Friday, 6 August 2010

Ford based "Outlaw Racer"

The American county fairs became a welcome break and moment of perhaps escapism from the austere, hard and stomach knotting worries of the depression years in the midwest states.
As well as the typical sideshows and horse racing, the introduction of car and motorcycle events on oval dirt tracks became increasingly popular.

The competitors would often lead a gypsy or barnstorming lifestyle, travelling from fair to fair with little more than the racecar loaded with a canvas cover or tent. Essential tools would be secured in a box along with minimal spares. A hand gun or similar might also be concealed, just incase, on those nights camped alone in the middle of nowhere! Perhaps a bale of hay or straw might be puchased at the event to provide that luxury bedding beneath the ground sheet.
The cars where not particularly regulated  or acceptedby the motorsport officials of the day, hence the "Outlaw" tag.
Safety was minimal and serious accidents were very common.

Many racecars started life as a cheap or discarded old Ford or Chevy. Chassis' were modified and primitive bodies constructed. However, intuition and innovation led to many clever modifications and developments that are still in evidence today. Some self taught engineers developed new pistons, con rods and very ingenious head and valve modifications, all with very limited resources and equipment.

If you would like to know more then enter the following, have a good explore as many new car pictures come up in each section of the site.

The car under construction in the pictures is typical of the late 20's to early 30's.
Based on a Model T chassis which has been shortened considerably and inverted. The left rail has been joggled outwards just after the firewall. The driver can then sit very low between the propshaft and chassis rail. Positioned at an angle, his right leg stretches over the prop shaft to the throttle and a sturdy foot bracing section. As the car sets into a sideways drift, the driver can anchor himself firmly and feel the little tell tale movement that will dictate the next turn on the steering or slight lift of the throttle.
The engine is a 29 Model A Ford, fairly standard except for an increase CR and some valve modifications. The rear suspension is 1/4 elliptic and the front will be Model T but with the axle forward of the crossmember and spring (not yet in position in the photos).
The radiator is an aftermarket item of similar period. The wheels will probably be amongst the last items of the project, but we will have large diameter and thin section (similar to the motorcycle ones currently in the photos) to achieve the "spidery" look of the period.

Still lots of work to do but i will keep posting as I progress.

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