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Scratch Build-- 1991 Caracal D Formula Vee


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#1 RazorHog512

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 08:21 PM

First post, i came across a lot of inspiration on this site, and figured i'd share my first adventure with a bunch of like-minded folks!

I've loved models for as long as i can remember and when Christmas rolled around, not only do i need a project to keep me occupied during the long break from university life , but i figured I would surprise my dad with a little custom job for his shelf. (His birthday gift was a custom standing gun rack for the closet, so I have to keep my own standards!) Life got in the way, so this is more of a "before i head back to college in late January" present vs an xmas gift.

Up until my sophomore year of high school (all of 3 years ago), our family raced Formula Vee race cars with the SCCA. They are small formula cars that are heavily based on..... the VW beetle from the 50's and 60's. haha What a beast! 1200cc flat 4 Engine, "wonderful" suspension, drum brakes... all those tuned up in a rear engine, RWD, 800 pound bullet. They actually are a very competitive car, and emphasize skill over money and bolt on parts, which is a polar opposite to most other amateur racing venues.

dad's car when we got it in 2005, and pics of it with the body off in mid 90's.

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The unique engine configuration made it hard to even get this project started. I needed a flat 4 cylinder and transmission to make the car look right ( the engine is the majority of this car, so it had to be right). I hopelessly searched around for a Beetle model with a good engine package to salvage parts from... THEN i looked at the shelf in my room.

I put together one of Revell's 1/25 Porsche 911 GT1 kits this summer. That car featured a flat six ( can be sanded to look like a 4 easily... or close enough for Dad's eyes! :) ) and a tranmission mounted in reverse like a Vee. and suddenly the Chop shop opened its doors.


I started with this
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after pulling all the pieces off..... (some serious clean up needed where engine block and tranny meet where i cut off quite a few cross members rather crudely to avoid the halfshafts)
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I wanted to build this car to look right. and the more i looked at the Porsche, the more parts compatibility i saw. Let's just say there is no turning back now...
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I looked that the competition rules and figured out the 1/25 scale of the Vee dimensions. came out to 5" overall, 2" track F and R, 3.5" Wheelbase (talk about easy math for me!).

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originally thought about using the plastic from the parts trees from another kit in the closet to make the chassis. the more i think though.... i just see this getting messy and not quite professional. Opinions on balsa wood? it's a shelf queen that will get picked up occassionally to show off (hopefully :) ) so is balsa good for this? i figure if i sand and paint the wood (maybe a bondo type approach???) it can look like "smooth metal" to inspection. Since this is my first scratch build, help me out?!?


where "black betty" sits right now

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Some notes on things i noticed loading these pics...

the black piece leaning against the engine is actually the remains of the intake on the porsche. i'll use it to fab up the fuel cell, bc in these cars, the fuel cell WAS the seat. you rest against what is basically a bomb waiting to happen. It was nuts in the 60's, and the new (US) models follow the same rules. NUTS. and not comfortable.

the brake and clutch cylinders behind the pedals are actually the old throttle bodies off the porsche 6 cylinder. just so happens i need three cylinders... MONEY!

the wheels are the ones that came with the porsche, i plan to trim the width down significantly until they are the same width as the hub like the race car featured (tires trimmed to match). No HP to handle big tires! :)

THe red disc brakes have to go. Drums on all 4 corners on this beast. I'm shaving them down, ugly now, but with some epoxy/sanding/paint, they should look like the real deal someday!




That's as far as i am right now, more details later this week as i continue working! suggestions and comments welcome!

Edited by RazorHog512, 26 December 2011 - 09:46 AM.


#2 RazorHog512

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 08:55 PM

also would love for someone to help me figure out how to get the pictures to show rather than be external links.

#3 RodneyBad

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 08:59 PM

also would love for someone to help me figure out how to get the pictures to show rather than be external links.

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#4 RodneyBad

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Posted 25 December 2011 - 09:00 PM

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That is looking Great..

