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10 things you didn’t know about turbos

10 things you didn’t know about turbos

Posted by Glenn Rowswell on 23rd January 2012

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1. In 1905 – just 20 years after Gottlieb Daimler invented the modern petrol engine – Alfred Buchi invented the turbo.best turbo facts

2. Although there were turbocharged diesel trains, boats and trucks since the 1920s, the first production turbodiesel car didn’t come along until 1978, with the Mercedes 300SD.best turbo facts

3. The BMW Formula 1 engines from the early ’80s produced 1,500bhp with the same block used in the BMW 318s of the time, but turbocharged to 5.5bar (80psi) boost!
best turbo facts4. Turbo technologies that many consider modern, such as rollerbearing cores, variable geometry nozzles and split pulse turbines, were all invented well over half a century ago.

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5. In 1952 a turbodiesel led the Indy 500 for 100 miles against the normal petrol powered racers, but retired after other cars’ tyre shards were sucked into the turbo intake duct and destroyed it.

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6. In 1966 the head of Ford Racing approached his bosses asking for money to build a turbocharged race car. The bigwigs refused, saying Ford would never build a turbo passenger car, so it was a pointless idea. How wrong they were…
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7. In 1966 the 2.6ltr Offy 4-cylinder engine that had been around since 1933 was turbocharged, making it a hugely competitive race engine, producing well over 1,000bhp by the early ’70s.

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8. Some extreme tractor pulling vehicles run up to 250psi (17 bar+) boost, ten times the level of boost in most modified cars.

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9. The 1962 Oldsmobile Jetfire Turbo was the first production turbocharged car and had water injection as standard. The engine was the one now known as the Rover V8. Unfortunately it was unreliable and not great.

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10. Some of the first turbocharged production petrol engines were in WW2 bombers, but as the metals of the day couldn’t withstand the heat of being in an enclosed housing, the turbine wheel often span in open air at the end of the exhaust.