View Full Version : Support for bike design and lack of support for car design

Wray Schelin
04-30-2005, 08:56 AM
Why is it that original design in motorcycles is supported so heavily and original design in cars is not?

Custom bikes are supported by the magazines and collectors which adds up to opportunities for the builders and a expanding market.

With car design the magazines and collectors are more conservative both in their taste and support. Why?

With cars, restoration and formula design( the classic 32 Ford roadster) rule the day.

Today custom car builders should be building hot rods with lightweight, sleek, wind cheating designs using the latest technologies available.

Why can't the custom car builders lead design rather than be absorbed in nostalgia? With the CAD tools that are available today anything is possible but there has to be a market to make it possible. Who leads ? Is it the builder, or the collector/owners, or the magzines?

If this craft of custom sheetmetal shaping is to grow we need to all help make it grow with our support for new ideas. Why take tired, rusted, old sheetmetal hulks and slave over removing rust, cutting and rewelding/reworking most of the shape and then replace the frame motor and most everything else?

I'll hide behind my shield now and wait for the hail of arrows.

04-30-2005, 10:12 AM
Hi Wray,

No hail of arrows here.

It may be a simple as this. Custom bike designs are probably considered low risk, the parts are small and less of an investment, emotionally and financially. A custom car is higher risk, the parts are larger and there are perceived to be more of them along with the emotional and financial investment. These arguments are mostly emotional in nature but that is how the mind often works.

Nostalgia sells. It is easy to exploit this, many are in search of their “glory days”. This makes rebuilds and customs based on existing designs low risk. Then there is the perceived cost differential, working with an existing design is less expensive than a whole new design. Again not necessarily rational, but the mind works this way.

If it were feasible then everyone would do it, another consumer perception that is not necessarily true.

True custom designs might be considered the territory of the rich and famous, where hot rods and tricked out production cars are for anyone.

Perception is a difficult thing to overcome especially in a consumer culture. The thing that seems to sell best is not custom at all, it is cookie cutter produced sameness. I want what he or she has seems to be the mantra.

A person could carve out a niche producing one off customs for a while. I am just not sure the public is ready for it. Being different is scary. It is fine for the artist but not for everyday people. Many people have a hard time when someone offers a negative critique of their pet project, this fear of rejection is probably a large motivating factor.

I don’t say these things to hurt people’s feelings or to minimize their passions. These are just unscientific observations and I may be all wrong. I thought it was an honest question and I thought it deserved an honest answer. This is my honest answer.

Wray Schelin
04-30-2005, 10:28 AM
Hi Rick,

Thanks, for the reply and I agree with most of your points. Complexity is an issue but dollars are not. The original design bikes are selling for more money that a lot of cars.

Do you think if there was a TV show featuring series builds of innovative auto designs from the ground up things would change?

I wish we could steer the conversation here on MetalMeet to what is possible and how to do it.

It seems to me we haven't even taken baby steps yet in the right direction. We could miss a fantastic opportunity.

04-30-2005, 10:29 AM
Where's the burning oil! LOL. Hi Wray, Rick had some valid points about one's heyday and past glories. Most of us are of the age of remembering our fathers/grandfathers with these old cars and can afford to build them now. I think that may be part of it. A person can build a pretty slick bike and add a bunch of add on crap (OCC?) and get some decent money out of it BUT what I think it comes down to is licensing, a bike frame usually comes with a certificate of origin which helps smooth the path. Whereas a totally custom car a person would have a bit more difficulty. Plus a person would have to know steering geometry, have room for a complete buck, chassis ect. Not that it wouldn't be great to see, but it would be a huge undertaking. A little mid engine GT-40 thing would be pretty darn cool though!

All the best, Phil

Kerry Pinkerton
04-30-2005, 11:03 AM
I believe it's simpler than that. Can you spell NSRA. The National Street Rod Association dictates that anything that attends their shows must be Pre 1949. Since they are the 'big dogs' in the street rod shows most folks seem to stay with their definition of what makes a 'street rod'. Unless you are a BIG name like Foose or Coddington, you don't get in the gate with your custom built thingie. "But it's based on a 38 Widget Coupe ...honest..."

The custom car crowd is more in line with custom design but have a much smaller following and a lot of their cars are truly 'weird', at least to my taste. Don't throw rocks, I have a custom 57 Imperial sports roadster in my project shed.

Seems to me that most folks are followers, not leaders. After all, why be on the bleeding edge when you can build another red 32 ford with all the neat high dollar bolt on built by some pro builder. $2-300 grand later and you can and get a cover on Street Rodder. Don't forget the bagged Fatmans Mustang II front end! How often do you see a true home built Rod covered?

Ahem,, Wray, your blood pressure problem is contagious.

Tony Sanchez
04-30-2005, 11:03 AM
---Wray I agree with you. That is why the Ascot would have been a very nice start for a sportrod. It would look good as a high boy or a full fendered car.
Is it possible that most people start with a factory design and modify it into a hot rod because of the complexity of designing and building the inner structure? The average hot rod and custom is built with very little change to the inner structure, except for chopping and or sectioning.
Custom bikes don't need all the inner bracing and structure to hold the fenders,hood, deck lid,cowling,doors, etc, in place. When building a custom bike, the project can be completed in a shorter length of time, which means I can get on to the next project.
How about resurrecting the idea of building a group project,like the Ascot, and building a complete car. I am sure that there are enough members that would like to work on a project like this. Concept, design, CAD, construction, ect, could be done by those interested in that area.
---Tony Sanchez.

04-30-2005, 11:08 AM

I think I have posted this link before in another discussion, but that was long ago on the old forums, here it is again.


This guy is building a car from the ground up. He designed the car in cad, had many of the parts built for him by specialists and has had a few redo's as you would expect from doing a scratch build. From what I gather from his site which I visit about once a week for about a year now is he likes driving his cars on some local race tracks. His goal is to build a streetable car that performs well on the track.

About the previous posts, I too agree that there is a whole different risk involved in building custom cars as there is for bikes. Space alone is a consideration. I think what needs to be considered is that the entire car does not need to be built from scratch. Decide on the profile and dimensions of your custom car, go looking for chassis that best fit your idea and modify it to your liking. Once you have the chassis done you are pretty much free to express any and all your ideas into any shape you desire.

Randy D.

04-30-2005, 11:11 AM
I have more to say on this than we have bandwidth...

Phil touched on one area that has come up that some of you may not be aware of. Licensing. Coddington has been busted for using phony out of state titles to get around the real value of the cars he builds and the real process that it should take to get a one off build titled. The fine was a slap on the wrist considering what he rips his customers off for one of his cars.

