Developed in the late 1970s, by Drake Engineering, this engine features a DOHC design with four valves per cylinder. It is capable of producing upwards of 570 horse power at 9,500 RPM.
John Drake had taken over the business from his father, Dale, and, along with Hans Hermann, designed and built this engine.
Pat Patrick and his friends, including A.J. Watson, put down deposits to help finance the building of 20 DT-160 V8s, the official designation of the engine, the first of which ran in late 1978. Patrick’s crew chief, George Bignotti, while trying to help with the Drake V8, was not pleased with it.
When he went to look at the engine as the first one was being put together, he was shocked to see the crankshaft was undersized and as a result could not be balanced.
It was John Drake’s contention that the bottom end was built too heavy in order to be strong. Another serious problem was the use of timing belts for the cam drive instead of gears.
The belts would break, causing the pistons to hit the valves, destroying the top end of the engine. Ron Hoettels, builder of Sesco midget engines, was enlisted to help with the project, designing a new cam drive cover for the Drake powerplant.
Finally, in 1979, the money ran out, as there were no more teams willing to put cash into it. A.J Watson entered one for the 1979 Indy 500 but George Snider was unable to qualify it.