The Holden Grey motor is often referred to as the Holden side plate. The engine earned its name as they were painted grey from the factory. They came in 2 sizes, 138ci and 132ci. More engineering and after market modifications have gone into this engine than any other engine in Australian automotive history.

April 29, 2020

Is this the Ultimate Holden - Waggot Twin Cam head on Grey motor

11:25 Posted by GreyFC No comments
Sports Car World - January 1954

The evolution of the Holden as a racing sedan has been little short of dramatic. Holdens with twice the manufacturer's horse­power are now common. Enthus­iasts like Lou Kingsley with bored-out, Repco-headed Holdens are talking of 140 b.h.p. But the latest competition Holden is likely to have something like three times the stock power — which, for the record, is 62 b.h.p. at 4,000 r.p.m. (nett) or 70 SAE horsepower. at 4,000 r.p.m. (gross).

Mechanics cluster around Bill Thompson's really fast d.o.h.c. Holden before its debut at Bathurst in Oct­ober. Manifold bother a//owed only a mere 6,000 r.p.m. in top gear

The most powerful Holden con­version to date has been carried out by Mery Waggott of Waggott Engineering, a very active firm of general engineers in Greenacre, a Sydney suburb.

The sedan belongs, to Bill Thompson and there is talk of Jack Myers piloting it in scratch races, with Bill at the wheel for handicap events. For a com­pletely new engine the power unit gave a quietly impressive account of itself at the G.P. meeting at Bathurst. With Jack Myers driv­ing it gained third place in the scratch section of the second race.

Earlier, in practice, clutch trouble was experienced. During the race itself there was also carburettor manifold trouble, and as the race went on the motor began to sound less and less clean. Jack Myers reports that on certain parts of the course on every lap, in exactly the same place, the engine was starving for fuel and he was forced to drive accordingly. A fractured manifold was suspected and Jack could not reach maximum speed.

An engine speed of 6,000 r.p.m. in top gear gave him a road speed of 111 m.p.h. However, maximum engine speed is expect­ed to be around 7,000 r.p.m., although a limit of 6,500 will be imposed on the indirect gears.

After the fuel check at the end of the event the engine refused to start and Mery Waggott found that petrol was spraying out of the carburettor union and the rear carburettor, which was held on by the pipes and linkages alone.

Only two Stromberg carburet­tors were fitted for the Bathurst event as the car was completed just in time for the meeting. For future events, however, six Amals will be used.

Mery Waggott, who has been responsible for both the engine design and machining, is not a man given to guess work. For this reason, he declines to esti­mate the likely power or speed of the engine. But with the specifications before us our guess-is that it will produce about 175 b.h.p. at 6,000 r.p.m.

Most people believe that the .evolution of bored-out special Hol­den engines has reached its zenith. This viewpoint is streng­thened by the decision of Mery Waggott to lengthen the stroke of the engine in his quest for more power.

By doing this he has raised the capacity to 2995 c.c., or nearly three litres. A special seven bear­ing crankshaft has been made to withstand the extra strain and the cylinder head is the well known Waggott "double knocker" with twin overhead camshafts. The compression ratio is 9 to 1 and the induction system will include six Amal carburettors.

The Waggott-Thompson Holden has a power to weight ratio of about 150 b.h.p. per laden ton. This compares favourably with stock 3.4-litre Jaguar, which has 145 b.h.p. per laden ton.

But the engine is not the only major modification. The stock gearbox has been replaced by a four-speed unit from an XK 120; the clutch is a composite unit made up of two Holden clutch plates, a Holden pressure plate, Jaguar centres and a fabricated steel centre plate fitted between the clutch plates.

Mery Waggott, the man who designed most of the unique Thompson Holden's speed equipment, adjusts the distributor before the ear's initial tryout at Mt.Panorama

For the Bathurst meeting a standard pressure plate was used with this special clutch. It failed, however, during the last lap of practice. This was not apparent until Myers went to the line for the start of the first sedan race. Bad vibration occurred and he could not select low gear—a sign that the pressure plate springs had collapsed.

A new pressure plate was fitted for the second day's racing, but Waggott Engineering is at pre­sent modifying the clutch to give positive driving location.

