and Mini in the local hills got a little out of hand, with the Cortina ending up on it’s roof on the train tracks. Robbie would be walking for another two years two months after that drive.

Robbie’s wife also pushed the car hard. Refuelling the car at the local service station, the attendant refused to add upper cylinder head lubricant to the tank. A phone call had to be made to Robbie to prove that his wife was correct. When the tank was full (with the required lubricant too), the Mini departed at some speed… leaving black tracks for quite some distance down the street. Another incident saw the Mini clocked by amphometer at some 75mph in a 30mph zone. This also didn’t impress the local Police (though the “Unmarked Police Car” sticker on the rear window may have had something to do with that).

Sadly, the Mini was eventually written off.

Robbie can also remember a Datsun 1600 that received a Wray supercharger. The car was used to impress potential customers. On launching the Wray-blown Datto, non-believers would be asked to open the doors on the moving car. The supercharged engine torqued the body so much that the doors could not be opened.

Greg Pill built a Wray-blown XR Ford Falcon stationwagon, shown in the images below (from Greg):

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Greg’s Falcon ran the 170ci Pursuit straight-six engine, which was available from 1961-1972 (XK, XL, XM, XP and XR Falcons), and was good for up to 111BHP in naturally aspirated form. Greg’s 170 used short deck height pistons to lower the compression to 8.25:1, a worked cam, extractors and a ported and polished head. Two additional mounting plates were welded to the cast head which provided three ports. Greg utilised the larger of the Wray superchargers, mounting it via a box manifold with mounting bolts passing through the pressure envelope and sealed with rubber washers. The supercharger was fed by twin 1¾” HD SUs with the angled main body (the inlet manifold mounting face is equally angled to ensure the float bowl orientation is level). A double v-belt from the crank drove the water pump and alternator. The water pump pulley was machined to suit a gilmer belt which then drove the supercharger. A little unorthodox, but a smart way to solve the problem of fitting everything within the confines on the right side of the motor. A relief valve was fitted to the top rear of inlet manifold. The Wray delivered some 14psi of boost, and was street driven and never raced. Greg sold the Ford without the supercharger.

The photo below, which I have taken from the internet, shows a Wray fitted to an unknown 1990’s rotary vehicle using twin HIF7 SU’s. I suspect this is John Basset’s (from Southern Fuel Injection, and linked to Globe Industries) RX3, which later was sold in Western Australia:

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The smallest engines installations were fitted with Wray superchargers were two speedway motorcycles installed in 1976 for Bob Cronin. The first vehicle was a Birmingham Small Arms (BSA) Rocket 3, running on methanol. The BSA was Bob’s first venture into speedway racing - with no previous experience for him and his passenger on a ‘home made’ bike they were very competitive. The BSA Rocket 3 (a.k.a. Triumph Trident) was a three cylinder 750cc air-cooled pushrod overhead valve engine coupled to a dry plate clutch and four speed gearbox (some 200-odd were lucky enough to get a fifth gear). Over 27,000 Rocket 3/Tridents were produced during its seven-year history… though only Bob’s two would be Wray-blown . In the image below (photo: Greg Pill), the Wray T96 supercharger can be seen nestled below where the fuel tank and seat join.

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Bob’s second outing into home-made crotch rockets was powered by a sleeved-down 750cc Volkswagen engine. Bobs theory was that if the test engine worked in competitive service then a stronger, better engine would be built using after-market crankshaft, crankcase and heads. Initial engine was a 1200cc (40hp) crankcase, modified 40hp heads, custom cylinders utilizing 750cc Suzuki water-bottle pistons giving a capacity of 750cc. The Wray T96 supercharger was installed and can be seen in the image below (photo: Greg Pill), nestled below the fuel tank.

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The bike had a very low centre of gravity, light weight and high power. Both of Cronin’s Wray-blown speedway outfits were tested and raced at the Rowley Park Speedway in Adelaide. They were very successful due to impressive power outputs. Unfortunately they were too successful; culminating in 'blown motors' being banned.

The Western Australian MG fraternity, recipients of the last batch of Wray superchargers, remain strong users of the machinery. Kevin McMahon runs a small Wray on his MG TC & Y Special (shown below in Kevin’s photo, followed by an image I lifted from the internet), as has Peter Compton, Rob Bodkin, John Bowles and Ed Farrar.

