Norwood Un-Salted Flat 12-Power...
This overpowered brute was originally designed by Bob Norwood for NHRA drag racing. The car ran under the national class record with 7.0’s at 170mph in the quarter mile until its gigantic Vortech-like centrifugal supercharger was outlawed by the NHRA. At this point the car ran a few exhibition drag races and then arrived at Bonneville in 1989 ready to take a massive ram at the world of top-speed racing.
Essentially, the car was a tube frame Ferrari 308 designed for Pro-Stock drag racing and fitted with funnycar-type composite body panels. The rear tires were massive slicks mounted on a narrowed Ford nine-inch rear axle—exactly like present-day Pro-stock drag machines. The transmission was a pressure-shifted Lenco unit with nine-inch gears. The front-mounted powerplant was an evil-looking thing surely smuggled into Texas directly from Hell you might guess ran on Plutonium waste or Di-lithium crystals or something much worse. Actually, the 308’s engine ran on 120-octane super-premium race gasoline and was based on a Flat-12 Ferrari Boxer block fitted with 4-valve Testarossa heads, topped with a beautifully sculpted and truly massive air-water intercooler mounted directly on top of the block. The intercooler featured 12 super-high-flow electronic injectors spraying furiously into velocity stacks integral to the intercooler. The massive intercooler unit bolted directly to the heads and functioned as a combination intake plenum/intercooler/fuel rail/manifold unit.
The centrifugal blower—salvaged from a gigantic British locomotive engine that apparently no longer Thought It Could—was driven by a 1.5-inch shaft that traversed the length of the engine and was driven off the flywheel via a reversed Allison turbine helicopter gear-reduction unit originally designed to step down turbine velocities to something the main rotor could handle. The FAA required this type of gear reduction to be replaced after even a single emergency auto-rotation power-off landing, guaranteeing availability at fire-sale prices. The blower, looking like a hugely-overgrown Vortech blower sent back in time by The Machines to destroy all human life in 1989, had a five-inch impeller that was capable of gobbling air at the rate of something like 500 pounds per minute, a rate that could probably suck the air out of double-wide in less than 60 seconds!
The supercharged 12-cylinder Boxer engine, featuring a lightened flywheel and knife-edged crank, and could rev from the engine’s 1200 RPM idle to the 9K redline in just over a tenth of a second, and had been certified on a Superflow 901 engine dyno to make 1400 horsepower on 120-octane gasoline at 60psi boost. The short-stroke 3.2-inch bore engine was upgraded with a billet Crower crankshaft, extra-long Crower rods, custom forged pistons, and was managed by a Haltech F3 EFI controller and a Firepower direct-fire 12-coil ignition. According to Norwood, each 24-valve head was carefully flowed and mildly ported for optimum forced breathing.
In 1989, the flat-12 308 arrived out west in time to make a few runs in Land Speed Record country with Greg Johnson at the wheel. However, before the car got a chance to break the 223 mph record for 5.0L and less blown modified sports cars (1400 horsepower should’ve made this look easy, assuming the car hadn’t already entered a low earth orbit) the event was rained out.
“This may have been a good thing,” allows Norwood.