I am a huge proponent of the one off or low production hand built.. The thing that I have found over the years,both in on-line groups and just as a general enthusiast and fabricator, is that most people are caught up in the style and fabrication of the body. The Ascot project was a good example of a build that was going from the outside in. A skin was being constructed without bulkheads, floorpans, firewalls or mounting points. That is like trying to build a house without a foundation or framing.

When I was involved in a Cobra build some years ago I was adament about getting the chassis that the body would be mounted on before we got too far into panel production. Witout the ability to match and fit panels to structural elements as you go so that adjustments can be made, allot of work will be wasted.

As for the customer side I think the are a few of elements that come into play. Lack of vision or concept, patience and dollars. I think in the past the was more vision and individuality that lead to more "customs" or something that was closer to a one off. There were'nt many opportunities to open a catalog and buy the latest and greatest trick part or call up the big name builder and have him make another of those show winning cars. In this E-mail world of immediate gratification there are very few people that will go threw the design, engineering, fabrication and certifcation that a "bespoke" conseption piece would require. As for the dollars...Consider what the "big time" builders are charging for one of their cookie cutter cars. How much is somebody going to spend for a true one off? Are you going to do one at a loss? More likely the potential customer is going to buy some existing supercar at $400,000+ that will be a relative bargain and still have the only one for miles around (certain locations excluded).

For the hope of doing one for somebody either from my shop or as part of a group, it's still why I play with chassis design and unibody types of structures, suspension types, and look at every body style and think about what I would do differently.

I think this is going to be a great thread...

Steven Winnett

Wray Schelin
04-30-2005, 11:34 AM
---Wray I agree with you. That is why the Ascot would have been a very nice start for a sportrod. It would look good as a high boy or a full fendered car.
Is it possible that most people start with a factory design and modify it into a hot rod because of the complexity of designing and building the inner structure? The average hot rod and custom is built with very little change to the inner structure, except for chopping and or sectioning.
Custom bikes don't need all the inner bracing and structure to hold the fenders,hood, deck lid,cowling,doors, etc, in place. When building a custom bike, the project can be completed in a shorter length of time, which means I can get on to the next project.
How about resurrecting the idea of building a group project,like the Ascot, and building a complete car. I am sure that there are enough members that would like to work on a project like this. Concept, design, CAD, construction, ect, could be done by those interested in that area.
---Tony Sanchez.

Hi Tony,

Your point about inner structure of a body is right on the mark. It seems that it is a stumbling point but it doesn't need to be. Any inner structure for almost any design can be made with a brake and shear. I think people most get hung up on the detailed inner structure stampings that are used on mass produced cars. Most of the inner structure is never seen, all it has to do is hold the panels together whch makes the body shape possible.

When we started the Ascot project there wasn't enough skill in the group to get it done to a very high standard.

Les's project the ZM-2 suffered from two things: a switch of direction to everyone working on the group project to everyone working on their own project, and building from only the wireform buck required advanced skills that still were not present in the group.

This year I have asked Stan Lobitz to bring a Hillagas midget body shell to MM05 so we can copy it using profile gages and flexible shape patterns. Dutch and I will concentrate our energies on that project using it as a teaching tool. I hope to bring a new helve hammer design to MM05 and we'll use that to pound out the panels. Anybody that wants to help Dutch and I on the midget body shell project will be welcome to jump in . After we get the body shell done we will donate it to Stan's museum where he will display it and also help promote the MetalMeet group.

I think it's a doable project and everyone will benifit from participating. Hopefully it will serve as a format for future International MetalMeets.

I just hope we can start to unlock the potential that the craft of sheetmetal shaping holds.

We have such a great community of members and lots of interest but the group seems to lack imagination
or is too timid to take on challenges.

The Ascot project and ZM-2 project did not get finished to the degree we would have liked but what we did do was great.

It should only get better if we can stay focused.

This year there should be so many people present maybe we could have several group projects going.

Lets see if someone steps up and volunteers to lead a group project.

You mentioned the members that know 3d CAD, if they could step in and help out that would be great.

04-30-2005, 11:55 AM
Hi Wray,

I would really like to participate in the midget project. See you in Oblong.


04-30-2005, 12:05 PM
I believe it's simpler than that. Can you spell NSRA. The National Street Rod Association dictates that anything that attends their shows must be Pre 1949. Since they are the 'big dogs' in the street rod shows most folks seem to stay with their definition of what makes a 'street rod'. Unless you are a BIG name like Foose or Coddington, you don't get in the gate with your custom built thingie. "But it's based on a 38 Widget Coupe ...honest..."

Kerry the NSRAs changing also. There are 2 NSRA events this year that are allowing post 48 cars for the first time I believe they are in WI and VA. I believe the cut off is '72. Goodguys has allowed this for years.

If you take time and look around at the NSRA events the participants hair is turning gray or as in my case turning loose. Not many young faces. Several reasons, cost, dont relate to older cars, different era, no db drags etc.,.

04-30-2005, 12:51 PM
If you take time and look around at the NSRA events the participants hair is turning gray or as in my case turning loose. Not many young faces. Several reasons, cost, dont relate to older cars, different era, no db drags etc.,.

Plus one. Last weekend I went to The Year One Experience. My buddy and I were pretty much the only ones there under 30years old (not including the kids dragged along with there parents).

Another thing may be space. I could build a chopper in the basement without having to install a garage door.

04-30-2005, 01:51 PM
Wow, great post to start my Saturday afternoon!

Mike has a great point about space. I have a one car garage, and building an A modified is a major space challenge!

We have such a great community of members and lots of interest but the group seems to lack imagination
or is too timid to take on challenges.

Time is another issue. Most of us and most rodders work on their cars in their "spare time" (unless they pay someone else to build it). How much spare time does it take to build a complete one-off, ground up car? Even a novice can put together a bike in a year or so (I figure anyway). I was hoping to get my A done in a year - doesn't look like that's going to happen.

Design? Well, it's much easier to look at an existing design and make decisions about what you'd like to change than starting from a total blank slate. Unless you have a background in design, it can be very intimidating.

"Modern, wind cheating shapes"? Sorry, I can't say I really care about that. For me, there have been very few inspiring automotive designs from anywhere in quite a while. The heyday of automotive design was the 30's, 40's and 50's. There was even some great stuff in the 60's. All of which was before my time, seeing as how I was born in '69. "Modern" designs tend to turn my stomach, personally. Packard, LaSalle, Auburn, Duesenburg, Rolls, Bentley, Jaguar, early Ferrari, tons of stuff back "in the day" just oozed style, class and craftsmanship. Is it even possible to have a so-called "modern design" that does the same? It's hard enough to slice and dice to break out of the cookie cutter syndrome, let alone designing your way out. Add to that the fact that the majority of "major players" aren't that concerned about the cookie cutter syndrome, and you get where things are now.