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The Wray on Kevin’s Special was reworked by John Bowles, who machined the nose so that the bearings could accommodate the front engine attachment. Ed Farrar machined the vanes. The Special runs around 7½psi boost, indicated by a Spitfire (aeroplane) boost gauge. The video below shows Kevin’s vehicle at the 2015 Northam Flying 50:



The Special sees active race service, having beat both a Morgan and a Mazda MX5 at Barbagallo Raceway prior to blowing the gasket between the supercharger and inlet manifold.

Don Tosler (Toesler?), from the Rostrevor area of Adelaide built a mid-engined (Wray-blown 16TS) Renault 750 as a sports sedan hill climber. Mid-build, CAMS changed the rules, banning mid-engined cars and forcing Don to campaign the car under a different class, competing at circuits that included Collingrove.

Don Fraser from Revmaster Engineering Camshafts (Sheldon Street, Norwood) was a 1960s boat racer who had an Amilcar with a Wray-blown 2242cc Whippet motor. Amilcars were made in France between 1922 and 1938, whilst Whippets were made by Overland (Willys) in the US from 1926-1931. Don built the Amilcar in 1975. Pictured below (photos: Fred Radman) is the modified HS8 S.U. carburettor from the Amilcar. This used a Lord mount to hang the float bowl. The 3/16” jet is home-made… and somewhat larger than the factory 0.125”. The needle is stainless steel.

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Don removed the carburettor along with the supercharger prior to sale as he was using it on his new set up. The Wray was subsequently replaced with a Roots supercharger with twin SU carburettors. The vehicle passed from Don’s hands to Neil Sullivan in 1999. The photos below show the Amilcar in it’s Roots-blown format:

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Pictured below (photo: Dave Linton) is Dave Linton’s 1275cc Wray-blown Moke. In the late 1980’s Fred Radman offered Dave a Wray L60 BMC “A” series supercharger kit to install into the Moke. A fresh motor was built, overbored to 0.020” resulting in 1293cc and a compression ratio of 9.75:1. A custom camshaft was re-ground via Chris Milton using the Special Tuning 731 timing. However the lobe centre angle was reduced to 100º. The additional overlap enabled combustion chamber exhaust gas purging with the incoming compressed air/fuel mix. The Moke firewall was modified to allow the drive belt to run directly to the bottom pulley (see the modified red lead painted piece of box chassis section in the photo below). This placed the belt tensioner on the correct side (slack side) of the belt. The alternative (without the box section) places the tensioner on the drive side of the belt. A standard Moke harmonic balancer had a second vee groove cut into it to provide drive for the supercharger. After experimenting with a downdraught D5 S.U. carburettor and a Reece Fish, the carburettor was changed to a downdraught Stromberg as used in a Holden 186 red motor. A variable main metering jet was installed on the carburettor to adjust the fuel mixture. The Moke used a Marvel inverse oiler on the far side of the engine bay (complete with synthetic two-stroke oil). At full noise, the setup generated some 8–9psi of boost. Dave used the Moke daily for six months of the year over a couple of years, as Adelaide has pleasant weather from October to March. The main issue Dave experienced was that of carburettor icing during prolonged light throttle with cold ambient air temperature. Soon after installation the rotor failed, though cutting the fan belt enabled the Moke to be driven home to be repaired. Once the rotor had been replaced there were no other issues with the supercharger. The Moke competed at the Collingrove hillclimb and street drags at AIR. (Adelaide International Raceway). It was driven to the Australian Motorkhana Hay Nationals at Hay, NSW, with the Moke double-entered for two drivers. This is a round trip of some 1300km, with the carburettor icing issue being the only problem experienced on route.
Harv
Posts: 450
Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:11 am

Re: Seeking information on Wray superchargers

Post by Harv »

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Note the Wray sticker on the air cleaner. Fred had some of these made up in later years (photo: Fred Radman):

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The photo below again from Dave Linton shows a T96 on a 1275cc Mini motor. The Wray manifolding has a Shorrock blow off valve which was found to seal better than the earlier plate type. Note that the manifold casting has been cut back to allow for a sidedraught carburettor.

