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.
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