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Fantasy Vintage Racer.............


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#1 Simpson RX1

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 20:34

Spent a most enjoyable Sunday at Brands this week, to take in a round of the DTM (and third degree sunburn, but that's another story!).

The penultimate race of the afternoon was round 2 of the 'Longfield Cup', open to two classes of sports cars built between 1919 and 1940; it was a fantastic race and featured, amongst other things, a guy plainly enjoying himself broadsiding a 1925 Fraser-Nash through Paddock and Druids, and some spectacular antics from a couple of Aero Morgans.

Thus, I began a train of thought which started with the idea of cobbling together some kind of inexpensive 'Special' using parts which would be eligable for such a competition, and concluded with what would be the ultimate engine/chassis combination from this period.

So, I thought I'd ask here; if you were building this car on a tight budget, what route would you go down, alternatively, money no object, what would you choose to put together?

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#2 David Beard

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 21:02

Originally posted by Simpson RX1
Spent a most enjoyable Sunday at Brands this week, to take in a round of the DTM (and third degree sunburn, but that's another story!).

The penultimate race of the afternoon was round 2 of the 'Longfield Cup', open to two classes of sports cars built between 1919 and 1940; it was a fantastic race and featured, amongst other things, a guy plainly enjoying himself broadsiding a 1925 Fraser-Nash through Paddock and Druids, and some spectacular antics from a couple of Aero Morgans.

Thus, I began a train of thought which started with the idea of cobbling together some kind of inexpensive 'Special' using parts which would be eligable for such a competition, and concluded with what would be the ultimate engine/chassis combination from this period.

So, I thought I'd ask here; if you were building this car on a tight budget, what route would you go down, alternatively, money no object, what would you choose to put together?


This is "Vintage " in the British sense, as opposed to the all encompassing American one?

Either way, "The Ultimate Laxative" Napier Bentley is going to take some beating :)

#3 Simpson RX1

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 21:16

American measures of 'vintage' might be valid, there was a single seater American racer of early 20s parentage on the grid..........

#4 Ray Bell

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Posted 05 July 2006 - 23:08

We have, of course, a class for this...

Dream up what you want and build it. As long as:

1. It's built 'in the manner of' a car raced in the period.

2. It's built of components made in or before the period.

4. Modifications must be of a type made in the period. It's not a replica of a car raced in the period.

5. The chassis must be from a car or truck of the period, though it may be altered.

The classes are pre-1931 and 1931 to circa 1946. The cars may be sports cars or racing cars.

#5 ggnagy

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 13:16

So... a beefed up MG R-type scaled up to take an offenhauser?

no no no... wait.. I have it

I'll take 2 Fiat Topolino front ends. A JAP 500 motorcycle engine, and combine them in a scaled down Auto Union Formula 1 style body. Then maybe I'll go to Herbert Austin, and get some of those hot rod Austin 7 motors. If I do well, maybe he'll put my name on those hot rod models... Maybe in a few years, I'll put in the offy, or a flathead ford v8 and go to Indy. But should I paint the car blue, or green.


Therein lies the problem of building a retro-authentic racer. More or less, all the components of the revolutionary car of the late 50s were there in the late 30s. In hindsight, we can out-cooper John Cooper by 15-20 years.

#6 Ray Bell

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 13:36

Not under the rules we have here you can't...

#7 2F-001

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 13:40

Hmm... even stretching the cut-off date to 1946 (see Ray's post) narrowly excludes two contraptions that sprung into my mind:
1) In the 'money no object' vein - Cisitalia 360 with a BRM V16 engine and a truly massive development budget (there's nothing quite like a challenge is there?).
2) In the pure fun-stupidity category - an early Cooper 500 with an Offy 'somehow' inserted in the back.

"circa 1946" though... how flexible is that?

#8 dretceterini

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Posted 06 July 2006 - 13:49

Alfa Romeo Bimotore with the 1000hp Bugatti motors in front and rear, on skinny, fabric tyres?

#9 D-Type

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 00:03

I'd want a decent chassis with a good engine. Most of the Detroit iron into ... have been tried.

How about a Maserati engine in a Vale Special?

#10 Ray Bell

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 01:33

Originally posted by 2F-001
....."circa 1946" though... how flexible is that?


Well, the wording of the rule is worded to allow components up to 1940, but allows for the fact that many post-war cars were actually pre-war cars put back into production.

You would, without a doubt, be able to use a Dodge 230ci flathead six, for instance. The block and head is visually the same as the 201 and 218 from pre-war, what goes inside is free, so just grab a 1959 Plymouth flathead six.

#11 dbw

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 02:45

imho the most fun for the money is a 15-27 ford t based single seater....with wire wheels , big brake kits , rajo heads and fully counterbalanced cranks available new ;a quick,reliable and fun car could be assembled for less than $10,000 US and run for several seasons with potentially no big issues.....

#12 Ray Bell

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 02:56

I'd agree that this kind of simplicity is worthy of pursuit...

But for my money, that 230 is going to be a lot simpler than a Rajo, easier to find and give more grunt with unstoppable reliability.

In something like a Wolseley chassis with a lightweight body, it would go very quickly, I'd imagine.

