Classic Car Catalogue

Nordec 1949


Great Britain


IN the present state of the market it was almost inevitable that the North Downs Engineering Company, of Godstone Road, Whyteleafe, Surrey, should sooner or later, turn their attention to the production of a complete vehicle of "Warm" performance. They are sole contemporary manufacturers of what used to be known as the Marshall supercharger and the Ballamy independent front suspension system-now rechristened Marshall-Nordec and Nordec respectively. In view also of the close association during recent years between this firm and Ford and Ford-inspired products, it was also a reasonable supposition that a Nordec car would utilize a preponderance of Dagenham-made components.

Blown Prefect
Both of these expectations are now fulfilled, and The Autocar was recently able to inspect a prototype Nordec two-seater sports car, employing a mildly supercharged Ford Ten engine ; transmission, wheels and brakes of the same antecedents ; and a modified Ford Eight chassis frame, embodying the i.f.s. system mentioned above. It should be made clear from the start, however, that " prototype " is the operative word, it being the constructors' intention that the production article shall have lower and more rakish lines than those seen in the accompanying photograph. On the other hand, if particular customers have a preference for the exceptional all-round visibility conferred by the relatively high build of the car pictured, they will he able to purchase replicas of the prototype. Marketing policy for the newcomer may be summed up thus : during the forthcoming competition season the prototype will be on view as often as possible at race meetings, hill-climbs, and so forth, and then, provided " prospect reaction " warrants it, as it should, limited scale production will be launched.
Although basically Ford Eight, the Nordec chassis frame has the same wheelbase as the Ford Ten (7ft 10in), the additional length being obtained by extension forwards ; thus, the position of the engine relative to the front wheel centres differs from that of the Ford Ten. There is a considerable degree of crab track, the respective front and rear dimensions being 4ft 2in and 3ft 9in. Ground clearance is 8 ½ in.
To ensure maximum effectiveness for the divided-axle i.f.s., which employs a modified Ford transverse leaf spring, considerable pains have been taken to lend extra stiffness to the frame itself, the side members having gussets added to convert the channel girders into box section. Marles steering with a column adjustable for rake replaces the Ford system, the turning circle being 36ft, while 1 ¼ turns give a lock-to-lock sweep.
The body, reminiscent in its bonnet and frontal treatment of the current Allard, is aluminium-panelled on a robust framework of angle steel. The commodious stern accommodates the 13-gallon petrol tank, which has twin filler orifices, one at each side ; a large luggage locker, in which the detachable side screens are stowed when not in use ; and a separate locker at floor level for the spare wheel. The doors, hinged at the rear, have no external handles,

The Works
In common with the transmission system, the engine itself is standard Ford. but incorporates a Series J Marshall-Nordec supercharger of Roots type, driven at 1.3 times engine speed by a steel-cored Fenner belt, a jockey pulley being provided for adjustment; 43 b.h.p, at 4,000 r.p.m. is claimed. There is a manually operated regulator valve for blower lubrication (oil is drawn automatically from the engine lubrication system), but in normal practice, once the best all-round setting has been found, this regulator can safely be ignored. The dry weight of the complete car is 1,516lb, some 330lb lighter than the Ford Prefect saloon and, as regards performance, it is claimed that a 33 ½ per cent reduction in times from zero to the normal Ford maximum -or to any intermediate point-is well within the Nordec's compass. General appointments include a neat, though unenclosed, remote-control gear change, disappearing hood, twin windscreen wipers, a pull-on hand brake and a four-spoked spring steering wheel.
The price of the Nordec, as described, will be about £650, exclusive of Purchase tax. At the customer's option, a Ford Eight engine, with either Eight or Ten gear ratios, will be available.
(The Autocar, March'49)