Clive Gibson - interesting letter to Rudy Bennett 1992

KdancyKdancy Posts: 2,294Senior Contributor

Letter to Rudy Bennett from Clive Gibson -20-10-92

Sorry for the delay in answering your letter, as I have been very busy up to now. First of all I want to explain about the “Gibson Binks” cylinder head. For many years I was involved in making aluminum heads for various L head engines, as I was foreman motor engineer for Frank Kleinig, who raced Hudsons from 1935into the late sixties. I was racing a speedboat with a Hudson hornet engine (a 13ft Lewis skiff) in company with harry Bink from Camberra. When we decided to fit a supercharger from a “Buda” diesel truck we were running with 12psi boost and could not hold head gaskets together with the standard Hudson 308 Head. We tried aluminum and iron heads. I decided to make a head that would work and Harry Bink shared the expense for the pattern etc. hence the name “Gibson-Bink”. We found that we could race the boat all day without any head trouble. We ran the motor at 5,000 RPM with 30% step up ?? giving 6000 RPM at he propeller. I used ½” H.T. bolts to 3.5” long from memory and had special 3/16” wide spacers made up and chromed under the head for the bolt to stop “dishing” as was common with the washers. We never had any crankshaft problems at the so called danger breaking point at 5000 as others have encountered.

This head is the forerunner of the “Clifford” head, and is now made in one piece by Clifford. Your head will be one of the three heads that I sold to Jack Clifford some time ago together with three twin dual throat intake manifolds. The one piece head will never be as strong as the 2 piece had, as it is difficult to cast with the reinforced structure within the head itself. Jake had a gasket company make up heavy duty head gaskets for the 308. These were made with klingerite 1000 filler 1/16” thick with steel both sides instead of copper and using this gasket with the special head, was 100% satisfactory. I found that the special ½” studs were unnecessary even running with 12lbs boost. We gave those Chevy Corvettes a shock and the acceleration would break your neck!

My association with Hudson started in 1940 when I bought a 1928 Essex Touring for 40.00. When I was discharged from the army after the war, I went to work for Frank Kleinig, who raced Hudson’s and was a Hudson Terraplane specialist. After years of working on customs everyday Hudson’s and racing them I have learned a lot about them “the hard way” but there is still a lot to learn. In 1948 Frank won the Australian Hill Climb against European racecars and had many successes at Mt Panorama Bathurst over the years. The Hudson racers used Franks aluminum head with different inlet manifolds at different times. The most successful were 4 amal carbs (motor cycle) alcohol ? carbs.

 With the Hudson 8 engine we picked up a lot of performance from the tappets after trying all kinds of radiuses on the radius skids we picked up a lot of valve overlap by grinding the radius this way ( concave picture) instead of (convex picture) which could also be altered to any radius desired. The roller tappet design lent itself to all sorts of valve timing, still using the standard camshaft. All camshafts before 1939 wore out as they were not carbon hardened. The best splasher engines were from 1942-1947 having softer valve springs (40 lbs @ 2”) and 20 degree angle timing gears. The 8 cylinder engines in the stepdown models knocked the cams about as they increased the valve spring pressure to 52 pounds @ 2” (why) maybe to straighten out burning exhaust valves?

 The mechanical modifications to Hudsons to make them steer better, particularly stepdown 119” wb models could fill 2 pages, but what I have found out is that the steering arms from long wheelbase models (124”) will fit on and make the steering much lighter for parking and they will steer straight.

Most Hudsons, particularly stepdowns models suffer with kingpin sag, the stub axle ends up rubbing against the vertical support arm which makes for hard and erratic steering, caused by wear on the woodruff key and worn taper in steering arms. The thrust bearings end up doing nothing (king pin balls). The weight of 60% of the car is taken by a woodrift key and this steering arm taper and after many miles causes the kingpin to drop slightly, throwing the thrust on to the stub axle. By grinding the top of the stub axle to give clearance will return the pivoting action back to the ball bearings on top of the king pin.

I could go on for hours, but I had better finish here. There are also notifications to Hudson differentials, 35-47, but that would take another 2 pages!


Writing on the back of the photos explains details, LWB stepdown have longer steering arms then Pacemaker-Wasp so a toe in job will be necessary when fitted.  Clyde

I fitted one of my aluminum heads to a Hudson SJ ?? in 1968, it is still on the car and has never been taken off- 7/16 Bolts.



  • RL ChiltonRL Chilton Posts: 5,110Administrator, Moderator
    Interesting read.  Thanks for posting, Kerry.  
  • terraplane8terraplane8 Posts: 498Senior Contributor
    Thanks for posting this - I hope there is more to come? Knowledge like this deserves to be saved and accessible. I like the description of Frank as a "Hudson Terraplane specialist" and it would be interesting to learn a bit more about this.
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