Daily Archives: May 1, 2017

It’s hard to tell sometimes where inspiration will strike

This is an extreme example of bigs and littles, but I think I’m going to steal the name anyway.
Thunderbolt Grease Slapper, note the difference in size between the front and rear tires.

There are some major differences, first and foremost being that my car is real and not a pen-and-ink animation from the 1960s. Another major difference is the OG TGS was front-engine and mine is mid-engine. Then there was the matter of kind of racing. Tom’s day he raced the TGS in everything from drag races to rallies to balloon races (yes really, with oars no less). You can do that when your car only exists as a series of drawings and xerox copies. Mine is a bit more specialized for a single competition as an autocrosser/Solo Racer (same racing just different tire rules). I mean besides actually existing IRL, I’ll have to change wheels, tires, shocks, and springs and maybe an anti-roll bar to go from one competition to the other. This is actually much less involved than it sounds because I’m designing for making the change as easy as possible.

But the official name of the Mid-Bucket as put on the entry forms is Thunderbolt Grease Slapper 2. Or maybe 2000? Nope just 2, not even going to get fancy with II.

All of this is because I spent hours trying to find 16 X 12 rear wheels for the 5 X 4½ bolt circle on my car. I decided to look at pictures of cars to relax a bit while still staying on-point, and Tom Slick came up somehow. The images brought back pleasant memories from childhood, which I’m now going to destroy with new memories from adulthood… 😈

I have to go take my walk now and think some more.

Opus the Unkillable


I did some more mocking up

One of the nice things about having parts on hand is the ability to use them to mock up the car and get a better handle on what goes where.

I really should take pictures when I’m thinking like this, but that thought didn’t hit my brain until after everything had been put away again. Anyways I marked the front axle for the centerline, measured out the distance from the firewall to the front axle on the floor and set the axle up on stands in front of the body and plunked my butt about where I should sit and checked out the view. The view was nothing short of spectacular. Setting the front axle the same distance from the rear axle and firewall as on the original Model T and using center seating will make this a good Solo Racing and autocross car. I can see both front tires and what is in front of them pretty good, better than any street car I have driven and almost as good as the autocross-spec Formula Vee I drove back in the ’80s. Now talk about a car built to dodge cones in a parking lot, that’s exactly what that car was built for. And it looks like my Mid-Bucket will be close to that good.

And now that I have the street and street tire autocross tires and wheels picked out I still need to determine the race slicks tire and wheel combination. I think I have the tire combinations narrowed down to three from two brands, two from Hoosier and the other from American Racer (formerly McCreary). Where it gets fun is finding wheels for the tires. Two of the combinations will work with pretty close to the same wheels because they use the same front tire by different manufacturers, the Formula Vee rear tire on a 4″ wide wheel with either a 15 X 7 or 10 on the back depending on which manufacturer I use. The other one uses a 15 X 7 in the front and a 16 X 12 in the back. This one has a much higher potential grip but is a cast-iron one to find rear wheels for. And unless I get the tune on the suspension right it will be slower than the other two. Such is the life of a hot rod builder…

Signing off for now