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More photos from Dave below:

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Lachlan Kinnear has a Wray on a vintage Vauxhall, whilst John Payne has a Wray on a MG Type 2. Lachlan’s Wray has the earlier cast rotor, and was earlier fitted to a Holden red motor from Mannum, South Australia. Lachlan also has the original Wray belt tensioner arm and inlet manifold.

Mike Adi’s (Advance Headers 16 Braeside Avenue Holden Hill South Australia 5088) Gamma Special Goggomobil was initially configured as a Wray-blown VW engine. The vehicle then moved to a Norman, and later to a Toyota (Aisin) SC14 running around 20psi of boost. The Wray was later sold to Brian Paige who fit it to a Simca. The photos below are from Mike:

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The Aisin-blown vehicle is shown below at Whyalla drags (I have lifted the images and video from the internet):

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… and finally, a photo from Mike of the rear of the car:

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Rod O’Malley purchased a 1275cc MG Midget, and rebuilt the vehicle whilst still in his teens. The car was likely an ex race vehicle, notable through things like circles being painted on the doors (under layers of paint) and the sump plug being safety wired. As part of the rebuild, Rob acquired a small Wray supercharger in pieces. Having made his own manifolds to fit the Midget, the supercharger was reworked by Wray, with the casing rebored and the rotor slots tidied up before new vanes were fitted. The supercharger developed up to 5psi, though at any more loading the single vee-belt suffered slippage or breakage… Rod got around 500 miles from any given belt. Water/methanol injection was added to the Midget. The logbooked Midget would go on to serve as Rod’s road and track car, racing at circuits including Calder, Winton and Mallala. The car also saw service in motokahanas, though would only get 1½ events between gearbox failures. A 5.3:1 differential was later fitted for the Colingrove hillclimb, with the car starting in 2nd gear. Rod eventually sold the car through MG Sales (http://mgsales.net.au/).

Ed Farrar has a Wray-blown Morris Minor ute, which has travelled some 400,000 miles in Ed’s ownership. The Wray supercharger kit was purchased through Don Hall Motors in Subiaco, Perth in the late 1970's or early 1980s. The Morrie originally had a relatively standard 948cc engine, with the Wray kit only taking a few hours to fit. The first test drive of the ute, with Ed’s father riding shotgun, showed the car to be very strong. After a lap around the block Ed pulled up in the nearest straight road… the local shopping centre. From a standing start, Ed warned his father that he would see what the Morrie would do wide open. Ed got wheel spin in first, which continued through second gear. By the time Ed found third gear he was doing twice the speed limit… an inopportune time to pass the local Policeman.


After some 100,000 miles of service Ed was tiring of the engine taking a hammering from the supercharger. He purchased a complete Morris 1100s for $200, pulled the 1100cc engine and cut the end from the crank. A piece of steel was welded to the crank end and then machined to fit the standard lightened four-bolt flywheel and a Mk1 MG Midget clutch with uprated springs. In the following 300,000 miles the Wray-blown 1100 motor would only see one rebuild and one re-ring. As one of Ed’s friends found out, it’s not a good idea to bet the ute won’t do 100mph… Ed won the wager on the way to Esperance, leaving his mates brand new Honda Accord smoking at the side of the road from having tried to keep up. The Morris has seen some good loads over it’s time, often doing diving/camping duties (driver, two passengers, diving cylinders and compressor, tent, outboard motor and fuel tank, and 10’ boat on the roof). The Morrie has a new set of vanes fitted every 20 to 30 thousand miles depending on service conditions with the rotor being given a tickle each time. Ed carries a spare set of vanes under the seat in case of emergency.

Images below of the Morrie are from Ed:

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Ed has run his Wray’s hard over the years. While competing in a motorkhana at Mooliabeenee (north of Perth, Western Australia), he ran the Wray without an air filter. The gravel turned a freshly rebuilt supercharger to scrap in a single day.

Ed has also made a number of spare rotors over the years. Ed targets a drive-end rotor-to-casing clearance of 0.002”-0.004” (Norman superchargers can be set to similar tolerances, though 0.010” is typical), and a non-drive end clearance of 0.018”-0.020” (Normans are typically 0.015”, with the early Type 65’s able to be set to 0.006”-0.008”). Ed has seen some Wray superchargers with as much as 0.080” clearance.