The suspension remains reason­ably standard, apart from stiffer coil springs at the front and more powerful shock absorbers all round. Repco-Holden brakes will be fitted at the front and pos­sibly also at the rear.

The three-litre engine capacity has been obtained by boring out the cylinder bores to 81 mm. (roughly 3/16" oversize) and lengthening the stroke to 96 mm., which is roughly I" longer than normal.

Merv Waggot designed a seven-bearing crankshaft and cradle.  This was fully counterbalanced and took the holden motor out to 3 litres.
Unusual sub-assembly containing special seven-bearing crankshaft bearing, bolts to the Holden block, using existing holes. 

The seven bearing crankshaft has been designed and machined by Mery Waggott himself. It was cut from solid 60 ton high tensile steel.

It is fitted to the Holden block by the use of an ingenious "cage"which is bolted to the lower half of the engine. As our photograph shows, the cast iron cage has been designed with seven bearing caps cast integrally.

It is bolted to the block, using the holes normally filled by the four bearing cap studs. The three additional bearings are retained by caps which can be bolted to the cage itself. This means that the crankshaft assembly is clamped to the cage before it is bolted to the engine block.

Initially, standard connecting rods were used. Later special rods will be made in the light of any lessons learned from the early operation of the new power unit. The pistons have been speci­ally cast and were machined by Waggott Engineering.

The contours of the camshaft are half way between semi and full race and the engine will be reasonably flexible. The compres­sion ratio is 9 to 1, so that pump fuel can be used to comply with sedan car regulations.

A standard oil pump is used, as past experience has shown that the gears of the drive shaft are likely to shear if the oil pressure is raised. A full flow Volks oil filter will be used. The ignition will be normal, apart from a Delco twin breaker point distributor.

The cylinder head is similar to that used on Jack Myers' W-M Cooper. The camshafts were machined from the solid by Wag-gott Engineering, but the special valves were made by an outside firm.

Maximum engine speed is ex­pected to be around 7,000 r.p.m., but limit of 6,500 or even 6,000 r.p.m. will be imposed for the indirect gears. Maximum speed will be governed by the choice of rear axle ratio, but is likely to be around 120 m.p.h.

Extra engine cooling has been affected in two ways. First the radiator core has been thickened to help keep the operating teme-peratures of the engine down, and secondly an oil radiator has been added.

So far this unusual Holden is still in the experimental stages. But few men have had more experience with modified Holden engines than Mery Waggott. Jack Myers and Bill Thompson are a formidable driving team.

With this backing the new car should prove unusually fast.

Mery Waggott, the man who designed most of the unique Thompson Holden's speed equipment, adjusts the distributor before the ear's initial tryout at Mt.


April 27, 2020

Dunstan rotary valve engine

SEACRAFT, September, 1957 ( Pages 50-52 )

This is the engine which may revolutionise speedboat racing

The engine used in the record-breaking skiff Southern Maid is fitted with a "Holden" engine adapted to "Dunstan" rotary valve and fuel injection equipment for which patents have been applied.

Advantages of a rotary valve are: Almost unlimited breathing capacity, freedom of reciprocating motion, absence of hot spots, compact com­bustion chamber, any desired control of turbulence. The results are: High power outputs (limited only by bal­ance and strength of crankshaft, con rods, bearings, etc.), high anti­knock rating and high efficiency. The existing engine at 11-1 compres­sion ratio will run on any fuel from second grade petrol about 75 octane) to pure Methanol and running changes can be made by manual con­trol of fuel pump setting, as no criti­cal jet sizes are involved.

This shows a Holden engine conversion on the dynamometer but with the rotary valve head removed. The engine was later dry-sum ped by driving the pumps off the camshaft gear. Swashplate fuel injection pump is shown (driven at half speed). This has a distributor to ensure even supply to high or low cylinders whets starting but has no useful purpose under normal running conditions when the jets could be
sprayed continuously and simultaneously.
This is the first Dunstan rotary valve applied to a full sized engine. This version had six separate floating cylinder heads. The fuel
injection is by Dunstan swash plate type pump. Mixture control by swash plate angle is not shown in the view

Most of the running has been with a standard Holden 6 volt coil ignition system with 12 volt applied. However, between raising the 135 cubic inches restricted hull class record from the previous holder's 53 m.p.h. to 60.624 and our latest 63.015, we fitted a Lucas magneto which is undoubtedly preferable to coil ignition at speeds over 6000 r.p.m.

