“All our friends are dead”: Weekend of a champion

“All our friends are dead”: Weekend of a champion

By Freddie Heaney, September 8, 2014 Set in May of 1971 in Monte Carlo, an area of the Mediterranean Principality of Monaco, Weekend of a Champion is a documentary that portrays how three-time F1 world champion Jackie Stewart applies himself to the task. Produced by Roman Polanski and directed by Frank Simon, the film premiered at the 1972 Berlin Film Festival and subsequently remained unscreened for 40 years. Now re-released and available on Netflix, it is the finest documentary on F1 for car racing enthusiasts of that period. Though it was a trendy time particularly for the racers—hair styles, side burns, beautiful cars and voluptuous girlfriends with Riviera suntans—F1 was a sport that inflicted profound loss and grief. In common with US sprint car racing of the last century, Formula One spawned an appalling death rate. When Stewart sat down with his wife, Helen, they calculated that 57 professional racing drivers had perished during his final five years of racing from 1968 to ’73. Marked by destruction, two of every three drivers were fated with violent death. They knew the slightest error would betray them—no wonder she had said: “all our close friends are dead.” After his retirement at the end of the 1973 season, Stewart, now 76, became an F1 champion of safety, implementing an often contentious campaign that rid F1 of deaths for 18 or 19 successive years. For enthusiasts, though, the essence of an enjoyable documentary is one that allows you to marvel at the details as they unfold. And on this particular weekend, Stewart was extremely fortunate in that the rain held off, for the team...
Remedy for sprint car driveline troubles

Remedy for sprint car driveline troubles

By Alfie Bilk, August 2, 2014 East Berlin, PA: There is a universal belief among the sprint car community that most driveline failures are the result of an inadequate universal joint. Nothing could be further from the truth according to Aaron Long of AL Drive Line. “The U-joints available today,” insists Long, “are undoubtedly strong enough for the demands of a WoO sprint car and we have failure-analysis data to prove so. The problem lies within the design of the traditional driveshaft, which whips and bends and ultimately causes the U-joint to fail from fatigue. ” The problem is fatigue; the remedy is a titanium design unlike any other. Nothing in the delivery of a sprint car’s power is diluted. Consider transmitting torque in excess of a 700ft-lbs with neither a clutch pack nor transmission to absorb the chaos between the crankshaft and the rear end. With a single U-joint attached to a conventional drive shaft, the whipping effect is so fatigue-inducing that a lightweight aluminum U-joint will be eventually flailed into submission if not replaced every 8 to 12 races. Heavier, more durable types are available but, still, the universal joint is widely regarded as the sprint car’s most vulnerable component.  But Aaron Long discovered by combining three certified titanium alloys in the driveshaft’s construction with larger diameter and precision-machining, the shaft could better absorb the adversities of harmonics, vibration frequencies and torque spikes. Moreover, the shafts could also be made lighter and by reducing binding in the drive-train, the rear suspension works better. Constructed entirely from titanium the billet splined ends and the seamless tubing are machined...
578hp and 620lb-ft: the efficiencies of a modern centrifugal supercharger

578hp and 620lb-ft: the efficiencies of a modern centrifugal supercharger

TorqStorm’s supercharger featured in Classic Truck’s story: Chevrolet Super Fire V-8, April issue. Here’s the valve-in-head V-8 as only the leader can build it and here are some wonderful things it brings you: 578 hp and 620 lb-ft of torque, made possible by the employment of an extremely efficient centrifugal supercharger. Exceptionally high horsepower in a brilliant package yields GM’s most potent pound-for-pound power producer to date! Chevrolet’s “Super-Fire V-8” delivers phenomenal performance, surprisingly high gas mileage, and extra-long life. See the video and read more.    ...
Basics for building a custom steering column

