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Speedster proportions and design thoughts


gavinnz
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  • 1 month later...
Nice pic Howard, I wonder what the extension on the exhaust is for?

The driver is obviously a very skilled engineer with an advanced knowledge of exhaust systems.

In their 1962 book 'Scientific Design of Exhaust & Intake Systems', Philip H Smith and John C Morrison devote almost an entire chapter on 'idler interference branches' and their effect.

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If I can go back to lowering the steering column for a bit. Mine had a clamp with one bolt ,I was able to loosen that bolt and drop the column about 5 in ,makes for a lower look. Later I will center the pitman arm.

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  • 3 weeks later...

From a Design perspective this is on of the better examples of well thought out proportion that I have seen in a speedster. Although I would bring the cowl back a bit further so the Dash was within reach of the driver while sitting back in the seat. The higher side that you step over to get in eliminates the need for doors and subsequently makes it easier for fabrication and strength, but put you "in" rather than "on" the car.

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Wow, does anyone know what year that Saxon debuted? It is remarkably similar to an L-head Mercer raceabout of 1915-23 . I mean, really close, even the cowl spacing, bucket seat design etc.

Also of some interest here are photos of a Buick speedster special near me in an abandoned airport. I'm guessing body was built in sixties.

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Edited by ersatzS2 (see edit history)
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  • 11 months later...

I don't think this car is a Saxon. The radiator shell is quite different.

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Cool picture - looks like they are having fun!

I do not think Saxon either, though. The running boards for example, on the car that QGolden posted are significantly longer than on the car pictured. Even though the Saxon was another small car I am thinking Model T with one of the many aftermarket speedster bodies that were available in period. I will take a look at my reference books tonight and see if we can come up with a ringer - often the kits included body, hood and grill shell as well as fenders. Also, wheels look like T to me as well; sturdy closed car units like I have on my speedster.

The oval tank is nice. Love the angle, gives the impression of speed even if it is just a nice pose!

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT (see edit history)
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Took a look at my books last night and while I could not positively link this car to one of the aftermarket body suppliers for the Model T, it does show up as a rendering in a couple of articles along the lines of "speedster body ideas" in just about the exact form from the pic - hood w/slanted louvers, smallish full cockpit, slanted oval tank and rear mounted spare(s).

Of course it is possible these bodies would have been adapted to other small cars, as I learn about the halcyon days for speedsters I am pretty amazed at just how popular this seems to have been in period, which follows another poster's opinion about the 20s likely being the time many of these "old fashioned square riggers" were rebodied for a more modern look and better performance.

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT
clarity (see edit history)
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Bit of observation on my Hudson 33.

The angle from the fuel filler lid is about 115 - 120 degrees off level. This gives the tank the rakish look.

The spare tire holder is similar.

For whatever reason the yellow cover was made with hinge diameter of 25" but it will not allow smaller than 26" rim. According to parts book only the roadsters had 32 x 4 rims and the others model of 1912 had 34 x 4 rims.

Have almost completed making a new holder so this web comes at a great time if someone is in the planning stage. My 33 is 115" wb with the rad shell about 8 " back from centerline of front axle.

Howard Coffin had a good eye for proportion!!

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JOE

Hope to get magneto working for spark soon!!

I believe the "waste"oil term refers to the oil that is continually added as the sealing system was not that great, I have a pump and vale to add oil from the reserve 15 gal but must be closed or it will fill motor with oil by gravity. Harley Motor cycles are similar!!

Not sure what the touring and other models did.

Fellow in Vancouver has just brought a '12 touring home but I have yet to see it and crawl under it

F

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For the "purist" that believe hot rodding began after WW 11, try to source Dykes Automobile and Gasoline Encyclopedia 1917 pages 812 - 820 in the "Speeding up a Ford"

Good article on how to build a body etc.

Many of the ideas to improve the "T" engine where thought of in 1915 and apply to flatheads and later motors..

Hot rodding began when the second car arrive into a town!!!

How fast will it go? and I can make mine do better than that!! were the likely topics back then!!!

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For the "purist" that believe hot rodding began after WW 11, try to source Dykes Automobile and Gasoline Encyclopedia 1917 pages 812 - 820 in the "Speeding up a Ford"

Good article on how to build a body etc.

Many of the ideas to improve the "T" engine where thought of in 1915 and apply to flatheads and later motors..

Hot rodding began when the second car arrive into a town!!!

How fast will it go? and I can make mine do better than that!! were the likely topics back then!!!

Yep: Here is the world's fastest model T, with 2-up/2-down crank, and another vintage T with Rajo intake and valve train.

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  • 1 month later...

I have seen a few older fire engine speedsteers (photos only) and really like what I have seen. Not sure how they get the proportions right. I have looked at a 1930 Lafrance and trying to figure out if it would be attractive as a speedster. The Radiator is a bit high, the engine hood possibly too short? Or did they cut and shorten the frames on these speedsters?

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If you are into the giant speedsters, there is a current build being documented on the HAMB with a 1923 Seagraves firetruck chassis. I'm not a fan of the rear body design, but he's done some impressive work on it. I doubt that anyone around here would consider it period correct however... car chassis at the time were far to commonplace to seriously consider using a truck.

http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/giant-speedster-project.468936/

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  • 5 months later...