A lot of that has also been done already. Don Varney's roadster? I think that was a Covell car. Some of Steve Moal's stuff, though it is a bit "nostalgic" for "modern design" - and I don't care if he say it's "based on a '32 Ford", being cars is the only thing they share! There were a bunch in the '70s, '80s and '90s. Marcel's cranked out the metal for some of them too.

There have been a number of comments that, I think, help explain "cutting edge" motorcycle design being at the forefront. One other thing to consider though is the "prestige factor". A motorcycle is a motorcycle, really. 2 wheels and an engine, everything else is window dressing. A car, on the other hand, needs to be recognizable for there to be a prestige factor. Who's going to pay $150,000+ (and that's a **** low figure) for something people will look at and go "What is it? Never heard of that, where can I get one? What do you mean I can't have one". Loses prestige points right there. Car guys generally want it to be recognizable or just totally off the map. Most of them don't want to have to design a car from the ground up due to the design issue as well as mechanics.

The inner structure argument is easily lost however. A tubing structure with braced panels kind of negates that. Sports cars and street rods have done it that way for years.

Bike builders use the same basic parts, and add or subtract from there. A tank? Sure, we'll just use this basic design right here. For the fenders - let's just cut this part off of this blank, and do a crescent shaped cut on this one and call it custom made. The customers recognize the end result as a "one-off" bike, though most of them really aren't. Upholstery is minimal as well :) . Here, about the only thing that changes is the details. There are also some real abominations out there :). I know there are exceptions to what I just said - Sollis' work, for example. The vast majority of bikes however ..................................................

The Midget sounds like a great project! However, how does that work into Wray's original statement? It comes down to copying something that has been done before. Not much in the way of innovation there. Not knocking anything, just somewhat confused.

Wray, what about taking a new design, and fitting the whole thing to say a junk C4 'vette chassis? For everyone else, have an entirely new body on an existing frame still puts the bodywork into the "one-off" category and can have little impact on the design - keep the frame and the cowl structure (where the numbers are) and everything else is fair game.

Boyd's problems seemingly arose from trying to hide the actual value of his cars - the out-of-state, grey-area titles were an attempt to get around the law, and say that his cars were actually, say, '32 Fords. The problem with that is it is very rare to find one of those cars that even contains something made in 1932 or by Ford. Add to that selling a car to a customer for $180,000+ while supplying paperwork for a '32 Ford bought for $1800 (and only the paperwork survives) to the DMV for registration on a ground up build really is fraud, IMHO. And, no, I'm not a lawyer :) . His biggest problem was understatement of value, and his TV show really made people pay attention to that.

Back to the original point, how is the group going to focus on building something one off and original? Can it be done in a week without a good producer and a great editor? Doing it any other way would require someone to step up to the plate with a design and a basic plan, and get others to volunteer their time and efforts. To what end? Last year I proposed the idea of a group built one off to be auctioned. Split the proceeds among the participating members, with a chunk of it going to MetalMeet for tools and supplies and such? Not much response was garnered by that idea. Just a thought.

Doing it in our own garages would first require an interest in breaking away from our current projects - rusty or otherwise. I need to get my A done before I think about another ground up build - especially something original.

And I could go on and on and ramble aimlessly, but I won't.

Tim D.

Peter Miles
04-30-2005, 04:31 PM
Licensing on custom-built, kit and one-off cars isn't just an issue of declaring the right value these days.

In many states, you have to comply with smog rules for the model year for which the vehicle is being licensed. Some do it on the year of the motor, some the chassis.

Some states have some liberal exceptions for custom cars, some don't.

Some require passing smog sniff tests or tailpipe tests, others require conformal compliance with the equipment that was expected for that powertrain - all pieces must be present, regardless of how clean the exhaust.

Some states have exceptions for propane-powered cars because they are presumed to be 'clean'.

I don't know if there are any requirements to meet any safety standards on one-off cars.

Titling and smog issues can be major issues in some states and trivial in others.


04-30-2005, 05:07 PM
One-off or not, people want something to establish the "worth" of what they are buying. A few years ago new Harleys were "worth" a few thousand over list price because there were not enough to go around. Then the clones and custom built bikes based on the Harley had to be "worth" more because they were custom......right? Then magazines, movies, commercials, television shows, etc were only cool if you saw a nice bike.........right? Then the discovery channel rounded up some clowns to build some clown bikes. They announced that these were "WORTH" "Leventy Skevin Bazillon Ducats" .............Thats how the motorcycle prices got to be what they are........and how they are "WORTH" that much to the banks that lend on them and the insurance companies that insure them.

Most people that invest in Rod and Customs have an idea what it takes to build one. They also know what sells, and how much banks and insurance companies will consider it "worth".

The really trick cars and trucks tour with indoor shows, ride in trucks or on trailers. Lots of folks don't want to tie up the money it takes to build something like this and not get use of it, plus the insurance skyrockets when it goes on the street.

The only way I see a complete custom car on the street is if it is advertisement for a shop, or home built.

BTW, Rod and Custom featured such a car last month, Eldon Titus's Voodoo Spider. I saw it at a KKOA show last year, it is all steel and pretty wild

If we wanted to build such a thing to promote MetalMeet, someone would have to tour with the vehicle for it to get any attention, and professional video shot of the build might help

I do think that a CAD car would be the answer for us to do this. Parts could be pre-made by members working from blueprints, a jig could be fabricated, etc, then everyone that built a part gets to work on the vehicle at MetalMeet. Store the project in a trailer, and keep everything together. Time tables would have to allow that if you could not post a photo of your part by a certain time it would be given to another member to build, and the parts be shipped to the meet in advance.

Does anyone have any designs?.........john

04-30-2005, 05:33 PM
Sounds good John!

I don't have any designs myself - just ideas and a good number of those are based on existing cars .....................................

However, I propose something based on this thread started by Wray http://www.metalmeet.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1647

Tim D.

04-30-2005, 05:38 PM
Everybody has touched on a few points (problems). The major being that a vehicle "built" and "titled" as a new 2005 Custom Cool Car (or whatever you name it) must meet all state and federal emission and safety laws for the model year. There's some breaks for low volume car builders but most of the safety laws still apply and the insurance could be astronomical. Besides that; you, as the builder, retain all liability for the life of the vehicle.

