Custom car builders looking for a totally unconventional powerplant may be drawn to the revived Lencki Six Mark II, that is if they have a $100,000 to spend on an engine.
It’s been about a three-year odyssey, but Corky Coker of Coker Tires and Mike Cunningham have led the effort to redevelop the Lencki Six, an historical engine introduced in 1939 for the Blue Crown Special Indy 500 car. The engine performed well but crashes and other problems kept it out of the winner’s circle at Indy, although it did appear on and off for another quarter century.
The few remaining engines and parts were mostly hidden in private collections or in a museum. When Cunningham went looking for an usual engine to power a vintage boat restoration project, his search led him to Nevada where most of Lencki’s original plans, patterns and notes were kept in a small auto museum. Following intense negotiations, Cunningham acquired all the remaining parts and the valuable intellectual property in that collection. One of the main drawing points for Cunningham was his dedication to reviving the engine for the street-rod and performance markets.
“I then got together with Corky, and he said let’s do this,” remembers Cunningham.
Modern version of historical engine
Working with well-known racing-parts suppliers and making a few changes to update the engine, the team finally unveiled the first engine at a pre-SEMA press conference in the front of the Coker Tires trailer.
“It’s as modern as it needs to be without changing the historical significance of the engine,” explains Cunningham.
Designed by Leo Goosen to Joe Lencki’s specification, the engine features dual overhead camshafts and a hemispherical combustion chamber design. The original 265ci model sported a 3.750 bore with a 4-inch stroke. Later came a 3.8125-inch bore version for 274ci, which is the displacement for the revived engine.
The new engine features a custom Winberg billet crankshaft that corrects all the counterweight problems of the original. Another significant upgrade is the induction where the original Hilborn fuel-injection manifold was converted to EFI with a FAST XFI ECU controlling the fuel delivery.
“Today’s customer is going to want to jump in and fire it right up,” says Cunningham. “They don’t want to mess with jets or valves.”
The Hunt Vertex magneto was converted to a distributor without spoiling the historical appearance, and Dailey Engineering built a 2-stage dry-sump oil pump to circulate the Driven oil. All 13 gears on the cam-drive assembly are now billet, but the team did use the original drawings to program the CNC machines. Comp Cams also used the original cam-core designs to produce custom cams for the DOHC engine. Other helps from Borla making the stainless-steel headers, ARP addressing all the fastener needs and KSE making a front-mount, high-flow water pump.
Coker says production will be limited and the engine is designed for high-end hot rods, IndyCar restorations and maybe even that vintage boat!