Possibly the Baddest Pinewood Derby Car on the Planet. Pics! - Vintage Mustang Forums

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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-22-2004, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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Pinewood derby is fast approaching for all of us Cub Scout dad's. My boys put pencil to paper and came up with 2 sort of unimaginative designs. I went ahead and helped them cut them out...but it got me thinking of the possiblities...and you know...one thing leads to another.

Ohhh...that took a BIT longer than I anticipated. Sorry for the copyright infringement [color:"red"] Bob [/color]. I reduced a picture of your plate design to 3/16" wide and ran it off on my color inkjet. It's got one in front too...so let me know what I owe you

The stripes are that chromatic color changing paint. The kids wanted to paint their cars with it...and it looked cool when they were done...so I confiscated the cans when they were done for my LeMans stripes.

The oldtimer's division better watch out this year. I'm guning for 'em!


p.s. I know the axles are sticking out too far. I just stuck them in to take the pictures.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-22-2004, 09:57 PM
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Automatic or toploader? T-lock rear? Details, man, give us details. ::

Nice job. #1 son also did a Shelby for his derby last year, but it looked nowhere near as nice as your. Dickson

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-22-2004, 09:59 PM
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Nice car I showed it my son…couldn’t talk him into making one. He has an idea about making some other type of car.

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-22-2004, 10:01 PM
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It looks fast, but what do you think the 60" times will be? At least the ol' Timers have the reaction time handicap.

Oh, and you better not lose, or at least not admit it here, as that will lead to plans for a 4speed and a stroker!

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-22-2004, 10:02 PM
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Boy, you brought back a lot of good memories there. Great looking car My son and I did that several years ago when he was in Cubs. He did pretty good. The traditional wedge shape worked best for us, but we tried a few other designs, too. Built one to look like a CanAm racer, with side pods and everything. Didn't do too well, but, looked pretty trick. Then, we scienced one out, and played with it to minimize the frictional losses. Moved the ends of the wood block to the front of the car, so it would sit higher up the track. Built a legal 5 oz one and that car would do very well. Built one for the Dad's 'Run-What-You-Brung" class, weighed 11 oz - talk about a top end charge Wow, it was really fast Won the whole deal with it. They were fun to play with. That's what got him interested in cats, too. Good ol' Father - Son bonding - worked great for us. Highly recommend it.

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2004, 12:00 AM
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Been there done that. The things George and I learned:

Add lead in the front, it's sort of like using nitrous (if you add the lead in the rear it makes it handle like a Corvair and slows down).

Touch all four wheels on the belt sander at the same time; it helps round the wheels a bit and breaks in the bearing surfaces.

Careful on adding those side pods; the usual mistake is letting the pods contact the center rail. Remember, keep the part below the main body past the inside of the wheels.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2004, 07:47 AM
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I can remember a kid who got disqualified at our races for having mercury in his car. Seems dad got involved and hollowed out the center so he could add the mercury. When the car hit the transition from the sloped part of the track to the flat part of the track that car would just take off. Towards the end of the event a little bit of mercury started leaking out of the car and the car was disqualified. The kid was heartbroken.

Some dads are just too competitive!

The Mustang looks great.


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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2004, 08:12 AM
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When the car hit the transition from the sloped part of the track to the flat part of the track that car would just take off.
Every action results in an equal but opporsite one. It seems to me that any weight shift would cancel itself. Besides, since the cars start at a downward angle, the mercury would stay at the front of the vial on the downgrade, then settle backwards at the flat end of the track.

During my years of building these for my two sons (winning overall most times strictly by the book), it seemed to me that the fast cars didn't suddenly accelerate at the transition, it was the slower cars that slowed at this point.

Some dads are just too competitive!
I'll never forget the year this one entry spanked everyone by at least two feet. It turns out that the car was a machined billet of aluminum that had custom machined axles. The only parts from the kit were the plastic wheels and decals. The following year, they added a father's division as a result with no rules.

Do NOT send me a private message, email me directly:delstv@aol.com
now sandblasted and DP40'd since this pic was taken.
a two legged hole shot, even with a munged up carb and snow tires...
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2004, 09:08 AM Thread Starter
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Cheating has gotten MUCH WORSE not better. The big thing is the kids are supposed to build the cars...or at least be involved with building the cars. For years, kids have shown up with cars to race, that I don't think they even SAW before they took them out to hand them in for check in on raceday. OK. Maybe that's bad but NOW it is much much WORSE.

Go over to our favorite auction site and do a search on Pinewood. Parents are buying completed, tricked out cars for their kids to go race with. They are going to line up cars that an experienced builder with a machine shop built against some kid that built his with a handsaw and a hammer.