#5 patami

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 02:15 AM

Nice one. Got one a little bit like this that i have had in the making for couple of years now. It s in 1/24 thou and uses parts for the Tamiya Beetle since my will be in the 60 form. So i will follow this build closely.

Edited by patami, 26 December 2011 - 02:16 AM.


#6 vaughn

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 07:32 AM

Looks good...nice detail

#7 RazorHog512

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 09:49 AM

thanks for the tip Rodney, got her figured out now! haha

#8 Foxer

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 03:56 PM

This is looking good! I was going to suggest the Tamiya Beetle for the best VW engine and a Fujimi 356 for those wheels on your Dad's car. The engine in the 356 is also an excellent engine. They show up on ebay quite often. I do see you seem satisfied with the engine you have, but the 356 is th eonly place you can get those wheels .. and they are VERY good examples of those VW wheels.

#9 blubaja

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 04:31 PM

Cool! Like a crazy super over powered-for it's weight, street buggy!

#10 RazorHog512

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 08:03 PM

Blubaja, my dad and his friends always did say these cars were the most fun you could have with your clothes on..... I got a few track days behind the wheel back in the day (imagine a 14 year old at speed?!?!!?! ) and i've yet anything like it


Foxer, that's a great idea! i'd be tempted for the wheels for sure. But, the reason i'm happy with the porsche engine for now is that, while the vintage Vee's built Pre-1972 used the fan shroud for cooling, the modern vees like his deleted the fan for HP gains. so i would only be using the engine block from the beetle anyway. I think for the purposes of this build (round one of probably a few, we did own 4 vees over time after all hahaha) i'll stick with what i got. There's a really neat hobby shop in Irving, just east of dallas, that is one of those places that if you're willing to dig back in the cobwebs you can find anything. I am definitely going to try to find those wheels! good call!

Edited by RazorHog512, 26 December 2011 - 08:39 PM.


#11 RazorHog512

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 08:08 PM

on second thought, i found a set of really detailed build pics of the tamiya beetle... for correctness sake, i'm officially starting the hunt for one. while i may be too far along with the dimensions on this one to swap in those parts (hopefully it really is 1/24 scale like i think my math worked out too, but you never knwo haha), that engine and the Front Beam suspenion are too good to pass up for a future build. i'll totally finish this one as is. but the next one will be done right.

Edited by RazorHog512, 26 December 2011 - 08:40 PM.


#12 patami

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Posted 26 December 2011 - 10:49 PM

i found a set of really detailed build pics of the tamiya beetle... (hopefully it really is 1/24 scale), that engine and the Front Beam suspenion are too good to pass up for a future build.


As i said earlier i v got the parts from the tamiya beetle, so if you need messurements of them just ask and i ll give you them.

#13 RazorHog512

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Posted 27 December 2011 - 10:09 AM

oh yeah! if you could tell me the dimensions on the front beam (hubs included) i'd appreciate it! i figure if that matches then the engine works too :)

#14 patami

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 12:26 AM

Sorry for late answer and for not takeing whit the hubs. But here are the dimensions i took. Front beam 1.98 in wide and 0.72 in high. The engine 1.60" long incl gearbox 0.53" high on the highest point not incl the fan cover. rear axle 1.68" wide not incl hubs.

A Pic of my build:


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Sorry not trying to steal your tred.

Edited by patami, 30 December 2011 - 01:09 AM.


#15 Gregg

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 06:44 PM

Casey, quick note for right now.
I love this thread, I will be back in it soon to post.
I have a Formula V way back in 1984-87 or so.
Don't know if have any photos of it.
I'll be back to read your post more later
Just wanted to say you have my attention, big time!!!
Don't know if you heard, I'm an old VW tech from before, everything from dealerships to my own shops, to drag and these Formula V's.
Be back soon.

