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Author Topic: South African track-nosed lakes-style roadster  (Read 3187 times)
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BarryA
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« on: March 14, 2015, 12:14:40 AM »

I live down at the bottom end of Africa and have a scratch-built roadster that has been an ongoing project for a couple of years.

There had been talk of establishing a Land Speed event over here for a good couple of years (initial plans were for Verneukpan) and an event finally got off the ground in 2012 at Hakskeenpan - same location as the Bloodhound, but on a totally separate part of the "Pan"
I've been attending since the first one - and went twice in 2013 (about 6000km travelled  shocked shocked)
There website isn't updated regularly, but here you go: http://speedweeksa.com/  
There is also a FaceBook page for those on there: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=133699450102481
It has been great fun, though there have been some issues and I feel the organizers have their work cut out to really put this event on the map. I'll start a separate thread about the event if there is any interest?

To my car: It started out as a quick buy when I didn't have anything close to running a few years back. Long story short, a slipping gearbox ended up as classic 'job creep' and the car is now about 80-90% new. I'll post more about that if anyone wants to hear, but there are some details over on the HAMB:
http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/the-afterthought-special-my-28-29-inspired-lakes-roadster.834663/#post-10693485

In 2013, with the car only having run the day before leaving, I managed 198km/h, but with a number of teething issues.
Last year we pushed that up to 206km/h
Most guys seem to have had some fairly major issues with stability and the track surface/prep, though I really haven't experienced that, either with my old brick of a '41 Ford P/U - best speed was also 198km/h (though some heavy crosswinds did make things 'interesting' on one of the days), or with the roadster.
In fact last year everything felt so stable that I got to thinking that I could aim a LOT higher....
To date the car has run a 307SBC (I fitted some 305 heads last year) and though I could get more out of it, the old adage about cubes seemed to make more sense. I happened to have a supposedly 'strong' 350 that I horse-traded a few years back and had never looked at again, lying in a corner. I sent it to a buddy of mine and on tearing it down it seems there are some $$$ bits inside. He believes it should be good for about 400hp or so grin

Which leads me to begin looking at all the other parts of the car that I would need to upgrade. Obviously I want to see some good speed out of this thing, but my first priority is safety. There are a couple of areas I will need to look at, mostly around proper driver protection, speed rated tyres etc, and maybe some I haven't even thought of yet (though I'm sure I'm at the right place to find the answers)

Given that the Kalahari event is wide open in terms of rules etc (a double edged sword: run-what-ya-brung is great for getting the numbers to make a viable event, but I feel they are going to have to get WAY stricter on safety) I don't have to worry much about classes, regs etc compared to most of you guys.

I'll add to the thread as I go with specific questions as I go.
Thanks for looking!



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« Last Edit: March 14, 2015, 04:06:25 AM by BarryA » Logged

The laws of physics do allow it, but they don't encourage it....
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« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2015, 01:58:33 AM »

Barry, that's one very hip roadster.

Regarding the wide open nature of the event, enjoy that while you can.  I look back at pictures of cars racing on the salt and the California lake beds during the 1930s and 1940s, and it all seemed so organic.  As an organized event, these will be your "good old days", so I would recognize that now, and volunteer the safety aspects to your builds - and encourage other competitors to do the same - before they become foisted upon you.

It's said that the rule book is written in blood.  I'm hoping you never need a thick rule book.

One other thing.  MAINTAIN COMPLETE RECORDS OF THE EVENTS.  Much of the early days of LSR in the US are lost due to inadequate record keeping.  Nobody in 1939 thought anybody would be interested in the cars they were racing then, and yet today, there is a plethora of interest that will never be satisfied.  Your build is clearly an example of the type of vehicles that were commonly raced years ago, and that we wish we had better records of today.  Start now, and your events will be better served for it.

Yes, keep us posted, and thank you!

Chris Conrad 

 
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« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2015, 03:44:17 AM »

Welcome Barry, nice post man.
Welcome to the forum. These are the best bunch of guys (and Gals) in racing.
All you'll get is help, encouragement and motivation.

This is the best forum for anything wheel related, PERIOD.

God Bless. Mike.
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BarryA
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« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2015, 04:16:50 AM »

Cheers Mike - great chatting to you the other day!

Thanks Chris! One of the big drawcards for me is that I believe this may be the closest anyone could get to experiencing what those early days might have been like. It would be even better if we had a few more period style cars involved...
As for record keeping there hasn't been too much from the organisors, though last year was a little better. Still probably a good few years away from establishing any real classes etc.
And I'll do what I can to make sure my own car is as safe as I can make it. There are pretty decent paramedic/rescue guys on hand, but there have already been a couple of incidents. One last year (thankfully not on the course, just guys mucking about elsewhere on the 'pan) that four guys were VERY lucky to walk away from with only some lacerations and a few fractures.

