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    Smaller buggy into a SCORE legal race car
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    Super Moderator TutTech's Avatar
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    I had a unique experience where I was called by my engine builder the week before the Baja 1000.
    He called and told me about a guy and his two sons who dreamed of racing in the Baja 1000. This is awesome as that is the same as me I dreamed of desert racing and now I am lucky enough to be able to do it. Anyways the guy had his little Manx short wheel base buggy his father used to own before him and used to take him out to the beaches by their home and drive around in.
    So he decided after his sons and him saw some Dust to Glory videos etc. that they would come out and run the baja 1000.
    So they live in Rhode Island and took the fathers before him smaller buggy to a car fabrication shop and started working on it.
    I am not going to pick on or say anything negative as I hope people would give me the same respect. But the simple fact is when the car was shipped out here from the builder in Rhode Island it Failed tech from Savage at Score with almost a 2 page list.

    The biggest things was it was extremely over weight.. nearly 700 pounds.
    It had bolt on front and back bumpers and the fuel cell was mounted to the bolt on back bumper.
    The side openings were to big and the front window was to big.
    The car had Recaro bucket reclining seats and of course the list goes on.
    So the challange? Make it pass tech get them into a race and help them achieve their dream. Ok no small task here considering it was the week before baja. Dang.

    The biggest problem was the weight.. it was built out of 1 3/4 by .120 wall steel everywhere including the light bar and two side carrying racks.
    It was skinned with .120 wall steel body panels both inside and out. No aluminum anywhere all steel. Fire walls, roof sides etc.

    So lighten car, weld on front and back bumpers and tie them into the cage.
    Ok.. Close in sides by adding a horizontal bar and add window nets.
    Close in front as we could pass seats standing up out the front.
    Ok. Then Fuel cell etc. and then all the little things. Ok.
    So I worked my normal job at nights and worked a couple days straight on it before I had to stop as I was done both mentally and physically..So my motor builder just had to just finish bolting everything back on includeing new seats, window nets etc. Ok done.

    Several times during all this I was on the phone with Savage from Score who is the tech inspector and I must say, he was very nice, helpful and allowed us to fix all this stuff in a way that did not cause us to build another car. I can not say enough about how tolerant and understanding he was to pass the car after we did everything the best we could to meet the standards. I am impressed.

    Well after all was said and done the car was just at 3,000 pounds and with the 1 3/4 tubing it passed weight. Fuel cell now mounted and fixtured to frame and bumpers and cages all tied in the car was coming together.

    The only big thing was I did not have time to help with the mechanical or over all performance of the vehicle because of all the safety and tech stuff. For example he could not run larger then the 235 R70 15's because those already rubbed on the sides of the car. He needed a wider beam and wider arms to the tires could be larger and the car would be more stable.. but no time or money left over to do thos types of upgrades.
    So the car would be leaving and going to baja with some pretty basic parts etc. in some areas.
    But they were going and could now race.

    All I could tell them was to take it easy. Don't push hard and have fun. Learn from this have fun and come back and do it again after you really get the car fixed up.
    So off they went. I watched and tracked them on the tracking online. They had to stop for small repairs a lot.. fuel pump went out, broke cv bolts and fried a clutch.. stock clutch on a heavy car with off road tires.... lots of hills and tough terrain.. dang.
    Well after a long day or so they had to pretty much call it at mile 65 or so when they could not make the next check point in time. But hey you know what they did it.

    So the hard part is over now just fix up the car and do it again. Improve each time and maybe next time you will finish and then next time maybe you will win and so on.

    Well very cool but this story is not over.
    So I receive a phone call and it was them. They are super excited and called to say they checked around and everyone wants way to much for a frame and what not to help him out after how much he spent on building this car and it not even passing tech etc. he is pretty wiped out but he has now seen and lived the off road racing experience and he wants a better car. Mostly for now he wants to have a frame that is race worthy and safe. So he checked out my website and liked what he saw. Plus for the price I am able to put in a wider front boxed front beam, make hime a full chromoly wider rear housing and get him a lot more wheel travel and safety of course for a much lower price then anyone else. So super cool.

    So I am building him a new full chromoly frame with the specs of a class 12 car so he fits in a class but he will still be racing sportsman. He wants to race sportsman still and continue on and finish but needs a car that can go into a class later.
    So he decided with all his parts and my frame class 12 was the class for him. It still stays VW which is his families tradition etc. so perfect.

    The biggest thing is my frame will have roughly a 120 inch wheel base for him and his current small buggy had only 80 inches!. Yep .. very small. Actually his small buggy was taller than it was in wheel base length.
    It will be set up with more suspension and wider. It is going to have more room as he had to stuff his 6ft 3" body into the other car and mostly it will be safe and built to pass tech with all the current safety and proper fabrication.
    It should come around the same weight if not lighter then Kitt so she weighs 2,000 pounds and this is a full chromoly car so I am expecting the same weight.
    So that will be a 1,200 pound weight saving! Shoot that alone will make this car so much faster and handle so much better than he is used to. Dang.. huge difference.. heck that is an entire one of most of your mini buggies in weight saved.

    It will look and act like a race car and over all it will just be a much nicer buggy that they will now have a much better chance of finishing a race, having fun and soon hopefully winning a race.

    Well time for some pics.
    Here is some bad camera phone pics but they are the old car and the new car I am working on.

    His old car







    Ok and so with the SCORE rule book in hand and the requests from the owner to make the improvements over the old car off to work I went.
    Here it is in the fixture table getting the bottom pan all set.