The photo below from Ed shows a rotor being machined:

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Ed and the WA MG crowd have also continued the development and upkeep of the Wray vanes. Harry Pyle has sourced vane material. At some time in the last ten years the vane material became a problem, probably because the thickness had been rounded to millimetres. Chris Foreman of Armstrong Energy (181A Star Street Carlisle, Western Australia, telephone (08) 93612761) is able to supply the thicker vanes but can also machine them to fit the rotor. He is also cutting diagonal grooves designed by Ed Farrar to help seat the vanes against the casing. Ed originally found the concept for the grooves in an American publication on sports car modification. The grooves are shown in the image below:

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Note that this is similar to the grooves used in the Norman superchargers produced by Mike Norman (see image below). Eldred’s machines did not use grooves.

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The Farrar-modified Wray grooves are cut to one third of the vane thickness. The grooves are used to assist the vanes in being able to move in and out of the rotor. Sliding supercharger vanes are normally a “flop” fit, though may experience some changes in dimensions due to moisture, fuel properties or dirt. If the vanes become a tight fit, the oily environment they operate in may allow them to form a seal with the rotor. In this case, the vanes will draw a vacuum at the vane root as they try to slide out, or will build pressure at the vane root as they slide back in. The grooves allow the vane root to equalize pressure, allowing the vanes to slide freely. The slots also allow some flow of air/fuel/oil around the vane, helping lubrication. The Farrar-modified Wray grooves are sufficient to eliminate vane rattle at idle. At idle speed the centripetal force on the vane is low, and they can lose contact with the casing wall, giving a rattling sound. For the (Mike) Norman superchargers, the grooves are not sufficient to stop vane rattle, and springs are fitted under the vane (the square notches in the yellow vane show above are used to seat the springs). The Farrar-modified Wray grooves are angled, helping to sweep out any debris arising from vane wear.

Ed also has a complete spare Wray supercharger, and rebuilds Zoller sliding vane superchargers. Arnold Zoller (1882-1934) was Swiss machine technician, and worked for Fiat for several years designing racing engines before co-founding a business marketing the Nazzaro car. From 1917 he worked for Argus Motoren, focussing on developing the supercharger, particularly for two-stroke engines. This lead to the invention of the Zoller sliding vane supercharger in 1927, which were used in vehicles including BMW, DKW and NSU.

Another Wray-blown Morris Minor was owned by Phil Evans from the Morris Minor Centre, Adelaide. His ute ran a standard 948cc motor with extractors and the supercharger, and was used as the regular pick-up and delivery vehicle for the business.

The photos below, from the owner, show Tim Billington’s T96 Wray. This machine was purchased by Tim from a Mr Booth of Cooroy, Queensland around two years ago. It is an early Wray, with the early Mark 1 type porting. The manifold face that can be seen with a looooong stud hanging out of one hole was later modified by Wray to have four smaller bolts in addition to the three shown on Tim’s. Tim’s fabricated tensioner is not a factory (cast) Wray unit. On the periphery of both the casing a hole is noticeable at about the one o’clock position. This hole is used to install a locating dowel, that ensures the end-plates are rotated correctly with respect to the casing’s inlet and outlet ports. The end plates have a similar hole, along with another 180º around the periphery. The original Wray tooling has provision for drilling these holes (we’ll hear more about the tooling later), though not all Wrays had the dowels drilled. The carburettor-to-supercharger manifold (complete with grey motor BXOV-1 Stromberg carburettor) was cast before the pattern was altered to allow for both downdraught and sidedraught carburettors - the sidedraught carburettor boss is absent, and the speed stripes and “W” is as cast, not machined down as per the later Wray manifolds. Tim’s machine is destined for a Holden grey motor.

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Gary Crosswell’s FC sedan is Wray-blown with an L96 (serial number L96/105), running on the over-bored (149ci) Holden grey motor. In lieu of the normal Stromberg, Gary’s Wray is fed by one of Eldred Norman’s massive 3” SUs.