I'll start a separate thread about the event when I get a chance, and try to keep this one about my build...
« Last Edit: March 14, 2015, 04:19:17 AM by BarryA » Logged

The laws of physics do allow it, but they don't encourage it....
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« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2015, 05:24:11 AM »

That's one bitch'n ride!!  cheers
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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2015, 11:16:44 AM »

We are an eclectic bunch of automotive fools here with many lifetimes of experiences doing this crap & we try to be helpfull.
Good to see the enthusiasm growing down in SA. Don't go diggin up that desert before the Poms bring their rocketship down there! grin
  Sid.
 
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BarryA
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« Reply #6 on: March 15, 2015, 10:34:23 PM »

Thanks guys!
Just a few more pics from last year's event before I start getting into the specifics of the changes/upgrades I'm thinking about..


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The laws of physics do allow it, but they don't encourage it....
BarryA
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« Reply #7 on: March 15, 2015, 11:02:17 PM »

So in terms of what I need to do, I guess I need to nail down some goals and the constraints I'll have:

While I could probably aim a little higher, I'm thinking that 150mph (240km/h) is a fairly reasonable target.
That car is licensed and (mostly grin) road legal. I want to be able to retain that as owning/building a dedicated LSR car is not in my budget, and to be honest I am not certain that the future of the event is secure. So everything is do will need to fit with this, or be a reasonably straightforward bolt-on/bolt-off deal.

The first area I need to look at is tyres (yes we spell it funny over here wink)
What is on it at the moment - 165/15 fronts and 215/15 rears isn't going to cut it at higher speeds. Finding tall and narrow speed rated tyres over here is tough, and importing is a costly business with our exchange rate and duties.
For the rear I should be able to find v-rated 225/60/18's locally which will give about the same diameter as what I have on now (finding something w-rated would be a bonus)
First question - is that already going too wide?
Other ideas?

On the fronts I have less options...
One suggestion has been to look at motorcycle tyres.
The first issue is load rating - I'll need to get an accurate front axle weight...
And of course the fact that the rim/mounting is different to car tyres, so the cost of putting together suitable rims may outweigh any cost savings
While I'm sure I could find something that will work, perhaps it might be better to bite the bullet and import a pair of Frontrunners (or similar)
I'm keen to hear anyone's experience of running 'bike tyres on a car...
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The laws of physics do allow it, but they don't encourage it....
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« Reply #8 on: March 15, 2015, 11:02:45 PM »

We are an eclectic bunch of automotive fools here with many lifetimes of experiences doing this crap & we try to be helpfull.
Good to see the enthusiasm growing down in SA. Don't go diggin up that desert before the Poms bring their rocketship down there! grin
  Sid.
 

I could get the fracking rights Sid. Bribe some dude and start mining. cheers grin
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« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2015, 11:11:06 PM »

Barry, I have access to rims that aren't that expensive, outers only though.
You'll need to have the centres welded in with your own offset and PCD.
I can get you 18" rear and 15" steel fronts but then it still poses the question,
What tyres?Huh. It's all about money. The correct rear tyres are $800 each.
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« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2015, 01:26:53 AM »

Barry, that's one cool ride. Do you tow with that old pickup? If so, you'd make all the rat rod guys at the car shows really jealous!   evil
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Mike in Tacoma

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« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2015, 01:40:16 AM »

Barry

How would you like to be my "camera car" when I shoot the Bloodhound record attempts? We'd be the coolest thing on the pan. . .

Nice work.

Very nice!
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« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2015, 09:33:23 AM »

Subscribed  cheers
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Dan
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« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2015, 09:49:46 AM »

We are an eclectic bunch of automotive fools here with many lifetimes of experiences doing this crap & we try to be helpfull.
Good to see the enthusiasm growing down in SA. Don't go diggin up that desert before the Poms bring their rocketship down there! grin
  Sid.
 

I could get the fracking rights Sid. Bribe some dude and start mining. cheers grin
Nah Frack that Mike, we're goin racin Mate.
  Sid.
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« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2015, 09:55:09 AM »

Barry, I have access to rims that aren't that expensive, outers only though.
You'll need to have the centres welded in with your own offset and PCD.
I can get you 18" rear and 15" steel fronts but then it still poses the question,
What tyres?Huh. It's all about money. The correct rear tyres are $800 each.
There's a 15x29 Mickey drag front runner thats cheap.
  Sid.
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