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demo derby car question


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#1 Pim

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 10:57 PM

seeing as I am not very familiar with derby cars are they allowed to not use bonnets/hoods because I have got this junker revell mustang that I wouldn't mind turning into one



#2 scummy

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Posted 17 June 2014 - 11:32 PM

The car i helped make many moons ago had to have all panels fitted and secured . The bonnet had to be on so no hot oil or water could cover the driver when it got belted . 



#3 outkast1027

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 11:52 AM

i build and run them here in the states and we aren't required to run a hood. but 99 percent of the drivers do



#4 Tom Geiger

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Posted 21 June 2014 - 05:19 PM

There is no overall sanctioning body that sets rules for the demo derby in the USA.  You'll find as many sets of rules as you have tracks in some cases! I used to drive in the derby at Wall Stadium in New Jersey back in the 1980s.  I'd want to have a hood for the mentioned reason of keeping spewing fluids contained, but mostly to help the front end maintain integrity in crashes.  You want as much armor as you can get!



#5 kitbash1

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 02:04 PM

I don't know if you have the same rules as we do in Canada, but some tracks have you remove the gas tank and run with a out-board motor gas tank, and a out-board battery box.



#6 Tom Geiger

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 04:13 PM

I don't know if you have the same rules as we do in Canada, but some tracks have you remove the gas tank and run with a out-board motor gas tank, and a out-board battery box.

 

I used to run at Wall Stadium in New Jersey back in the 1980s.  I met Dave Burket there long before we were into models.

 

There are a wide variety of events called "Demo Derby".  Some of them run at speed on a track, sometimes a figure 8 with a dangerous intersection.  At Wall, 25 cars at a time drove into a square rink defined by telephone poles lined around the edges.  All the cars would pull in and go nose first against the poles. At the starting pistol, everyone would gun the engine and go backwards into a big pile. Then cars would drive around willy nilly until there was one left.  Cars got pushed out of the rink at the first pile up, if you were stuck up on a pole, you were done!   

 

Wall didn't allow station wagons, trucks of any kind (rule was no commercial chassis) and no Chrysler Imperials.  I've seen demo derbies for school busses so there were a lot of variations.

 

The good part was that this was pretty low speed so cars were quickly prepared and nobody got hurt. Everyone was out for fun and strictly observed the 'no hits on the drivers door' rule.  It was a lot of fun, and even though you were prepared for 80% of the hits, you still were sore the next day.

 

To prepare a car for Wall Stadium, you would take out all the glass except for the windshield. Some guys removed that and installed wire mesh instead.  I kept the glass.  You had to remove the grill and all the body brightwork.  You could run with the stock gas tank with a maximum of 3 gallons of gas, but nobody ever checked. Many used a boat gas tank mounted in the center of the back seat area.  You had to chain all the doors, hood and trunk shut. Some would weld them shut.  Most chained them with bolts.  I had a set of heavy duty Yale locks that never failed us, but gave us instant access when we needed.  Oh, you had to cut a hole over the carb so the fire guys could put out an engine fire.

 

There wasn't much else. Nobody really added roll bars or cages.  Some would wedge the top of the rear seat between the drivers door and drivers seat.  Your battery moved into a box in the interior, we ran two batteries in tandem.  Some would change their shift linkage, cutting a hole in the floor and running a pipe shifter only on the Reverse-neutral-1st gear side.  That's all you needed.  Some would run stock radiators for spectacular plumes of steam. We removed ours and attached the inlet and outlet together with a piece of pipe between the hoses. We'd disconnect our heater (didn't want it overheating in the interior) and just looped the hose on the engine.  Note that these heats would last maybe 15 minutes so a Chevy 350 would keep running without water for that long. We really didn't care if we blew the engine.

 

There were guys who had greater preparation such as running 4 snow tires and / or filling tires with wood chips (then adding air) and screwing them to the rims.  We could radius wheel wells and some would add strategic cuts to the quarter panels so that the rear would bend upward (where it hung harmlessly in the air) vs bending downward (where it would grab your rear wheels, and drag). I always added a vacuum gauge so I could see if my engine was running or not.  The engine typically would stall after every big hit, and it was so loud out there you couldn't hear if it was running!

 

You could run with the stock exhaust but most of us cut it right behind the manifolds.  There were some specialty items due to experience, such as knowing that Cadillacs had their oil filter in a prone position, most guys developed a flat plate to replace it.

 

The main rule in the rink was that you had to make contact with another car every 60 seconds. Some guys just drove like idiots and were quickly eliminated. The smart strategy was to protect your nose, hit with your rear. And if you were lucky your rear would bend upward. Once bent that way, it was out of the way of your mechanicals, and you couldn't do any more damage to it.  I developed a strategy of hit and run.  When the starting gun went off and everyone else floored it, I'd wait. Once they were all in that big mess, I'd aim for a nose and slam into it with my rear. Then I'd quickly retreat into a corner.  I'd watch over my shoulder while counting... I was looking for a nose to nail, or a wheel to hit squarely. If you mashed a fender into a front wheel, it could make the car immobile.  Once I counted past 30, I would jump out, hit anything then retreat again.  After maybe 10 minutes most of the cars were done. It would get tough to see with all the steam and dirt in the air.  That's when there might be 5 cars left and when I'd come alive and go after the remaining cars hard. Many of them were already damaged heavily so they were easy pickings.  I did very well!

 

The demo was a lot of fun.  I did it just for fun, whenever the magic formula of free car and loaner tow vehicle happened at the same time.


Edited by Tom Geiger, 25 June 2014 - 04:22 PM.


#7 Tom Geiger

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Posted 25 June 2014 - 04:36 PM

MVC001S1-vi.jpg

 

Some of my old derby shots.  1970 Chevy 4 door sedan.  These are 'after' pictures. Notice that the hood is absolutely straight. And I protected my drivers side. Note the pristine drivers door! The way you want to bring them home!

 

MVC002S-vi.jpg

 

I used the rear correctly for mashing. Note how well it packed straight inward rather than going down. This was actually better than curving upward since I could still see out the back.  Towards the end of a derby it was comical to watch two cars with the rears bent upward trying to hit each other and missing because neither could see.  This car was used later on in another heat.  And the passenger side got hit hard!

 

 

MVC005S-vi.jpg

 

And here we were in the winners circle. This car survived two heats. After the first one, we sledged the fenders in to clear the tires. Not the best strategy to have bare wheels out there, but it worked. That's me on the right. 

 

An aside.. we ran an anti-Russia theme back then.  The Cougar was run the week that the Russians had shot down an unarmed Korean airliner that had strayed into their airspace.  The car got a standing ovation. It was that kind of crowd.  The following year Russia had boycotted the Olympics.    

 

And we ran our cars painted pink... our team was called the Pink E-Racers.  Ah the memories!  I'd do it again in a flash!


Edited by Tom Geiger, 25 June 2014 - 04:38 PM.


#8 Pim

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Posted 27 June 2014 - 04:43 PM

Wow Tom thanks for the info and reference pictures they are greatly appreciated