dates : 8th August 2004
12th August 2004
good question to ask when reviewing a subject like Engine
modifiers, or Tuners, as they have come to be known is: Why?
Why fiddle around with the inner workings of an engine that
has had hundreds of hours development work behind it by some
of the best motor company engineers in the world?
The answer to this question is two-fold: For some people the
search for more engine power is endless. And as the top tuners
in the world will tell you, the perfect engine has yet to be
built. So thereís always room for improvement.
The Tuners in this programme are noted by many as the best in
South Africa. And what is interesting about Roger Taylor
Developments and Van der Linde Developments is that they both
represent engine tuning dynasties.
Both Hennie van der Linde and Roger Taylor started in their
craft over forty years ago. Both were car-crazy youngsters
keen on driving fast on the streets and on the racetrack. And
both today have sons who are just as fast behind the wheel or
with a set of spanners.
Stephen Taylor is Rogers youngest son, and apart from being
expert at porting cylinder heads or seating valves, heís
also the Krugersdorp family firmís marketing man.
A past South African production car racing champion, Stephen
has an innate understanding of the internal combustion process
and what to do to improve matters.
Stephenís older brother Anthony is today one of the top
production car drivers in South Africa, a factory driver for
the BMW team.
He was also the youngest driver to win the South African
Driverís Championship, a feat he achieved at the age of 17.
Stephen undertakes a lot of engine dyno work for Roger Taylor
Developments, fine tuning a car, whether it be an old
carburetor classic like this Shelby GT350 H, or the latest
Merc or BMW with all the latest computerized engine mapping.
Roger Taylor is reckoned by many
to be a mechanical genius. He has supplied engines for some of
the top teams and drivers in the world and soon he will be on
his way to Australia to develop one of the front-running cars
in the V8 sedan series down under.
Now in his sixties, Roger is aware that his sons are well
primed to take over the family business while he is putting
four decades of experience into a completely different breed
of racing car. But Roger says that if an engine sucks in air
and fuel and a car has wheels, he can always improve on it,
explaining that if The Theory was right, all cars would be
exactly the same!
While the development of new
ideas, no matter how far-out, is what drives the Taylor
family, the Van der Linde Dynasty has a different approach.
Some years ago, Van der Linde Developments was awarded a
contract to modify 4X4 pick-ups for Nissan and they have been
doing production-line-type business on all sorts of bakkies
Hennie van der Linde started his
racing career back in the mid-1960s and he worked with some of
the South African greats of that period like Basil van Rooyen.
He found fame behind the wheel of various Nissans, and his
Skyline from the 1980s is still one of the most successful
racing cars in the history of South African motorsport,
totting up over 50 victories.
Today Hennie says he is retired, but admits to coming into the
workshop at Kaya Sands near Randburg most days, or supervising
work on the BMW race cars, in which his younger son Etienne is
a front runner in this yearís championship.
Shaun van der Linde is Hennieís
eldest son, and he too is a champion racer. Unlike most young
racing drivers, Shaun never did karting but started racing in an
old Golf. In 1994 he won the South African Super Touring Car
Championship and since then he has been winning regularly in
various forms of sedan racing. He was also a dab hand at single
Shaun manages the engineering side of Van der Linde
developments. This involves the re-profiling of camshafts,
porting of cylinder heads and assembly of engines, with a
skilled team of technicians behind him.
Etienne Van Der Linde has taken over Van der Linde Systems,
which manufacturers free-flow exhaust systems for cars and
So, what are the benefits of a free-flow exhaust? Is it simply
to irritate the neighbours?
Both the Van der Linde and Taylor families are well aware that
the car tuning or modifying business has come a long way from
the Nineteen Sixties, when Roger and Hennie cut their teeth in
But with the resurgence of interest in street racing, fueled by
movies like the Fast and the Furious, youngsters are once again
tuning to their second-hand Golfs and Opels, and lusting after a
bit more power.
And as these master engine-men know, the satisfaction of
modifying an engine and seeing the results on the engine dyno,
together with better performance and fuel economy, is always
going to be satisfying work.
Car Torque is