Leo William Goossen 7 June — 4 December was a draftsman, mechanical engineer and automobile designer. He is known for his work with Harry Miller and his long involvement in the design and ongoing development of the four-cylinder Offenhauser "Offy" racing engine.
Goossen is considered to have been the preeminent American designer of racing engines over a fifty year period that began in the early s. The family later moved to Flint, Michigan. In Goossen left school at 16 to work as a blueprint machine operator in the engineering department of the Buick division of the nascent General Motors.
In or around Goossen was diagnosed with tuberculosis, discovered during a military medical exam. Goossen left Buick in Januaryand moved to the southwestern US. He applied for a job at the Miller race car workshop, and presented a letter of reference written by Walter P.
Goossen's design career started at Buick. Early on he was asked to create tracings for components used in the Buick 60 Specialalso called the "Buick Bug". After moving to Miller, one of Goossen's first projects was to produce drawings for an advanced racing car whose design was already completed. From December to January Goossen worked with racing driver Tommy Milton to design a new engine, which Milton then commissioned Miller to produce. Changes to engine rules announced for the Indianapolis prompted Miller to have Goossen design a reduced-displacement engine based on the called the Miller While many of the concepts developed on Goossen's drafting table came directly from Miller, the detail design was increasingly left up to Goossen.
In Goossen took part in designing a front-wheel-drive system that was used in many of Miller's Indianapolis racers. Van Ranst. In Goossen produced a marine engine called the Miller It would go on to influence the four cylinder Offenhauser engine.
In Miller directed Goossen to draw up an even larger version. While a few engines of cu in 3. Another new Miller Indianapolis straight-eight appeared in Called the Miller 91it displaced just 91 cu in 1. With the addition of a centrifugal supercharger the earliest 91s produced hp So it was with E. Miller licensed his front wheel drive patents to Cord, for which Miller was paid with royalties and his very own L29 Brougham, a fine automobile in its own right. For Miller, however, the Lycoming-built cast iron straight eight could have been nothing more than dogfood.
In the depths of the Great Depression Harry, who always had faith in his ability to come up with another brilliant idea and someone to finance it, embarked upon design and construction of an automobile that would, had he possessed more than a scintilla of business acumen, have made the Model J Duesenberg an exercise in plebian excess. The cams operated two valves per cylinder with siamesed downdraft intake ports in the camshaft valley.
A dry sump system lubricated its mechanical intricacy. Harry Miller appreciated the difference between racing engines and those in passenger cars.
Miller V-16 Engine
Gear whine was anathema, so he directed the creation of a camshaft drive system of crankwheels and eccentric rods to do away with gears. Harry may have lost his sense of commercial balance with this grandiose project which no one could or would be willing to admit they could afford in the Depression. The Miller 91 front drives were virtually impossible to shift under power.
Chesterfield, who designed the front-drive system for the Miller-Cord, resolved most of the shifting problem but in its first test drive the horsepower Miller-Cord V stripped both 2 nd and 3 rd gears climbing a hill. The Big Eight rear wheel drive chassis built in were large enough by design? The engine out of the Miller-Cord L29 benefited from a few racing oriented changes including gear train drive to replace the crankwheel and eccentric shaft cam drive and relocation of the accessory drive.
Shorty Canton drove it but managed only 27 th place. He once again brought a new patron to the party. Miller had developed both rear wheel drive and front wheel drive chassis to high degrees of effectiveness.
Having resolved both those idioms he proceeded to the next logical step, at least for Harry Miller, by combining the two into an unbeatable on paper leviathan. The four-wheel drive Miller appeared at Indy ineven as Harry A.
Miller, Inc. The cylinder blocks, however, were still iron, cast in unit with the heads. The chassis was immaculately finished and presented as always for a Miller and utilized the parallel quarter elliptic leaf springs of the Big Eights with deDion axles front and rear. Drive from the cubic inch V8 came through a Miller 3-speed gearbox to a center differential from which power was distributed to the front and rear axles. Two cars were built. One was bought by the Four Wheel Drive Auto Company in Clintonville, Wisconsin, an established builder of four-wheel drive vehicles for heavy trucks, construction and military applications, and raced at Indy in as the Miller FWD Special.
