15 September 2012

secret stash - norden steering box

The recent shop move has forced me to filter through the seriously tons chit I've been hoarding for years.
It's been a huge relief trimming off some of the dead weight,
there was almost 3000 lbs - a ton and a half just in scrap steel and aluminum!
not so secret stash

Along with the junk,
I've been ditching some good stuff too.
Most of it is stuff that is cool but I realistically won't ever use,
either there is no future project in mind,
it is a part that relies on something I don't have,
or it is the 4th or 5th multiple version.
While clearing some of my now limited space,
it also allows my other projects to get completed,
so another project can take it's place!
hmm what have we here...

So as I sort out some of this stuff,
I'll start posting since I'm taking pic's anyway.
Some of it is tough to find on the internet,
and maybe it will help out some other poor hoarder.
Norden sprint car steering box

Okay so the first piece I'm torn about keeping is this Norden steering box.
I've had this for a really long time.
Around '94 or '95 I found this at the LA roadster show.
norden steering box

One of the main reasons why there is cowl steering in our RPU.
I considered using it but figured it wouldn't be good for a long-term driver.
Norden cowl steer box

Most likely this would have been in a sprint car like a Kurtis or Solar midget,
so it was built for a couple hard races for hopefully a couple seasons,
not a daily street driven roadster.
Kurtis Midget Sprint Car with Norden steering box

This is the only picture I could find quickly of a box actually installed.
1946 Solar Midget

Okay here's a quick tangent.
That box would have been installed on one of these too.
1940's Solar Midget
Interestingly enough these Solar Midgets were built right here in San Diego,
at the Ryan Aircraft Company.
Small world huh Tom!

Okay back to the actual steering box.
Here's some pictures.
Norden Steering Box

Cool to see how companies adapted there engineering skills after WWII.
What looks so simple is actually really intricate.
Norden steering column support

What looks like a simple aluminum carrier bearing,
ends up being a clamshell work of art.
norden steering column carrier bearing

Instead of a throwaway heim joint,
there's a bolt-on support ring.
Norden Steering Box

The box looks easily disassembled for rebuilding.
I wonder if the insides are custom Norden or donor gears from a big 3 manufacturer?
Norden Steering Box

The other thing that is cool about older speed equipment,
is instead of a production type sand cast finish,
most everything is either polished or at least smoothed out.
Hugely time consuming but well worth it.
norden steering box

Maybe it was too hide a rough casting,
or maybe it was because of cheap labor!
Norden Cowl steer

So now I've got to figure if this is a keeper or not.
The gamble is if I ever want to restore an early postwar sprint car,
or build a car specifically around this piece.
Even up to last year I had been collecting parts for a track roadster,
which this could have been in.
At the time I had a v8-60 and the 27 roadster body that would have been...
track roadster vs sprint midget

But it turned into the chocolate and cheese roadster.
For now this is about as close as we'll probably get!
Thanks Jakob for getting the model out!
Jakob's pre-modelmania

More later!



  1. Are you there? Should I bid on the Norden?

  2. That wasn't mine!
    Mine went yesterday.
    For some reason AJ posted his at the same time!

  3. I just picked up a norden steering box same place you did, LA Roadster show last friday. The box looks almost the same as yours. It was stuck when I got it, After a little TLC, it is turning just fine, What is a unit like your worth?