There is a good example here - http://www.imcdb.org/vehicle_400281-Fiat.html - of speedster proportion that don't work. Of course this is a modern replica of an early race car and proportions were less of an issue at that time. Essentially this is just a lightened touring chassis.

There is another similar car here - http://www.imcdb.org/vehicle_172313-Fiat-Grand-Prix-130-hp-1907.html - and obviously not a GP car.

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Those are the cars we call "practice". You can always rip it apart again, or sell it and start over. Plenty of ugly cars have come from mainstream manufacturers so you wouldn't be alone. AMC was famous for selling butt ugly cars, and yet they still sold to someone that agreed with the look. Of course, if you spend some time on the plan, the likelihood of that happening goes down. The early speedsters are so basic it really is hard to get it wrong.

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This blue chassis racer has had some nice design work done on it. Is it located in the UK? Looks like it belongs on that side of the pond. My flavor would have used 37 x 5 tires to help the wheels fit the size of the car a bit better. However, wheels are just flat expensive to build! I can't tell but the hubcaps like like factory American-LaFrance items somehow modified to lock on the wire wheels. Nice touch. All in all, I would rate a 9.

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They are hubs, and presumably wheels, from an 8 Litre Bentley. Not exactly the sort of thing anyone could copy as I imagine they might have been the only loose set in existence. I agree re: 37x5 tires (27" wheels). I also agree with Terry about the exhaust and I'm not certain I like the fenders but, overall, its one of the best LaFrance conversions I've seen, much more convincing than most of them, including the Jay Leno car.

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That does look good. We can all sit at our computers and nitpick through someone else's work, but at the end of the day we are all just amateur designers so there really is no wrong. Sure we can list the things that might make a car look better, but does that improve the car of just make it mainstream and lacking the imagination our amateur input gives it? I do agree with many of the comments about larger tires, moving the battery box and changing the exhaust, but there really is no wrong way to build it. It's still a cool old speedster built to one person's specs and budget.

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I also note the nice work to blend the lines of the stock shaped hood into the cowling.....nice! Does anyone have a second picture of this car from the rear? I would like ot see how the builder dealt with the boxy firetruck chassis and rear springs. It sure looks nice from this side. Another plus, the ALf even has the steering on the wrong side for our British friends.....:-). It would be nice to hear and see a You-tube clip of this one running and driving. Nice smooth tail section.

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Does anyone have a second picture of this car from the rear? ...

Here are a few more pictures of that car, sadly none from the rear! I watched it sell for the equivalent of Cdn$107,000 at the Beaulieu Autojumble auction in Sept 2008 to the fellow in the grey suit who I understood was from Eastern Europe somewhere.

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Pertinent to the discussion of wheels, here is one Joe shared with me awhile back and illustrates what a determined builder can achieve..

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The builder fabricated patterns and had aluminum wheels cast. He than trued them up using a gap bed lathe. I believe the lathe was a home made affair built into his shop floor and consisted of a concrete base supporting a vertical home made mandrel. (Joe feel free to correct the details!) Love the patina.

Edited by Terry Harper (see edit history)
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I met the man who built this about 30 years ago. The picture was taken only about 8 or 10 years ago in Newport, RI. I believe the car now belongs to his daughter and son-in-law. I seem to remember him saying the wheels are cast in sections, including the felloe. The interfaces are machined and everything was bolted together on the hub then the outside diameter was turned to get them true and match the rims (which he also made). To say I was extremely impressed is a gross understatement. I'm sorry it was the only time I met him. He also did all the casting. I think his son-in-law told me they were made from Corvair crankcases! The tires are 37x5.

Notice that he drilled the sprocket to lighten it. The axles are drilled as well. There is another ALF speedster Iv'e seen elsewhere on the internet that had a new ring & pinion made for it to correct the oversize chain sprocket usually needed to raise the rear axle ratio. I find it a fascinating design problem to make one of these look "believable." I think most of them simply look clunky but certainly the builder of the blue car above avoided that. Whatever criticisms I have of the design are low end nit-picking... overall its a magnificent job.

Edited by JV Puleo (see edit history)
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Tom, What is the story with the yellow car? I like the lines of the front fenders. What size tire is on the car? 27"?

I also like real yellow paint, no orange, green or red tint....just my favorite flavor of yellow is what I see.

Al

(off subject, do you still have any early Locomobiles?)

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  • 3 months later...

It is a pity no-one is restoring or building an early Stutz Bearcat, because I have an original tank for one. It needs serious restoration, but it is all there including original filler caps.

is the Bearcat tank still available?????

i could use it, please respond if possible direct to hans.kirp@planet.nl with some pictures and your price idea?????

thanks for now.

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  • 3 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...

The Chalmers based car looks very nice but is of course built to much smaller proportions than even the smallest ALF.  Even the early Aero engine cars were almost always based on a large car rather than a small truck.  ALF's are interesting, have a big T head engine and chain drive, and are at least somewhat available.  They are still trucks and require pretty extensive modifications to make them more car like.  The one directly above looks great.

  The one at the top with the Bentley wheels  also looks great.  There are a few companies that make wire wheels and hubs to order. I would imagine that provided a person is able to pay the final bill any of the Rudge style wheels and hubs can be remanufactured. There is a Co. in either Australia or N.Z. that has a great web site, and would appear to do top notch work.

 

Greg in Canada

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  • 3 years later...

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