#13 dbw

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 07:49

not so easy to just grab a flathead dodge six anymore...not to mention the rebuild ! i priced such a project a few years ago and was shocked to find these things are now "collectors" items...figure six new pistons[think compression ratio-head work-heavy duty crank] -new valves/springs-hardened seats...gets expensive quick...then there's the trans...hard to find a good toploader unless you go to early ford..[trans adaptor].then you're stuck with a torque tube drive. a T is pretty easy to do as 15 million[or so] cores exist!!!! the t drivetrain will take a fair bit of power and if the car is light less stress on stuff....


actually folks down under make several flavors of fronty heads new...a shop in calif is now making a run of 8 valve rajos..[i'm on the wait list]...all new and totally interchangeable with an original .


and i'm afraid the days of cheap pre-war chassis are over...price a riley 12/4-6 roller lately??..and i'll bet you wolseley suspension bushings can't be fedexed next day.


not that i'm thinking too seriously about this.... :rotfl:

#14 petefenelon

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 08:41

Originally posted by 2F-001
Hmm... even stretching the cut-off date to 1946 (see Ray's post) narrowly excludes two contraptions that sprung into my mind:
1) In the 'money no object' vein - Cisitalia 360 with a BRM V16 engine and a truly massive development budget (there's nothing quite like a challenge is there?).
2) In the pure fun-stupidity category - an early Cooper 500 with an Offy 'somehow' inserted in the back.

"circa 1946" though... how flexible is that?


Now there's a man who thinks like I do. Too much power, not enough tyres.;)

A few "up-engining" thoughts along those lines....

ERA E-Type or GP Alta, with an Alfetta engine.
HRG 1500 with a Bugatti 35T engine.
MG K3 with an ERA engine...

And of course the Napier-Railton re-engined with a Merlin.;)

Of course, if you're talking pre-War technology raised to its ultimate, then how about the unbuilt "100mph 750" Lotus Mk5?

#15 Sharman

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 08:52

I have mentioned this in the past and it has gone unremarked, but what about John Horridge's Morris Oxford with an ERA engine installed. I am sure it happened, because it passed me whilst I was at a bus stop and nearly blew me over the wall.

#16 petefenelon

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 09:36

Anyone else remember the film of the Ford Pop with the de Havilland Gypsy engine? -- it was on a video that C&SC gave away a few years ago and it was profoundly, deeply, earthshatteringly scary.

#17 dbw

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 05:01

ok guys...always one to put my foot in my mouth..err...money where my mouth is...i've decided to accept the "fantasy vintage racer" challange.

today i plunked down $600.00 USD for a complete 1925-6 ford T rolling chassis with drivetrain.

advantages/downsides;

-late engine castings -unknown insides other than it turns over.

-21" ss rims...on shakey wood spokes [but will accept non-beaded edge tires]

-mostly original paint..means it hasn't been at the bottom of a lake .

-disassembly will start in a month or so as a trip to kyoto [leave tomorrow] had been planned.


parts on hand to add to the mix;

-1914 brass radiator

-set external contracting accessory rear brakes

-good oval t gas tank

let the fun begin!!!. :clap: ...details as they evolve.

#18 Sharman

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 06:44

I rather like this thread, but I would also like some advice. I'm down here in France Profonde and have of course examined local scrap yards for anything that might be interesting. Buuuuut...I had not considered the proposotion posed in Fantasy Vintage Racer. What do the team think would be a useful starting point in France?

#19 Terry Walker

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 08:05

In France ...

A couple of junked 1930s Citroen Light 15s. Two lengths of four inch steel tube for a chassis. Use the engine, gearbox, suspension from one junked Cit for an inboard-engine rear setup, a la Cooper. Use the other front end for the front suspension.

Then maybe junk the Cit engine and install something from the 30s with 4 cyl or 6 cyl around 2.5 litres, add a 30s supercharger. Clothe the whole lot with an Auto-Unionish body.

Bon chance.

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#20 Cirrus

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 12:39

Right! There's no excuse..........

http://www.racecarsd...?id=38929&cat=0

#21 ggnagy

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 12:24

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Not under the rules we have here you can't...


which rule did I break? the chassis? I am sure there is some light car chassis that would be small enough to start with maybe even 2 of them stacked to form a box structure, cut off and reattach everything fore and aft of the cockpit and refab those bits to mate to those topolino suspensions properly. Swiss cheese the frames and then triangulate.

Or I could go whole hog and have the frames put through the Bessemer process and turned into tube to start from scratch. you did say I could "alter" a chassis, didn't you?
:lol: :p :smoking:

#22 Ray Bell

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 16:44

Sure, you can alter a chassis... shorten it, typically you might invert the rear to undersling a back axle...

But don't forget that the car has to be built 'in the manner of' cars of the times. The 'times' in this instance being pre-war. To build a car like an Auto Union would be seen as not in keeping with the spirit of the rules.

#23 WDH74

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Posted 11 July 2006 - 00:57

I've had about three goes at coming up with something using period pre-war bits and keep coming up with something similar to Stu Hilborn's lakes roadster, or the Baldwin/Payne Ford special road racer. Neither of which was built during the proposed period, although I suppose that they could have been. Of course the custom bodywork on either of those cars would've been a bit out of reach for an enthusiast on a tight budget, eh?

-William