Most of the racing is done on stan­dard or super petrol (about 80 octane) with addition of A pint 0/two-stroke oil per gallon for valve lubrication;

1 pint for touring. Methanol fuel, because of its high latent head and rich mixture, increases output about 12 per cent, over petrol and this fuel is used for special occasions. About

2 per cent. of castor oil is added to the Methanol to lubricate the valve which incidentally never shows any sign of wear or scuffing. A few foreign bodies such as jet tubes have in fact been through the valve and cylinders without affecting seal or perform­ance. This is of course not recom­mended operation procedure.

It is possible of course to fit a metering lubrication system of low consumption to eliminate the need for adding oil to the fuel. Although with self-mixing oils now available petrol/oil is no bother.

A cleaned up version of this design is being put into production for the Holden engine and this will be sold to speedboat, road and track racing car enthusiasts or private car owners on the basis of valve head only, or head plus enclosed front end drive for valve and accessories, plus fuel system if required, or complete dynamometer tested engines suitable for oars or boats. Many orders and interested inquiries have already been received and efforts are being made to expedite completion, testing and manufacture of the new model.

Such a valve could be fitted to any type of engine, using one valve for each bank of cylinder in the case of a Vee engine. However, all present efforts are being concentrated on "Holden" which is readily available at low cost and fits into competition classes very well and also stands a remarkable amount of "hotting-up" for a production car engine.

The valve is of grey cast iron and runs the full length of cylinder block and is hollow for water cooling. It runs at a quarter of engine speed and has two opposed pockets at each cylinder station. These pockets work on succeeding cycles. The original engine has six separate lower heads in floating contact with the valve. The new version has one aluminium head, split on centreline of valve, with six floating inserts which main­tain valve contact and seal. The new head could be fitted in lieu of the ordinary overhead valve head in about an hour. Arranging a drive for the valve is, however, more in­volved, especially if a front end drive is required to leave flywheel and clutch available for normal use.

Valve diameter is approximately the same as the cylinder bore (3") as this gives reasonable proportions of ports over a range of useful tim­ing diagrams and also gives a satis­factory balance of pressure areas to ensure valve seal without scuffing.

The heads have main ports about 1" ;" wide by 21" long and 1" or more deep depending on compression required. These ports are also the combustion chambers. Compression ratios of up to 12 to 1 can be achieved with standard flat top pistons. We might mention that the original set of standard pistons are still good after 12 months frequent racing, although the cylinders were recently linered as the bores were tapered and ridged and were breaking rings. The spark plug is 10 mm. and because of space problem in the original engine the points are i" down, a 5/16" diameter hole, but fire perfectly. Because of the shielding of plugs, plus cooling of the alumi­nium heads most of the racing has been with K.L.G. ten L30 plugs which are quite "soft" for such an engine. Recently we have used K.L.G. ten L80. Plug trouble is unknown. The latest engine used K.L.G. 10 L100 for racing at 7000-7500 r.p.m.

The inlet and exhaust ports are approximately horizontal and on op­posite sides of the valve and are about t" x 2,i". The valve pockets connect these with the main central port or combustion chamber accord­ing to the timing desired. The edges of the combustion chamber port and the edges of the valve ports control the exhaust opening and inlet clos­ing points and the lower edges of the exhaust and inlet ports control ex­haust closing and inlet opening or the overlap timing. Valve timing can be adjusted in detail by machining or filing port edges and the timing can be moved bodily by means of slotted setscrew holes in the main chain wheel.

Valve timing of present engine is approximately: exhaust opens 70 degs. before bottom d.c., closes 30 degs. after top d.c.; inlet opens 20 degs. before top and closes 60 degs. after bottom. This is not necessarily ideal as this is about how the original cast­ings cleaned up and no changes, apart from bodily varying timing (which is not very critical) have yet been made.

The motor (132.5 cubic inches stan­dard Holden bore and stroke) has de­veloped 200 b.h.p. at 7500 r.p,m.