Some of these cars are listed for $150.00. Some have already raced and won in previous years (also against the rules. Every car is retired at the end of the year and cannot be raced again). Once you get above pack level to district, you're dealing with an overall pool of several hundred scouts. At least one of the dad's will have succumbed to temptation and gone out and bought a car, or violated the rules in some other way....and his kid get's to take the big trophy home.

It's a mess. I don't see any fix to it. The oldtimer's division is for Dads that want to build a car by themselves. Still, alot of kids will be racing Dad's car come raceday.

Also...the Mercury thing...if the bottom of the track is flat, and the mercury flattens out in a chamber in the car...as car levels out, the Hg's center of gravity will move backwards with respect to the car itself. This will impart forward momentum on the car as it transitions off the hill. Using any weight that moves is not allowed and using Hg is not only against the rules...it's stupid and dangerous...but back in the day, who knew?

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2004, 09:35 AM
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I wish I can see the pics. My work computer isn't letting them load up.
This brought back good memories. I have 3 of Derbys from when I was in Scouts. My dad was the CubMaster at the time. It is cool looking out how our cars progressed over the years. If I recall right my dad and I talked about the birds and the bees for the first time over building a Derby car! I remember the first one having no idea how I would do and winning 2 trophies! We used to put this big weight just back of the front wheels and cover it over, always making sure the car was in the legal specs. I remember one year they wanted to give me best looking award but since we had won race awards first they decided to give the best looking award to someone else. That was cool.
I need to get my cars back from my parents place and display them at my house.


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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2004, 09:55 AM
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Awesome job. Maybe the kids can set up their own booth for the Corn Feed?

And all I need to do is get to the post office to send the CD. Hopefully I can get their tomorrow.

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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2004, 10:24 AM
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That's a great looking car! I am the pinewood derby commissioner for our pack and it always amazes me what the boys come up with. Unfortunatley too many dad's take over the cars. We've established many rules to eliminate many of the various cheats discussed here. I always host a pre-race tech night at my house a couple of days before the race and we encourage the boys to have their cars pre-inspected. This helps make check-in on race night quicker and it gives them time to make modifications in case soemthing is discovered to be illegal. Have fun, good luck, and remember - friction is the enemy!


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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2004, 10:59 AM
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Thanks for the complement on my ::Mustang.

Do you also explain to the children (and parents) that lightening the cars can make them slower? It is the weight of the car that overcomes mechanical friction and aerodynamic resistance; there are lessons to learn here within the four sets of rules or laws 1) Cub Scout, 2) individual leadership, 3) physics, and 4) character. Have your advance tech inspections included weight limitation rules and recommendations, and include making sure all of the cars are competitive and a credit to each child with his father as mentor and helper.

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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2004, 11:25 AM
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When the kits are given to the boys (at the Christmas pack meeting) we also hand out the offical rules and I give a quick speech re-iterating that the boys are supposed to be the ones building the cars with parental assistence, not the other way around! In our rules we discuss weight limits, and prohibited modifications such as not using the axles, wheels and block as supplied, no changing of the wheel base, no machining whatsoever (you can polish axles and wheels), and no moving weights. Our pre-race tech night includes a complete inspection; weight check, dimensional checks, and rule infringement checks. I offer my workshop to anybody who wishes to tweak their cars and many take advantage of the oportunity. We'll fine tune car weights and I even set up a couple of sections of track so they can test roll it to check their alignment.

[brag on] Since I've taken over, our overall speeds have improved dramatically, the cars are much more competitive (we've had multiple ties even after 4 heats), and I'm seeing more scout/less parent built cars. I remind the scouts on race night we're here to have fun, race fair, and appreciate all the work every body puts into their cars. [/brag off]

It's a lot of work to put it all together, but the look on the boys faces makes it all worth it! ::

Regarding areodynamics; our track is a really old handmade wooden one and I've seen some areodynamically horrible cars win. In our case, it seems the key is maximum weight and a good alignment. (everybody seems to do a good job of lubricating and polishing axles) The cars that go straight and don't hit the rails are the ones who win.


1968 C code fastback. 463 cu. in. stroked FE, Tremec TKO, 3.70 N-case detroit locker
Visibility Group, 8k Factory Tachometer, Bench Seat
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-23-2004, 12:02 PM
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I gave the kid a little block of 2x4 and had him put some nails in it for axles and then some gallon jug of milf bottle caps for wheels. . When I got back form the bar he had painted it with stipes and lettered it with the mane Chevy.. He told me there was no money for being first or winning so we went fishing...
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