By Mark Vaughn, Crain News Service
LAS VEGAS (Nov. 5, 2013) — Coker Tire Co. owner Corky Coker is broadening his horizons again, this time helping revive a racing engine design from the 1930s/40s under the moniker Lencki Six.
Joe Lencki built a double overhead cam straight six in 1939 that made an astounding—for the time—417 hp. The engine was in cars that raced, qualified or tried to qualify at Indianapolis all the way up to 1963. It was an innovative monoblock design that, with those cam covers and cooling fins, looks even cooler now than it probably did 63 years ago.
Well, Corky Coker knows cool.
"This engine is just cooler than dangit," Mr. Coker said.
The man whose vintage vehicle tires adorn about 70 percent of the great classic cars rolling around the country and parked on the lawns at various concours has brought the great Lencki Six back to life. The night before the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show opened its massive doors in Las Vegas, Mr. Coker and his team of engineers fired up the Lencki for the first time in public in a half century.
"That is a man's motor," Mr. Coker yelled over the smooth staccato "whappitywhappitywhap BRAAAP" of the re-fired six.
While they built a stand for it that looked like the front end of an old Indy roadster, Mr. Coker doesn't want to put it into any particular car, or at least any car he would build.
"I want the Chip Fooses and Troy Trepaniers of the world to use it," he said.
Indeed, copies of the engine should be available in about six months at around $100,000 each. It's the perfect setup for somebody spending $2 million to try and win the Ridler or the AMBR hot rod car shows.
What's a hundred grand to a guy like that? After all, "This engine is a real ground-up man motor," Mr. Coker reiterated. And who wouldn't want a ground-up man motor?
This report appeared on the website of Autoweek magazine, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business. Autoweek, along with Automotive News, another Crain publication, is covering the SEMA Show, as is Tire Business. Keep checking www.tirebusiness.com for updates from Las Vegas.