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Best book describing racing car construction


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#1 David Birchall

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 01:30

I have met this young guy who is very skilled at welding and machining but who has no training in how racing cars are made:-The Strong-Light-Sophisticated school of thought as opposed to the "quarter inch steel plate oughta do" school of thought.
There are books available in N.America on how sprint cars and drag cars are built-"The Metal Fabricators Handbook" etc, but I have found nothing that describes how a lightweight bracket, for instance, is made. I have Carroll Smith's three books and they are brilliant but not the answer to this particular problem.
Any suggestions for books?
(He is working on a car of mine so this is becoming urgent...)

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#2 werks prototype

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 02:17

How about the classic, 'Racing and Sports Car Chassis Design' by Michael Costin and David Phipps?

There are some wonderfully detailed chassis diagrams contained within, multi-tubular, twin-tube/ladder type, etc, etc. And details also on various methods of joining, V-joint on a straight tube, oblique joint with a strengthening gusset. Really good stuff. :up:

Edited by werks prototype, 04 December 2011 - 02:18.


#3 cheapracer

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 03:45

I strongly suggest he goes to www.locostusa.com forum for practical hints based on many peoples experience.

#4 David Birchall

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 04:42

How about the classic, 'Racing and Sports Car Chassis Design' by Michael Costin and David Phipps?

There are some wonderfully detailed chassis diagrams contained within, multi-tubular, twin-tube/ladder type, etc, etc. And details also on various methods of joining, V-joint on a straight tube, oblique joint with a strengthening gusset. Really good stuff. :up:


Thanks, I had fogotten Costin and Phipps--I just dug out my copy and it is a step along the way but not the final goal...useful though.

The Locost forum has some help but since it is all amateurs it may be guilty of the blind leading the blind--I hope that doesn't sound too condescending.

I am looking for instructions on building chassis in the 1940s/50s/early 60s way. Perhaps I need Crosthwaite and Gardner?



#5 E1pix

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 05:15

I have met this young guy who is very skilled at welding and machining but who has no training in how racing cars are made:-The Strong-Light-Sophisticated school of thought as opposed to the "quarter inch steel plate oughta do" school of thought.

I have an old friend who recently retired from 30 years of racecar fabricating — and another one still doing it on higher-end vintage cars.

If this kid is interested, I could ask if they might want to help.

[Edit: I also would have recommended the Carroll Smith books. :) ]

Edited by E1pix, 04 December 2011 - 05:16.


#6 bradbury west

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 08:27

It is a long time since I have browsed through a copy, but would Alan Staniforth's (of Terrapin hillclimber fame) book on racecar building and design be of any use?
Roger Lund

#7 Sharman

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 11:21

You beat me to it Roger. Simple, straightforward and effective.

#8 gary76

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 12:23

Have a look at "The Racing Motorcycle - a technical guide for constructors" Volume 2 by John Bradley. Although its motorcycle orintated it is a very good book on materials and construction written by a very practical engineer with a proffesional background. It is well written and has always provided me with a reference when I have been stuck for ideas.
Not cheap but worth every penny.
Gary

#9 gary76

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 12:23

Have a look at "The Racing Motorcycle - a technical guide for constructors" Volume 2 by John Bradley. Although its motorcycle orintated it is a very good book on materials and construction written by a very practical engineer with a proffesional background. It is well written and has always provided me with a reference when I have been stuck for ideas.
Not cheap but worth every penny.
Gary

#10 David Birchall

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 22:31

Thank you gentlemen, I will look into those two books.
For clarification: Is this the book you mean Bradbury West and Sharman?
http://www.amazon.co...mp;sr=1-3-fkmr1

Any other suggestions gratefully received :)
db

Edited by David Birchall, 04 December 2011 - 22:38.


#11 Tim Murray

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Posted 04 December 2011 - 23:34

For clarification: Is this the book you mean Bradbury West and Sharman?
http://www.amazon.co...mp;sr=1-3-fkmr1

That book is an updated and much expanded version of his earlier book High Speed - Low Cost which covered the design and construction of his original Terrapin racing car. As a guide to what it covers, here's the contents page of Race & Rally Car Source Book:

Posted Image

The earlier book has much more in it about spaceframe construction, but is more difficult to get hold of, although I believe a reissue was privately published in 2003.


