Introduction: X-Wing Fighter Soapbox Derby Car

Picture of X-Wing Fighter Soapbox Derby Car
For the 2011 Nazareth Adult Soapbox Derb y I wanted to design a car that people would like and made me feel heroic. So I decided I would model it after one of the most important vehicles of our nation's history: the T-65 X-wing fighter.

I scoured the web to print pictures and blueprints of X-wing Fighters. Thankfully, there is an entire nerd community dedicated to fantasizing about what makes Star Wars ships tick. So I got pics of models, blue prints, and all kinds of drawings. These would give me a reference for this year's car.

I started out using my 2010 car which was also my father's 2008 car.. I stripped it down to the studs, took a photo, and printed the photo out. Using tracing paper over the photo I fleshed out what the new car design would look like. The first thing I noticed is that it was going to be longer and wider than the frame I was using. I anticipated that the width could pose a problem with transporting it in my truck. So I came up with the idea of making the car modular and assembling it on-site before the race.

I had my heart set on a few key design features that I knew would make the car really badass: 1) I wanted a R2 droid that spun and made sounds 2) I wanted the wings to open and close. Very early on I abandoned the open/closing wing idea. I just couldn’t make it happen in the budget and time that I had. But I was pretty sure I could easily get the droid to spin and talk.

The first thing I did was frame-out the additional length to the front and rear of the car. I also had to re-shape the entire front of the car from the driver's seat forward. I re-did this twice until I got the shape I was looking for. The rear of the car was basically a hollow box where the wings mounted and the droid sat. I needed to have access to the inside of the box so I could attach and remove the wings.

R2-D69: The spinning droid was constructed of Styrofoam and painted to look like R2-D2. I used one of my daughter’s old toys to create the motion. The toy had a gear on it that spun when a button was pushed. I cut the toy in half (it was too big) and mounted the toy to the underside of the body and glued the droid head onto the gear. To control the spinning I used an old NES controller. I re-routed the toy's switch through the NES controller so when the A or B buttons were pushed the droid would spin for about 15 seconds. For audio, I downloaded some R2-D2 sound effects from a website and used Pinnacle movie studio software to string them all together into a 50 second babbling droid Mp3. I loaded this onto an iPod and connected it to a small portable speaker system that I hid inside the body of the car. This way, each time I started down the hill, I could push the NES controller button and the iPod play button to commence the droid freak-out.The wings were another tricky part. I made two sets of brackets that would hold the wings in the correct X shape and could be mounted to the sides of the car. Some drainage piping was used for the "engine" things.

Another interesting feature of the car was the nose cone. One of the rules of NASBRA is that the car needs to have a sturdy eye-hook on the front. I did not want to ruin the cool look of the nose of an X-wing so I created a nose cone that lifted up to reveal a hidden hook. The nose was made of wood and cardboard and was mounted using a small metal cabinet hinge.

There were a lot of details in the X-wing car and almost all were done on the cheap. The entire car cost under about $75. There were 7 pieces to the car that were assembled at the race site: 4 turrets, 2 wings, and one car body. During the first heat I broke
one of the car's brakepads. I must have pulled the brake lever too hard against the wheel which caused one of the wooden pads t
o break. Upon post mortem inspection of the car the next day I also noticed that the axle saddle was also cracked. I assume this occurred at the same time as the break pad damage. Pulling the brake lever too hard must have shoved the wheel (and axle) back too hard which spilt the axle saddle. Also, during my second heat (the first loser's bracket round) I collided and became entangled with another car that was shaped like a camera. Dramatically, I still managed to win that heat and move on to the next round.


Bwilson Props (author)2013-07-30

you should so make a warthog

atrotta (author)2012-05-13

could you add a tiny engine to make it a go kart?

syates3 (author)atrotta2012-11-09

I think it's far too long to make a safe go-kart. It's more like a drag racer you wouldn't have enough control to steer it properly you'd want something more like.. A airspeeder.

freeza36 (author)2012-07-14

I wouldn't even care if I lost driving this.

benjineering (author)freeza362012-09-22

did u win, AWESOME CAR

IamASuperNerd49 (author)2012-02-08

Awesome job my fellow Super Nerd!  I'm going to feature this on my website at: later tonight or in the morning!


Kacedilla (author)2012-01-26

I think...I think I love you for this :D

The Sloth Uprising (author)2012-01-20


ryanmercer (author)2011-08-20

I love it!

Nic The Jedi (author)2011-08-20


Kamiana8 (author)2011-07-23

Very, very cool!

MadChiller (author)2011-07-21

Very Impressive, my kid would sleep in that!

aprzy15 (author)2011-05-26

I was at that race. It was a really cool car, and it didn't even win fan favorite.

Avatar_I_Am (author)aprzy152011-07-05

Tis is so utterly cool, Dude!
I ask the same question/comment as TRUESPROCKET:
Pictures of the actual build? How about putting together an instructable, including the best link(s) for where you found the plans/blueprints?
Pretty please???????????

