Craig-Hunt T-Powered Race Car
About 1917, Craig-Hunt sold a 16-valve single overhead cam Ford racing head nearly identical to that of the 1912 Peugeot (DOHC) Grand Prix racing engine. Crude in the beginning, later versions of the Craig-Hunt head used an enclosed bevel gear and shaft setup to drive the cam, and a cross flow design with four ports on each side with two plugs per cylinder.
By 1918, Craig-Hunt was selling a complete line of racing equipment including underslung brackets, wheels and engine parts, and the famous torpedo tail "Speedway" body modeled after the Peugeot racers. Variations of this body became the dominant design used on race cars throughout the 1920's, '30s and '40s.
In 1920, Craig-Hunt Inc. reorganized and became Speedway Engineering, coining a new slogan, "Making the Ford Fleet-Footed", and introducing an 8-valve Ford rocker arm head designed for Speedster use. They also introduced a light-weight aluminum cylinder block for racing, weighing only 42 lbs. without the sleeves.
By 1923, national advertising had stopped and in 1925 the business was purchased by Carl Rogers, a race driver and local Green Engineering dealer. Although Craig-Hunt and succeeding companies were never hugely successful, their products were successful on the racetrack. The story goes that a 16-valve Craig-Hunt racer #5, owned by J.P. "Pappy" Stewart and driven by Bill Melaun, won 74 first places out of 86 starts during 1920 in Texas and Oklahoma.
Craig-Hunt cross-flow 16-valve single overhead cam heads (the first overhead valve heads built for the Ford motors) were built for racing only and not for touring cars or trucks. Not surprising when you consider that each of the four valves per cylinder in early heads were advertised as 1½” in diameter (1 5/16” in later heads). Price in 1918 was $85.
Early heads had bare chain-driven camshafts and you placed the cam lobes according to the valve timing you desired and then pinned the lobes in place. Soon the cams came with the timing already taken care of.
There are two spark plugs per cylinder, one on each side of the combustion chamber below and between the intake and exhaust valves directly over the piston.
A downtown Indianapolis Ford dealer, Barber-Warnock, entered a three-car team in the 1924 Indy 500. Louis and Arthur Chevrolet were hired to manage car construction while the cars were built by dealership mechanics. On race day, the Chevrolet Brothers performed as team managers and the Barber-Warnock mechanics formed the pit crews. It would be Barber-Warnock's second-to-last Indy 500 effort.
The three cars, numbered 26, 27 and 28, were assembled primarily of Ford Model T production parts (75% indicated), plus Frontenac race parts produced by the Chevrolet Manufacturing Company, also from Indianapolis.
Fred Harder, a Texas dirt racer, drove #27, with Bill Hunt in #26 and Alfred Moss, father of famous British racer, Sterling Moss, operating #28. All three cars qualified at similar mid-80 speeds, which translated to 75 mph in the corners and 95 mph on the straights. This was outstanding for basic Ford hardware shared with 15 million other Model T automobiles. All three cars proved reliable, completing the race, although none achieved the spectacular 5th place finish of the single 1923 Barber-Warnock Indy 500 entry. The highest finish of the 1924 cars was 14th.