Norfolk Tornado

Well it’s time to formally start my build log for my Tornado. I’ve had a great deal of information & inspiration out of these builds logs, so it’s time I started mine.

The car was purchased as a part built kit, which effectively is little more than a rolling chassis, but has a 4.6Ltr Range Rover V8 engine installed and is mated to a Renault 21 turbo transmission. However, I prefer the idea of having the correct 'small block' 302 engine. I could swap it later, but it would mean re-doing most of the engine installation, manifolds etc, so I’ve now purchased a stripped 302 engine out of a ’74 Falcon and this is now the plan of attack.

As I had to fabricate new mounts from scratch, I wanted to get the engine mounted as low as possible. Using a bell-housing on loan from Chris Cole (many thanks Chris), I managed to work out where the engine & transmission needed to be and fabricate new engine & transmission mounts. I could have dropped the assembly even lower, but I didn’t fancy redesigning the lower wishbones.

I’m planning to use a 8” deep Moroso oil pan and this will be level with the bottom of the chassis. In fact the lowest part of the car is now the bell-housing, which I will end up machining back. When the pan arrives, I’ll be able to work out where the new engine bay cross-member will fit
I believe that this exercise has resulted in the engine/trans being dropped 40mm compared to a standard Tornado chassis, whilst keeping the crank centre-line parallel to the ground.

I also found out that the mounts on the Renault transmission are not symmetrical about the gearbox centreline, there is about 20mm difference and explains why the alignment never looks right.

Gearshift mechanism next.....:)




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Thanks for the words of encouragement guys. I thought that next I’d have a go at designing my own gearshift mechanism. Based on what I’ve gleamed from this & other sites, this is what I’ve come up with.
The first thing was to turn up a new selector shaft, so that I’d have it coming out of the correct side of the transmission. This was made from 302 grade stainless steel, so I didn’t have any corrosion issues around the seal.
The rest of the rod-shift mechanism is made from 14mm stainless bar with a couple of UJ’s from RS (these will be in rubber boots when finished) and the rose joints are phosphor-bronze lined, so should be pretty durable. The bushes in the support tube are made from a high temperature dry-lube bearing material, so should be OK under the exhaust silencers.

The trial shown on the board was to ensure that the shift-through was acceptable before I started welding fixings to the chassis.

Shift quality feels pretty good and the shift load seems acceptable, but the gearlever may have to be trimmed for length to give a slightly shorter throw.



NB: I’ve been asked to clarify one point, the bell housing is a scrap part, suitable for mock-up only, supplied by Chris Cole. The parts he currently supplies has different features to the one in the previous photo and do not contravene any Tornado copyright


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Ian Anderson

Lifetime Supporter
Hi Andy

It looks like a fair gearchange and I had a similar unit on my car.

I found that when hot the moving portion tended to "slow" in it's movement and then with the sideways pull / push sieze just when I needed a gear!

Brian Magee did a modification and removed the outer tube. He then mounted the rod in 2 rod ends (these will automatically center) and moved the 2nd (forward) mounting point forward towards the bell housing thus getting less length of rod for potential sideways flexing in front of the forward mount

The end result is a very good change system.

If need be I can take photos and post

Hi Ian,
Thanks for the feedback. I’d actually come to the same conclusion as you and I’ve re-designed and extended (read remade it for the third time!) the support tube to give more support to the shaft. I’ll post more info later

A few updates on my gearshift mechanism. Firstly those of you who are more familiar with the Renault transmission than I am will note my gear linkage gives a reverse shift pattern!! – Back to the drawing board!! I only figured this out when I realized reverse gear wasn’t where it should be.

Also, as previously mentioned the selector shaft attached the transmission housing was bending when changing gear, resulting in lost motion. The attached photo shows the MkIII version which gives more support to the shaft

Three steps forward, two steps back……




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Chris Kouba


I haven't thought it completely through but would you have space in the shifter area to swap the rose joint to above it's pivot point? Would this reverse the selector action for you?
Hi Chris
thanks for the feedback. I think I've sussed it out and the last photo shows what I need to fit into the car to give the correct shift. Just got to weld in a new bracket onto the frame to take one of the rose joints
Finished installing the corrected gearshift mechanism, now been all stripped down for shot-blasting & powder-coating



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I’ve been working on the steering & geometry over the last couple of weeks. As I’m not using the standard Tornado rack I wanted to check that the bump-steer would be correct. The rack mounts were cut off and lowered, so I could pack them pack up to the corrected height.

