Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I had one more crack at fitting myself into the car. The remaining problem was the dash hoop braces.
In order to reach the accelerator, brake and clutch pedals I had to be able to bend my knees. If my legs were shorter or the car a little longer, it would not be a problem, but we have to work with what we have.

As it stands, the dash hoop braces and my knees are trying to occupy the same space at the same time. Not a good thing.

The only way I could see to relieve the situation was to remove and relocate the braces. It’s too late to change my knees.

To a certain extent the location of the braces is also determined by the shape of the fiberglass they hide under. (During the original design it is usually the other way around) The braces had to clear the underside of the body work as well as my knobby knees. After the braces are moved the constraining factor becomes the body itself. Harvey Templeton, one of the most innovative car builders ever, once solved a similar problem by simply cutting holes in the body of the car and letting his knees poke through.

I have to assume that his braces were never in the way. That would have been very un-Harvey like. His chassis usually fitted so closely around him that almost no one else could drive them.

By this time the season had ended with Hugh taking the championship as expected. He also ran the charity race and survived. His engine now had fifteen races on it and was getting a little tired but it was still going. An off season tune up is in store.

With a little time to work, I started looking at what still needed to be done to get me in the car. The old braces had to be cut away and new braces installed.

Hugh and I looked it over and decided that I would need to tear down the dash as well since he would be welding in the same area where all the wiring was. As long as we were doing that I might as well go ahead and make the changes I wanted to the dash setup. I had figured out a way to clean up the wiring and simplify the switching at the same time. It would require making a new dash but I already had the material needed for that. It would just take a little time. This was going to be my last shot at getting me comfortable in the car so I wanted it to be a good one.

On the other hand I had recently made a trip to Houston to pick up another chassis that I had purchased. If this one didn’t work out I was planning to go to work on the new one. I would get some one else who is bit smaller to drive the car until I could sell it. I have a kid in Baton Rouge in mind who is a real hot shoe. He ran a couple of laps in Hugh’s car that no one has matched yet, and that was his first time in the car. Race cars sell better if they are proven fast.

If it did work, then I would race it and work on the new one as time and budget allowed. When both were running, one could go up for sale or become a rental car for people wanting to try the class.

And just when I thought I was making head way I discovered a mid engine exhaust system manufactured by a group on the west coast. It was a balanced system that looked elegantly clean. I ordered one and got that sinking feeling when I realized that it was about thirty percent of the cost of the system I had had built.
I kicked myself, but I knew that you never find things like that until after you have already spent a fortune doing something else. It’s one of those rules.

After it arrived, I felt a little better. It didn’t fit the Grinch. Part of the frame was in the way.

It would fit the new chassis however, so I was another step along the way on that one.


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