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Midget Sports Car

Fair warning! Don't let your kids see this story!—


or you'll find yourself in the midget car business.

By Paul Wagner

M AYBE we should have titled


this story How To Flabber-
gast The Short Pants Set—be-
cause the youngster who finds this
snappy, pint-sized roadster beside-
his Christmas tree or birthday
cake will be certain you are a me-
chanical magician disguised as an
ordinary mortal.
Actually, you don't have to be a

CONTINENTAL, single-cylinder two.


hp lawn-mower engine powers the cor.
Mechanix I l l u s t r a t e d
ELECTRIC-WELD construction of angle-iron COMPLETED FRAME and preformed Fiber-
frame sustains vibration caused by engine. glas body are now ready to be assembled.

magician, mechanical or otherwise, to used lxl-inch angle because the wider


build this elf s delight of a sports car. material was unnecessary and the ad-
So, if you'd like to really thrill your ditional clearance provided by the nar-
moppet with a plaything he'll remember rower material was desirable. All the
the rest of his life, then continue on to heavier angle was used with the wider
the construction details. side facing up to provide maximum
Chassis. The chassis of our little width mounting surfaces for the car's
sports car is of l-1/4xl-1/2-in angle iron components.
except for the front extensions and the As a first step, cut all angle-iron sec-
rear cross-member. For these, we tions to size and lay them out for as-
118
sembly. The sections are then welded
together with overlapping joints at the
corners. Square-cut the corners and
overlap the joints for ease of fabrica-
tion and for greater strength. You may
not have the facilities for doing your
own welding so it is suggested that you
first assemble the entire chassis, using
screws or bolts to hold the sections to-
gether, and then have it electrically
welded by a professional. It is essential
that the chassis be assembled with
welded joints because of the normal vi-
bration created by the car's single-
cylinder gasoline engine.
The body is mounted to the chassis
only at the ends. Its sides are supported ASSEMBLY DETAILS can be seen in this
by the floor board which rests on the shot of front axle and steering mechanism.
chassis rails and which is sufficiently
thick to provide additional support to
the angle-iron framework. The body
bolts to the under side of the floor board
leaving the interior of the car free of
projections such as brackets, angles, etc.
Body. The car's 67-inch prefabri-
cated body was purchased from the
Amroc Engineering Company of Island
Park, N. Y., for a little under $60. You
can take your choice of one of two types;
both are the same in appearance, con-
struction and weight (22 lbs.) except
that one has a removable deck lid
whereas the other is solid. The solid
body is usually used where electric or
pedal power drives the car. However,
when a gasoline power plant is used
ease of accessibility is an important fac-
tor in starting and servicing the engine,
so the body featuring the removable
deck is preferred.
All Amroc bodies are supplied with- FRONT SPINDLES, turned from 5/8-inch
out the rear wheel cutout. This per- stock, are same diameter as wheel bearings.
mits the individual builder to decide on
what type of wheel opening he would SMALL SPROCKET and steel pulley on
like. We decided to use the full-circle the countershaft must be welded together.
cutout in order to give the car a more
balanced appearance. This was easily
accomplished using a saber saw.
The car's headlights utilize lenses
from a pair of 1955 Buick back-up lights
together with flashlight bulbs and re-
flectors. The tail lights are red auto-
mobile clearance lights. The horn is
the same type used on bicycles.
The Amroc steering wheel is of cast
aluminum, the windshield of Plexiglas,
and the upholstery of whatever material
you choose. Finishing the body re-
120
LIGHT SANDING of molded body roughens REAR WHEEL CUTOUT design is up to
it sufficiently to allow paint to adhere. you; bodies are built without this cutout

quires only a light sanding to roughen all four wheels would distribute the
its smoothly molded surface so that the car's weight equally. Cars of solid
paint will adhere. After sanding, spray suspension often have a tendency to
on a coat of automotive primer, then weigh heavily on three of the wheels
follow up with a finish coat of lacquer while the fourth wheel barely touches
or enamel. the ground. This problem is eliminated
Suspension. The car's suspension is by the use of a pivoting-type front
solid in the rear and semi-sprung in the end. The actual weight-supporting
front. Actually, in a small car of this points then become the two rear wheels
type which is not subjected to high and the center of the front axle. The
speed cornering, a solid suspension all two springs under the front axle merely
around would be satisfactory. We provide a leveling tension that keeps
suspended the front only to insure that the axle from [Continued on page 156]

TO PAINT, spray on automotive primer, REMOVABLE deck lid makes engine acces-
then follow up with enamel finish coat. sible for both starting and repair chores.
Midget Sports Car
[Continued from page 121]
dropping too far away from the frame chassis holes; the belt is adjusted by mov-
when the car is lifted off the ground. ing the engine on its slotted holes. The
The car's axles are made from square axle is supported on the chassis by two
steel tubing that provides a flat surface self-aligning ball-bearing pillow blocks
on which the springs ride. which prevent binding of the axle when
The front spindles are machined from the chassis is in motion. The pillow
stock of the same diameter as the wheel blocks, mounted on spacers of one-inch
bearings. Wheel bearings, 5/8 inches I.D., oak, serve to elevate the rear axle and
were used on this model, so the spindles keep the chassis in a level position.
were turned from 5/8-inch stock. The axle is machined from one-inch
The kingpins are standard three-inch, stock to insure rigidity. One end has a
half-inch-diameter shoulder bolts. The tie milled keyway for the drive wheel; the
rod and drag links ends are of heavy-duty other end is turned to the diameter of the
carburetor linkage ball joints. The steer- wheels' ball bearings. The one-wheel drive
ing knuckles are bent up from flat stock, eliminates the need for a differential.
and the spindles welded on as shown in The brake is attached directly to the
the diagram. axle and acts upon the drive wheel. It
Drive system. A single-cylinder, two-hp, utilizes a V-belt and pulley arrangement
Continental lawn-mower engine powers that is both simple and effective. The ac-
the car and, with its gas tank relocated as tuating lever is mounted to the floor of
shown, will fit in a minimum of space. the car and looks like a gear shift lever.
While a new engine will cost between $40 You should be able to complete this car
and $50, a good second-hand unit will in about six weeks of spare-time work. We
serve just as well and can be bought for guarantee you'll consider your labors well
much less. spent when you roll this baby off the "as-
The clutch used in this car is the V-Plex. sembly line" and present it to your breath-
This is a simple, foolproof type that is com- less offspring—the luckiest kid in the
pletely automatic and gives trouble-free block. •
service.
Installing the countershaft is the next
step. Our counter-shaft, designed to give
an over-all reduction of approximately
9.5:1 from engine to wheels, will be suffi-
cient to drive the car at a top speed of
over 20 mph—fast enough for the five- to
ten-year-old who drives it. If desired,
other ratios can be installed by simply
varying the size of the large axle sprocket.
Although this car uses a roller chain
from the countershaft to the axle, a V-belt
with pulleys will prove satisfactory where
severe usage is not anticipated. The small
sprocket and steel pulley on the counter-
shaft must be welded together, but don't
apply the weld near the oilite bushings as
this will cause them to lose their impregna-
tion of oil.
The drive chain runs from the small
countershaft sprocket to the large axle
sprocket. This latter sprocket, when
properly tightened on the axle, requires
no key; it is held on the shaft by compres-
sion. The chain is adjusted by moving the
countershaft fore and aft in the slotted

156 March, 1959