Author Topic: I went racing!  (Read 6331 times)

mharrell

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I went racing!
« on: September 07, 2012, 04:07:34 AM »
It's only taken me about two months to notice the forum now has an off-topic section, so here goes:

Among my fleet of full-sized cars are three SAAB 96 sedans, a pair of two-strokes and a V4:



One of them had been sitting for a while after its last episode of engine awkwardness, so I naturally decided to turn it into a race car.  This mostly came down to interior work, during the course of which I learned that the one thing worse than working under the dash of a car is working under the dash of a caged car.  The bars, as it turns out, don't move.



Still, it all came together a couple of months ago when my team went to the Pacific Northworst Grand Prix, a 24 Hours of LeMons race held at a brand-new track only about 100 miles from home.  The car held together surprisingly well.



We turned enough laps to take home the Index of Effluency for accomplishing the most with the least, which in this case was 34th out of 45.  Despite finishing the race on only two cylinders (always the middle piston...), the car also made it back home under its own power.  There's a nice summary of the race here:

http://blog.caranddriver.com/lemons-pacific-northworst-the-winners/

or, on video, here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PQUpDmWF63c

with a lot more photos here:

http://www.murileemartin.com/UG/LWA12/LWA12.html

and here:

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150989642069495.433045.36766739494&type=1

Great fun!  Now I just need to figure out what to do about the engine.
197? Lyman Electric Quad (two), 1978 KV Mini 1, 1980 KV Mini 1, 1981 HMV Freeway

cuscus47

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Re: I went racing!
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2012, 05:09:05 AM »
We turned enough laps to take home the Index of Effluency for accomplishing the most with the least, which in this case was 34th out of 45.  Despite finishing the race on only two cylinders (always the middle piston...), the car also made it back home under its own power. 

Good job Mike    -    Ian
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Barry

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Re: I went racing!
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2012, 05:27:22 AM »
I would love to have a two-stroke Saab.
Also, a wartburg would be good fun.  
I had a Saturday job as a petrol pump attendant (16 years old) and remember having set the oil pump to 25:1 and add the right amount of 'stots' when the local Wartburg turned up.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MOGznGE1hs&NR=1

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Image:Wartburg-2006-03.jpg

Big Al

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Re: I went racing!
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2012, 08:33:54 AM »
Fav clip on you tube. Put in 'Saab singing in the woods' and turn up the sound. Not only that it sorts out the real petrol heads from those who do not really understand what doing things on old cars are all about and normally comment 'what a lot of noise for not a lot of speed'. Yep, more interested in shiny things and willy size, so not really one of the gang.

Not suggesting a Saab is for everyone but having had Wartburg, Deek and Saab, the last is the pick and of them. Of the Saabs the Bullnose is the best as its balance is perfect. For a standard engine of 32 bhp on a good day, pulling a ton of car, the performance is incredible if you can drive it correctly. Much like a Messerschmitt, do not touch the brakes unless you have to! The more tuned they are the more difficult they are to drive but the rewards when you get it right is very fast a to b times for a car its age, all on skinny tyres. My Bully could drive round the outside of youngun's in their turbo terriffics on half size roundabouts like Watchfield leaving them no where to go when they wanted to turn out and having to go around again. A proper car not a Carlos Fandango of girt wheels, scoops and changing half the suspension. Saab basically got it right and it is in the rare class of car which offers a whole experience which can be progressively improved till the two stroke engine could produce no more advance in power and was deemed dirty.

Most eventing cars are the Longnose as it has a more amenable layout, better engine and shares panels with the V4 if you have a bump. I have Tony Brookes' old eventing car here. I prefer the Bullnose though so I will be keeping that and selling the Longnose, so there is your chance if you really want one of the 100 or so strokers left in the UK. I have a very tuned bellowing rally engine, a mildly tuned MacDonald and about 3 other spare engines and good bits so that is a project ready to be sorted out.

For me, the V4 is a disappointment. It is the best version of Fords V4 engine rebuilt properly by Saab (as Saab did with Truimph and others later with the same result). The balance is gone as has the challenge of keeping the kettle boiling. It is a compromise. Now stick a Wankel in and get the balance back again.......