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Video of Gary’s machine is here:


5. The Last Wrays
The last production of the Wray supercharger was an order in 1983, consisting of a mix of twelve superchargers (eleven small and one large model) for the MG TC Owners Club in Perth. These were to be installed on 1250cc MG TC and TD's, with the larger supercharger for 1588cc-1622cc MGA's. Interest in the order was sparked by Ed Farrar, with the order placed by Harry Pyle. Darryl Robins and Harry attended the MG Nationals meeting in Geelong in their MGTC’s. On the return trip to Perth they called into Wray Engineering and collected the batch of superchargers. Darryl had no passenger on the trip back and was able to carry most of the superchargers on the floor of his car, whilst Harry had two behind his seat. Harry would later note that in trying to fit one of the superchargers to an MGTC, a very large hole is required in the louvered bonnet side. Harry’s son Philip engineered a clever modification, turning the supercharger so that the inlet becomes the outlet and rephasing the end plates so compression happens between the inlet port and manifold port. This also entails drilling additional holes in the end plates – see photo below

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Harry would go on to run the Wray-blown MGTC for six years as everyday transport. It is suspected that the supercharger is currently running on Kevin McMahon’s MG TC & Y Special, which we saw above. Harry was told in Adelaide that the patterns for the large supercharger would be destroyed, and that his was the last of the line. Thankfully, the moulds survived, and would lead to a later generation of superchargers… more on that below. Harry’s large Wray passed on to his son Philip, then to Colin Bonney unused, then onto Mike Sherrell. John Bowles assisted Mike by designing and building brackets and a manifold to finally fit the large Wray on to Mike's MGTC Special. The supercharger and kit were later onsold to Canada (more on this below). Philip Pyle fitted his small Wray in about 1984 to his Morris Minor convertible. Some years later Peter Compton fitted his small Wray to his MGTC. Pete Harper purchased a Wray supercharger some years ago from a Mr Muir, along with the pulley/speed scale paperwork. The machine is pictured below, running a Holley Model 1904 carburettor (the 1904 was common in Judson applications). The manifolding suits the BMC "A" series engine. The machine has never been installed or run. It is likely that this machine was part of the last batch of twelve.

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As noted above, Harry Pyle’s large Wray was sold on to Mike Sherrell. The supercharger was destined to be fitted to Mike’s 1949 1275cc MGTC/9349 XPAW motor. In July 1998 work began on a plenum chamber, with the supercharger being fitted over the next few months. The Wray-blown MGTC was fitted with an 1¾” S.U. carburettor, running a 0.125” jet and UVF needle. It’s first outing was at the Joondalup Round the Houses meeting in October 1998, and was nothing short of spectacular. Boost was off the dial, with the MG rocketing away from the other racers at the start, only to fuel up and bang the relief valve. The mob would then swarm past the MGTC, wreathed in clouds of black smoke. The XPAW would then clear its throat and roar away after them. With enormous torque it would rocket out of the course's tight corners and soon be up and through the pack, only to have the whole process repeat itself over and over. It may have taken some time to get the grin off Mike’s face after the race. The MGTC was in for some serious tuning before it’s next outing. A larger drive pulley was fitted, reducing supercharger speed to 85.7% of engine speed. This reduced boost to a more sane level (if 12-14psi can be called sane). The relief valve spring was reset to around 16psi, whilst the SU needle was leaned up to UVA. The distributor advance was retarded severely. Tuning on the rolling road showed the MGTC was producing 80bhp at the rear wheels, almost double the factory offering and the most the dyno operator said he had seen from this type of MG engine on his equipment. The tuned MGTC made a stunning performance at Ellenbrook, Western Australia in May 2000. A sprint had been set up around the new roads and curbs of a subdivision yet to have houses built. Such an event was perfect for the small vehicle, with more than a few eyebrows raised at the performance - 56.4sec, placing it before fiftyseven other cars including Westfields, Porsche 911s, Nissan Skylines, BMW M3Rs, a Holden VT Commodore HSV GTS, Ford GTHO, Lotus Elise's, Alfa Romeo's, Jaguar E Type and Datsun 260s.