#12 ozdude

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 05:52

Performance Welding - Richard Finch - Not the be all-end all, more a very useful companion

#13 Charles E Taylor

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 20:43

There are books available in N.America on how sprint cars and drag cars are built-"The Metal Fabricators Handbook" etc, but I have found nothing that describes how a lightweight bracket, for instance, is made. I have Carroll Smith's three books and they are brilliant but not the answer to this particular problem.

Any suggestions for books?



You can buy AC 43-13 as a book, but it is available free from your government Here

For a more specifically detailed book on Tube Frames look Here

Some sample pages can be seen Here


Another good book on Tube Frame construction is This


I hope this helps.


Charlie

#14 MCS

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Posted 05 December 2011 - 21:12

Not sure how relevant Racing Car Design and Development by Len Terry is, but it's still available on Amazon.

Was it reprinted?


#15 David Birchall

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 00:48

You can buy AC 43-13 as a book, but it is available free from your government Here

For a more specifically detailed book on Tube Frames look Here

Some sample pages can be seen Here


Another good book on Tube Frame construction is This


I hope this helps.


Charlie


I was hoping someone would come up with airframe construction books-that is where most racing car construction methods originated after all!
Those are very usefull references, thank you very much :)

MCS, I have the Len Terry book and it is certainly useful-thanks.

#16 BritishV8

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 01:15

For best practices in small details such as cutting and folding thin metal without creating stress risers, Smith's Prepare to Win remains a best bet.

I rather like the Ron Fournier books - all of them - and they're cheap enough you can buy them all and not worry that they overlap so much in content.

The Timothy Remus book "Advanced Sheet Metal Fabrication" (published by Wolfgang Publications) is gorgeous and inspirational. It focuses on shaping big panels.

Costin/Phipps is a masterpiece! A lovely little book, beautifully written - it describes the design of pure spaceframes so very elegantly. I found Costin's commentary on specific cars (e.g. Lola Mk1) especially interesting. The book includes quite good illustrations of frames (overall) but not many close-up details (brackets, etc.) However, Costin/Phipps hardly even begins to discuss sheetmetal (design or fabrication technique). First published in 1961, Costin/Phipps won't help anyone comprehend the monocoque construction of the Lotus 25, which debuted in 1962. It's a pity they didn't publish a sequel!

Mentioning the Terry/Baker book in the same conversation is ridiculous. In my opinion, it's just horrible...



Edited by BritishV8, 07 December 2011 - 06:38.


#17 David Birchall

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 02:54

Have a look at "The Racing Motorcycle - a technical guide for constructors" Volume 2 by John Bradley. Although its motorcycle orintated it is a very good book on materials and construction written by a very practical engineer with a proffesional background. It is well written and has always provided me with a reference when I have been stuck for ideas.
Not cheap but worth every penny.
Gary


I realised that I had not followed up on this suggestion. Volume 2 is not available on amazon in n.america although it is from the UK amazon. The extra cost of shipping what is already an expensive book makes it questionable for me-although I love bikes too! Thanks for the suggestion.

Britishv8--I have most of the books you mentioned and found them unsuitable for my purpose. Your comments on Len Terry are interesting-but since the book was written about his designs it is unlikely that he would have discussed other designs isn't it?

Racing car chassis fabrication is really a state of mind isn't it?

#18 bradbury west

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Posted 06 December 2011 - 12:43

Mentioning the Terry/Baker book in the same conversation is ridiculous. In my opinion, it's just horrible! Not well written or organized. Poor content. Mostly Terry bragged about details of his designs, whether they worked or not. Chapter 15 was at least memorable, if embarrassing: "Len Terry's personal assessment of nine contemporary racing car designers." Having read this book, I now have no trouble whatsoever accepting Graham McRae's assessments of Terry's talents (i.e. that Len Terry was a competent draftsman but out of his depth as a designer/engineer, completely clueless about development and chassis tuning, and way too focused on self promotion.)


