Today, you can have a pretty successful engine-building business just by buying the right parts and equipment and knowing some machining basics. In the ’40s and ’50s, you had to think. Barney Navarro was among the best. He’s credited with running the first GMC roots-type supercharger in dry lakes racing and was heavily involved in turbo development through the ’70s. In the ’60s he campaigned a twin-turbo Rambler I-6 at the Indy 500—nuts even for the time—and he designed a line of aluminum intake manifolds and cylinder heads for flathead Fords (see NavarroEngineering.com) and concrete-cutting equipment that’s still in use. He raced a Hemi-powered boat for Henry Kaiser and later developed a heart and lung pump for Kaiser hospitals. Navarro never stopped thinking.
As usual, think of these quick history posts as something to look into. Search Barney Navarro on Google or Hotrod.com and see if you don’t find yourself with a new hero.