While the car was performing strongly, overheating was becoming a problem on the longer events. In November of 2002 the head gasket let go at the Wanneroo Historics meeting. Tear-down showed a totally destroyed head gasket. To combat the problem, Michael tried blocking off all the water holes between head and block with cast iron inserts, though this lead to the engine running too hot. The final solution (in December 2003) copied the factory race engines, where a 1" pipe is run from the top rear core plug to the back of the cylinder head. The MGTC has run in this guise ever since with no gasket failures and at the coolest of temperatures.

Sadly, in May 2004 disaster struck in the middle of a motorkhana. The Wray seized and stopped dead, with the engine spinning at some 6000rpm. One drive belt snapped, but the other belt kept driving. The supercharger had swallowed one vane and cracked the other three. The tear-down showed the Wray driveshaft had a 270º twist, with the pulley key disintegrated. The casing liner was 0.040" out of round, and the rotor slots opened up. After some major repairs, the Wray returned to service, thought he increased clearances would only support 8psi of boost. Michael sold the Wray, which made it’s way to Vancouver, Canada. The MGT has since been Roots-blown. The photos below, from Mike, show the Wray-blown track terror:

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6. Fred Radman and the Second Generation of Wray Superchargers
The Wray superchargers were largely being sold in batches to speedshops. Once the speedshops mark-up was added, the superchargers became expensive. The lack of demand for superchargers, possibly due to the ability to install a V8 engine with cheap horsepower into various cars; and the lack of enthusiasm by John Wray and staff (who in previous years had an interest in performance vehicles) led to the stop in production. The drawings, patterns and tooling were sold in about 1986 to Fred Radman, starting a new era in Wray superchargers.

In the late 1970’s, Fred’s interest in supercharging was sparked by the noise coming from a motorkhana being held in a nearby shopping centre carpark at Tea Tree Plaza, Adelaide. On investigation, Fred found one of the competitors to be running a Mini Moke, complete with Formula 5000 slicks. The owner of the vehicle was Rob Searle. Rob was serious about his motorkhana vehicles, having competed in a Morrie ute powered with a supercharged Holden 138 grey motor the year before. Rob had purchased a steel case/steel rotor air cooled Type 65 Norman in pieces, with one end plate missing and no vanes. Having remade the missing components, the Norman was mounted to the grey motor and fed by twin Strombergs in suck-through mode. The Norman was later transferred to the 1275cc Moke engine, and chain-driven. A custom cam was ground up by Chris Milton Motors. Rob found that the suck through system experienced throttle lag, and modified it to run blow-through. A single SU carburettor was mounted in a pressurised box, made from an old saucepan. The SU would later be replaced with a Reece Fish carburettor. A Stromberg throttle body was employed as a waste gate, controlled by flexing a Holden fuel pump diaphragm to begin wasting at some 15psi of boost, Under load, the induction and exhaust noise of the little brick engine was incredible. (photos: Fred Radman)

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Rob would later go on to wreck out the Moke, selling the Norman to Dennis Boundy to place into a Holden museum. The ex-Moke Norman supercharger is shown in Dennis’ photo below:

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Dennis is no stranger to Norman superchargers… his Norman blown FJ sedan is legendary for running some 113mph on the Lake Gairdner Great White Dyno. The FJ runs a water cooled Norman, mounted on the drivers side of the grey motor and fed by a 350 Holley. The water cooling is run through a water/air intercooler. Dennis’ photo of the Norman blown FJ are below:

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A few years later, with the noise of the Norman-blown Moke still ringing in his ears, Fred went on to purchase his first supercharger. This was a small model Wray, which had come from a Renault 8 or Renault 10. A few years later still a second Wray was purchased, again small model complete with a Mini fitment kit. The earlier supercharger was onsold to Kevin Shearer, whilst Fred still has his second supercharger.

In the late 1980’s, Fred got into contact with John Wray, who in turn directed him to a Greg Pill, who had worked for Wray and had the moulds and tooling. This was around the time that the final batch of twelve superchargers was being made the MG TC Owners Club of Perth. Fred can remember meeting John Wray, who carried a small book of engineering details Fred purchased the casing moulds and tooling, and went on to cast his first supercharger. Pictured below are some of the drawings, sketches and doodlings which came with the moulds and tooling (photos: Fred Radman):

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The pink drawing in the upper photo nearest the camera is a Holden grey motor manifold (sadly, no patterns or jigs exist for this one).