I feel I need to comment on your opinions, which I am sure some would find potentially defamatory. Turning a thread about books into a diatribe against one man is totally out of order. You claim to have read the book, yet you clearly failed to understand the written word therein. The intro paras to the chapter which you cite make Len's position clear. In the initial intro to the book it is made clear that, like all designers, Len had successful and unsuccessful designs and that the book is by nature a compromise not a definitive bible, and in the intro. to your Chapter 15 point Len explains that it was co-author Baker's idea and that his views are simply opinons. Try reading it again

I have not dicussed McRae with Len, nor have I spoken to him about your remarks, but I always understood McRae to have issues.

Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the Eagle F1 car, or the Lotus 38, the only Lotus car designed ab initio by another designer with no input from ACBC who was out of the UK for all that period. You might recall that it won quite a well known race "out of the box". Similarly Len's example of triangulation shown to ACBC at the London Specials Builders' meeting in the late '50s may not be known to you, or the success, and triangular rigidity of his Formula Junior car, still winning today as in period with its original owner. Perhaps you think that someone else got the design for the 17 quite wrong, not Chapman, but it was Len who won the argument about the strut front suspension, hence the foc retro-fit kit for owners offerred by ACBC. Indeed. TNFer Peter Horsman has improved his lap times in his 17 recently after a setup and development session with Len himself. quod vide Peter's TNF post.

When Len was invited back to Lotus for 1962 he pointed out to ACBC that the A frame on the Lotus Cortina, about which ACBC was so enthusiastic, would lead to the inside front wheel cocking up in the air, see Clark et al in action, because ACBC had misunderstood totally Len's A frame design on an earlier Terrier, ignoring Brian Hart's huge success in a mk2 sports car. The leaf spring version of the Lotus Cortina followed soon. The devopment and evolution of the 25 into the long lived 33 was essentially Len's work.

He was also a pioneer of separating spring and damper function, with its horizontal spring layout, so widely used now in all major formulae, as shown in his 1962 mk6 Terrier, a design which he was asked to supply to Renault but they messed it up, along with the idea of a lay-flat radiator, so ably cribbed by Emery for his short lived f1 car demonstrated so well by John Campbell Jones as rudimentary ground effect in a wet practice at Silverstone.

The mk6 Terrier, as the DRW variant with Geoff Oliver at the wheel, was the class of the rest of the 1100cc field behind Beckwith's 1100cc 23 in '62. Trust me, I have the data.

I will ignore the Lotus 30 into the 40, as Len's arguments with with Chapman about the ludicrousness of the design, cited in a 2 page foolscap report which Len still has, were vindicated by history. Before you might comment about the LT-penned Shelby Cougar, if you have heard of it, suffice it to say it was authorised too late, with the Ford money soon diverted post le Mans for other projects, and the engine never ran long enough for any testing, as Paul Newman would have told you about the Honker. Len sat on the pit wall for the best part of 2 weeks watching engine change after change, at a time when Chevrolet were wiping the floor with everyone else via McLarens.

Whilst I readily confess to supporting Len Terry, I wouild refer you to the recent books on Lotus by Dr Mike Lawrence and Karl Ludvigsen, both of whom write historically and factually accurate works on the subject.

Allowing for the time zone variation twixt here and Colorado, you might need time to consider withdrawing your comments.

No offence intended, simply factual and historically accurate recording.

Roger Lund

edited.
I forgot to mention the brilliant design for Indy refuelling which Len came up with, not Chapman as Crombac claimed, doubling the flow of fuel and shortening the pit times, or the self venting extra size oil tank. Ask the Woods brothers how good it all was.

edit 2
and I forgot to mention that Len's 38 design was the first FULL monocoque for Lotus, rather than the twin sponson 25, as it seems Len understood the concept and potential better than ACBC, perhaps because of Len's wartime experience with seaplanes.

Edited by bradbury west, 07 December 2011 - 08:47.