It makes life much easier to customize an exsisting vehicle or build one titled as a 1932 Ford. Even then, safety and liability issues remain. That's the primary reason most "builders" have gone the route of "assemblers". Myself included. Those that haven't are just lucky--So far.

Wray Schelin
04-30-2005, 07:24 PM
Wow, I touched off an avalanche of posts and ideas.

Tim: whatever we do at MM05 as group projects is OK. We can never expect to finish a large project, so that is why I pitched the idea of the Hillagas body cloning to Stan and Dutch.It is a weeklong doable project.

We would not need a buck like we would need for an original shape. Stan's original Hillagas body does that for us.

Steve: some cars have been designed from the chassis first, most are designed from the body shape first. You can do it either way. Any design process has to include room for all components including passengers.

As an online discussion focus if we dreamed a little more, whether it was about building original retro designs like the Bugatti themed shape that Tim mentioned.


Or a design proposal for a car of 2050 I think we will learn a lot more.

Lets start throwing up some designs and asking how do we build these designs.

As for the legal issue which was mentioned several times there are hurdles but they are not insurmountable.

What is the difference between a "32 Ford hotrod" with a Fatman chassis, fiberglass body and a Viper engine and a new design. Everything on the "32" will be new. It is assembled from components available from suppliers.

If someone builds a totally new one off it is legally in my book the same car as the "32 Ford hotrod" described above. How does SEMA see it?

Scratch building is where the fun is if others help out with various components then the time frame is reduced.

If we take a design like the retro Bugatti design and a chassis builder makes a 100 copies of a chassis to fit it then it becomes a lot easier. It is always about scale and focus. Why drag some tin worm eaten ugly sedan body home and lavish tons of hours removing rust welding in little panels or replacing whole panels and then chop everything up to change the look, when you can start with new metal and design it the way you want.

Design it and build it in scale first maybe. Tinman's build of his cyclecart was a great online accomplishment. I'm sure everyone has many favorite designs that they wish they could build and own. You can! How long you take on a project if it is a hobby means nothing, what is important is the process. To make a business out of it you need to make a design that others want and be willing to pay for it.... Everything starts first with just an idea.

04-30-2005, 07:57 PM
My life's goal is pretty much this topic. Building and designing custom hot rods, and working for Foose. I'd love to have the only original part be the VIN tag.Bikes can be assembled from mailorder pretty much. You could assemble an entire bike just from a Custom Chrome catalog. Whereas cars you have to do some fabricating, its not as straight forward as ordering parts. That just my opinion of why people might be afraid of taking on the challenge. However, if I had the choice to assemble a bike, or build a car, I'd build a street rod.

Thats just my two cents.

04-30-2005, 08:13 PM
Bikes can be assembled from mailorder pretty much. You could assemble an entire bike just from a Custom Chrome catalog. Whereas cars you have to do some fabricating, its not as straight forward as ordering parts..

Mike, I'd almost have to disagree here. Pick up an issue of Street Rodder sometime. Outside of drilling some holes, there really isn't much fabrication if you have the money. I can't think of a single part someone hasn't already thought of making for you - and a lot of them actually fit (okay, so a lot of them are questionable at best too).

Wray, the licensing issue is one thing, 100 copies reaches production in the automotive world. However, we are talking bodies, right? A rebody ends up being basically exempt from the hassles discussed here, which is why I brought it up. Just look at the Willys kits that build on an S-10 frame - cheap, easy, not real pretty :) .

The Bugatti inspired design would be workable in John Brown's plan - assuming enough people would be interested in working on it. It could also be a logical extension of the "CAD design of a buck" topic. Sure, there would be some massaging at assembly time, but anyone could, at the very least, print out the buck plans and cut them from plywood or MDF. CNC plasma would be great, but a bit out of my price range :) . First thing would be getting the basic design done in CAD - not my forte'. Basing it on an existing chassis makes it even easier. I suggested the 'vette due to, again, the prestige factor, but a GM G-body would work too, and be really cheap as well as having a full frame under it. Heck, I got one I'll sell for $600 ......... but it's kinda loud :) . Seriously, even a rust free southern or southwestern car would be cheap enough to build from. Get one with paperwork, and it's just custom bodywork.

Tweaking things might be an issue, but if the CAD was done from solid measurements it shouldn't be bad.

Lotsa possibilites here.........................

Tim D.

04-30-2005, 08:37 PM
Mike, I'd almost have to disagree here. Pick up an issue of Street Rodder sometime. Outside of drilling some holes, there really isn't much fabrication if you have the money. I can't think of a single part someone hasn't already thought of making for you - and a lot of them actually fit (okay, so a lot of them are questionable at best too)

I subscribe to Street Rodder and look through a lot of the adds as well. I think thats how a lot of people may see it. Cars are bigger and more complicated. But still the question remains, why are custom bikes built so much more often than custom (not restored) hot rods?

Everybody likes a good custom hot rod. Everybody likes a good custom bike. So why do bikes seem to be more popular than a customized/scratchbuilt hot rod? Ability. Patience. Money. Time. Space. Knowledge.

I probably dont have a wide as view as some of y'all since I am much younger, but Im trying to contribute my ideas of factors.

04-30-2005, 08:48 PM
Tim, it's strange that you mentioned the S-10 chassis. I recently learned that they build them expandable. The front and rear halves slide into each other and are welded so only one frame is required for this platform that has varied wheelbases. Grind the welds off and adjust to the wheelbase you like and reweld. I believe that they are of a box tube design, and about any GM engine fits, tons of lowering kits and suspension pieces made for it.................hmmmmmm...........john