It is interesting that circuit eventing is popular with owners as I would not have thought it was where a 96 would really excel. Their real habitat is on the back roads and lanes where the totally predictable handling can see off all but the skilled or well prepared opposition on an ever-changing course. On a circuit the opposition gets the chance to learn the corners and negate the Saab's natural advantage. The 96 always lacked power so pretty soon it cannot compete without hurting itself. Like a faithful horse it will willingly do so but you are left with a broken car which will limp on for some time. Again the sign of a proper car rather than rubbish that just expires in smoke at the least provocation.

There seems to be an annual thrash round a circuit in Sweden, Kunkenknunknukenooky or something, and there are a lot of clips of those. It shows the different performance of cars as several very fast cars put rings round the standard offerings. Unlike rallying a circuit offers a quantifiable risk and a centre for social activities in private so I can see the attraction. Why I suggested a National MIcrocar Rally at a Kart track for a change, like Little Rissington within spitting distance of Nether Westcott. Could be enormous fun, but I doubt the campervans would get round the corners, poor dears.

I am fascinated to know why you race with an aerodynamic roof rack on.

Saabs, you have got to love them if you are a petrol head.
Messerschmitt set, Goggo Darts, Heinkel 175, Fiat Jolly, Autobianchi, Fairthorpe Electron Minor, Borgward, Isuzu Trooper
Citroen BX 17TZD & GTI 16v
Held - MG Magnette ZB & 4/44
For sale - Vellam Isetta, Bamby, AC Type 70, Velorex, Church Pod, Reliant Mk5, KR200,  Saab 96, Bellemy Trials, Citroen BXs

Jim Janecek

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Re: I went racing!
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2012, 02:42:27 PM »
are the curb feelers original Rally items?

AndrewG

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Re: I went racing!
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2012, 05:36:05 PM »
I am fascinated to know why you race with an aerodynamic roof rack on.
The LeMons write-up calls it an "Antarctic emergency-supply-airdrop sled on the roof", which doesn't actually explain to me why it would be put there.  Quite a lot of extra drag, I would have thought.

mharrell

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Re: I went racing!
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2012, 06:28:34 PM »
I am fascinated to know why you race with an aerodynamic roof rack on.

It is indeed an emergency survival sled, intended to be filled with supplies and deployed via airdrop, which I mounted upside-down on the roof rack back when I was using the car as a daily driver so as to gain some storage space.  It still comes in handy hauling empty fuel jugs to and from the race.  We left it on during the race because we like its looks.  It even matches the year and color (mostly) of the car!

are the curb feelers original Rally items?

Hey, they worked.  We never once hit a barrier or other car.  The rear feeler fell off on the first day of the race, but one of the track workers noticed its reflection while driving the track after dark and returned it to us that evening.  Somehow he knew it was ours.
197? Lyman Electric Quad (two), 1978 KV Mini 1, 1980 KV Mini 1, 1981 HMV Freeway

Big Al

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Re: I went racing!
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2012, 08:06:48 AM »
You know your in the brotherhood when you get an answer like that! Like I say, the rest of the world would not understand. All the more reason to do it. Of course, you realise that if this is seen as too interesting or enjoyable it will be banned by some nasty little spot bot in an office somewhere. Just driving a car with numbers on the door here warrants a pull from plod.

But the sled reminds me of another Saab plus. Capability in the snow and to run on rubbish fuel. So in a bad British winter when a inch of snow paralyses the country for weeks creating a fuel crisis and you cannot drive moderns the Saab will be ready and willing to run on paraffin, terps or the stuff out of an old lawn mower if not to higher compression engine with the ability to stay on the road. Schmitts can do the same but are to low, trike inhibited and the Saab is strong enough to take a hit from a pratt stuck in his jeep 4wd thingy just when it might have been useful, whereas a Schmitt cannot. Something I should bare in mind as I plan to move further off the beaten track to a small Oxfordshire village rather stay in Faringdon. Amazingly if this happens one of the neighbours has a longnose two stroke in his garage which he has used. There is also a Citroen Bijou in bits down the road. Could I whip up a bit of a petrol scene there?
Messerschmitt set, Goggo Darts, Heinkel 175, Fiat Jolly, Autobianchi, Fairthorpe Electron Minor, Borgward, Isuzu Trooper
Citroen BX 17TZD & GTI 16v
Held - MG Magnette ZB & 4/44
For sale - Vellam Isetta, Bamby, AC Type 70, Velorex, Church Pod, Reliant Mk5, KR200,  Saab 96, Bellemy Trials, Citroen BXs

Barry

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Re: I went racing!
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2012, 08:22:18 AM »
There is a Saab (off the ground) in these photos.

