AS lockdown projects go, Leonard Wood’s is nothing short of epic.
But you’d expect nothing less from someone who is one of NASCAR’s legendary Wood Brothers – the team that has been a mainstay of stock car racing for over 70 years, claimed multiple wins in marquee races like the Daytona 500, World 600 and Southern 500, and are widely credited with innovating the modern approach to pit stops.
When the United States racing world came to a stop this time last year with the onset of COVID-19, 86-year-old Wood needed something to occupy his time.
What did he come up with?
Wood decided to build a half-scale version of the legendary 427 cubic inch big-block Ford V8 engine, the same kind that powered the Ford Mk IV that won the 1967 Le Mans 24 Hours in the hands of Dan Gurney and A.J. Foyt.
The whole project was revealed on the team’s Twitter account at the weekend, documenting the nearly year-long build.
“Like everything else Leonard makes, it went from regular to extreme very quickly,” the first Tweet said.
Part of that extremeness was Wood’s decision to build it from scratch, which meant machining components like the engine block, valve covers, carburettors and inlet manifold from solid blocks of aluminium, using more traditional methods rather than leaning on the team’s modern CNC machinery.
The completed engine will now go on display at The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation in Dearborn, Michigan as part of the Driven to Win – Racing in America exhibit.
Check out the full Twitter thread below!