So You Want to Know How Fast A Cosworth Can Go?

 

 Just ask Frank Sloan about the world's fastest

production Cosworth Vega

#2405 a/k/a #929

G/Pro

 

Cosworth #2405 has a storied history.  According to Joe Sumen, one of its previous owners, “I purchased the car back in 77/78 while employed at Vilem B. Haan Inc. (an automotive boutique of some repute in Santa Monica, Ca).  Lance Stewart was the first owner of the car.”  Lance went on to earn a professional ride from Mazda as well as Nissan, according to Joe.  Lance, and later Joe, successfully campaigned #2405 in sanctioned slaloms at various venues from Santa Barbara and Salinas to Lion County and San Diego and Torrey Pines.  “The car was unbeatable except for ONE silly-fast Mazda RX3 which ended up failing inspection,” says Joe.

 

The car had "Scheel" race seats on both sides, an "Autopower" roll bar with crossbracing, a fire extinguisher, and a rear "Shadow" window shade.  It also had the rare Pontiac Astre GT 3 piece rear spoiler and a front air dam that was used for the "Dobi" air dam layup.  The motor was built by the good folks at TRACO Engineering.  

 

Joe remembers that Lance lightly smacked the right front fender up in Lone Pine.  A non-matching fender decal was used in the repair, one that was not die cut like the driver’s side but rather printed on a rectangular block.  

 

Joe also has some fond memories of his experiences with the car.  Mulholland Drive was a frequent "hang-out" for us (Vilem B. Haan) employees back then and sometime after buying the car from Lance, I'd drive up to Mulholland to see if there were any 'suitable' victims to destroy. – Sigh! -- How times change when one realizes life is precious.  Being young (in my 20's back then) and filled with a venomous desire for speed, I regret to say I was one of several who made a name for himself ‘on the hill’ by either being more proficient at navigating the torturous road, or simply as a result of the neat cars I owned….My adventures with #2405 on the hill included an extremely interesting encounter with Steve McQueen and his Mini Cooper ‘S’ late one night up at the 'lookout'.  This was way back in '78.  Needless to say, he liked the car.  Regards, Joe”

 

Gary Schroeder (son of Gordon Schroeder of Novi motor fame) eventually purchased #2405 from Joe to add to his collection, and for many years it sat alongside a genuine Ford GT 40 and other esoterica.

 

#2405 is now (June, 2008) owned by Frank Sloan of Winnetka, California.  Frank purchased the car in 2004.  At the time of purchase it had been sitting a long while and required major TLC.  It had damage to the front and right side, some rust issues, and very poor original black lacquer paint.  Frank gutted the car and started over.  Repair of the damage, attention to eliminating the rust, and a fresh red paint job (2405-1.jpg) resulted in the eye candy you see in these photos.

 

Frank made the car over into a dry lakes racer and started a quest for the El Mirage G/production record.  At the time the record was 142 mph and held by a Honda.  With the engine that came in the car and as originally configured, Frank posted a best time of 136.37 mph, a showing that was limited somewhat by wheelspin through the lights at 7700 rpm! 

 

Frank Sloan's G/PRO Cosworth Vega at El Mirage

Over the next several years Frank made numerous changes in search of greater speed and the record.  He replaced the Webers with TWM 50mm throttle bodies which mount to the Hutton manifolds just like the Webers.  The TWM’s are controlled by an SDS Engine Management system which includes a crank-fire ignition setup to spark the plugs, while long track Crane cams (.450" lift) open and close the valves in a cylinder head that has been ported so large that it had to be welded and has almost totally removed the dividers between the ports.  The connecting rods were vintage 5.875" COE pieces but are now 5.7" Carillo units.  This motor ran 12:1 compression before, but has been bumped up to 14.0:1 with pistons plated on the top and sides by Calico and requires race gas. 

 

Notice the “think outside the box” custom header that exits in front of the left front tire.  No mufflers here, just a big straight pipe!  (2405-3.jpg)  The record setting engine sports a dry sump oiling system and a lower-end girdle to hold the block together.

Frank Sloan's #2405 Cosworth Vega Engine Compartment

 

 

This shot also shows the cold air box that is attached to the ice water cooler located inside the car.  Also check out the the Accusump (www.accusump.com) on top of the driver’s inner fender panel in the foreground.

 

Here's another view of the engine compartment to provide a slightly different perspective.

 

Frank Sloan's #2405 Cosworth Vega Engine compartment 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a great shot of the “mission control” center.  This is where Frank gets down to business. 

 

Frank Sloan's Cosworth Vega #2405 dry lakes racer engine compartment 

 

Another interior shot shows more of the very stout roll cage. 

 

Frank Sloan's Cosworth Vega #2405 Autopower roll cage

 

Here is another view of the engine compartment.  Note the cold air intake feed through the firewall from the passenger compartment. 

 

Front view of Frank Sloan's #2405  Cosworth Vega dry lakes racer

 

From this next view you can see the great fit of the Chris Wheaton supplied front air dam. While you're looking, do you notice anything missing from the front bumper?

 

Frank Sloan's Cosworth Vega #2405 dry lakes racer on the salt

 

Note also the ride height. The spoiler looks to be about 3-4 inches above the salt. In fact, this picture was taken with the car in "trailer loading" mode. When in "racing" mode, the undercarriage can be as low as 3/4 inch above the salt--air passing under the rough underbody creates tremendous drag, and the function of the front air dam is to block the air from getting under the car, though at speed the small amount of air that gets under the car will lift it significantly. Frank achieved this tiny clearance with S-10 spindles that are dropped two inches and an air bag front suspension. The amount of air in the bags determines the initial ride height at the front, and filling them full facilitates loading the car on the trailer.

Other suspension goodies are upper control arms that have been swapped from side to side to gain 6-8 degrees of positive caster. While this is far too much for the street, it works well to help keep the nose of the car over the black line. There are 5-lug S-10 axles in the rear, and the already mentioned 5-lug dropped S-10 spindles in the front originally allowed the mounting of the larger S-10 rotors and calipers for added braking capacity. However that has now changed.

While the car originally ran S-10 disc brakes front and back, that has now changed in a bottom-of-the-barrel effort to shed a few extra pounds of unnecessary weight. The big front brakes and heavy rotors have been removed and only the rears remain available to slow the car. Although Frank reports that the car is now very hard to stop, he quips that "fortunately there is plenty of room [to stop] on the salt flats."

With this revised motor and suspension setup Frank smashed the El Mirage G/production record on June 8, 2008 with a blistering run of 148.445mph.   Not yet satisfied, he has pre-registered as car #929 for Bonneville Speed Week (August 18-24, 2008) at the Salt Flats.

The car will be wearing new Cosworth Twin Cam fender and tail panel decals for its Bonneville debut this year. We in the CVOA wish Frank good luck--and good speed!