Carsten Ullerup's Spitfire - Rover 3.5L V8 Engine Conversion

Carsten Ullerup's Spitfire - Rover 3.5L V8 Engine Conversion

as published in British V8 Newsletter, Volume XV Issue 1, April 2007

Owner: Carsten Ullerup
City: Vodskov, Denmark
Model: 1967 Triumph Spitfire MKIII
Engine: 1987 Rover SD1 Vanden Plas 3500cc V8
Conversion performed by: Owner

Engine: Rebuilt.
Intake: Edelbrock 500cfm carburetor and Edelbrock "Performer" intake-manifold. Custom air filter mounting.
Cam: Standard, but with new lifters and valvetrain.
Exhaust: Homemade stainless steel block-hugger 4-into-1 headers.
Cooling: Custom radiator made by Nordjysk Kølerfabrik. Custom fabricated thermostat-housing/water-neck. Large electric fan, pushing.
Transmission: Borg Warner Type 65 (3-speed automatic with 1.00:1 top gear). Custom-made gear selector.
Driveshaft: Rover (cut to fit, plus the flange was re-bored to match).
Rear Axle: Original Triumph.
Instruments: VDO "Cockpit Royale" gauges.
Completed: April 15, 2007. (Driven 50km as of April 16, 2007.)
Comments: The car and engine run very well on the street, I have driven nearly 50km for test purposes now, and it's VERY quick with the original 4.11 final gear ratio. The engine has a lot of power-reserve, so I plan to convert the final drive to BMW or Mercedes with approximately 3.10:1 final gear ratio. I've calculated the speed to be 1000 rpm to 27 km/h. Going to 3.10:1 will change that to 38 km/h, which will be much more convenient for cruising. With this higher ratio, I think my gearbox will work better too. Driving in "D", it shifts to third gear at just 25 km/h. Nonetheless, (due to the tremendous torque and awesome power-to-weight ratio) it's very fun to drive!

rover sd1     rover sd1 engine compartment
1987 Rover SD1 Vanden Plas donor car (stock, its 3.5L V8 engine is rated 156 bhp)

rover sd1 transmission     rover sd1 engine
One of the first steps was to pull the engine from the donor car.

triumph bonnet     removing boat anchor
Another early step was to pull the Triumph engine and transmission.

rover distributor     rocker arm assembly
Very careful disassembly of the Rover engine.

engine hoist     valve covers
The first trial installation was just for investigational purposes.

motor mounts on engine     motor mounts on frame
Carsten designed, fabricated, and installed his own motor mounts.

spitfire wire wheels     spitfire chassis
Now the Spitfire body was removed so Carsten could begin over-hauling the chassis.

spitfire suspension     spitfire frame
Now the suspension and frame were refreshed.

trial fitting the engine     spitfire backbone
The next step was to work-out drivetrain issues.

porting cylinder heads     polishing combustion chambers
Turning attention back to the engine... and the subtle art of head porting.

rover valve guides     rover valve seats
Here you can get a glimpse of the cleaned-up heads before reassembly.

rover valve job     rover cylinder head
Before you know it, the valves are ready to go back in.

engine stand     rover crankshaft
After honing the cylinders, the short-block begins going together.

rover water pump     rover sump
Continued reassembly includes fitting timing gear, chain, oil pick-up...

steel head gasket     metal head gaskets
Here we have a couple nice views of the head gaskets as the engine continues coming together.

aluminum heads     rover valley pan
Now the heads go on, and the hydraulic lifters and pushrods go in.

rover pushrods     rover rocker shaft
Carsten bought and installed new rocker-arm assemblies.

rover starter     Rover transmission
The Borg-Warner T56 automatic transmission will make this an easy-to-drive car.

fabricating headers     custom rover 3.5 headers
Next step: fabricating up a set of custom 4-into-1 headers!

trial fitting headers     aligning header flanges
These header flanges leave plenty of room for spark plug access.

completing the Rover engine installation
Finally, the engine is on its mounts and modeling beautiful brand-new headers.

Custom radiator by Nordjysk Kølerfabrik     remotely mounted pressure-cap bung
Custom radiator by Nordjysk Kølerfabrik, and remotely mounted pressure-cap bung.

home-fabricated thermostat-housing/water-neck     home-made spark plug wire routing guides
Home-fabricated thermostat-housing/water-neck, and home-made spark plug wire routing guides.

re-installation of the Spitfire body     remote air cleaner
With the Spitfire body back on, attention turns to the induction tract.

cobra head for remote air cleaner     modified Spitfire hood
Carsten fabricated a "cobra head" for the carb to place the air filter low and back.

automatic transmission gear shifter     knurled automatic transmission gear selector handle
Check out Carston's distinctive turned-and-knurled aluminum shifter/selector!

milling instrument console for new gauges from solid walnut     new VDO Cockpit Royale instruments / gauges
VDO "Cockpit Royale" instruments were fitted into a custom designed, milled, solid-walnut console.

instrument panel wiring     new instrument panel installed
The main console in solid walnut is VERY handsome! (Prototype lower console is shown too.)

Completed custom instrument panel, with walnut upper and lower consoles.

seats from Tuningleader of Belgium     modified spitfire bonnet
New seats from "Tuningleader" of Belgium - fitted on custom made frames!

performance blister     bonnet bulge for a Spitfire V8
It took lots of sanding & priming to get the finish right on the streamlined, custom-made fiberglass bonnet bulge.

completed Spitfire V8 project     Ready for the beautiful Danish summer!
Carsten completed this very extensive project in just seven months, start-to-finish!

Carsten's lovely bride Tina Ullerup poses in the before picture

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