THE RISE AND RISE OF THE COSWORTH DFX
different,” Jones adds. “We were blowing
up all the Offys, plus they were going to
restrict the boost anyway. Either way, we
were done, so those factors played right
into us developing the Cosworth.”
Preliminary work began in the winter of
1974-’ 75, but with VPJ’s DFVs committed
to its F1 program, a visit to Cosworth’s
UK base after the ’ 75 British GP was
arranged to discuss the turbo DFV concept.
VPJ F1 team manager Jimmy Dilamarter
recalls the frustrating exchange with
Cosworth co-founder Keith Duckworth.
“I’ll never forget the look on his face,” he
says. “I mean, he was dumbfounded and
shocked. He said there was no way you could
do that; the engine wasn’t going to last,
and he went on and on. But the killer was
that he wouldn’t sell us a block and some
heads, which is all we basically needed.
“Frankly, he was an a**hole about it,”
Dilamarter adds. “He said we had to buy
three complete engines...so we did.”
When the newly-purchased DFVs
arrived in Torrance, Calif., VPJ’s engine
gurus, Larry Slutter and Chickie
(TOP) Al Unser poses for a post-qualifying photo
after putting his Vel’s Parnelli Jones Racing VPJ6B
on row two for the 1976 Indy 500 – the Brickyard
debut for VPJ’s new, DFV-based turbo V8. The combo
didn’t get to lead a lap, but would stick around to
finish seventh, despite turbo wastegate problems.
(ABOVE) Cosworth co-founder Keith Duckworth
was adamant that his 500hp DFV F1 engine’s block
and heads couldn’t survive a turbo-boosted 800hp.
Yet VPJ engine gurus Larry Slutter and Chickie
Hirashima’s major makeover produced a powerplant
that wasn’t just powerful, but reliable, too.
THE START OF SOMETHING BIG