Alas, I did not have the forethought to take step-by-step photos. I did take in-process photos (the ones I posted) but that is it.

For the "blueprints" I used lots of different sites including these:

mcpguru (author)aprzy152011-06-16

That's just not right.

halo 3 (author)2011-06-06

Waw i wish you but the icstructions so I can make it.

R0B0T5_R0CK (author)2011-06-03

My jaw just hit the floor! OMG that is so amazing is an understatement. infact i think i would rather drive around in one of these over a Zonda... OK not so much but i still rather have this than a... Porsche! HOLY CRAP ; ) : D : D

hohum (author)2011-05-26

toooooooooooooooooooooooooo cooooooooooooooooooooooooolllllll

could you add a briggs and stratton gas motor? might be a seller, themed carts

or, themed car kits,

who knows

very nice instuctable

spullen1 (author)hohum2011-05-28

Actually, that should be a "Biggs and Stratton" motor ;)

gladreal (author)spullen12011-06-02

haha, love the biggs and stratton!

helifino (author)hohum2011-05-27

Put the body on a Jr. Dragster frame, and off you go!

mjimenez4 (author)2011-06-01

Does it fly?

l8nite (author)2011-05-27

That is WILD ! Of course my 1st thought was can yu put a motor in it... I get the same comment about my trike all the time !

fidgety2 (author)2011-05-27

wow just wow do you have a kid if so you should make a tie fighter add nerf guns to both designs and have a epic battle to decide the fate of the galaxy or just who gets bragging rights but still oh my gosh that is epic as someone who grew up in the "space age" so-to-speak this is my all time favorite soap box car next to my cousin's redbull one made last year

my $0.02

fidget 2 out

Ticl4 (author)2011-05-27

So cool!
I hope to have the opportunity to do it.

youwiththeface (author)2011-05-27

Wow. You gotta at least like Star Wars to do something like that.

truesprocket (author)2011-05-27

That thing looks Fantastic! you did some nice work, I take it there's no pictures from the build?

xquitz (author)2011-05-26

This is a six course gourmet meal of awesome with awesome reduction sauce and a side of woot followed by baked alaskan ROFL for dessert.

randomray (author)2011-05-26

First of all I want to say I've seen this car in person and it is just out standing the attention to detail is amazing The Paper Boy's helmet even looked just like the one's from Star Wars . It was my favorite of the many great cars there . I thought the exhaust marks / soot really added to the look . A big thank you for sharing about your great X-wing Fighter , oops I mean car .

Kaptain Kool (author)2011-05-26


stefpa (author)2011-05-26

Very nice - I like the idea of non regulated soap box derby races...

A few years ago I asked people for pictures of there soap box derby cars - see what they send me  ->

btw there are all from germany, austria and switzerland

Greetings from Germany


The Papier Boy (author)stefpa2011-05-26

Das ist gut.

Spoogly (author)2011-05-26

No intention of being mean, but has anyone noticed that it kind of looks like a giant penis?

The Papier Boy (author)Spoogly2011-05-26

Ohhh! That's why all the women were so chatty with me on race day!

mcmonte (author)2011-05-26

Brilliant! 5 stars!
Only thing I'd do is add a little more weathering/scorching, but only personal preference.

The Papier Boy (author)mcmonte2011-05-26

In-person it looks more battle worn. But I agree with you.

And thanks.

bgepp1 (author)2011-05-26

wow that looks really easy to build! :) niiiiiice work. I was just reading to my son about "soap box racing" in one of his school books. He had no idea what they were. I'd build one but sadly there are no hills in our city.

anglerfish (author)2011-05-26

I'm impressed!

monkhm (author)2011-05-26

Can you make me one??

DAVID_A (author)2011-05-26

freakin awesome

pdub77 (author)2011-05-26

This is really not quite an instructable in the sense that it teaches folks how to do or build or mod, etc. something. But the coolness factor alone makes it worthy. Awesome!

xvicente (author)2011-05-26

I really would like to see a beter picture of the helmet. Can you post some? Maybe I'll paint one of my old motorcycle helmets like yours.

jumpfroggy (author)xvicente2011-05-26

Yeah, I was just going to ask for a better pic of the helmet. Thx!

hernanai (author)2011-05-26

Oh-- Ma---- GAWD----

billsswills (author)2011-05-26

The other day i came up with a crazy idea to turn one of my old snapper lawnmowers into an X-Wing, and then i check my email to find this! You have built what I've been envisioning, and have done a most excellent job! The Force is mysterious indeed........

who1buffy (author)2011-05-26

Fantastic! Totally Cool! 3 X AAAAAAAAAAAA++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

tinker234 (author)2011-05-26

now to make it fly

samluoma (author)2011-05-26

AMAZING! Great work man!

mattrix (author)2011-05-26

Fabulous job.

I'm mostly curious about the Star Wars ship nerd sites ... got some links?

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