The small foundry used for Fred’s first casting run in Magill, Adelaide did not produce a satisfactory casting, and Fred changed to the Castech foundry (in Wingfield, South Australia - http://castech.net/) for all subsequent work. The casing castings for the Radman superchargers were done in CC601 (A356/A357) aluminium alloy, which was later heat treated. Machining of the raw castings was undertaken by Bob Jolly. Bob was an ex-Isle of Man bike racer who competed across Europe in the mid-1970s. Bob also scratch built JAP, Velocette, Triumph and Norton gear. He was also the owner of Bob Jolly and Co Machining, which still exists: http://bobjolly.com.au/.

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Bob's company was started in 1979 as Bob Jolly and Co Racing, with simple turning and milling operations servicing the racing community from his St Peters, Adelaide workshop. Bob relocated his workshop to Lobethal in the Adelaide Hills, and then to 82-84 Francis Road Wingfield, where they still operate today. All the rotors machined by Bob have distinctive rotor vane slots. The profile of the slitting saw used gives radiused roots, which lowers root stress in the rotor. The photo below (from Fred) shows the radiused vane root profile:

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Fred went on to make L60, L96 and T96 machines, along with one T60.

Fred had been told by John Wray that cast iron diesel cylinder liners were used as casing liners in the Wray superchargers. For Fred’s machines, steel bore casing was used, with diagonal ports. Unlike the original Wray superchargers, Fred’s machines had the liners honed. Rotors were machined from 6060 or 6061 aluminium alloy. Like the earlier Wrays, the vanes were made from Tuffnol, which Fred sourced from Cadillac Plastics in Adelaide.

Fred also has the patterns for the Mini and T96 inlet manifolds. The latter can be machined for a single barrel downdraught carburettor, or cut to suit a side-draught SU or injection throttle body.
The Radman superchargers mainly used downdraught Stromberg carburettors with a variable main metering jet. Pictured below (photo: Fred Radman) is a D5 factory down draft S.U carburettor, used on the early Radman Mini setups. The adaptor mates it to the stud pattern on the intake manifold. Whilst it worked well it was not an easy carburettor to source, and Fred soon changed to Stromberg carbs for ease of availability.

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Authors note: I have named the second generation of machines (made by Fred) Radman superchargers, to differentiate them from the Wray supercharger. Fred is modest, and views them as Wrays. I personally think though that anyone who manufactures superchargers from scratch, and continues their development deserves more than a little recognition… hence I’ve kept the Radman naming.

Around one dozen of the Radman superchargers were made, with the finished machines selling for cost at around $1000. Some of the superchargers were stamped with model and serial numbers, whilst others were not. The first of the Radman superchargers was sold to Peter Wilson in Adelaide on the 15th of January 1993 as a “kit” of parts. The liner was not machined for inlet/outlet ports, with Peter undertaking his own port timing. Peter built a Morris 8 special, named Pieces of Eight. Pieces of Eight was built in South Australia between 1988 and 1990, based on a 1937 UK Morris 8 special. It is a fully CAMS accredited Group K vehicle. It has a Morris 8 four-cylinder side valve engine, with the supercharger running at 12psi. It runs a single 1¾” SU on avgas. The car has finned 8” brakes driven by original 1935 hydraulics. Suspension is by Hartford friction shock absorbers, keeping the bounce out of 16”x3½” Dunlop magna wire polished alloy wheels.

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The images below (photos: Fred Radman) shows the original Radman supercharger made for Pieces of Eight, along with the original 2” SU carburettor supplied. To fit between the dumb irons on the chassis it was machined down so as to have only one bearing on the input end. The supercharger is directly driven from the Morrie’s crankshaft.

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After the car was sold the supercharger rotor was subsequently shortened and a spacer fitted inside the casing to lower the capacity. Such modifications, whilst unusual, were not unique. Bob Jolly took a T96 casting and cut and shut it to make a T60 for Dave Linton (perhaps the only T60 ever made). Jim Howard from Slider Engineering hard anodised the rotor and also machined and anodised the tooth belt pulley. The cut and shut T60 unit would later be fitted to an Austin 7 race car.

