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Author Topic:   My solution to new or used SS car
Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 66
posted November 30, 2001 12:39 PM
I've been looking in on this forum for a few months now but this is my first post. For starters I wish to say hello and give my thanks for all the info ya'll help out with.

I have been planning on getting a factory stock (street stock) car for some time now and I'm finally making the leap. The "buy used or build new" question has haunted me for some time though. Everyone knows the benefits of new... you know every part of the car intimately as you've put it there yourself and you know what you got (no questions of whether somethings been bent). Additionally, I've seen very few street stock cages that I approve of both in terms of safety and rigidity and I want to start with a GREAT foundation right off the bat.

In terms of getting a used car, you get it cheaper than building new. That's about the only benefit I see. I know others list several other advantages to a used car, but IMHO this is the main one.

I had relegated myself to spending the extra time and money in building my own car as it was becoming increasingly unlikely that I was gonna find a good used car. However I finally found one... a ready to race Cutlass. I think it's straight and everything on it is good including the motor, but the cage of course does not meet my standards. Rather than cobbling up something to bring the cage up to my specs I have also decided to buy a gm metric car (monte carlo or regal most likely) from the salvage so that I can strip it, build a cage on it that I approve of, and then take all of the parts from the "ready to run" car and swap them over to my new chassis. This way all of the parts come from a car that was previously running well so that I'm not starting from scratch, I am building on a good new foundation, and I'll have a complete car for parts and body panels... all while spending much less than starting from scratch building a new car.

I'm sure that I'll have questions as I get into this project that I can't get answers to from the huge amount of magazines and books that I have read, but I'm confident after reading almost every post in these forums that someone here will probably be able to provide the answers and some insights for me. I promise my subsequent posts won't ramble on this long.

Happy Holidays!

[This message has been edited by blanep (edited November 30, 2001).]

Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 1565
posted November 30, 2001 01:57 PM UIN: 54865418
what is it about the cage that you do not like. i realize there are some cages out there that i wouldn't trust to drive off the trailer. the one thing you should rember that if you start putting bars here and there it's gonna change the handleing of that car so anything that the old owner might be able to help you with is no good to you now and i have seen alot or realy safe cars be tested because they where to safe and wouldn't turn because they are to stiff

Dirt Freak

Total posts: 273
posted November 30, 2001 02:09 PM
I have also been told that a stiff chassis will not be as forgiving when set up is not at 100%.And that is alot to ask from a dirt chassis.But none the less be careful and have fun.

Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 66
posted November 30, 2001 05:01 PM
The main reason I'm so picky on cages is safety. I look forward to too many things with my two year old son to end up getting crippled or worse and have known two local drivers who have unfortunately suffered the "worse" part above. I wouldn't trade an ounce of safety for all the flex in the world (not saying that it's impossible to have flex in a safe car).

I don't mean to sound like a know-it-all as that is one thing I definately am not, but I personally don't subscribe to the notion that it's much more difficult to get a rigid dirt car to handle. I've never been on a team who was trying to find a way to get more flex out of the chassis itself. I will readily agree that a rigid car will require you to work a bit harder to keep the car at it's prime during the course of a night's racing than would a less stiff car. On the same note however, it is much more predictable than a car with flex in terms of setup changes and overall a faster car (if you are willing to make changes to the supsension rather than running it as-is from the time you unload 'til you load it back up).

I am in no way slamming anyone who disagrees with me or who doesn't run a fairly rigid chassis, all I am saying is that this is the way which I choose to go.

Dirt Freak

Total posts: 458
posted November 30, 2001 11:36 PM
blanep, Have you ever built something like this???? Your life is hangs on every weld, and tube.....along with material used, wall thickness, and diameter..........then there are the angles that all those bars meet each other.

You could be the best welder in the world and still not be able to build a SAFE car. or you could be a design engineer and not be capable of building a safe race car.....

Let me state that if you build this car stiff as a boiler plate you will die in a slow speed crash........Your body is strapped into the chassis, YOU become part ofthe the event of a BIG crash if the tubing does NOT bend your body will need to absorb the energy of the crash.

And because E= MC squared energy will need to be abosorbed........
Stiffer isn't safer........the driver compartment needs to be ridged, but the front and rear parts of the car should bend and disapate energy when you hit something hard. The wheels and suspension should absorb the energy in a slow speed crash, the frame will need to bend and twist in a high speed crash.

About 15 years ago the Modifieds out east were built too stiff. They lost a few drivers every year for 3 years before the sanctioning body decided something needed to be done. Because MOST of the car where the driver did NOT survive were not bent, They would have ran the feature by bolting on a few suspension parts.....NO KIDDING....this sanctioning body put in a rule for the chassis that the front clip and drivers compartment must meet at a minimum angle of 30 degrees and not more than 45 degrees. This was to allow the energy to be absorbed when the frame bends, thus saving the driver life.

You sound very serious about building your own chassis. That's great, as long as you KNOW what you are doing. Not just THINK you know what you are doing.........

