Real Men Crank Drive
I thought it both interesting and informative.
Our first “Sponsor” for our early days of racing was Lee’s Speed and Muffler Shop in Santa Monica, CA. Lee had a friend named Chuck Potvin, a cam-grinder and speed innovator. The GMC diesel blower was actually an integral part of the 53 and 71 series, 2 cycle diesel truck engines and was not a supercharger. Most racers felt the blower could be used as a supercharger for a race engine but didn’t know exactly how to do it so Potvin reinvented the “Crank Drive”.
It was one of the first uses of the GMC blower as a supercharger. Potvin’s beautifully machined aluminum castings bolted to the front of the engine and the blower was gear driven off the crankshaft. Two aluminum tubes brought the air from the outlet side of the blower through a specially machined intake manifold on top of the engine. A specially designed fuel injection system by Stu Hilborn (Hilborn Fuel Injection Systems) provided the fuel delivery system and was usually used with this new set-up. To our knowledge, our Lee’s Speed Shop dragster was one of the first to use this new technology.
The car was fast, quick and won many races. It set both speed and ET records for Chevrolet and was featured on the cover of the November 1958 edition of Hot Rod Magazine. Word traveled fast and soon everyone was coming by Lee’s shop wanting to see the “Crank Drive”. “Oh, so you’re the guy that drives the ‘Crank Drive'” was a common greeting upon my introduction. It was an exciting and really fun time.
See ya at the races