An Alligator Motorcycle UpdateHide Text
A conversation with Dan Gurney about the future of the Alligator motorcycle project.
Q: Are you still trying to do something in motorcycles?
The answer is a most definite yes, and engines also. Like many folks that have tried and fallen short, we feel compelled to get up and try again without making the same mistakes or trying to do the same things again. Yes, reality can be shocking and unfriendly, but it can also be instructive and rewarding...
I’ve been involved in racing and high performance for many of my 82 plus years. I contracted the motorsport virus, plus curiosity, a long time ago. It has been a very severe case. I have fought it with a passion that seems to continue undiminished. I have rubbed elbows with pioneers who have made important contributions to the internal combustion engine even though they were born before the dawn of the 20th century. In other words the evolution has been going on for a long time.
Q: You have always had a fascination with the internal combustion engine, can you tell us a little more about that?
The i.c. engine has evolved a great deal through the years, and yet, I feel that it has not peaked yet. I believe it can still hold its own in an efficiency contest and we are trying to design and build an engine and some vehicles to demonstrate that contention- something which will be outstanding in terms of reliability, power and fuel efficiency (miles per gallon).
My old friend the Internal Combustion engine, in some ways, is an outgrowth of the steam engine. Steam was a huge part of the industrial revolution of the 19th century. In the 20th century the petroleum fueled I.C. engine was the next great genie out of the bottle, and the electric motor was also already there at that time. Now with political horsepower, in the form of government grants and stimulus and positive predictions from academia, electricity is trying like “The Dickens” to outshine petroleum fueled cars, trucks, and motorcycles. I don’t mind being beaten in a fair and square contest, but, why surrender without a fight? It is very difficult to obtain real facts about which system is most efficient (or the least efficient).
Since the 1960’s I have watched a certain political class of folks try to turn the automobile into a villain – all of a sudden the machine that gives people more freedom of movement than a horse or bicycle or skateboard has become a bad guy. Global warming and air pollution items have become negative rallying points even though not always supported by facts… now “they” want to take away stuff and bring back horses and buggies and flies and mosquitos.
I say some of that with tongue in cheek but my main point is that I’d just like to make an efficient I.C. engine that sounds good and runs good, good for emissions etc. -a blast from the past if you will. That is what we intend to do!
Q: What is the current status of the Alligator motorcycle and engine program?
Right now we are busy building 4 different prototype motorcycles. The four prototypes are listed here:
1. 126 cubic inch air cooled, 45 deg S&S powered with our own down draft (designed by AAR) cylinder heads (made for us by S&S), Baker 6 speed gearbox, Dymag wheels, Tokico brakes on front and Brembo brakes on the rear, Pectel fuel injection, mapped here at AAR. (Approx 156 HP)
2. 108 cubic inch engine (shorter stroke, same bore) with all the same wheels, brakes, gearbox and other equipment and tires. Different brand of throttle by wire fuel injection by Motec. (Approx 150 HP)
3. 145 cubic inch water cooled 8-valve with throttle by wire twin fuel injection. This system has belt drive double overhead cams all on modified S&S crankcases, still 45 deg V and Baker 6 speed. (200+ HP)
4. DSG-GP-(AAR design, DSG stands for 'double-single-gator' or 'Daniel Sexton Gurney.' GP stands for 'Gurney-Palmgren') 110 cubic inch vertical twin water cooled DOHC 8 valve TS (TS stands for turbine smooth) This is the one! (200++ HP)
After wrestling with extensively modifying many different types of motorcycles and automobile engines, I have decided to build our own engine from scratch. (#4 on that list, the DSG-GP) It should be running in early 2014. All of this activity is very exciting!
For more visit: allamericanracers.com
Photo #1: Dan Gurney alongside Buddy Stubbs, the largest Harley Davidson dealer in Arizona, after a Gator prototype ride.
Photo #2 (Above): Dan Gurney with his 145 cu. in. 8 valve DOHC engine.
Photo #3 (Right): Rhys Griffiths doing some mapping work on a Gator prototype.