05-01-2005, 04:25 PM
For what its worth...First let me put on my Flack Jacket and get in my Bomb Shelter.
Bikes have been done to death, there really is nothing new or inovative. They had all the same stuff back in the sixties except billet machined products. Things that were proven unsafe and impractical have again resurfaced. Many are poorly engineered and produced. Those of us who have driven a rigid with a super long frontend with lots of rake, can surely exclaim the virtues of such a ride. They look cool and nothin else. One gallon gas tanks, again look cool but where does it end. Sure some of them choppers look cool but are totally impractical as a rider, some even as bar hoppers. Most are for show, yep they get strong money. Show me the money... has anyone in here seen the cash change hands? You need to find a buyer. Guys like Jesse James are no different than any of us, yet Advertising via the media has made him a king of sorts, the other media jumps on the bandwagon, just like groupies. They all benifit from sales, promotion etc.
Cars have a better leeway, there is a lot more surface area and things that can be done with a car. Yet again, its the guys like Foose, Coddington, etc that get the promo. Money talks too and again we have the groupies, the media that promotes and everyone wants to copy.
Design something totally new is the cry I hear. Well there are a few problems in that area. Think about the process. Foose and Coddington have the money and the support staff around them.
Their first area of attack is to hire a Artist who will make sketches of a proposed concept vehicle. Guys like Barris and Roth, Dean Jeffries and others did it by the seat of the pants.
Face it most of us are copycats for one reason or another, not a bad thing in some ways, the car manufacturers do it all the time.
How many of us if any can draw up a car that is totally different? That isn't a clone or copycat with changes than something that has been built. The Ascot was mentioned and Les's car. Yet look at the lines they are still in the copycat category.
CAD designed is constantly being mentioned, I use CAD and I love it but its not the same as the real thing. Everything eventually has to have seat of the pants. Roth was always inovative and very seat of the pants.
Some the hi end CADs can be manipulated to see various angles, some even move suspension parts thru their travel.
They are Drawing programs, they can not do the engineering necessary to chose parts, they can't figure loads, etc.
Duh things like that are done thru testing and design changes, engineers do this. Many things aren't new, just remakes of older proven designs.
With all the Mustang II suspension kits out there one would think that one is as good as another, not necessarily so. Then the vehicle factor comes into play. Picture two vehicles one a Miata and the other a Mack truck, both using the same mfg Mustang II suspension. Will they work the same? Will they handle the same?
We have a guy in here and I have to commend him for his efforts and creativity. He is doin an Astro Van. He has done all this CAD work and will eventually start a real world build. Reality will step in and make major changes. I have owned an Astro Van, I have some good things to say about it but on the negative, it was designed for an amputee, there is no leg room, your left leg is always trying to find a comfort zone. Now when you put this thing in the weeds and movin the motor around you make matters worse. I have to wonder where your gonna sit. Airo dynamically the thing is a box, a rock is more airo dynamic.
Many of the parts are compatable with S10's and mid sized Chevies, even much of the geometry, but this suspension Chevelle handles better in an Chevelle than in a Box/Astro.
Someone mentioned usin Corvette components another S10, well there are differences, mostly in materials. Engineering and geometry are probably very close.
Now even the concept car building pros and the manufacturers use artists to come up with a concept and they also still make clay models even after usin Super CAD programs. Clay models show up things that CAD can't. Clay may not be our medium but we still can build wire forms and bondo still work as does paper mache.
Wray wants something totally new, no 32 Roadster clones, no Bugatties, something with a totally new design. Lets get the artistic few in here to draw up some things. We may have to hire someone as with all the artistic ability that we have we still look towards the Deuce and other vehicles.
Since we are not car manufacturers and lack their facilities, money and support teams. I propose we sellect a chassis, and drive train.
This will do several things for us, it will for a foundation to work with, setting wheelbase, track etc. S10's are nice and cheap and can be made to handle somewhat, with a small block with few inches of engine set back they can work better.
Goin with a Mustang II front and a coil over live rear works very well, many of the Cobra Kits use same or similar components.
From there its bring mo money, Corvette components can be used, of if you want a mid or rear engined vehicle, Corvair and VW and even ZF if you can afford it.
A vehicle is a combination of parts, they can be concieved economically or exhorbitantly. CAD is a drawing program, it does an excellent job, it can not design these components, this come from the mind, it draws them, it doesn't do the engineering or testing. If we are to build a vehicle and want it to handle like a Cobra then we have to use components know to work, geometry that works and do the testing and tuning.
So I will leave with a few Questions:
What type of vehicle are we designing? be specific
What parameters are we following? is it an econo box or concept vehicle
a Mad Max road warrior or 2020 space vehicle?
Is the proposed vehicle to be driven by a amputee midget or someone that is 6'4" and 300 lbs? I have seen pics of many in the group and some are of the
larger caliber. Puttin 2 in a T Bucket would be a tight squeeze.
Then there is the budget who has got the money? What no Sponsors? GM ain't donating the drive train? Gee I was hopin for a Turbine Powered ride.
Wray you started it, so I thinks its your call to these parameters.
For what its worth, I hopes we can come up with somethin, even if its a pedal car or a body sitting on a chassis.


05-01-2005, 06:52 PM
Everyone is invited to post on this site. Bambi is a long time member with a very extensive background in both bikes and cars. I have learned much from him and see nothing wrong with the issues that he brought up.


Wray Schelin
05-01-2005, 06:53 PM
Ok I started this off and I wondered why there is so much commercial, TV, and magazine support for one off custom bikes, and so little support for one off cars.

The thread has now wandered some but that is OK.

So far here are the answers to my question.

The sanctioning body (NSRA) of a lot of the car shows require the cars to be pre 1949 before they are allowed into shows. Some shows allow later cars but I guess anything scratchbuilt is kept at the gate unless you have your own TV show.

Seems like the sanctioning groups and supporters need to expand their realm.

Licensing and liability issues have been raised.

Why would a one off bike be any different than a car? They are both vehicles.

The time factor was mentioned. Bikes are definately a lot easier to engineer and there are a lot of support parts available which cuts down on project time.

There are quite a few support parts and services available for cars as well and if something new were to develop new businesses would pop up to support it.

Lets try to move this thread in a positive direction.

Let's imagine that the Discovery channel just walked into your shop and they want you to build a one off car like the retro Bugatti design that came from PurSang in Argentina.

They have given you a $250000.00 budget to spend and a commitment to continue the show with you building new and different vehicles if you can come through with the Bugatti build.

What would you do?

05-01-2005, 07:09 PM
Yeah Bambi. Take that. If you want to conform your just no good! Wink,Wink

I may have to join you though. I don't "get" bikes. Never have. Haven't got an artistic bone in my body. I have trouble envisioning anything that hasen't already been tried. I admit I'm a copycat. What really turns me on though is little subtle details, especially when You look at a car and know somethings different but you just can't figure out what it is. My recent favorite is a 53 Chevy hardtop that has been chopped 1 1/2" yet retains the stock roof lines. I actually had to ask. The guy did it himself. Or the brackets and braces that serve multiple purposes, like on Hanna's new dragster. I also appreciate flawless detail work that makes a car's line appear extra crisp. I try to adapt that kind of stuff when I'm building. I love doing my own work and attempting to achieve those standards.

