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Going racing again, but not in a Datsun this time

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Maybe I missed this on my latest read-through.  Will this be vintage or SCCA?  Some vintage groups are fussy about wide-body fenders on the old LBCs.  They don't like cars built to modern SCCA specs in some cases.  They prefer stock bodywork.  Just a thought.  VSCDA where I used to run treated flared 510s differently than stock fenders.  

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This car has logbooks going back to the 1960's, so I'm pretty sure any group will allow it. CSRG, which is the group I was going to run with in the other Sprite, has different classes, and yes, one of them is way more stock than the others.


I have no illusions of running competitively in SCCA. Not yet at least...


This car is mainly for my kids. Yes, I'll drive it, but I want them to learn how to race in something that isn't so fast. I learned in an ITC 510. Those cars were so under-powered that learning how to carry speed is key. In open track test days, I remember fighting with the "slow" Porsches and Corvettes. They would blow by me in the straights, but then I'd have to figure out how to get by them in the corners. This wasn't merely a smaller and lighter thing, this was carrying speed while they scrubbed it off.


Sorry, you caught me reminiscing...

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10 hours ago, Stoffregen Motorsports said:

 I learned in an ITC 510. Those cars were so under-powered that learning how to carry speed is key. In open track test days, I remember fighting with the "slow" Porsches and Corvettes. They would blow by me in the straights, but then I'd have to figure out how to get by them in the corners. This wasn't merely a smaller and lighter thing, this was carrying speed while they scrubbed it off.


Sorry, you caught me reminiscing...


Exactly my experience in my few years of vintage racing.  Had a great run at the Mitty in 2006 where I would catch and pass a guy every time through the esses and into the last turn before the back straight.  Then he would catch or pass me if I couldn't hold him off until the chicane just before the bridge. My 510 was really underpowered though.  No engine development money back then. ☹️


Nothing wrong with reminiscing...

Edited by iceman510
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  • 1 month later...

Work on the race car has officially begun. I bought a donor Midget which was a running car, so now I have just about every mechanical component and the front body panels. Some of the later components aren't the same, like the steering column, so I will have to come up with a few other used parts. The list of new parts I need is huge, and totals over $8K for chassis/suspension parts. I'll have to chip away at that list because we chose this year to pay off some debt too.


One item that I've always wanted is an engine test stand. Using pieces of the donor car, I built this -




A series BMC engines are rather difficult to build without oil leaks, so being able to run the engine before install is paramount. If a leak is detected, it's a whole lot easier to repair here than in the car. I can shift the trans too!

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Whew, Matt !!


That gave me a bigtime flashback !!


You're right about the leaks and fine tuning. Lots easier on the stand. Rocker cover gasket gave me fits. Went through three cork gaskets and finally coughed up 20 bucks for a Britt silicone one and can't make it leak now.




Edited by difrangia
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  • 2 weeks later...

I have started gathering parts and doing some mods/repairs to the body tub and suspension.


Sprite parts are definitely more readily available than Datsun parts, which makes this easy, but they do add up. I figured I will have over $3000 just into the front suspension parts when it is ready to hit the track.  I also bought a Ron Davis radiator from Speedwell. Gorgeous piece.


Here are some pics of the front frame repairs. I also ditched the old nose and fit a new one from my donor Midget. Just a photo dump. If you have questions, I'd be glad to explain.



Edited by Stoffregen Motorsports
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Last weekend we took a trip to the ocean. On our way we stopped at SPIR to see what was going on. After talking my way into the track, we peeked in at Huffaker Motorsports. Joe Huffaker Jr has the winningest MG Midget production car in SCCA, but he is also famous for his rear wheel drive GT5 Mini.



In their showroom was this beautiful 510 BS/2.5 TA reproduction. It bid to $40K on BaT recently, but did not sell. I'm glad it didn't sell, because they probably had that much into parts alone.


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On 12/31/2020 at 9:27 AM, Stoffregen Motorsports said:

Really? A full size domestic truck is not automatic trans worthy?