The alignment was checked by with a laser spirit-level attached to the front hub, which was over tightened to stop it rotating. The laser image was projected onto a vertical surface, with a sheet of paper attached. As the suspension was jacked up the red dot was plotted on the paper. It seemed a very simplistic way of doing it, but it gave very good results. In fact the further away you move the paper, the more accurate the results get.

The intermediate coupling I’m using is from a Renault and incorporates a collapsible section and a damper and I modified it to fit onto the Ford steering spline. I’m a bit concerned that the damper my clash with the pedals, but that’s another hurdle yet to overcome.




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Randy V

Staff member
Lifetime Supporter
I've gone over 30 degrees but not to 45. Per Flaming River (maker of fine steering system products) they recommend 15-30 degrees. From the look of it here you have roughly 30 degrees there..

View Image

I've checked the joint angle and it's only 30 degrees. The photo makes it look worse than it is, due to the installation being a compound angle and the position of the camera.

Good to see you getting into it.

Your laser ,in that direction it will give camber gain as well as bump.
Turn the laser 90deg parallel with the front axle line,I use a magnet on the wheel flange then mount the laser to that.
This way it will not see camber gain only bump it will make it much easier for you.

Your colapsable section ,would you need that , the steering colomn tube looks like it is welded to the chassis, if that is so you would be colapsing the main colomn and shaft first?

keep posting.

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Hi Jim,
Thanks for the feedback.
You raised a good point about the camber gain and I think I understand how to set it up (can you post a diagram or photos to confirm my thinking) After I’d finished my setup there was very little bump-steer / camber gain, so I don’t think there is much more work to-do in this area.

On the Tornado the outer steering column is welded to the chassis and I need to ensure that the inner upper shaft has sufficient travel at the steering wheel end to ensure the collapsible section will works.
I have copied this from an earlier post that I did it should give an idea I hope.
If the laser line moves to the left it is toeing in if right its toeing out.
As the laser beam moves up through the travel range it does not see the camber gain.
The object is to get it to stay as close to the vertical line through the travel .
The beam is 90deg to centre line off chassis.

I put some lines on a cardboard sheet as a guide, I taped it to a gas bottle and went through the motions.

The card has toe in and out a centre line and some height datums.
I set these by moving up 25mm at a time and making a mark on the card.
My laser shoots a line so I put tape over the front a poke a pin hole in it to make it easier to read.
I took the tape off for photo purposes.

This techneque I got off this site and works great.

Yes I relooked your colomn it would have to help.




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I’d decided as I may want to use the car for sprint & track work that an integral roll bar would be a good idea. To minimise any additional weight, it would replace the existing Tornado bulkhead structure.

The Roll Centre at St Ives bent up the roll hoop to my drawing, which is 50x2mm CDS tubing and complies with the current MSA regulations. As the bar (50mm) is larger than the chassis, I added reinforcing platforms, as well as vertical tubes to transmit the loads into the lower chassis rails to spread the loading in the event of an accident. I’m hoping I can talk my way around the fact that my ‘diagonal bar’ is actually horizontal and doubles as the seat-belt anchorage bar – time will tell. The fall back solution is a diagonal brace over the engine.

I’ve still got to add the rear supports, but until I’ve worked out how the rear paneling will be done, as these may/may not be removable.



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Well, I’ve finally finished taking off all the original aluminum paneling. I’ve decided that the only panels that will get re-used is the floor, as all the other paneling has poor riveting (different sizes, non-equal spacing and in some cases not in a straight line) and this is generally not good enough by my standards. All the old white bathroom sealant has yet to come and as a fill in job I’ve been going round welding up all the rivet holes and then grinding them flush. There’s nothing worst than a drill bit pulling into an old hole. All the old rivet heads have yet to be extracted, as I don’t want the car to rattle!:laugh:

I also finished off the roll-bar stays, which I’ve made removable and will help in the paneling of the rear bulkhead. I’d looked at using a smaller diameter tube, 45mm, but for it to be MSA complaint it would have to have a 2.5mm wall thickness and compared to the 50 x 2mm tubing for the main hoop, it would be actually heavier, so this idea was ditched. This was a big push before a business trip to Beijing for a week, from where I’m writing up this episode.



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