I think the proliferation of cookie cutter street rods is a nostalgia thing brought on by guys my age who either owned a car when they were younger or wanted one then. We are older now and have mostly empty nests,which means we now have some money. I figure the mass production of "custom" billet geegaws is to fulfill the need to "do something" to the rod the boomer just bought. In my youth it was curb feelers, dual antennae, lowering kits and mud flaps for those guys.

For young kids late Mustangs and rice burners seem to have replaced the rods and tri-5 chevies of my youth. Bolt ons abound in the form of fiberglass ground effects kits to "personalize" your car.

That being said I like new designs when they are well done. I'd participate in construction, but you don't want me in design, unless you want a critic.

05-01-2005, 08:03 PM
I think the hardest thing is maintaining the old hot rod feel of the '30s and '40s while designing something completely new. We have an image, a "stereotype" if you will, in our minds of what hot rods look like. To design something completely new, while maintaining the feel of a retro without looking like one car or another from that era is a formidable task next to impossible. The bubbly fenders would represent cars of the late '30s early '40s. So on and so forth.

The area where the artist is unlimited is in the situation to design something new, a new concept vehicle not made to idolize the hot rods of the day, but to set the views of the future. Because its not supposed to look like anything. Its not supposed to fit into a class, its a class of its own that you cant exactly put an identity with.

Does that make any sense?

If a TV show came to me, I'd pass up the offer. Unless it was just a couple episodes like Rides. The money is good, but I dont want to be making money from the TV show and apparel like OCC. In my eyes, if you're good the hot rods/choppers/etc would make the money and get your name out there, not publicity stunts and apparel. But thats beside the point

If somebody said build me a one off like a hot rod, heres the money, I would accept the challenge. Coming up with something new takes not just an artist, but an innovator taking the old school lines that were always popular blending them with tomorrows views while staying away from being trendy. Sure, it would look like some sort of hot rod seen before, but at the same time it would push the envelope of design. I'd want it to be identifiable as a hot rod by paying homage to the classic shapes and fenders that are identified with the hot rod culture of design.

This thread related to something, but I forgot where it was going to answer the question. But I hope my insight might count for something. Maybe answer Wrays latest question in a sense.

butch foster
05-01-2005, 08:24 PM
I'm with Bambi on this one. "Select a chassis and drive train" and design around it.

Mike is on to something when he talks about our preconceived notions about what a hot rod should look like. Like many here, I grew up in the 60's and 70's and my idea of a sweet ride will always be a cobra or a 32 knock off. I suggest we let the more knowledgable among us settle in on a chassis and drive train and then turn the body design over to the kids who aren't handcuffed by what's been done before. Let them sketch something up and then the pros can come in and refine it. The future lies with the kids. They aren't hidebound by what's been done before.

Bambi - Don't ever stop posting.


05-01-2005, 08:58 PM
It's still in Wrays Court. With 6500 members as was mentioned, how many are newbies? how many have ever even posted even a simple question?
I can't answer Wrays question why Bikes have become so popular? Jesse James and others were approached or applied or whatever to be on the Discovery Channel and other things. Who knows maybe some Big Shot got a hard on over his stuff and said heres a blank check build me a bike and we'll do a documentory.
They have done them for cars too.
The factor is they went to someone with a name or someone of their choice. Some of the guys in this group are as talented and maybe even more than the Chosen few.
I like new and inovative ideas and look for them all the time, but sometimes people do things to death.
NSRA was mentioned, they have been around for a long time and had to set particular rules for their club. There are Modified and Custom car clubs as are there Late Model Clubs, but because of peoples ages, interests, etc. they are fewer and smaller in numbers and have less clout than a larger organization.
Vehicle laws were brought up, in many areas its easier to get a bike registered, because many place don't require a title and those that do have an easier time.
A car though, it is a motor vehicle as is a bike has to have emissions in many states, bikes don't. Bikes in the past went by motor numbers, now its a frame number. Composites and home builds are a different story.
So in essence if Wray or the group wants to build a car of a totally new concept go for it.
But consider the rules.
The Feds have their set of rules as each individual State. SEMA publishes monthly things that are happening nationwide. That should take care of anything legal. One thing about the NSRA, is that they have a Safety Test and have a CheckList, if your ride can pass that its in pretty good shape.
Depending upon how your state is and what you choose for a drivetrain will dictate what emmissions requirements you will have.
If we are gonna wait for the Discovery Channel to give us money, I think we're gonna have a long wait unless someone steps up to the plate and contacts them. I also think that whomever contacts them better have a **** good plan and sponsors that will back them up.
Anyone that has Raced knows how important sponsors are and how hard it is to get them.
Foose when he builds a car has most of the stuff given to him even services of high end machine and design studios.
Anyone that has watched This Old House or New Yankee Workshop should realize those tools are mostly donated to them. The house gets a new kitchen, the manufactureres donate stuff, its a writeoff as well as Advertising.
This group, no matter how tallented is still in its infancy.
Since this group has gotten so large, so fast shows there is a great interest. I believe its time that Officers be assigned or elected into positions and form a legal group, especially if we want to get recognized for something, otherwise we are 6500 numbers floating around in cyberspace. It definetely would help us to get some sponsors.
With all the little Metal Meets and the Big ones, whomever is in Charge should be contacting Street Rodder and other publications. Again here is the call for the President or some officer in the organization.
Again I reitterate, its in Wrays Court, what do you want to build? Make up some guidelines and rules that we can follow.
Disclaimer of sorts:
I DO NOT write in here to offend anyone, sometimes I get a little crisp. We have here several situations or opportunities, depending upon how you look at it.


05-01-2005, 09:16 PM
Look at the PT Cruizer, someone came up with an idea looking back at the 40's, Now they come out with the Chrysler 300 and a wagon also, maybe some one will build a Woodie.
Lookin at the 300 what do you really see? Things from different years of Chrysler.
What else? Something that has been lacking in cars for years. Room, power.
What else do you see visually? Some of us Rodder see things that were done in the old day. The car appears to be chopped, channeled and sectioned, it is a bad look.
My grandfather had a 50's four door sedan, think it was a Dodge. Til I saw the new Chryslers, I could only evision that old car as a junk yard dog or field car. Now I could see it done up as a cruzer with a hemi. What details won't do for a car.
Other things are also happening, I can remember when no one wanted a four door or a station wagon. I don't think station wagons make for a undesirable ride anymore. If memory serves me well Tom Hanna did a station wagon, a Vista Cruzer for Tommy Ivo with the 4 engined dragster.
Just depends upon how you look at things.