The second Radman supercharger was also sold to another Morris 8 owner, with a further Radman going to an Alfa Romeo-powered Amilcar.

Fred moved to the UK, with sales of the Radman Wrays continuing in his absence by Bob Jolley, Dave Linton and Phil Evans. When Bob sold a supercharger, he often stamped a small “R” (for Robert) into the casing. The “R” is shown in the image below of a T96 Wray (photo: Fred Radman).

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Fred sold two superchargers whilst in the UK to John Bibby, who rebuilt Shorrock and other superchargers. John still trades as John Bibby Superchargers (72 Feiashill Road Trysull Wolverhampton West Midlands WV5 7HT). The image below (photo: Fred Radman) was taken in the UK at John Bibby’s place, and shows a Cozette eccentric vane supercharger, a Wray L60 sliding vane supercharger and a Shorrock C75 eccentric vane supercharger.

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Whilst in the UK Fred continued his research, speaking to Tuffnol about improved vane materials.
Sadly, the increasing availability of the Aisin superchargers used by Toyota reduced the market for the Radman superchargers, and no further batches were made. Fred still has a number of the castings and complete machines – the photo below (photo: Fred Radman) shows a manifold Fred recently machined:

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Regards,
Harv (deputy apprentice Wray supercharger affecionado).
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fredeuce
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Re: Seeking information on Wray superchargers

Post by fredeuce »

Harv,
All I can say is , wow! I haven't read it all yet but look forward to the read.

I spotted the one my brother has in his shed and will take some pictures of it and forward them to you this was a setup for a Mini.

Cheers,
Fred
fredeuce
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woody28A
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Re: Seeking information on Wray superchargers

Post by woody28A »

G'day "Harv" that is fabulous history :shock: and more importantly brilliant research :D :D Well done.
Remember this life is a test. If it had been a real life you would have received further instructions on where to go and what to do!!!!!
Harv
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Re: Seeking information on Wray superchargers

Post by Harv »

Thanks gents.

Any photos of survivors (Wrays, or Normans for that matter) very much appreciated.

I've done the history of Impala shifters, Normans, Wrays, Howarth injection and a few other more Holden-centric topics like Aussie Stromberg carbs and crashboxes. I've got an itching to do Olbis fuel injection (before the history is lost), but can't lay my hands on one as a starting point.

Cheers,
Harv
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rx4ord
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Re: Seeking information on Wray superchargers

Post by rx4ord »

Thanks Harv.
Bloody interesting and clever stuff.

Dave
Founding Member of OZ-E-Rodders
Harv
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Re: Seeking information on Wray superchargers

Post by Harv »

fredeuce wrote:Harv,
All I can say is , wow! I haven't read it all yet but look forward to the read.

I spotted the one my brother has in his shed and will take some pictures of it and forward them to you this was a setup for a Mini.

Cheers,
Fred
G'day Fredeuce,

Have you had a chance to take some photos please? So few Wrays (or Normans) were made, it's like hunting down long-lost relatives.

Regards,
Harv
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fredeuce
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Re: Seeking information on Wray superchargers

Post by fredeuce »

Harv,
As mentioned , here are the pictures. The stamped number is L60/110. I believe this was fitted to a mini/BMC A series. I do not have the history but have some suggestions.
The fellow that had it was an old family friend who was an engineer/machinist/general mr.fixit who my brother and I both worked for many years ago. He is now deceased and was part of his estate. My brother was given it by the family. The inlet manifold portion to the head is missing and it appears the veins have been removed.

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fredeuce
Harv
Posts: 450
Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:11 am

Re: Seeking information on Wray superchargers

Post by Harv »

Thankyou sir - very much appreciated. Looks like the Mini setup to me too. I'll run the photos past Fred and see if there is anything he picks up.

Cheers,
Harv
Harv
Posts: 450
Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:11 am

Re: Seeking information on Wray superchargers

Post by Harv »

G'day fredeuce,

Some quick feedback from Fred. It is indeed a Mini kit with original Wray cast pulley. The missing supercharger-to-cylinder head manifold is still available from Fred is you want one (pm me an email address and I'll pass it on to Fred). The casing casting shows porosity where the original mould riser was (not uncommon). This is the first L60 model we have run across with a serial number.

Cheers,
Harv
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