The rotary valve will, of course, not give greater torque at any given capacity and compression ratio than poppet valves at moderate speeds. It does, however, enable higher compression ratios to be used with ordinary petrol and this raises torque and efficiency. It also can be made to give breathing capacity adequate for any desired speed such as 7000 r.p.m. and to 10,000 up to even 15,000 r.p.m. if the crankshaft, rods, bear­ings, pistons, etc., were designed for such speeds. I have a design on which I am working, of a 139 cubic inches engine weighing 225-250 lbs., which is much more compact than a Holden and which would run safely at 12,000 r.p.m. with 15,000 r.p.m. over-runs. This is eight cylinders 111 two banks with two rotary valves. The stroke is quite short and there-foie piston speeds are low, as are the inertia loads.

In racing conditions, such an engine would (IrnsuperchargerVi de­velop 300-400 b.h.p. The design allows for a moderate change of capacity between say 2,000 c.c. to 2,500 c.c. by varying stroke or bore.

October 17, 2017

Rescuing, building, collecting & compiling the history of the GREY MOTOR HOLDEN ENGINE 1948-1962

20:24 Posted by GreyFC No comments

Rescuing, building, collecting & compiling the history of the GREY MOTOR HOLDEN ENGINE 1948-1962

Having a passion for the Holden Grey Motors, I am endeavouring to acquire any parts, memorabilia, information, documentation and photographs for a display of engines and to compile a book on subject.

The Grey Motor was originally developed for the automotive industry but was adapted for use in industrial applications including forklifts, compressors, welders, concrete agitators and marine - to name a few.

Any assistance you can supply in my endeavour to save the history of this engine, would be greatly appreciated.

Please cantact: BOB LEWIS P 1 02 9826 1709 m I 0414 621 947  

• Standard 6 volt 48/215
• Single Cylinder Olds Marine
• Triple Carbys & Extractor
• Repco Highpower
• Dunstan Rotary Valve
• 12 Port Vauxhall Headed Holden
• Twin Cam Waggott
• Twin Cam Foster
• Dodge Crank Up to 1" Stroke
• Vauxhall Crank
• V12 Wallbank with 2 High Power Heads 

May 28, 2017

Repco Crossflow on the racetrack

18:32 Posted by GreyFC No comments
Repco Crossflow on the Dyno

That motor has an experimental cam which was no good producing around 200 hp at the flywheel. The previous engine had 225. Max power on this engine flat past 6,300. The previous one had max power at about 6,800. Hence the change point around 6000 in this race. Previous engine change point 6500 

At the Track:

April 18, 2017

December 04, 2016

Lucky 7 - A grey powered Speedway Ute

15:04 Posted by GreyFC No comments

Lucky 7


When it comes to slinging spanners most young blokes are keen to pull stuff apart, but quickly realise its tough putting it back together. Young Brad James is different. Not only can he put it back to together, he makes it work — as you can see from his FX ute. It all started for Brad tinkering in the shed with a bunch of grey motors his dad Tom had. Tom was a founder of the Howling Humpy's — a classic speedway class that uses grey-power FX and FJs — so he had a few spare donks.

"I always liked the old grey motors': Brad explains. "Dad usually had a few dungers lying around so I mixed a few parts around to get something going." This was when Brad was in his early teens and with a motor ready they decided to slot together a speedway car. Tom got a couple FX shells from a mate who ran a local scrap yard. Both were pretty sad. One had been lifted with a hook through the back window, distorting the roof, while the other had a better body, but rusty chassis. "They were pieces of poo when we got them," Brad admits.

So they decided to combine the two. Easier said than done of course, and since it was to be a racecar they decided the channel the body four inches. A pair of sills was cut from a Chrysler Centura and welded in to replace the rusty originals. They opened up the rear wheel aches for larger rear tyres, removed the spare wheel door under the back and closed up the tailgate opening using metal from a Torana bootlid.

With no plans to drive the ute on the road they set the engine back 14in and built a new removable firewall out of aluminium checker plate. A full rollcage with fixed intrusion bars was welded in and doors made up from a pair of skins on simple frames. The idea was to keep things cheap and simple.

They already had an engine but pulled it down to check it. It was rebuilt using mostly used parts — even the bearings were second hand. "There's only two new parts in the motor — the file-fit rings and the reground cam': Brad laughs. All else they pulled out of other motors. But Brad says there's a new 150ci 'big-bore' donk on the way with a ported head and roller rockers. The gearbox is an all-synchro three-speed with a heavy-duty red motor clutch.