Enjoy the ride

05-01-2005, 09:19 PM
I am reading this topic with much interest.I too would love to build a one off original car, but time and money and talent don't allow it.I hope this car you are talking about here happens,I would love to follow along as it is designed and built, I think however, it will be very hard to design a car that does not copy anyone else's design in some way. Look at the Prowler, with all of Dodge's resources, They still came up with a design that looks very much like a car from the thirties. It still is a good looking car, and like it or not, most of us have looked at a Prowler very closely. I am sure that whatever you decide on, it will generate a lot of interest in metal shaping, and that is the point of this project! Greg

05-01-2005, 10:29 PM
I hope this is ok to post, I dont think this is verrying off (too much).

The site I am listing below belongs to Charlie Smith, a friend of my neighbor.
I only know Charlie through my neighbor and e-mail I hope to meet him this summer. I hope he can make it to MORebel MetalMeet in July.

He touches on alot of the things that are being discussed in this thread and a certain designer.

Here are the links.

Oh yeah turn on your speakers.



Wray Schelin
05-01-2005, 11:04 PM
OK, I just took a quick peek at Charlie Smith's website.

On this page:


Charlie proposes this transformation of a Nash See Charlie's drawing below.

I see this proposal and I see that to do it right you would be better off starting from scratch. I believe the Nash was a unibody which means you will need a tube frame and you will need to design it with center drop so you can still have passengers fit in the car.

This concept drawing of a rework is very typical of what you will find in magazines. Some are mild makeovers and some are radical such as this example. To do this as a makeover and to do it right you will need chassis building skills and coachbuilding skills because there are few panels that are unaffected by the design rework.

So the questions are :
Sould you transplant an existing chassis and modify it to fit?
Should you attempt to modify the Nash unibody platform to accept the increased horsepower, load, and body design changes?
Or would it make better sense to build a tube chassis in CAD that would fit the modified body and meet all of the stress and load requirements?

Would it make more sense to build all of the panels new from aluminum ,using CAD to help build a buck that would intergrate with the new chassis?
Or would it make more sense to find some clapped out rust bucket Nash and then start cutting off 90 % of the metal and throwing it away?

05-01-2005, 11:15 PM
Wray, Bambi answered your question on Bikes vs Cars. The bikes only need a headlight, tail light, muffler, horn, mirrors, and a 16 digit serial number on the frame. If they are shipped to California or overseas they may be required to have an emissions cert. S&S can provide cert engines.

Mike, you are naive, given the chance to prove yourself on a TV show, and to make the money, sell t-shirts, almost everyone here would take a shot at it. Doing good work and having a good rep will make a living. The showmen make the money. Even an old master like Gene Winfield probably made as much money on Monster Garage as he could sell a complete car for 10 years ago....

Show me the money, I'll step up. I would research the target vehicle for as much info as I could, I would hire designers, cad people, outsource the frame/suspension, engine and driveline.

I would use 3D cad to produce body bucks, surround myself with the best fabricators and metalmen I could find.
It would not be that simple, but it would be a blast..........john

05-01-2005, 11:23 PM
hi guys, this has been a great thread. i think there`s a number of reasons there`s more interest in the bikes. for one there is a lot of tattoed characters that make for good tv. ,a lot of these bikes are being built in 10-30 days which keeps production costs down. it take a serious commitment to build a one-off car, also look at resale value. its much easyer to recoup your money on a bike. a lot of these bikes are selling for as much or more than a car. i heard one the biker build off bikes sold for $250,000 , (this was a bike buit in 30 days) boyds whatthehey (with a one-off marcel body sold for like $400,000 , a lot of money for sure but i`ll bet the build costs were incredible compared to that bike and it took a lot more time to build. also that aluminium marcel bodied tub sold for a lot less than the bike. i would love to see one-off cars being built, as far as wrays question as to what would you do if the discovery channel came calling with a goal of building one-off cars. i think the first thing you have to do is have a reasonable time frame on the build,then i think you build a full size model on top of an existing chassis using either clay or card board and bondo. take your patterns off that model and go from there. did i mention the tv guys like a little drama occasionally also.gary

Wray Schelin
05-01-2005, 11:32 PM
Bambi wrote:

So I will leave with a few Questions:
What type of vehicle are we designing? be specific
What parameters are we following? is it an econo box or concept vehicle

Hi Bambi:

I guess you missed my earlier post ... Here it is again with more details.

Discovery channel will call you ("you", meaning every interested member of MetalMeet) and pitch you an idea for a show.

They want you to build for them a retro concept vehicle with Bugatti DNA . Drawing is from Pur Sang in Argentina



They have a budget of $250000.00 for you to do this, plus if you do good they promise to make it into a regular series building all new one off concepts. All cars are already spoken for by the Sultan of Brunei (who is a car nut with deep pockets and he doesn't have to worry about US crash, emission, and liability laws).

I've taken away all the objections so we discuss what really needs to discussed. How do you do it ?
What way makes more sense.
If anyone is timid about saying the wrong thing or being percieved as less than up to speed or just plain intimidated, all you need to do is sign in as Widgetman or something like that and say you are Bob. Nobody will ever know, you will be completely anonymous.

OK where would you start? You have the budget and a clean piece of paper, you have a modern well equipted shop with CNC tools to use You have access to just about anyone for outside contracting.

Let's see if we can get some ideas flowing.

Neal Nicholson
05-02-2005, 04:10 AM
I suggest starting with how wide the cockpit needs to be to hold two people. Lets assume that the sultan is as well fed as many americans so we need something wider than a traditional sports car.
The engine would be a Viper V10 with AC, and PS so the hood and frame need to be wide enough in that area to fit. Manual transmission so we need room for the driver to shift. An italian motor and paddle shift transmission would be even more exotic but would probably exceed the budget by itself.
The fenders look nice in the drawing but would not hold the modern wide tires required to handle the cornering forces expected today or put all that V10 power to the ground.
Once we come up with some idea of the dimensions required to fit these items then we need a wheelbase that will give us good handling and will also allow for the overall design of the car to flow as it does in the drawing. If we take the original design and just widen it to accomodate the engine, people and tires we will lose the sleek design.


Wray Schelin
05-02-2005, 05:35 AM
Ok, Neal has pointed out what needs to happen first.

We need to know if everything will fit into the envelope shape that we hope to make.

The variable size values of an array of tires, engines, transmissions, rear ends, exhaust systems, and passengers are all known values. We need to see whether we need to tweak the relationship dimensions of the proposed drawing of the retro Bugatti.

How do we do that ? Is there more than one way? How long should it take to solve this problem and move on to the next step?

