A couple summers ago I took a drive in my father’s ’48 MG TC. It had been 10-15 years since our last encounter, but the deep exhaust tone and supercharger whine were exactly as I remember. You see, Moss Motors’ founder, Al Moss, started selling aftermarket supercharger kits back in the mid 50s, and my father was one of his early customers. The Shorrock vane style supercharger mounted on my father’s car has been there for over 50 years. It was installed before I was born.
On my sixteenth birthday, my father almost sent me down to the DMV in that car for my driver’s test. Sadly, he figured they might not be willing to give the test in a car with the steering wheel on the wrong side, so I wound up in Mom’s Honda instead.
With freshly minted driver’s license in hand, I embarked on a life long love affair with supercharging. My first taste of competition was in the old man’s blown TC at a parking lot gymkhana. I managed to beat Al Moss himself in the “cart sprung” class, and still have the plaque to prove it.
The age of Shorrock and Marshall Nordeck MG supercharger kits faded with time, but they are considered highly collectable today. So much so in fact, we ultimately believed there was room in the market to build a whole new kit. In 2000 we introduced our own take on an MGT supercharger kit.
At the time, our in house engineering capabilities
were limited, but fortunately we were in partnership with some very talented supercharger kit designers. Using some cut and welded manifold parts as patterns, and the engineering knowledge of our partners down in Los Angeles, we managed to get workable castings. My one personal contribution to the concept was the insistence we incorporate a “sneeze valve.” Fuel injected engines may never backfire, but carbureted engines do, and the prospect of bent throttle shafts, or supercharger rotors being suddenly driven in reverse didn’t sound like a good idea. The resulting valve design is incorporated in all our British supercharger kits.
The Moss kit was based on an old school roots type Magnacharger supercharger. It was well received, and sales were beyond expectations. Everything was going great until our supercharger vendor, upon receipt of a new purchase order, told us there were no parts left to
build blowers. To our dismay, it turned out the superchargers were being assembled from new old stock parts, and there was no tooling on which to make more. Whoever originally sourced the blower managed to miss that important detail, and so the Moss MGT supercharger kit quietly disappeared.
In those days, we were also hip deep in the market for modern superchargers, producing kits based on Eaton components for the likes of Ford, Mazda, Honda and Chrysler. We had partnered with Oscar Jackson and Harry Sanders of Jackson Racing, for design and engineering work on the modern cars. In working with and learning from them, our in house capabilities steadily improved. They helped us turn our cut and weld mockups into the necessary engineering drawings and patterns to make saleable castings.
As we hired new engineering talent, supercharger kit
design became a wholly in house affair. Our first generation MGA/B kit was redesigned and improved, and we added Spridget, TR250/6, and TR3-4A kits to the mix. Pretty much everything supercharger from 2005 on has been designed right here in Goleta.
Some have claimed our whole supercharger program is nothing more than an expensive trip down memory lane, with the sole purpose of eventually producing a supercharger for your author’s personal Triumph TR4. I emphatically deny that. (I’m not under oath here, right?) All kidding aside, a well-engineered supercharger kit retains all the easy drivability one would expect from a stock car, while adding enough power to keep up in modern traffic. As an owner, having a little added wow factor under hood is a nice touch too.
Since the demise of our original MGT kit, folks have been asking, “When will you bring it back?” Well, the answer is now. The easiest way to create a new kit would have been to steal the design from Moss, but rather than dredge up our previous kit, we decided to go ahead and start from scratch. Our Chief Engineer, Jason Davis, has produced a beautiful new inlet manifold. Although largely similar in appearance to the old design (after all, there’s only so many ways to skin a cat), Jason applied some deep thinking to his new part. For example, the blower is ever so slightly offset from the centerline of the ports, because air doesn’t just flow from the center of the blower’s outlet port, but rather is concentrated a little to one side. By moving the blower, he’s centered the air entering the plenum.
It’s pretty crazy for a large company to invest in something as esoteric as an MGT supercharger kit, but maybe, after being steeped in a lifetime of supercharged sports cars, the owners of Moss Motors just want to produce a little bit of fun. It’s great to be a part of a company that has a history of making products that sales alone don’t necessarily justify the development expense. Passion plays a important role in the decisions we make here too.