    Here is the quick break down of the differences already. The pedals instead of only being 18 inches away from the front of the seat if you look at the green line you can see the pedals can now mount up to 26 inches away! And can actually go more if needed as there is tons of room in front of the pedals to go more.. but not needed. Anyways Big difference and he will be able to stretch out and be comfortable. This will help him not to fatigue and make it to the finish.
    If you look at the Red line this is the front added length I have already added to the car. Before his car stopped at the pedals.. They actualy had to be cut and passed through the front fire wall to give him more leg room. So this is 24 inches more cab room. Perfect for adding to wheel base and again giving him more room.

    If you look at the blue over all line this is 96 inches from back of seat to front where the beam will be mounted onto. His entire other cars wheels and tires could fit into this space. Much more room and much more wheel base. This car will be sleeker and much faster.

    I am sure he will but I hope he enjoys this car much more then his other car.
    I will post updates as I have them.

    Thanks for looking.
    Last edited by TutTech; 12-13-2009 at 11:05 AM.


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    Re: Smaller buggy into a SCORE legal race car
    #2
    Admin Gene's Avatar
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    Great post Tut and good job helping them achieve the dream!
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    Re: Smaller buggy into a SCORE legal race car
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    great job!

    trying to fix another shops works is hard! it always seems to take it's toll metally and physically, not to mention hitting your head agaist a brick wall because what see makes you sick and makes you wonder what the hell poeple are thinking.


    Clay Watson
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    Boulder,CO
    alt.6000'
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    Re: Smaller buggy into a SCORE legal race car
    #4
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    Tut I still say you are a class act!!!
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    Re: Smaller buggy into a SCORE legal race car
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    The Wizard bdkw1's Avatar
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    HA, they're hooked now. They need to race the 1000 this year, the peninsula runs are the best.
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    Re: Smaller buggy into a SCORE legal race car
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    Super Moderator TutTech's Avatar
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    Thanks guys very nice of all of you to say.
    As for fixing others work and heck just making it right is tough. I agree totally especially the safety and parts that can get someone hurt is serious.

    I was really glad I was able to be a part of making it happen for them and man are they just excited as all can be. The two sons and the dad can't wait to come back down and race again.
    They will be doing a few races with Score in sportsman this year to get ready and work out the bugs on this new car. As I am only building the frame the car will still need to be assembled and all the parts from his other car will be used for now. Some stuff over next season will be upgraded as his income allows. He hopes by setting a side 2,000 a month by the end of next year he will be able to buy the parts he needs to race in class 12. But first he needs to finish some races and get some more drive time and experience in off roading. He has only driven on beaches etc. and never in the desert.

    As for next years Baja 1000 if all goes well and we work well together on the building of his new car we might actually be going down to help him drive the 1,300 miles it looks like the race is going to be. Awesome and that will be a blast. I look forward to it if I get the chance.

    I just wish I had met him earlier and was able to have built his car right or at least better the first time. It really is bitter when you have to do things twice. Especially in this sport as it is not cheap and building an entirely new frame (pretty much car) just to come back and race again is bad.
    But I hope to help them make it a happy ending and a great experience for their up coming races.

    If I do go to the Baja 1000 and drive half the race or at least be part of their team and help etc. I will of course let everyone know as I would like to keep an eye out and maybe grab a taco at tech or something.

    I was not trying to really make this about me but I do appreciate the support and thanks again everyone. I know I will do my best to make them a great car and I know they will have a much better time the second time around.
    Last edited by TutTech; 12-13-2009 at 02:07 PM.


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    Re: Smaller buggy into a SCORE legal race car
    #7
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    Tut, I have decided that you are possibly one of the nicest guys with a welder. I can't believe the way some shops and owners act, in comparison to how others actually try. Always good to hear of new people getting into racing. Also good to hear of people helping the cause
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    Re: Smaller buggy into a SCORE legal race car
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    Super Moderator TutTech's Avatar
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    Thanks Kevin I appreciate that.

    Ok here is an update. I finished most of the bottom pan just the diagnal webbing to go into the floor and it is all done. Waiting to get some welding done before I add those in.

    I was able to set up my fixtures and set up the car into the bath tub or Boat stage.
    Set up all the main outer corners and sections to hold everthing before pulling the other fixtures out of the way. Just need to pull the back fixture and start on the roof, front end and back end.
    Then move onto torsion housings and then shocks. Well moving a long.. Working nights and then days is a little slow sorry but I will get more done this weekend as I am off.

    Here are the latest pics of where I am at.

    The floor sections are all getting some welding done to them while everything is clamped in place.
    So like you see with this tie in it is welded then the rest will get done later. Just don't want any intersections etc. to move.


    Here are a couple of the Bath Tub or Boat stage if you prefer.




    Ok will post more soon.
    Thanks again for the kind words really you guys are to nice. But if your ever at a race and need some welding or help just look me up and I will help you the best I can.
    Last edited by TutTech; 12-17-2009 at 11:37 AM.


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    Re: Smaller buggy into a SCORE legal race car
    #9
    Vendor yoshi's Avatar
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    what size tubing is required for score, 1.5" or 1-3/4"?
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    Re: Smaller buggy into a SCORE legal race car
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    Senior Member diirk's Avatar
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    Depends on the weight of the car. I think this is accurate...
    Vehicle Weight:
    Under 2000 lbs. 1.5" x 0.95"
    2001 to 2500 lbs. 1.5" x .120"
    2501 to 3000 lbs. 1.75" x .095"
    3001 to 4000 lbs 1.75" x .120"
    4001 pounds and over 2.0” x .120”
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