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Lost and found: Ardun V8 60

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Uncle Bob, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. I did a search through posts past and found several that dealt with Arduns, and specifically the V8 60 variety. None of them dealt with this particular car, so I thought I'd start a new thread. Sorry if I'm repeating a prior post topic.

    Some days just turn out great!

    I've got a neighbor who's got a really great gig. He's an expat Kiwi who runs a sports racer fabrication/repair shop out of his home garage. As such, he's well connected with the more well to do crowd that tends to frequent vintage road racing circles. His name is Tony.

    So yesterday I stop by to see how he's getting along and shoot the bull with him briefly. He's not much into hot rods per se, but I've had him do some machine work and TIG welding for me from time to time so he knows we share a love of fun cars. Our conversations seem to be rapid fire, and bounce around a might. Somehow my mentioning quick change rears led the conversation to Ardun heads (go figure!) I started to tell him that one of my wife's former clients had a really neat MG TC with a V8-60 engine wearing Ardun heads. Almost simultaneously we say the (now deceased) owner's name. Pat _____. Turns out Tony used to maintain Pat's fleet of British and Italian cars.

    The first time I met Pat was when he invited us, along with about 100 of his business associates, to the grand opening of his combination business office/auto collection museum. I was probably the only car guy guest there, the rest being into silly things like boats, art, horses, and so on. So I'm standing there absolutely frozen looking at this MG TC and the Ardun when Pat, being the good host, circulates by and asks if I'm enjoying looking at the cars. I blurt out something or other about never having seen V8 60 Ardun heads, only having ever heard stories about their existence. He says "Oh, you know what you're looking at!", which is to say he was surprised to find someone at that kind of event who was into old hot rod stuff. He gave me a brief story of how he'd bought and raced the car with a flathead V8 60 in the early '50s down in California, and then sold it only to buy it back in the '70s and have it rebuilt with the Ardun heads and some other improvements, and he'd had it in his collection since. Then he says, "Come on, I've got something else to show you.". We walk on back to a storage room, and there, down on a bottom shelf, in a wooden crate, is.......yup, another pair of unused V8 60 Arduns! Holy cow, from never seeing any in person to seeing TWO sets in one day! He says, to his knowledge, there were only 21 sets made, and that several vintage engine guys had been after him for years to sell the boxed set..................yes, including ol' Speedy Bill.

    So back to my neighbor Tony. I'm lamenting to him that I'd lost track of the car when Pat died a couple years after our first encounter and Tony gets that big grin on his face. He says, "Well, I do work for his son Bill who still has the car, in fact I'll be working at his garage/museum tomorrow if you want to come bye." I'm thinking, " Hell yes!!!" So off I went this morning with camera in hand.

    This car has a fabulous history and has been worked by many of the notables in Southern California hot rod history. It was originally built for a So. Cal. Real estate developer in 1948, with the flathead version V8 60, by a couple guys you may have heard of. Doane Spencer and Alex Xydias. That owner raced the airfield road courses of the day with a hired driver until he sold the car to Pat in 1952. Pat, in turn, did some road racing of his own as well as employing the same driver until he sold the car in 1955 to concentrate on building his business. In 1976 Pat repurchased the car and spent the next 7 years bringing it to its current state with the Ardun heads and many other upgrades. Along with the work he did himself he hired out other aspects of the build to another group of folks you may recognize: Dean Moon, Fred Larsen, Dick Kraft, and Hill & Vaughan. The intake system, along with the front drive on the engine were the direct handy work of Fred Larsen of Larsen & Cummins fame.

    The car was last publicly displayed at the Seattle Roadster Show in 2004, and now sits in a warm and comfy garage with a number of racing and street driven cars of British, German, and Italian ancestry. These are not trailered wall flowers. They all get driven from time to time by a loving owner who likes to drive, not just show. They were recently at some historical race in Portland with some of the racing cars in the fleet and used one of the other cars in the collection as what they refer to as a "parts chaser". That one being a customized AC Aceca coupe with Paxton supercharged SBF. Yeah, these boys know how to have fun!!

    Enjoy the pictures.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Dec 31, 2014
  2. 32 Barn Car
    Joined: Jul 2, 2008
    Posts: 664

    32 Barn Car
    from Oregon

    Wow ! , good stuff . Thanks for sharing..........
  3. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 33,868


    Nifty tale! Thanks.
  4. Weasel
    Joined: Dec 30, 2007
    Posts: 6,693


    Er yes, W O W! Love the Aceca too.

  5. A little engine candy for your enjoyment then.....

    Attached Files:

  6. dudley32
    Joined: Jan 2, 2008
    Posts: 2,135


    Man o' Man...T C and an Ardun.!!

    My absolute favorites...d32
  7. Bloodandmotoroil
    Joined: Feb 22, 2010
    Posts: 154


  8. Asphalt Outlaw Hero
    Joined: Dec 9, 2006
    Posts: 970

    Asphalt Outlaw Hero
    from Dixie

    Boy,The Ardun just drops into the MG. Looks like there was room for a few more cylinders.Thanks for posting.
  9. hellonwheels
    Joined: Jan 16, 2007
    Posts: 674


    So what happened to the Arduns in the crate!?
  10. AAAAh, that was good for me....


