Thursday, 22 July 2010 18:48

Building a Pinewood Derby Race Car

Written by Rich Evans
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This month I’ve got a really cool project that’s gonna take us out of the big garage and put us in the small garage. I know you guys have heard of the Pinewood Derby races, usually involving the Boy Scouts. Now we have something called SEMA Pinewood Races Builder Race.

The Hotrod Industry Alliance HRIA is presenting the 2010 Pinewood Builders Race. For the first time ever, over two dozen world-class hot rod and custom car builders will be put to the test with miniature wooden pinewood race cars. Each builder will be given a small block of wood to create a one-of-a-kind pinewood race car. There are no rules and no limits on creativity. The cars will be raced at the annual SEMA Banquet in Pasadena California on July 24. One winner will be crowned the race champion and one car will be voted most popular. In November all of these collectible and autographed pinewood cars will be on display at the annual SEMA show in Las Vegas, NV and will be auctioned for two children’s charities, Child Help and Victory Junction Camp.

I was asked to be one of the builders and said ‘yes’ right away. I mean anything having to do with charity, I’m all about; no rules, I’m all about, and a race? Who could say no? So it’s a combination of stuff that sounds really cool; one block of wood, a few rules, how can you go wrong? You’ve just got to carve out a little bit of time, it allows you to get out of your element and get a little creative. You know me; I like to get creative.

So it started with a block of wood, I  sketched out a design. With few rules (except a weight and dimensions limit) it’s harder trying to figure out first things first. I need to come up with a design. I start a little sketch on the side of the wood block, get to the band saw and cut it out.  Once you get your basic design, you want to make it to the specs of what’s in your head. So I’m thinking ‘winning the race’ and I’m thinking ‘cool looking car.’ As you can see by the pictures I just took a block of wood, started sanding on it, smoothing surfaces out, made a little scoop. I  wanted to give it that racey look without getting a lot of drag in the wind. So when it comes to race time we don’t have anything holding us back.

I’ve been working with a company on some new product that I think you guys all know. This company, Sherwin-Williams, seems like they’ve really been going to bat for us end-users and trying to develop and come up with an easy, friendly product and products that work faster, excel in dry times. They help us because we all know time is money. I thought this is the perfect project to try out some of that product.

So I’ve got this block of wood ready and I’m gonna hit it with some of this primer called Spectra Prime. It’s P30A, a grey, so I’m gonna load this block of wood up with some of this primer. I’m not worrying about the weight of the car because in the rules it says “maximum weight limit of the car cannot exceed 24 ounces.” That’s a lot of weight for a car this size. By reading up on these cars racing, I found that the more weight, the better, so we want to try to provide as much weight as possible.

The next rule is that “the over length of the car shall not exceed 8.0 inches, including wheels, the overall width of the car shall not exceed 2.75 inches, including wheels. The car must have approximately 3/8th inch clearance underneath the body of the car.”

Not a lot of rules, so let’s get back to the paint. I’m going to apply four or five coats of this primer so I can just get in and hit it with some 150 and then come back with some 400 and then we’ll be ready for our base. I like the primer. It goes on quick, dries quick, no shrink back. Obviously I’m painting on top of wood, I’m very impressed with the way that it adhered, no shrink back at all.

I’m ready for base coat. I’ve got a concept design which is simple but clean, but still stand out a little bit. We’re going all black. Can you imagine that? Me going all black? Sherwin-Williams has got a black waterborne which is the AWX1738 black. This is probably the deepest black they make. Before applying the black, there’s a sealer we should apply (I don’t have the part number) but that sealer is phenomenal. It went on nice, had no shrink back, and covered all my scratches, so I put three coats of the sealer, then three coats of the black. I was looking at it and thought ‘I’m going to need some graphics.’ I decided on one single rally stripe down the middle. As I masked everything off, I’m thinking about colors and I decided to go with a silver. Sherwin-Williams has a silver called PCW 2711 (part number). A mixing ratio on this is 1 to 30 percent, so it’s a pretty easy mixing ratio. The base color goes on nice. You’re able to peel your fine line back and not have any lifting problems. I’m going to mask on top of that and put another blue, Sherwin-Williams ‘blistering blue,’ part number’s PCF P18.

I’ve got all my color on so now I’m ready to clear it. Sherwin-Williams has a clear called HPC 21. I’m very impressed with this 2.1 VOC clear coat. This clear coat can be sanded and buffed within 15 minutes of application. I kid you not. I can apply this to the car, within 15 minutes you can pick it up, grab it, handle it, and it’s fully cured. So for small projects—helmets, motorcycle tanks, anything you want to accelerate the speed on, I’d recommend this. If you get in a jam on a collision part where you’ve got to deliver the car and you got a ding on it, that would be the perfect opportunity to accelerate time and procedures. You can find out more about Sherwin Williams products by visiting their very user friendly website at www.sherwin/automotive.com. You can get all the information you need, 24 hours a day. Any information you need on specs, product data sheets, they’re all available. You can go to that site and find out your mixing ratios, your time, your windows, how much to apply, what gun, what tip to use, PSIs —they have it all for you. Time in between coats, time in between sealers, how many days before you have to scuff it, or how many days before it allows you to work on top of it. I’m very impressed with their products and what they’re doing to support their use and their users.