Diff is a standard FJ with a HR centre and 3.08 gears. It runs factory drums behind customised FX rims with 14x7s front and 14x8s rear — and go-domes for a bit of bling. Brad credits his dad for the colour scheme. They initially looked at Jetstar orange and black, but decided it needed a little white. Race numbers and signage are by Robbie Farren; Brad says seven is his favourite number. Now they had a racecar, but where to race?

Tom was invited to race at the forthcoming 50th anniversary of the Wahgunyah Speedway. He'd been out of the scene for years, so they showed up with the FX ute only to be told that the rules had changed — no utes were allowed. Strings were pulled and a one-time exception made so long as the ute started at the back of the field. So Tom got to race the ute — Brad was only 14 at the time — and even managed to pass a few in the field and picked up a battle scar in the process. "It got a scuff on the driver's side front, so we left it there," Brad says. But with no future for the ute in speedway they
decided to register it on street rod rego.

A few changes need to be made. Glass and headlights just for starters. Plus some new seats to replace the fibreglass race seat and cutting out the intrusion bars. It also needed proper doors. They got busy. The aim was to take it to the Kustom Nats at Phillip Island in a month. It was an epic thrash at the end with a 36-hour stint before pushing it onto the trailer. Carby issues meant the ute wasn't running, but they got their street rod plates and got it going at the event. That was four or five years ago. Brad is 19 now and has his licence.

He's driven the ute to events like Chopped and Summernats 25 and drives it regularly around his hometown of Shepparton. "I used to drive it to school. It was the first car I drove when I got my P plates',' he reckons. "It's friggin' loud at 110km/h because everything is solid mounted and the motor's right there beside you [laughs]. But it's a bit of fun and hangs on like it's on rails.

Source:  Hot Rod '12 Page 157
Story:  Scott Taylor
Pics: Chris Thorogood

September 11, 2016

19:44 Posted by GreyFC No comments
Here is a cool pic of a Norman Type 65 Supercharger in a FJ

Picture from:

Norman supercharged grey motor in a windowless FJ panelvan in the late 70's, what would they want for this these days.

June 19, 2016

The Exterminator

20:39 Posted by GreyFC No comments

First Early Holden into the 14's

THE success of the fabulous "Exterminator," owned and raced by Tony Prentice and Gra-ham Elliot, at the "Mr. Holden Eliminator" contest in Sydney in July, marks another "first" for South Australia in motor sport. More than 200 entries were pre-sent for this annual event, held at Sydney International Dragway (Castlreagh) and entries were divided into three classes.

1. JUNIOR DIVISION—For Hoi-dens from 1948 to 1963.
2. SENIOR DIVISION—For EH-HK Holdens and early models (48-EJ), with the 179-186 type engines.
3. OPEN DIVISION—For any type Holden with any type Holden six-cylinder engine and no limits on engine or body modifications . The only provision for all three classes was that all cars be suit-able for registration. The "Exterminator" was known to Sydney fans, as earlier in the year Prentice and Elliot ran a time of 15.20 at the strip, to win over all the other competitors.

The "Exterminator" at the grid at Brooksfield

They caused quite a stir, as Sydney racers said that an early model, running a maximum of 38 in. bore and twin carbs. couldn't run that fast. Consequently, the car was pulled down by officials, but was ruled legal for E/stock and eligible for the titles they had won.

Running against more than 40 competitors, the boys laid down a 15 second time trial that set the crowd on its feet. This time was faster than most competitors in "senior" division. Their closest time in "junior" was a 15.7 second run by a Sydney competitor.

When final eliminations came around the boys looked good and took the title out with' a 14.92 sec. run, making the first early Holden in Australia to break into the four-teens. For this they received a cash bonus of $50 in addition to other prizemoney.

For the title the car ran 4 and 1/4 in. bore, stock stroke, twin Stromberg carbs. and a wild "Maxwill" head and cam. [Many thanks go to John Lewis, of `Maxwill" dyno-tune, for all the assistance he has given the boys.]

Open division was taken out by Warren Armour's wild, top-chopped FJ with a 200 cube "186," which turned in a fantastic 13.67 to take the event.—PHIL HART.