#16 RazorHog512

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 08:09 PM

Pat, its nice to know I am staying in dimensions (mostly :) ) i measured just a tenth wider up front and the engine is just about a dead ringer once i finish trimming. An that vee looks great!!! Any particular make you are copying? my first guess is Beach or Zink...

Gregg, i think you know where i'm coming from then that da volkswagen gets in the blood? we haven't had our race cars for a few years now and i'm dreaming on ways to get my hands on a 1:1 air cooled tinkerer's dream. i'd love to see a pic if you can find one!

UPDATE TIME

main chassis rails are done, main hoops are done, working on some crash bars now.
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I bit the bullet and decided to just build my own beam, mostly eyeballing it based on the porsche tie rod length and the pivot point for the hub. and it worked out!!!
the old throttle bodies are PERFECT for brake and cluthc fluid cylinders.

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i wanted to mount up the bottom arm of the suspension, so i had to loosely attach the upparm, wasn't what i wanted, but it let me get the bottom in the right place

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tonight i used the porsche front shock and made up the front shcok set up, this is the point that that tamiya beam is looking reeeeallll attractive. i'm letting the one side dry then "test firing", see if i'm happy.

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the little braces in the rear are the mounts for the rear shock, vintage cars ran the z-bar torsion bar suspension, modern run one rear shock (i can feel how long it's been since i used all the lingo-- believe it's a pushrod rear suspenion but that might be the wrong term haha)

crash bars next, then paint, then final assembly with all the goo-gahs and gizmos i pilfered from the porsche. i don't even want to THINK about how i am going to make the body (although any suggestion there would be helpful. i'm feeling lexan or styrene sheets...) also exhaust? maybe some thin brass tubing after all? requires some serious (!) bend and i want it to pop (dad's was chromed out)

Edited by RazorHog512, 30 December 2011 - 08:14 PM.


#17 patami

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 08:29 PM

Casey, quick note for right now.
I love this thread, I will be back in it soon to post.
I have a Formula V way back in 1984-87 or so.
Don't know if have any photos of it.
I'll be back to read your post more later
Just wanted to say you have my attention, big time!!!
Don't know if you heard, I'm an old VW tech from before, everything from dealerships to my own shops, to drag and these Formula V's.
Be back soon.

You don t happen to have any drawings for a vintage formula vw?

#18 patami

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Posted 30 December 2011 - 08:41 PM

Pat, its nice to know I am staying in dimensions (mostly :) ) i measured just a tenth wider up front and the engine is just about a dead ringer once i finish trimming. An that vee looks great!!! Any particular make you are copying? my first guess is Beach or Zink...


Since i haven t been able to find any good drawings of a vintage formula vee chassis. I v decided to go for a vintage vee look. The dream would be to find the drawings for a Finnish vee max and make a copy of that. But true been eyeballing both Beach and Zink,as well as Autodynamics an Kaimann. So it will bee in the lines of all thous.

I my self have some parts from a lighter that i m gonna use as body parts. Just cut and piece together.

Gee have to go on building my vee i guess.

Edited by patami, 30 December 2011 - 08:49 PM.


#19 RazorHog512

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 05:49 PM

New year, new progress!

the rest of the crash bars are finished, floorpan/firewalls are installed, and all that's left is paint and final assembly! (the easy part haha)

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making a run to our local hobby shop tomorrow for paint, then a day of assembly.... the body is gonna go on the back burner for a while, too proud of the fram to hide it just yet! (Wild Bill's in Irving, tx-- old hole in the wall joint that any of yall in the area need to check it out. modeler's paradise. if you name it they have two!)

#20 Erik Smith

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 07:26 PM

Nice work so far - cool little car. You definitely need to find a set of wheels from the Fujimi 356 (as Mike pointed out) - they are a perfect match for the real car (they look like it to me):

Here is a crappy, blurry photo of one - tried casting them but so far haven't been able to get anything good.

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they also have nice, finned brake drums.