<VV> OFF TOPIC, but car related

Tony Underwood tonyu at roava.net
Wed Mar 30 18:56:55 EST 2005

At 09:09 hours 03/29/2005, henry kaczmarek wrote:
>In my 40 years of Pinewood Derby Experience, (only 3 as a car 
>racer/builder) the following should work OK
>1. Tire clearance should be enough to make the tire spin freely, but NOT 
>2. Powdered Graphite on the nails will give the only legal (to my 
>knowledge)lubrication on the axles.(nails)
>There IS a weight limit!!! Stick on wheel weights should help.
>Where do you put the weight??  Usually in the center, but---ask the Valve 
>Cover Racers, they use the same type of track.
>I won a few times for my Den, and a couple of 2nd places in the Pack, but 
>that's the best I ever did. Turning 11 disqualifies you from further 
>attempts <G>, so my career ended in 1968.
>BTW, most interesting Derby car I ever saw, was a replica of the Dale 
>Jarrett 88 Motorcraft car, made by a Cub Scout whose 2nd cousin is Dale 
>Jarrett. His mom (dale's cousin) took him to the shop in Hickory, and Dale 
>signed the car.  he has been offered over 300.00 for the car, and won't 
>take the cash---
>Read your Pack's rules carefully!!! I have had to disqualify kids who 
>tried to run the same car they ran the year before, running their older 
>brother's car, and also kids whose parents brought them late, as well as 
>overweight cars. This can cause some real problems, and takes some firm 
>handling to resolve.

Allow me to mention that the offspring's car won the area Pinewood Derby 
Blue Ribbon trophy, never lost a single race and that included the "grudge 
race" between her car and the Pinewood Derby race "official" who had his 
own state of the art "Demo" car, complete with racing stripes and F-1 
decals etc.

I'd suggested shaping it like a late Corvair...  but she had her own 
ideas.   After some debate, her car was put together in the form and style 
of an old Offenhauser Indy racer... no glorious streamlining or "DeLorean" 
shape carving...  and painted Roman Red with leftover paint from the '60 
Monza...  sealed and primed and triple-coated with lacquer and 
polished.   It looked good... also got 3rd place for best appearing car at 
the event.

The trick was to make sure the axles were perfectly aligned and straight... 
and to true the wheels and make sure they were perfectly round.   I trued 
them up for her by spinning them and "honing" them with a dremel wheel, 
also knocked the edges off them at the same time with the notion that it 
might help keep the car from turning over if it bounced a bit and got a 
little sideways as it went down the track, help prevent sharp edges on the 
wheels from "digging in" and make the car dart back and forth between the 
curbs in its lane... I'd already seen the track  and noted that it was bare 
plywood.   I showed her how to check the wheels and axle nails to insure 
they spun freely and had no burrs or tight spots... and a smear of #2 
pencil lead on the nails was scratched along their length before they were 
tapped into place... likewise on the axle holes in the wheels.   No oil was 
used... I wasn't sure if oiling the wheels was allowed or not.   Superglue 
in the nail holes to keep the nails straight and in place so vibration and 
rolling didn't loosen them and get them knocked out of alignment.    When 
the car was checked in and weighed, it was a little light so we added 
weights... held on with duct tape...  ugly, but the car was well within a 
half-ounce of being at the limit.

It outran everything there.    Autumn was happy and proud and pretty much 
full of herself.    Got a hug out of her...   that was before she got 
"dignity".    Now she flips me the finger as often as she hugs me.   The 
apple falls not far from the tree...    ;)

The car and its 1st Place trophy are on the fireplace mantle as I speak, 
still shines.


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