Sunday, April 26th, 2015

With the help of my buddy Mike, we’ve been assembling a fresh motor for the 710. The car came with a usable race motor when I bought it, but now that the car chassis is coming around, it was time for a hi-spec, vintage-legal motor that I knew all the parts of. The ’74 710s came with a L20b engine, so that’s what we started with. The stock 85mm bore is allowed a vintage-legal 1mm overbore, so we’re using 86mm pop-up JE pistons in a fresh o-ringed block. Stock stroke is required, so we’ve got a lightened and knife-edged OE crank in use. We plan on revving the piss out of it so a fresh set of Carillo rods are in there too. A ported OE a87 cylinder head with 38cc chambers and a secret grind Rebello cam tops it off.

During assembly we encountered a few interference issues, so we dug out the die grinder and sanding drums. The 37mm exhaust valves were tickling the cylinder bore, so we needed to eyebrow the bore just a little. The high compression pistons were touching the edge of the cylinder head chamber, so we decided to remove a little material from the steel head instead of from the aluminum pistons. And while we were at it, we confirmed the valve-to-piston clearance was sufficient. Fresh bearings, rings, gaskets, etc, finish it all up. For those curious about the math, that’s 1.99 liters displacement, and a 13.0:1 compression ratio. Can’t wait to give it a try next week…

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This weekend I raced at Laguna Seca Raceway with the Crossle, it was the first time back on this track for me in several years. It took me a few sessions to get comfortable again, but things started to click by day 2 (of 3). What a great facility Laguna is, big elevation changes, high speed and low speed corners, and of course, The Corkscrew! Weather was nice, foggy starts but sunny by 10am. Laguna has strict sound restrictions and our 9am sessions had a 101db limit. I started with my muffler on not wanting to miss out on any laps due to sound, the car seemed to run fine muffled and it sound checked at 91db. In the afternoon on Saturday I went out without the muffler and registered a 97db. The locals say a 97 can turn into a 101 under certain atmospheric conditions, but I never got the sound meatball flag the rest of the weekend.

In Group 4 we had about twenty cars with a pretty even mix of Club Ford, Formula F, and Formula Continentals. We had some good dicing, but with the speed differentials in our small group, it led to a bit of solo lapping. I needed the track time to learn the track again, but I’m hoping for some more cars to battle with on our next visit.

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Great way to start the season at Thunderhill Raceway- sunny and 70, car ran great, good racing, hanging out with your racing buddies, what else could you ask for?!? The SFR (San Fran Region) SCCA Group 4 is a mix of open wheel race car Classes, from FV (Formula Vee) at one end, to FC (Formula Continental) at the other. In the middle it includes the current generation FF (Formula F) that uses Honda Fit motors, hi-tech inboard suspension, and very aerodynamic bodywork, as well as the older, second generation FF (Club Ford, ie. me) from the 70’s and ’80s that use the Ford 1600cc pushrod motor and outboard brakes and suspension. The speed differential between Classes means the faster car/driver combo from one Class will often be dicing with the slower car/driver from another. In other words, there is always someone to race with.

This weekend we found that under high side loads the rear tire sidewalls flex enough to rub on the washers surrounding the lower link-to-upright joint. Multiple solutions were discussed: wider wheel spacers and longer wheel studs (we had neither), higher tire pressures to reduce flex, or grinding down the washers until they were of smaller diameter than the helm joint end. So we went with what we had, a Dremel and an air tank. Problem solved (well, mostly…)

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Does this look faintly familiar to anyone else but me?!? I’m honored but where’s my royalty check ;-)

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From four years ago – Speedhunters, 2011.

And from five years ago – The birth of the Wagon. 

RUD – Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly

I’ll give Elon Musk credit for this one since I had never heard it before he explained one of his Falcon 9 rocket malfunctions, but it is the PERFECT racing description for many an event experienced by drivers at the track.

dragster explosion - ESPN

2014 was a great season for me, and I’m hoping for as much fun in 2015. This season my emphasis will be with the San Francisco Region SCCA in the Crossle, with a little bit of Vintage racing in the Datsun thrown in for good measure. I’ve rented some shop space from a local gearhead for the short term in order to have the room to get both cars prepped. The Datsun is getting the motor refreshed, and the Crossle is getting a thorough going over. First race will be in March, so I better get busy…

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Another racing buddy of mine has come up with a great idea for a racing related business (geez, I gotta come up with an idea…). He is a professional artist who is making custom racing posters featuring your own race car. Sounds like the perfect Christmas gift for that racer who already has everything. Again, I’m not affiliated with this business, just passing along another great idea.

www.artwithcars.com

artwithcars

Have you ever had your race car trailer stolen? Ever had it broken into? Worry about the neighborhood or storage lot it’s parked in? Well, a racing buddy of mine has a possible solution for your concerns. He helped start a company marketing a GPS tracking device that has gyro motion sensors in it that can send you live-time messages about the status of your trailer. I’m not affiliated with the product, just passing along a great idea.

Check it out – GeoSkyGPS