Basics for building a custom steering column

By Archie Bosman: Hot rods create an environment that removes us far from the chaos of the real world. And their custom innovations are the luxuries they bring to our lives. For some production shops, developing a one-off design is not in the cards. Others, in contrast, interpret this as laziness or a lack of ingenuity or complacency or some combination of the three. They see it as ignoring an opportunity. Still, to succeed in custom designs you need access to an efficient team armed with specialist knowledge and swiftness—a team that is irrepressible in overcoming obstacles. This is often best illustrated in the completion time of projects and their cost. Before hot rodder Kevin Smith from Manvel, Texas appeared at the ididit booth during the 2015 NSRA Nationals in Louisville, he had already made inquiries at several shops without success. By combining some of his original parts with newly designed components, he was planning a custom-built steering column for a 1962 Ford Thunderbird that he and his son were building and needed specialist help. Here are Kevin’s requirements and how the Michigan firm, ididit, accomplished it. First, the 1962 Thunderbird was equipped with a Swing-away column arrangement. Original and novel technology that promoted easier vehicle entry and exit, naturally, its owner wished to retain it. In addition, the customer requested a column gear-shifting mechanism, featuring automatic shifting; four-way flashers, self-cancelling turn signals, not originally available; and column tilt. Today, 5-position tilt is in popular use, but Ididit has extended the articulation to eight positions, allowing the steering wheel to arc through a total travel of 35 degrees. The...
New belt-drive assemblies for big-block Ford engines

New belt-drive assemblies for big-block Ford engines

Innovators West has revealed details of its new belt-drive assembly for big-block Ford 385 series engines. The hallmarks of a competent belt-drive assembly are to generate less friction; effectively dampen adverse harmonics before they reach the valve train; maintain precise valve timing, particularly at high engine speeds; and demonstrate convenience in valve timing adjustments. The Innovators West new belt drive assembly distinguishes itself by not only accomplishing all these familiar requirements but also makes it available in two indispensable forms: one style is equipped with integral side brackets for serious track use, the other without. The side brackets are regarded as unique. Provided with big-block Chevrolet hole spacing, they accommodate motor plates, power steering pump, alternator, crank trigger as well as external oil pump or a vacuum pump or a belt-driven fuel pump, often a requirement for turbo or blower engines. External competition pumps are customarily mounted on the 1/4in thick aluminum engine mounting plate, but this is rarely satisfactory as the plate is apt to deflect, resulting in imperfect belt alignment. An adjustable drive-belt idler is included to allow for precise adjustment of drive belt tension. This is important when taking into account the production tolerances of new belts and the re-tensioning of used belts. The crankshaft pulley is made from heat-treated steel and the cam pulley hard-anodized billet aluminum. For concentricity, both pulleys are machined in one operation in a multi-axis lathe. Also, a cam retaining plate is provided with two encased roller bearings—one operates between camshaft and plate, the other between cam pulley and plate. Optional high-vacuum seals, alloy steel drive hub, and camshaft drive adapter...
Wilwood Named as a Series Sponsor with ChumpCar

Wilwood Named as a Series Sponsor with ChumpCar

Wilwood Disc Brakes has teamed up with ChumpCar International, Inc. as a Series Sponsor in 2016. Building on ChumpCar’s abundant racing success, Wilwood has announced a new partnership with the endurance racing specialists, supporting their enduro efforts at more than 40 events annually across four divisions (East, West, Central and Canada). In addition to being listed as a series sponsor, Wilwood will provide contingency ($100 product certificates) to competitors at every ChumpCar event. Each competitor will be required to run at least two Wilwood contingency decals on the sides of their competition vehicles. “ChumpCar’s approach is simple; it provides an affordable series for the ‘average Joe’ that loves driving fast and it operates without gimmicks and high price tags,” says Steve Cornelius, Director of Sales and Marketing at Wilwood Engineering. “Wilwood has been creating race- and championship-winning road racing products for decades. Partnering with a series like ChumpCar is a perfect fit for Wilwood. We look forward with enthusiasm to providing its competitors with support and guidance to choose the right brake application no matter experience level or budget.” Click here for the full 2016 schedule and to register for an upcoming event....
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