I agree that for the most part the are a lot of junk cages in the street stock class. I don't blame you for NOT buying a used one.
Where do you live and race.........

Dirt Forum Champ
Total posts: 1565
posted December 01, 2001 03:00 PM UIN: 54865418
i agree with jeff here i'm not saying that safty isn't important just that i have seen guys that put bars anywhere they can get them and 3 stubs and a weekly trip to dr crush the back cracker later they realize that a good 4 point cage with good door bars and a good seat was safe enough after all in my class we can't run any kind of chassis bars only 4 pt and rear kickers and after 5 years we have still not seen a injury but have had our share of hard hits and rolls

Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 66
posted December 01, 2001 07:44 PM
I'm not talking about building a boiler plate. There's a fairly significant difference between overall rigidity while moving over the surface of the track compared to when it barrels into a stationary object at high speed. Obviously a car needs to dissapate energy during a medium to high impact but that doesn't mean it should be twisting and flexing while driving through the corner.

I'm not the best person at explaining what I have in my mind at any given moment so I apologize for apparently giving you the wrong idea on what I am getting at. What I AM getting at is that I got tired of seeing absolute junk in terms of safety while looking for a used car. Examples: seat attached to the frame and floor of the car rather than the cage, tubing that looks like large electrical conduit for cages (very thin), cages that are very primitively welded to the surface of the frame top looking like you could pretty much take a sledge hammer and knock the cage from the frame, feeling between the roof and the halo to find that no weld exists on the top... only on the bottom where they could easy reach without removing the roof, ... the list goes on and on. I simply walked away when I looked at a car and saw these obvious safety shortfalls that I could find without even getting dirty, assuming that if they messing up on this stuff that the rest of the car is likely junk as well (including in the areas of performance).

Most of you guys probably have good, safe cars and that's why it sounds like I'm wanting to build an abrams tank to you in the above posts. Maybe what I have happened to look at were the exceptions rather than the rule. I sure hope so.

[This message has been edited by blanep (edited December 01, 2001).]

Dirt Freak

Total posts: 458
posted December 01, 2001 10:08 PM
blanep, I'm glad you posted what you are thinking......and looking at for used JUNK.
I feel much better knowing you are sharp enough to understand what you are looking at and what you want and need to be safe.

You sound very informed, I was affraid because this was to be YOUR first car you thought stronger is better period......

You didn't state where you are from.....
If you are local to me I would be willing to help you get started on building yourself a NEW chassis.


Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 66
posted December 01, 2001 10:55 PM
Oops, sorry I didn't mention where I'm from. I'm at South Coffeyville, OK (northeastern part of the state) and intend to primarily run at Mid-America Motor Speedway about 2 miles down the road. They have a new promoter now and will be releasing the 2002 rules on Sunday so I've had to hold off on alot of stuff til I see what changes are made. Everytime a track gets a new promoter in this part of the country I hope and pray that they can somehow perform a miracle and get several of the tracks in the area to agree to similar rules for factory stocks, street stocks, whatever you wanna call em but I don't guess I'll hold my breath.

BTW, I haven't noticed another thread discussing this, though I could have missed it, but is anyone from the forum planning on running the $10,000 to win factory stock race in Muskogee, OK next March?


Dirt Freak

Total posts: 310
posted December 02, 2001 12:09 PM
first of all I commend you for the safety aspect of your thinking Let me say this satisfy yourself if you are not comfortable with you're car you will not race well and will not enjoy it I've raced everything from supers on asphalt to limiteds on dirt and have had some fairly bad accidents and have been very fortunate don't drive over your head and take the time to look at your car every week look at the welds, anywhere anything is attached and if there's a problem put the car on the trailer don't try to get by use good safety equip and above all be safe and HAVE FUN I've seen too many drivers race a car that they hurried to fix at the track tearing themselves and sevaral others up treat it like what it is a HOBBY for most of us and when your son is older you will have many good stories to relate to him and help him if he so chooses to race

[This message has been edited by Flatlander (edited December 02, 2001).]

Mrs. Kid Rock
Dirt Newbie

Total posts: 1
posted December 03, 2001 09:47 PM
I will be coming down for the 10,000 show.I think a few other top drivers from up here will be coming. Dan [Kid ROCK] Charles Kansas city KS

Dirt Newbie

Total posts: 3
posted December 11, 2001 09:01 PM

Dirt Full Roller

Total posts: 58
posted December 11, 2001 09:12 PM
me and my cousin are building new street stocks. to run at salina, ok. , mid america, and tulsa. hope to see you out there

Dirt Maniac

Total posts: 140
posted December 25, 2001 01:50 AM
Hi BlaneP I am or was rather,chassis fabricator for American Made Race Cars.(American Made has moved to Springfield and I have not.) You are no doubt familiar with American Made,since you share hometown with 4 time MLRA Champion Al Purkey. GO PURKEY !!!!!!!!!! If I can be any assistance to you,let me know.Anything from building your chassis for you to just advice,be glad to help.

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