Just like in any industry, in the world of high-performance engines, there are the rockstars and the support staff. V-band clamps fall firmly into the “support” role, playing second-fiddle to the stars of the show (the turbo or supercharger) in the background. However, they are stars in their own right, performing a crucial task. With a long and rich history spanning all the way back to World War II and a relation to Groucho Marx, the V-band clamp plays an important role in racing.
The V-band clamp has made racers’ lives immeasurably easier, by allowing high-pressure tubing to be removable with the quick zip of a rattle gun, or a few turns of a nut-driver. The design works well in some of the most demanding high-heat, high boost applications while being inexpensive enough to take advantage of their inherent convenience in simple, non-demanding applications, as well.
Back in May of 2014, Bobby Kimbrough published this deep dive into the V-band clamp, its history, design, capabilities, and variants. Covering everything from their use in securing Enola Gay’s fateful payload and accompanying John Glenn into space as the first American to orbit the earth, to their modern applications in high-performance engine combinations, the article touches on everything.
They say you can judge a person by how they treat the service staff, and extending that to how much effort Bobby put into this article on the humble V-band clamp, it’s clear how much he appreciates the technology that goes into something as seemingly as simple as a V-band. Give the article a read and see for yourself just how interesting V-band clamps actually are.