John Britten - Britten Motorcycle Company
Jon White- Record breaking Streamliner
Trevor Crowe of Crowesport -Subaru turbo stainless exhausts
Peter Knight - New Zealand and World champion Speedboats.
Phil Garrett - Flying Kiwi
John Crawford- Canterbury motor Racing School ( in association with Harris Pipes)
Peter Caughy of PCR - Jet sprint exhaust application (in association with Harris Pipes)
John Britten was a customer long before the days of fame with the 'Pink and blue bike' . He often came to the workshop asking for a special tube bend to be made for his handbuilt race bikes.
The 'ultimate edition' That is the pink and blue bike, required a special hand made exhaust system for which we bent up the tubes by hand. When John then asked me to taper the tubes gradually along their lengths by splitting them, opening them up slightly and welding a sliver of steel in I told him I didn't think it was feasible.
He took the pipes away and a week or 2 later turned up with the job done by himself!
He was highly amused when I told him I hadn't thought he was serious and what I actually had meant to say was that it would have been a lot easier to have made the tubes from a larger size and then remove a sliver along the length to taper them.
First outing at Ruapuna. Crew members leaning on Merc. we helped with the bends but John built the exhaust himself.
He soon set up his own manufacture of the pipes and the Britten team certainly did an excellent job.
However, at a later stage he came to me to work on an urgent set as his team was too busy on other parts getting the bike ready for an international race.
We worked all night about June 1991 19th-20th
I had one day to hand-bend a set of headers for his team to assemble on the bike back at his factory. That day it snowed heavily and the streets were closed and so was our workshop. But John insisted that the deadline had to be met as they were flying the bike overseas in a few days.
He delivered us one of his very expensive motors to use as a guide and we worked right through the night with the heater full blast and beers all round, my whole crew! ( 4 of us ) At 5am the next morning I rang John and told him to come and collect his motor and the parts, we were all going home to bed - he was very grateful and went off to complete the system no doubt putting in long hours himself.
We didn't charge John for our work as he had agreed to pose for a photo with our products. And so he did, taking time out of his busy schedule just for us.
John Britten 1990
Our Hand bending skills were called upon again when Jon White turned up at our 1000' workshop in 1992 with a proposal for us to make the tubing for the frame of his concept motorcycle The Streamliner. We did the work about October 7th that year ( according to our old appointment books) with the bends then being sent to a specialist bronze welder in the North Island for assembly. Jon White, the Streamliner and Shaun, our apprentice at the time. The Streamliner barely fitted in our small shop so we could shut the door!
I believe the frame then came back to the South Island for the composite skin and development in the Canterbury University wind tunnel.
Jon White was able to obtain a Britten motor and the machine then came back to our workshop for an exhaust.
A powerful exhaust
The specifications for the exhaust required 18inch headers and were shorter than a Britten motor had been fitted with before ( the shortest up till then being 19- 20inch)
I worked for 60 hours to get the headers that length and made the tightest bends I had ever done to get it all to work. I even had an old (longer) system made by the Britten team as a guide and I wondered how the hell they expected me to make this system that short , 4 headers the same length, and get it to fit. In the end I managed and thought that must be the shortest* system possible on a Bitten motor.
It proved to be the most powerful* exhaust they had tested and powered the Streamliner to the 1000cc World record Flying Mile.
1994 Bonneville salt Flats USA.
1995 Lake Gairdner Australia.
Thats me in the early 1990s with the 18inch header system on a Britten V twin .
* * The Britten team later outdid me and made a 17inch system - for their own bike( without my help) which was even more powerful. Don't yuh hate it when that happens!
UPDATE April 2014: Subsequently the Stream Liner went to Italy which I just found out from Bob Robbins USA, who is now the owner. He also bought Britten bike No# 3 .
Photo supplied by Bob
We were privileged to be chosen to work on the exhaust of the Flying Kiwi of Phil Garrett.( designed in association with Harris Pipes®)
Note: Now owned by Craig Anderson USA : Photo Craig Anderson
2 hour tow
We trailered the prestigious flying kiwi behind our trusty Lada 4WD to our workshop 160 km from Christchurch, worked til 2am Queens birthday, 2005, fitting a tapered header lightweight exhaust.
With motor behind the rider the exhaust threads forward through the frame under the seat ending with the main silencer in the cockpit inches from the rider's right arm!!!! The exit had to be downward to satisfy an aerodynamic requirement so with space very limited we designed a short fat silencer, painstakingly cutting, panel-beating and welding the inner perforated tube to turn sharply 90deg downwards.
Phil Garrett trying the Flying Kiwi with the new exhaust for size and fit
It worked!! Phil drove 2 hours and collected the Kiwi the next day, or rather that afternoon. That was the first time the Kiwi had been away from Phil and he was very trusting to let us take it.
After his record breaking attempt Phil personally rang and thanked those who helped him. Our silencer enabled him to pilot the Flying Kiwi without earplugs even though his head was just 600mm above the exit. It was able to satisfy Council noise requirements without restricting the power - although Phil would have liked it to be louder!!!!
Go Flying Kiwi. The exhaust sounded Great!!!!!!!!! We added a silencer to the downturn at a later stage.
4 into 2 into 1 tuned length headers on the Flying Kiwi side car.
Aren't we lucky to be meeting champions like him!
and an exhaust system unlike any other at that time.
This is one of Peter Caughey's motors with our exhaust ( in association with Harris Pipes®)
That looks awesome!
Photo: PCR - Peter's crew look proud
See how the pipes lay down, forward, then loop back. They fill the hull and lower the center of gravity of the craft. Not the sort of system you want in your runabout as it would take up all the room! but in a pure race-boat carrying extra passengers is not high on the list of priorities.
This system was unlike any other at that time as most other systems were modeled after the usual 'everything up' then over the stern type which is an off shoot from pleasure craft.
Peter was able to sell subsequent systems made by us to customers in the USA. Those headers are 2inch1/2 leading into 4inch tailpipe and specially made stainless canister silencers - which you can see being made on the 'about us' page
Check Peter's latest motor - all machined to shape from a solid block of aluminium.
Methnol powered V8 ally motor CNC machined. No water jackets, note the evenly spaced ports. We fitted one of our exhausts to this motor also.
The exhaust lays down in the hull, heads forward then loops back and under, unlike the simpler up and back. Keeps the centre of gravity down.
4 inch intermediate pipes go onto the end of the megaphones leading to large stainless silencers exiting up and over the stern.
Another view of the exhaust. No room left in the hull with all this tubing but it worked .
Note: Peter's latest exhaust has been built by Howard Askey. Using a similar lay down, forwards, loop back layout, the header lengths are even shorter for increased power and are lighter weight stainless.