Obviously they’re one of the biggest brands on the planet and they’re putting the research in to it. They actually have candies coming out. I’m getting ready to write about some of their candies and we’ll talk about that next month. I have tried their candies and you guys are going to be pretty stoked about them application-wise. We’re doing all this in waterborne, remember.

Let’s get back to the car. I just wanted to give Sherwin-Williams a big plug because I was very impressed with their products and I’m digging more deep into it so we’ll see where we go with that. I always like to try product I can recommend to you guys and let you know what’s going on with it. I really like to get into new (to me) products and explore them to see what they can handle, where I can go, how I do with it, so that’s what I’m doing with Sherwin Williams right now.

Back to the project. We’ve got this thing all painted, got the axles in it, got a little driver that I slammed in there. I put this thing on the scale and it’s weighing 3 ounces. I’m 21 ounces away from weight so now I’ve got to figure out how to get some weight in to this thing and also I’ve got to figure out how to handle the wheels. We want this thing to win; we want it to look good but we also want it to be fast too so I researched some bearings and got some real small bearings. You’re going to have to do your own research because finding these tiny bearings was tough. I don’t want to give that away. We’ll let the competition do their own research.

So I used 8 bearings, drilled out the wheels, countersunk the bearings in and to make a long story short, we’ve got a nice roller which rolls straight. There’s a lot of different research that you have to do to learn about speed and what pinewood racing is all about. I think I’ll be pretty close to the weight. I’m still working on some other alternatives to get more weight on there but I’m going for the maximum weight. Like I said, the more weight, the better. It’s not gonna do anything to slow your car down—it’s going to do everything to speed it up. So with that, we’ve got a nice rolling car. I know it’s a small project. I’ve got to, of course, put the Rich Evans traditional shield on the side of it so it’s recognized by the world, we hope.

I want to get out there and support these charities, and have a good time with it. Hopefully I’ll see some of you guys out there. I know this article will be coming out afterwards but hopefully I’ll be able to write on my next article that I won that tournament and you guys will all be able to see that car out at SEMA 2010 in November. I’d like to thank my sponsors: 3M for providing me with some of the sanding products; Soft-Sanders™, for providing me with blocks to be able to get down in some of these tight areas; Sherwin-Williams for supplying me with their refinish products; Hot Rod Industy Alliance (HRIA) for inviting me to participate in this great project and fundraiser.

The Event

The first annual HRIA Builder Pinewood race happens on Saturday, July 24, at the Pasadena Convention Center. This race involves over 20 of the most legendary and creative custom car and hot rod builders in the county. there are very few rules leaving the engineering and creativity up to the builders. Participants in this race include West Coast Custom’s Rick Dorr, Clay Smith, Rich Evans, Allen Johnson, Roy Brizio, Art Morrison, and many more. The builders race will begin at approximately 1 p.m. inside the convention center. The convention center will also be hosting the SEMA show and shine car show with over 250 custom vehicles on display. We’re going to be revealing The Autoholics 1964 Lincoln Continental at that show (see previous issues of Autobody News for background on that).

I’ve got two cars that I’m bringing to that show, probably have a few other ones that I’ve built. On July 20th in LA we will have a viewing party for The Autoholics first episode. I’m pumped about it. We did all the build work and now we get to go back and enjoy all the hard work that the editors and producers have done to put this thing together. I’ll keep you posted on what network (hopefully) will be picking it up, so you guys can watch what we did. I think it will bring you guys some steps and procedures you can learn so you can go back in to your garage or shop and put it to use. The big thing about The Autoholics is that they’re going to have a background feature called “The Autoholics behind-the-scenes,” so you go on to the website and catch the footage you didn’t see on TV. No footage will be lost. It will be all sectioned and put into the website so you can just click on a button correlating to what you want to watch. If you want to watch the wheels being made, the body work being done, the painting, you’ll be able to see it all. So thanks to all our sponsors on that, there’s too many to mention. Go to my website: huntingtonbeachbodyworks.com to learn more about that. Watch out for the SEMA Project I’m doing with Mopar which is a custom 2010 Challenger. You can catch up on that on my website. I’m also going to be putting a quote every other week on there. You can go to mopar.com and read up on it as well.

It’s a very cool project we’re doing, one of many cool projects going on.

I don’t think I’m going to have too many days off between now and November 1, so see you out at SEMA. Make sure you visit the Mopar booth, that’s where we’ll be revealing the 2010 Dodge Challenger Mopar/Rich Evans Project. Richevansdesigns.com, huntingtonbeachbodyworks.com. Until next month.


Read 3417 times Last modified on Tuesday, 13 December 2016 23:49