Not sure if you can see them in Facebook?

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=392054160863287&set=a.184088014993237.45985.184082721660433&type=1&theater

Big Al

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Re: I went racing!
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2013, 08:59:16 AM »
A foot note, well actually about 14 inches.

A right result. Had cause to fall across Tony Brooks and mentioned the old rally car I have. Turns out it was, indeed, his and that it has a pretty special engine tuned over the specification of the factory Sport engines by Chris Partinger. Goodness knows what such a unit would cost to commission these days or what it is actually worth now. Not greatly interested as it exactly what I hoped it was, but expected it was not, when I bought the car miss-advertised off eBay for a quite reasonable price. So the Bullnose project has a whizzo engine, a MacDonald engine and a bog standard unit as a spare. Well worth assembling all the other parts needed and look to get the shell checked over before a repaint once I have the time to devote to it. Fantastic bit of luck.
Messerschmitt set, Goggo Darts, Heinkel 175, Fiat Jolly, Autobianchi, Fairthorpe Electron Minor, Borgward, Isuzu Trooper
Citroen BX 17TZD & GTI 16v
Held - MG Magnette ZB & 4/44
For sale - Vellam Isetta, Bamby, AC Type 70, Velorex, Church Pod, Reliant Mk5, KR200,  Saab 96, Bellemy Trials, Citroen BXs

Barry

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Re: I went racing!
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2013, 09:17:18 AM »
This sort of set-up?

micro marshall

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Re: I went racing!
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2013, 06:34:41 PM »
what made you get into this kind of racing with these cars? ;D
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mharrell

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Re: I went racing!
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2013, 01:01:45 AM »
what made you get into this kind of racing with these cars? ;D

How could I not?

It all started with the inaugural Concours d'LeMons at which my KV Mini 1 took Worst of Show in 2009.  I then took my MG Metro 1300 to the Concours d'LeMons Box Wine Country Classic, held in conjunction with one of the 24 Hours of LeMons races in 2010, and confirmed first-hand that the racing side of LeMons also looked interesting.  This led to a stint behind the wheel of a friend's MGB at a race in 2011:



(that's me with my arms folded and my co-driving niece at the wheel), then the eventual debut of my own 96 in 2012.

Most recently I drove another friend's 1959 Humber Super Snipe at a race in December:



It's... fun.
197? Lyman Electric Quad (two), 1978 KV Mini 1, 1980 KV Mini 1, 1981 HMV Freeway

Big Al

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Re: I went racing!
« Reply #13 on: February 09, 2013, 07:36:05 AM »
If it is fun then it must be banned!

A Humble Snifter Snoop Estate no less. A rare beast. I had a Hawk in battleship grey and it certainly cleared the road in front better than just about anything I have driven other than the Tatra 603, which is designed for the oppression of the masses of course. Clearing the road in exactly the way Microcars do not. Though the Hawk had steering as good as an Isetta and was still on crossplys, hmm, interesting cornering of Isetta standards with added dog howling noises rather than falling over. Out of the three cars to event in I would take the 96.
Messerschmitt set, Goggo Darts, Heinkel 175, Fiat Jolly, Autobianchi, Fairthorpe Electron Minor, Borgward, Isuzu Trooper
Citroen BX 17TZD & GTI 16v
Held - MG Magnette ZB & 4/44
For sale - Vellam Isetta, Bamby, AC Type 70, Velorex, Church Pod, Reliant Mk5, KR200,  Saab 96, Bellemy Trials, Citroen BXs

richard

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Re: I went racing!
« Reply #14 on: February 09, 2013, 10:02:00 AM »
LE MANS !! fgs  ;)
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