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Thread: Young Z's Adventures in Africa

  1. #1
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    Ok, since so many of you have been whingeing and whining that I never show you anything that I've done, here it is. The only known photos of young Z, when he actually used to do stuff, instead of just talking about it!

    (Some details follow)



    Z

    (Edit: 2014 - Added embedded photos above...)
    Last edited by Z; 11-20-2014 at 05:32 AM. Reason: Added pics...

  2. #2
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    Photos taken early 1974(?) in Umtali, Rhodesia (now known as Mutare, Zimbabwe) when I was visiting parents. Dad decided in '72 he wanted change of scene so left Australia for Rhodesia. He had terrible timing - the terrorists decided to make Umtali their home base that same year. Nothing changes...

    I built this car in Oz, in Dad's shed, while I was at high school (17-18yrs old). Did it all myself, except sometimes Dad would come in and mutter, in deep central European accent "Oh, you shtoopid boy, you make it too complicated!". We had great fun together! I just turned 19 in the pic, so not as smart as all you guys .

    Car has 332ci (old tech.) Ford V8 with radiator behind front axle line (ie. front-mid-engine), 2-speed Fordamatic, and 9" diff. Overall weight with driver and half fuel (~80l total) just on 1 ton, distributed ~50:50. Body is fibreglass bonded to steel chassis, made with no molds . Rear leafsprings were straightened (lowered) shortly after these pics. Also replaced the crossplys with some really wide 205mm steel belted radials (that was w-i-d-e back then).

    Shipped the car from Sydney to Durban for about $500 (?) and drove it up to Umtali, about 2000kms, as shown. Then, with new tyres, all over southern Africa. Top speed was 125mph and climbing, but with big elephants wondering along the roads, I usually kept below 100mph. The two speed auto was great away from the lights. Never beaten by any of the hotted up Alfa's that were popular then... But now I'm rambling...

    So print it, stick it on the wall, and throw as much sh*t as you want!

    Z

  3. #3
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    It's not brown, and the CG looks a bit high

    Ben
    Tyre Analysis Engineer - Caterham F1 Team
    Alumnus of University of Birmingham
    www.ubracing.co.uk and Formula Student Design Judge

  4. #4
    Now that's better......I'll quit complaining now.

    Sounds like a lot of fun.....
    Looks like a serious amount of Ackerman steering.
    It kind of reminds me of a......well I'm not sure what it reminds me of. 240Z 'ish. Is it a McPherson strut suspension in the front?
    Gotta love the v8 in such a lightweight package.
    UNM FSAE 2003 to 2005

  5. #5
    Thanks for posting that Z, it's impressive for someone that age and in that time period. And, it looks like fun
    Alumni, University of Washington
    Structural / Mechanical Engineer, Blue Origin

  6. #6
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    Ben,

    You underestimate the versatility of brown. If I remember correctly, that particular shade was "Candy Apple Brown", quite popular at the time. The ground clearance is to give the shorter African wildlife a second chance. This is no wimpy little car for waltzing around go-cart tracks!

    Chris,

    It was supposed to be a clean-sheet, form-follows-function body style. But that's crap, we are all influenced by fashion. So now I see a lot of the Maserati Ghibli/Bora, or Monteverdi Hai influences in it. Or Stingray front with a Mustang rear. (Edit: And a fair bit of Mad Max in the middle! But those flat laminated glass windscreens were easy to replace.)

    Engine, chassis, and suspension were from a late 50's (US), early 60's (Oz) Ford Fairlane. This was the family wagon until it blew a big-end bearing and tinworm got into the bodywork. The rebuilt engine (by young Z doing the work, while old Z muttered in background) was moved back 30" (.75m) and propshaft shortened to ~2ft. Double wishbone front suspension unchanged (maybe one coil cut out?) although much longer steering column. Chassis overhangs cut off and some serious new cross-members and roll cage welded in.

    Considering that the engine was the old "thick-wall-cast-iron-everything" technology, the suspension/drivetrain/drum brakes!/original chassis (before strengthening) were all designed for a 3 ton load, and the finished car then weighed under 900kgs dry, I have never been able to understand how a small Porsche weighs 1.4 tons? Hmmm, well I didn't bother with NVH insulation, CD-stacker, cup-holders... or real doors...

    The "gull-wing" doors were very lightweight aluminium quick-removable items for "targa" cruising. So lightweight that one day the driver's side blew off while I was doing about 80mph! I found it on the side of the road, rolled up in a ball the size of a football! Maybe should have done some more FEA/CFD? Anyway, everything else was rock solid.

    Z

  7. #7
    How did you bond the fiberglass to the steel frame?
    UNM FSAE 2003 to 2005

  8. #8
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    Chris,

    The body was built like this: First chassis and rollcage (frame) were built and engine, radiator, and drivetrain fitted, ie. the car was driveable. 1/4" steel rods were then welded to the frame and shaped to the main outlines of the car. No drawings were done (well, except for some rough "concept sketches"). If the 1/4" rod outline didn't look right it was changed. The intent was to "shrink-wrap" the body as tightly as possible to the mechanicals and passenger area.

    A piece of single layer 2oz (?) chopped-strand-mat fibreglass was cast on a flat table, then this piece was trimmed and "clothes-pegged" (literally) to the frame and 1/4" rods, and then tacked to the frame with small patches of f/g. The body surface was built-up with more of these flat sheets - hence the lack of compound curves. With the outer (smooth) surface complete, another 1 to 3 layers of CSM were laid up on the inside of the shell. This required hanging the car from its ends and rotating it like a pig on a spit. The floor was similarly done, but with a few more layers of f/g. The end result was that all of the middle and rear frame members were wrapped in about 1/8" of f/g. The nose section is a separate tilt-forward bonnet that can be easily removed (also made with flat sheets of f/g and 1/4" rods). The front of the chassis is thus the only part that isn't totally encased in f/g.

    The above method was fairly quick and easy for a one-off - no positive plug and negative mold required. It also meant that I had no choice but the "origami" look, but that was the fashion at the time... I have done other bodies were I have built a one-off negative mold out of hardboard and various fillers to get compound surfaces (eg. quick-set concrete topped off with plaster of paris). After laying up the f/g I destroy the mold to get it off, hence no worries about "parting lines", etc. However, when just building the negative mold it is hard to visualise the final look.

    Z

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