Oh No Not Another Flippin' Soapbox

Introduction: Oh No Not Another Flippin' Soapbox

About: Trained as a technical illustrator a hundred years ago, Spent 20 years as a professional photographer, boring commercial stuff mainly building interiors and exteriors. Taught cartoon art at adult ed. Last 4 y…

A couple of months ago I applied to enter the Red Bull Soapbox Derby at Alexandra Palace and as I sold the Model 'T' at Bonhams last September and the prototype of the '32 sedan is looking a little 'careworn' I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to design and build a new one.  Eventually I decided on a Indianapolis single seat racer from the mid thirties, a bit 'Milleresque'.  Construction technique follows the previous models.  Plans will be available when I get round to it.

All of the solid timber is Sapele and is obtained from recycled patio door cills from a local window company all for £10.  Softwood could be used instead stained or painted. The floor is 18mm ply, the chassis rails are 4 inch by 3 inch and taper in 2 planes.  The bend in the chassis rail was achieved by 'pie cutting' a wedge and adding a reinforcement piece glued and screwed behind the rail (see photo).

The radiator surround is made up of several blocks glued together and carved to shape, it is squarer than the '32 grille and is therefore a bit easier to carve, much of the shaping can be done with a saw.  The side panels are Mahogany veneered MDF, bending them to form the lower part of the boat tail stressed them to the limit, plywood would have been easier.  Flexi ply would have been easier still.  Normally I would make the bonnet halves from flexi ply and then veneer  them but this time I found some 1.5 mm ply that I thought would do the job but I wasn't happy with the end result so I ended up veneering them anyway.  The windscreen is Ash mitred, screwed and glued with an off cut of Perspex rebated and silicone in place.  Wheels are 20 inch, 40 spoke BMX with 14mm axles.  I made the exhaust from a garden parasol pole, I drilled a hole about an inch deep at the end to make it appear hollow, which has made a few people wonder what it's made from.  The support for the BMX calliper brakes is a 1inch square box section steel which passes through square holes in the chassis rails.  If you have a morticer (like me) remember to make the holes in the chassis rails before you make the chassis (I didn't).  I had the seat back professionally upholstered as it is now impossible to by ready pleated vinyl in this country anymore.

Rick mentioned that the steering is the hardest part and he's right but after 5 different designs I think I may have stumbled on the best method.  The main part as you can see from the latest photo is and old fashioned hand drill bought on ebay for around a fiver I think the photo is self explanatory but will add another couple of photos of the steering arm end.

The front axle was bent out of 19mm mild steel round bar at a local metal fabricator, all pivots and steering links are rod end bearings bought on ebay. 

I will add more photos as I progress with the build.

3 People Made This Project!

Recommendations

  • Plastic Contest

    Plastic Contest
  • The 1000th Contest

    The 1000th Contest
  • Battery Powered Contest

    Battery Powered Contest

41 Discussions

0
MatthewVincent
MatthewVincent

3 years ago

I fell in love with the soapbox. I'm building one on a smaller scale for my son. I'm gutted I didn't go for the 1.8m chassis cos now I can't drive it. The metal work has been the biggest pain.

IMG_0878.JPGIMG_0883.JPGIMG_0900.JPGIMG_0912.JPGIMG_0915.JPG
0
Raphaëlle
Raphaëlle

Reply 11 days ago

Hi Matt,
My dad had the same feeling as you regarding the soapboax, and he'd like to build one for my nephew (he's 5) but so far couldn't find any plans to build it... So is pretty much stuck at that point looking for some. Do you happen to have any? or do you know where we could find some?
Cheers for that!
Raph

0
Raphaëlle
Raphaëlle

Answer 11 days ago

Hi Flavio,
Did you get any feedback in the end or did you manage to fins some plans? My dad would be really interested in building one as well...
Many thanks in advance!
Raph

0
NeilRG
NeilRG

6 months ago

Jay Leno has an amazing multimillion dollar collection of rare and one off cars, that are kept in pristine condition, to the envy of most of the rest of the car people out there.
I don't know if he has seen your work, but your cars would be a good addition to his collection. His sensibility is such that he drives these cars, and sees himself more a steward of historical vehicles and steam engines. Your cars deserve such stewardship. In these days of short attention spans and instant gratification, craftsmanship such as this, and those inspired by your work, is inspirational to me as well.

0
frodesteen
frodesteen

2 years ago on Introduction

Hi, really nice build, do you have the messure for the frame?

0
RBaderG
RBaderG

3 years ago

Would it be possible to post more pictures of the steering mechanism? I think i got the wrong size rod end bearings. Looks like you used male rod ends.

0
RBaderG
RBaderG

3 years ago

Absolutely beautiful. I am in the design phase of building a Bugatti Type 59 for my granddaughter. The plan is to have it approximately 6' from tail to end of rail but I'm stuck on how long to make the cockpit. If it starts creeping up to 7' long to keep it in scale I'm going to start having weight issues I salvaged the rear axle off an adult tricycle so I have the propulsion system and i just happened to have my Uncle's old fashioned hand drill. So consider yourself flattered that i will be using your steering design. I'll be documenting all this when I make my first materials gathering trip to Home Depot this fall. Let the games begin!

0
daveva7
daveva7

3 years ago

Are there plans for the IndyCar yet I would like to purchase a set

thanks

0
LaurentP21
LaurentP21

3 years ago

Just WOW!

I wish I could do something as beautifull as this! Love it.

0
Jack The maker3
Jack The maker3

3 years ago

As I have been asking around, is there any room behind the seat for a V6 or V8 solenoid engine?

0
Peter Vivian
Peter Vivian

Reply 3 years ago

Sorry don't know what a solenoid engine is but there is plenty of room behind the driver. This cart is featured in a forthcoming edition of The Woodworker magazine and i am currently producing plans for it. All the best, Peter

0
MichealB22
MichealB22

Reply 3 years ago

Hi, I love your build. iT LOOKS AMAZING.

Where will I be able to see the designs once you have them drawn up?

0
daveva7
daveva7

3 years ago

Are there plans available for this car.

0
JustinL83
JustinL83

4 years ago

Hi Peter, I realize this was quite some time ago; however, I would love to purchase the plans for the Indy car. I saw that you have it for sale at the cost of $25. I have emailed you from my personal email, if you could just give me the information to purchase this plan. Thank you so much and work inspires me.

0
Fabrício schmitz
Fabrício schmitz

Reply 3 years ago

Olá amigo gostaria de saber se você conseguiu o projeto do Indy? Queria muito esse projeto mas não estou conseguindo seguindo, agradeço se puder me ajudar!

0
Fabrício schmitz
Fabrício schmitz

3 years ago

Olá!Gostaria muito de ter esse projeto como consigo ele.Grato pela resposta!

0
Regie1
Regie1

3 years ago

hi , thought , this one i built might be of interest . the plans come from stevensonstoys in usa cost me about $50 I think a few years ago . Not sure if I would want to ride it in a soap box darby . But it was great fun to build and looks really classy . As you would expect a Bugatti 35 would. Im really interested in building Peters car . So if some one could tell me where I can purchase the plans I would appreciate it.

Thanks

DSC_0957.JPG
0
joske
joske

6 years ago on Introduction

Hello Peter

Thank you for the inspiration. My little girl had the time of her life with our home-made soapbox. She even got the price for the best design. Fortunately we didn't have to compete against one of your soapbox-artworks. ;-)

picture.jpg