Burden took on important government roles under Roosevelt including persuading South American governments in the days before WWII to deny flying privileges to Italian and German airliners which were communicating shipping information to German U-boats. The Miller wrecked on the seventh lap but Miller had already succeeded in getting Burden track privileges before the Go to racing highlights.
Miller History. Edited by Harold Peters. His engines dominated American oval-track racing for almost half a century. Most of the speed records which there were to be had on land and water were held at one time or another by those engines.
He created the school of American thoroughbred engine design, which was faithfully followed by those who sought to outdo him. He was the originator, in the United States, of the racing car as an art object.
He had a passion for metalwork and machinery that soared above and beyond all practical consideration. Parts of his machines that never would be seen by eyes other than those of the builders were formed and finished with loving care.
His dedication to artistic and noble workmanship drew to his organization other technicians who believed in these same values. A whole sub-culture spread from the Miller nucleus, to become a permanent and integral part of innovative, artistic Southern California culture as a whole.
It spilled over into the aircraft industry and it shook the automotive industry worldwide. Miller created the first really streamlined closed car in the United States, and one of the first in the world.
That was inand he was already telling journalists about using airfoil sections for improving the traction of super-light cars. He created unsupercharged engines of fantastic efficiency. Then he became the master of supercharging, achieving far more fantastic results, making the world passenger-car industry look archaic.
He gave the world front-wheel-drive as a practical reality. He created really tractable and practical four-wheel drive racing cars in the early Thirties, decades before almost anyone could appreciate the value of the principle. He always lived in the future, up to the time of his death in He stood about 5 ft.
He was shy, silent, and reflective. He was in the habit of lying awake at night, while his brain worked. He did not waste much time on sleep. He had little to say, unless the topic should be machinery or, preferably, engines, in which case he could go on forever, with an interlocutor on his intellectual wavelength. Harry Miller was born in Menomonie, Wisconsin, on December 9, In he moved to Los Angeles. During the early s, Miller had been developing an original design for an improved carburetor.1950 Pontiac Straight-8 Engine For Enthusiasts
With the aid of a used lathe and drill press and a few essential tools, he began production. He filed for a patent to protect his carburetor design in and received it that December, five days after his 34th birthday. His business career took off with a rush.
InMiller's carburetor company and assets were purchased by the sons of Charles Fairbanks and moved to Indianapolis in April. Miller continued to invent and file patents and inhe incorporated the Master Carburetor Company, for the manufacture and sale of a new and very different carburetor.The straight-eight engine or inline-eight engine often abbreviated as I8 or L8 is an eight-cylinder internal combustion engine with all eight cylinders mounted in a straight line along the crankcase.
The type has been produced in side-valveIOEoverhead-valvesleeve-valveand overhead-cam configurations. A straight-eight can be timed for inherent primary and secondary balancewith no unbalanced primary or secondary forces or moments.
However, crankshaft torsional vibrationpresent to some degree in all engines, is sufficient to require the use of a harmonic damper at the accessory end of the crankshaft. Without such damping, fatigue cracking near the rear main bearing journal may occur, leading to engine failure. Although an inline six -cylinder engine can also be timed for inherent primary and secondary balance, a straight-eight develops more power strokes per revolution and, as a result, will run more smoothly under load than an inline six.
Also, due to the even number of power strokes per revolution, a straight-eight does not produce unpleasant odd-order harmonic vibration in the vehicle's driveline at low engine speeds. The smooth running characteristics of the straight-eight made it popular in luxury and racing cars of the past. However, the engine's length demanded the use of a long engine compartment, making the basic design unacceptable in modern vehicles. Also, due to the length of the engine, torsional vibration in both crankshaft and camshaft can adversely affect reliability and performance at high speeds.
