Home Made Sports Car - Garage find, after 18 months.

To commemorate the somethingth annual Chicago Auto Show and Concept Car Disappointment Parade, we're doing a week of car features. So far, so good. Today we bring you a 1956 article from Popular Mechanics about a father and son who built a sports car in their garage. You're probably thinking that a project like that is a huge amount of work, but actually it's a huge amount of work. We present for you all three pages of this interesting article describing how they did it. Please find it interesting.

"I though you were gonna do the styling." "No, I thought YOU were!"
Well, somebody must have done it."
It's a rare thing to find someone who's a brilliant engineer AND a brilliant artist. I'm way more artist than engineer. I've built a few pieces of furniture to fill a need, but they usually turn out to have one or two obvious flaws that tell you it was designed and built by an artist, not a proper carpenter, such as being partially on fire, or being 31% useful for it's intended purpose.

This sports car has a curb weight of 2500 pounds with a 250 horsepower V8, and a perfect 50/50 weight distribution. Impressive, especially for '56. It also has the look of a balloon with a zip tie around it. You can't have everything.

This does not diminish the achievement of building your own car from scratch. I sure as hell couldn't do it, even if I could design one that looked better. My design would live forever as a drawing on paper. You can't drive a drawing... until the next iPad changes that or something. And, as the article says, "These are individual opinions which you may not agree with but, after all, the real reason for building a car yourself is to create something that you like. You are not trying to appeal to everybody, just to yourself." Absolutely. Just getting any shape at all to come intact from your wood frame / plaster / fiberglass layup process is an a victory. Who cares what some jerk fifty years in the future thinks. "Eff you futurejerk!" Hey, that's me!

I'd have to say that the relative positions of the battery and gas tank spells
trouble in the case of a rear-end collision. Pinto, anyone?

This concept car will arrive in the marketplace in the shape of a perfect cube after design changes driven by committee review, accounting adjustments and market testing. It will have a one-cylinder engine, nine-seats, forty cup holders, rear seat diaper changing station, and convenient vomit troughs throughout.


tinyface said...

They subbed out the upholstery. Wusses.

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

I know. And I thought buying steel was kind of lazy too, when they could have just dug a mine in their back yard and done a little smelting. Lightweights. Thanks for reading, Tinyface!


tinyface said...

actually, now that I look at the thing, maybe their upholsterer did the styling too. I can picture it now: "I've always thought a tufting seam right behind the door would look cool."

Michelle_Randy said...

Boy, do I commiserate with your attempts at furniture building. My dad is (was-retired) a contract with an engineering degree. That means that after the Apocalypse, the only things left will be cockroaches and stuff my dad built. What it also means is that I have a serious inferiority complex about building ANYTHING. I usually end up with something that's fine, but it always suffers from the "it's not as good as dad would've built"-itis.

Anonymous said...

Somehow I'd bet these two had a hand in designing the Oscar-Meyer Wienermobile.


Looks like the first attempt bent. Maybe they couldn't fit 2 wieners in that bun.


Anonymous said...

Very cool story.
Thanks for sharing! :)

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