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Triumph TR3 FAQ page

Origin of the Stromberg

This Stromberg issue has come up several times. Unfortunately, Harry Webster's claim that the Stromberg 'diaphragm' constant vacuum carb was his idea does not meet with the facts.

In the late fifties BMC, who owned SU, decided not to supply other companies with the SU - apart from excess production they didn't need. This caused concern throughout the motor industry including Standard Triumph, who, try as they may, could not come up with an alternative design of constant vacuum carb.

The Alford and Alder company took up the initiative when the Chief Engineer John Lind, (who later went to Jaguar) asked one of his design staff - Dennis Barbet - if he could come up with a constant vacuum carb without infringing SU patent rights.

Dennis began design with a clean sheet of paper, and ENTIRELY ON HIS OWN INITIATIVE designed the prototype of what is now known as the Stromberg carburetor. This new carb was then shown to Standard Triumph who immediately accepted it. Dennis' 'Stromberg' was initially developed on a Herald prototype and later on a 'Beta' TR3 which Dennis took to the States to the Bendix Aviation Company for further development (Bendix at that time were also developing a 'diaphragm' carb but their design involved 'metal' bellows which was proved inferior to Dennis's design which, as we know, had a rubber diaphragm).

There was a lot of 'jiggery pokery' whereby Dennis was never credited with his work or the original Stromberg design - but that's another story. Dennis eventually joined Standard Triumph circa 1961, and it is he who we have to thank for a superb engine development initiative - without which the Spitfire Le Mans and Rally programs would not have been possible.

Paul Richardson

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