The thing about racing is that after the event is over and you get in the car/truck to head home, you're done racing and want to relax.


I replaced a Chevy Dually, 454/Turbo 400 with my Ram in 2001. Cummins 24 valve, NVG 6 speed manual, heated leather seats, air, blah, blah, blah. Loaded up with camper, race car, tires, fuel, tools, etc, grossed out at 21,500lbs. about half of the 140,000 miles on it (so far) have been like this picture. As far south as Thunderhill, as far north as Mission Raceway, most of the road courses in between, Portland, SIR/PR, Bremerton, Spokane. 


Never thought twice about all the thousands of shifts I have made.


Of course Mrs. Racer doesn't sit next to me like she did in the Chevy, but we both like those heated leather seats.


36449802653_56483a107b_h.jpgGoin' Racin' by Racer, on Flickr



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I had the auto trans in my 2003 Dodge rebuilt a couple years ago by a specialist. We installed two kinds of shift kit and a couple stronger than stock parts and also a custom billet converter. Now it shifts instead of hunts.


I know why people don't like autos behind a Cummins, with the power band so broad, but behind an old gas V8, I would want an auto trans.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Waiting for parts from the UK sucks. I ordered a set of 4 spoke Revolution wheels and some suspension bits from the UK, and I think they got lost in the Suez canal. So in the meantime, I've been ordering more parts from inside the US and doing panel patching and replacement.


Got my chromoly wheel hubs from Mini Mania, and my sway bar and shock link kit from Speedwell. I'm mounting the sway bar above the frame rails though, so some mods are going to be made to fit. The sway bar end links wouldn't work so I had to re-engineer that. Also made some chromoly adjusters that slide in and out on the bar to adjust the stiffness.



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My kids helped me make the collapsible steering column, which was made out of used parts from the donor Midget and some 3/4" chromoly tubing, plus a custom extra tight heim from Borgeson (made specifically for steering shafts, so they don't rattle). I then used the mill to cut a bracket for the heim to mount on the dash bar. 


The steering wheel in there is just for mock up. The mock up with seat and steering wheel revealed a problem. My arm will hit the door bar on the cage while steering left, so now I have two choices. Either get a tiny 10" or 11" steering wheel, or cut out the door bar and make some Nascar style door bars that go into the door pocket. I think the latter sounds like the best option.



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More parts ordered. Custom ones too!  Including a custom vintage looking 10K rpm tach with my business logo on the face and 0 rpm at the bottom (6 o'clock instead of at 8 o'clock). The tach was designed to look like the vintage 2 5/16" Stewart Warner oil and water gauges I have. There will only be three gauges in this car, not six or more like some guys have. Besides, will you really be looking at the gauges during a race?


Other work in progress is the replacement and repair of the quarter panels and rocker panels. The old quarters were cut up so badly and so full of fiberglass and bondo that they were beyond repair. The donor panels came off the donor Midget, and were indecent shape, but did need some patches welded in, which I fabbed here ind TIG welded together. TIG is so much nicer for panels because you can control the heat much easier, and thus minimize the warpage.




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After I stripped all the extra metal from the new panels, the rot was cut out and the new panel made and welded together. The finish is near perfect with only a skim coat of epoxy to fill in the small valleys on the weld. I did not weld both sides, only the back side.



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Fitting the entire rocker/quarter combo was time consuming, trimming away a bit at a time to be sure the fit is perfect. I actually cheated the quarter out a bit in the middle, to help with tire clearance. Once the panel is welded on, I will then roll the fender with that tool you mount to the axle and pivot back and forth. Also, in an effort to keep the weight down and make future body repairs easier, I am deleting a couple of the inner panels. With them in place, I would never be able to get to the backside of the outer skin to beat out the inevitable dents caused by hitting a tire wall. For the inner fender well, instead of wrapping all the way back down to the fender lip, I will make a panel that meets the outer skin at a 90 degree angle, with a flange, and spot weld that together.




That's all I got for now, as I wait for more parts.

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