In particular, a phenomenon referred to as "crankshaft whip," caused by the effects of centrifugal force on the crank throws at high engine rpmcan cause physical contact between the connecting rods and crankcase walls, leading to the engine's destruction. As a result, the design has been displaced almost completely by the shorter V8 engine configuration. Advantages of the straight-eight engine for aircraft applications included the aerodynamic efficiency of the long, narrow configuration, and the inherent balance of the engine making counterweights on the crankshaft unnecessary.
The disadvantages of crank and camshaft twisting were not considered at this time, since aircraft engines of the time ran at low speeds to keep propeller tip speed below the speed of sound. Unlike the V8 engine configuration, examples of which were used in De Dion-BoutonScripps-Boothand Cadillac automobiles byno straight-eight engines were used in production cars before Straight-eight engines were used in expensive luxury and performance vehicles until after World War II. Bugattis and Duesenbergs commonly used double overhead cam straight-eight engines.
One marketing feature of these engines was their impressive length — some of the Duesenberg engines were over 4 ft 1. In the United States in the s, automobile manufacturers, including ChandlerMarmonGardnerand Auburnbegan using straight-eight engines in cars targeted at the middle class.
Engine manufacturer Lycoming built straight-eight engines for sale to automobile manufacturers, including Gardner, Auburn, and Locomobile. Lycoming was purchased by Auburn owner Errett Lobban Cordwho used a Lycoming straight-eight in his front-drive Cord L automobile,  and had Lycoming build the straight-eight engine for the Duesenberg Model Jwhich had been designed by the Duesenberg brothers for the Cord-owned Duesenberg Inc. Lycoming continues to this day as an aircraft engine manufacturer.
In the late s, volume sellers Hudson and Studebaker introduced straight-eight engines for the premium vehicles in their respective lines.
The Buick straight-eight was an overhead valve design, while the Oldsmobile straight-8 and Pontiac straight-8 straight-eights were flathead engines.Sign up for more restomod content to add horsepower to your inbox. I certainly did.
So did a Wisconsinite named Harry Miller. The only difference between him and me was that he actually went for it, a first step of many in what amounts to, likely, the most profound legacy in American motorsports.
After learning the ropes in a local machine shop Miller worked for a few upstart auto makers, among them Ransom E. Afterhours he patented two things critical to his career: a carburetor and spark plugs, the latter of which he sold to finance a move to California where he and Frank Adamson established the Miller Carburetor and Manufacturing Co. He and his brilliant cadre, among them draftsman Leo Goossen who reportedly understood engineering to a far greater degree than Miller and crack machinist Fred Offenhauser, began building entire cars from scratch under the Harry A Miller Mfg.
Racer BarneyOldfield commissioned one of the first, a single-overhead-cam four that displaced a whopping cubic inches. But it was a inch twin-cam, valve straight eight that put Miller, Goossen, and Offenhauser on the map.
A succession of engine variants followed, among them Vs and supercharged models. Miller did the same with the cars themselves by at one point flipping the engine and transmission around to drive the front wheels see above.
In total Miller-built-or-powered cars won the Indianapolis five times from tothe year Miller retired. He ended his career as he began it: early. He was only Unfortunately hard times Miller and forced him back into the game. He and the old crew developed a inch four that dominated dirt-track racing. Insurmountable financial issues forced Miller to file bankruptcy that year. But we can get a good idea of Miller's importance to engine development thanks to the Smith Collection at the Museum of Speed in Lincoln, Nebraska.
It amassed what may be the largest collection of Harry Miller designs, including the table on which Leo Goossen drafted most, if not all, of the parts on display.
And the room dedicated to Miller, Goossen, Offenhauser, and their successors is but one display in a ,square-foot museum dedicated to American motorsports and innovators. Standing in that room makes one question the merits of a formal education, I certainly had my doubts - or was it that Miller was just that much of a genius? Recommended For You. What's That Noise? Subscription Confirmed! Continue on to the site and look for links to the latest articles, as soon as they are released.
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Birth of Speed: The Harry Miller Engine Collection
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