  11. 42 chevy
    Joined: Nov 1, 2006
    Posts: 623

    42 chevy

    I love those engines, very innovative.
  12. ravedodger
    Joined: Aug 24, 2007
    Posts: 296


    Question of the day. Any info????
  13. I asked that same question about the set in the crate. All I got was blank stares. :( Maybe Speedy Bill finally wore ol' Pat down. I'd like to think they went someplace where they're appreciated.
  14. 31Atudor
    Joined: Aug 19, 2006
    Posts: 56


    I'm speechless. I've got drool all over the keyboard. Sweet
  15. rick finch
    Joined: May 26, 2008
    Posts: 2,003

    rick finch

    Fantastic story.....thank you for sharing!
  16. Yeah .. this is what I come here for! Thanks.
  17. fab32
    Joined: May 14, 2002
    Posts: 13,985

    Member Emeritus

  18. 29 bones
    Joined: Sep 26, 2006
    Posts: 1,126

    29 bones
    from so cal

    cool story......thanks
  19. Great pictures and even better story about the car. It's amazing to here of another of cool old car with history still in Washington.

    I wonder if the set of V-8 60 Ardun Heads, still in the box, ended up in John Mumford's Collection. I remember hearing that he owned a set of V-8 60 Ardun Heads, still in the box, they might even be the same set of V-8 60 Ardun Heads now on the Track T roadster that Roy Brizio's shop is building for him.
  20. Hey, I saw that car run at the Monterey Historic races in '84. It sounds a lot bigger than a 135" V8.

    In '88 I saw two pair of 60 ARDUN heads at Gene Scott's shop, one still in the original crate. We wanted a set bad for one of our midgets, but Gene wouldn't put a price on them. Now Gene's gone, and so are the heads. Wonder who the lucky SOB is that got them??
  21. Toner283
    Joined: Feb 13, 2008
    Posts: 1,327


    Did you check the storage room? Maybe they are still there & no one knows that they are?

    Long shot but you might get lucky. Most of the time it is better to be lucky than good. :D
  22. The37Kid
    Joined: Apr 30, 2004
    Posts: 27,960


    Great story, thank you for sharing it, I often wonder how many collections like this are out there. I had a V8-60 with ARDUN heads back in the 1970's, had a tag on the center valley 1001. I was told it spent its life on a dyno, was going to put it in a Solar midget I had at the time, but wound up swapping it for another project. Years later I was reading the Duntov book and there was a photo of the engine. Turns out Duntov himself had put it in a Midget and drove it himself on Long Island! Looking back on things selling it was one of the biggest mistakes I've made in the hobby. Still have a head gasket and cam follower to remind me.:)
  23. Last edited: Sep 9, 2010
  24. RAY With
    Joined: Mar 15, 2009
    Posts: 3,133

    RAY With

    Amazing story and pictures.Thanks for posting.
  25. Terry Buffum
    Joined: Mar 20, 2008
    Posts: 287

    Terry Buffum
    from Oregon

    Re; Ardun 60 in MG at Monterey 1984. I remember a TD with Ardun 60, dark green, the owner/driver worked for Isky. I don't remember the red car. I still run the white Jag Spl which looks like an Allard (Parkinson Jag Spl) and also still had a Ferrari 340 Barchetta in 1984. All would have been in the same class, "Postwar Modified thru 1955, over two liter engine".

    Rick Cannon has a "big" Ardun in his Uncle's former car, and an Ardun Allard (from Texas ?) has run. Not all the cars at that event are "blue bloods" - and the top three or four places in our class almost always go to Specials. A flat head powered Manning has become the car to beat the last few years, but he blew up in Friday's practice this year, so we won again.
  26. skwurl
    Joined: Aug 25, 2008
    Posts: 1,620


    Great story. Thanks a ton
  27. That's possible, Pat traveled in some of the same circles that Mumford probably does. If he thought that someone would do something worthy with them he could have let them go that way. When he died the collection was distributed among family members so the cars, and probably any other "stuff", went in several different directions. The son that has this car, among others, is keeping the ones he got. Another son has been selling off the ones he inherited.

    I must have used the wrong combo of search wording, that didn't show up for me. You've described the old office/museum pretty much as I remember it. Do you remember the skeleton hanging on the wall behind his desk?

    It's not cars, but this thing was incredible, and hard to describe adequately. To call it a "fish" would be incomplete, my wife calls it the Tyrannosaurus Rex of fish. Imagine you're on the worst bender of your life and you see a barracuda that's at least 10' long...........then multiply the uglyness and ferrocity of that image by a factor of 10!! This was a fossilized skeleton that Pat had found years before in Hawaii. Fangs and all. Like I said, hard to describe, but it was just plain gnarly. Fortunately it's being preserved at the Burke Museum in Seattle. I looked on their site for pictures but didn't see any.

    Comet mentioned engines on stands. The Ardun on a stand was a standard size flathead. He also had this one that might be of interest.

    Attached Files:

  28. 296ardun
    Joined: Feb 11, 2009
    Posts: 4,368


    Thanks for posting...rare Ardun stuff is still out there, I ran into a guy with "big" Ardun heads on his deuce roadster, from Lancaster, OH. When I told him I had run an Ardun-headed fuel dragster, he indicated that he had a couple of crated big Ardun kits in his garage....anyone on this site near or in Lancaster, know the guy? (it was more than 20 years ago)
  29. 39Truck
    Joined: Aug 20, 2007
    Posts: 260

    from Sweden

    Wow thats nice to see ,try to get him fire it up next time .Must be fantastic to see this realy rare thing in really.
    Thanks for sharing the pictures and great story.
  30. mow too much
    Joined: Nov 20, 2008
    Posts: 906

    mow too much

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