Do you think the folks in the custom and hot rod magzines that propose the radical reworking of original designs like the Nash that Charlie Smith drew, consider all of the spatial considerations?

05-02-2005, 05:48 AM
I dont know if anybody really gives a darn, but I can make some sketches and stuff if we were to do a project of this calibur. I sit around making hot rod drawings that taking old school cars but put them in a completely different world while feeling the nostalgia. Or at least I try too. I once drew a '47 fleetline" changed into a couple diffent cars a long time ago. I'll post it up to give y'all a feel for my design style. That is if we are considering the possibility of building a car.

Kerry Pinkerton
05-02-2005, 06:29 AM
I agree that ergonomics are key but disagree on the powertrain. If we were building this for ourselves, it might make more sense to have an exotic powerplant but since we are metalshapers, it seems that we should focus and spend our time and money on the sheet metal. I'd go with a corvette chassis and trusty modern Chevy HiPo engine Or perhaps a complete Viper rolling chassis and do a rebody. The star of the show should be the styling and metalwork, not the drivetrain, imho. Now, perhaps we could get someone to donate the drivetrain as in Monster Garbage. We could get Big Swag to scream "FREEBIE!!!" Also, I'm not at all sure that 250 K would be enough for a scratch built one-off. Coddington gets that for his 'stuff'.

For a successful 'show' you'd need some flashy graphics to hang on the wall like the ones Foose does. Of course, you'd need a large dose of drama so perhaps Wray and I could yell at each other and we could get someone else to translate. Rotflol!

Seriously, given the current TV formula, I'm not sure that the media is ready for a real reality show featuring real work. It's a nice thought though and will make an interesting discussion.

I love the idea of the midget body at MM05, a bite sized chunk so to speak.

However back to the theorical project. The amount of planning and project management and design that would go into a full size group build would probably be many man months. From experience, I can assure you that the more people are involved the more communications (read that Project Management) is required. I've heard it said that a 10 person project will require a dedicated PM. Been there, done that, had projects fail because of insufficient PM (communications and decision authority).

Having a rolling (running) chassis would be a huge advantage because it puts constraints on things. Wheelbase is X, track is Y, etc. Otherwize we'd forever be changing things based on styling, the ongoing fight between engineers and stylists. I'm sure Les Edmundson can address this.

Once we have the chassis defined, we can get down to basics on what the body design should be. Since the Sultan is a known entity, we should probably build the car to 'fit' him rather than the average american giant.

I'd agree with earlier comments that we'd be better off building all inner panels and structure from scratch rather than starting with an old body. I've been watching Bennett and Dutch work on Bennett's 41 Pickup. Ain't much of the original old girl left and it might well have been faster and easier to just start from scratch as Wray suggested last year.

Anyway, lots of cad drawings that cross section bucks can be taken from. Next a full size foam/bondo (perhaps clay) for pulling flexible shape patterns. Then you could 'outsource' different parts to different shops. Ah, DRAMA. "THAT DANGED PINKERTON IS GONNA MISS THE DEADLINE@!!!"
Sorry, couldn't resist. This is a serious subject, I'm better now...

Lots of questions:

Creature comforts, roll up windows or side curtains, stereo, AC?
Glass. Custom shaped or existing pieces from a ??? Priced custom glass lately???
Is this a real car or a show car?
Of the four major areas: Chassis and drivetrain, electrical, interior, body and paint. Where are we going to spend our time and money?

Gotta run for now... interesting discussion. I've wanted to build a custom one of all my life and have thought about all the issues for years.

Peter Miles
05-02-2005, 06:48 AM
Kerry, obviously the body would be polished bare aluminum! We don't need no stinking paint! Although an anodized finish would be an interesting possibility.


05-02-2005, 06:53 AM
I think the Vette suspension is the way to go. There is a compeny called Progressive Automotive in Ohio that builds Vette suspension frames for any car or truck. The vette suspensions are very easy to get at shows like Carlisle. Proggressive automotive has all the geometry in all the right places.

05-02-2005, 07:28 AM
Since this Sultan is funding the vehicle and it will be his car Neal is right, there are things that need to be explored and examined with him, the customer.
Does he want a complex or simple cockpit, does he have a ride that he fits in comfortably so measurements can be made. The interior needs to be addressed especially if its a small car with large passengers.
Case in point, years ago I built Corvettes for SCCA Racing, putting the owner/driver in the seat of his choice where he was the most comfortable for him, dictated pedal location, steering, shifter, guages, mirror inside and out, everything, including bars in the roll cage. Unique to the situation, when driver had a helmet on, the drivers side portion of the halo bar had to extend out past the body line with the door window glass riding on the bar. He had a big helmet, it was his of choice and necessity.
So the driver will have to be consulted or fitted many time thru the process.
OK Neal proposes a Viper V10, what if this Sultan is a real power nut, hows about he wants maybe a helo turbine engine or one of the Cadillac V16's pushin a 1000 hp and he wants the motor up front and the tranny would be a 6 speed trans axle or maybe he is a mental case for power and wants an Allison Aircraft engine up front. It will be awfully hard to achieve a 50/50 fr/rr weight ratio with an Allison. Scales do this, you might not achieve it. Bumpsteer and other factors come in, sure there are some programs out there for the puter, but its still get out the gauges and scales and make it work.
The customer and or sponsor have lots to say in how it goes together.
Sure a lot can be done with CAD, but its not a cure all and many bugs will have to be worked out in the real world, cut, weld, cut appart adjust reweld, remachine etc, toss away and start again, we are not exempt, all the car mfgs do it everyday, just look at the scrap bins.
So with these things in hand a real world chassis can be started, things can be roughed in and then a body skin can be started and modified as necessary. Bucks can be built and modified as necessary. Body will be dictated by wheelbase, track, tire and wheel sizes and suspension movement and obstruction from components. Maybe the Sultan has a big head and needs a bump in the roof. Cooling has always been an issue with cars and hot rods, will this beast need auxilliary radiators and ducting and fans etc.
First things first the Sultan needs to be consulted and money needs to hit the road so parts can be allocated.
When building the Vettes, the body shells were always the last and then paint and finishing. It was sort of build as you go, once the driver was positioned we were able to move the firewall back and shortened the tub by 4 inches, by removing one section we were able to setback the engine by almost a foot. Then build headers to fit. We also moved the front suspension forward an inch or so as well as moving the rear forward. Aluminum suspension components were modified and rewelded, doing away with the leaf springs and goining to Bilstien Electronic Coilovers. We put the car in the weeds. Besides a Stock Corvette it sat lower and did I mention we tilted the windshield back a few degrees and did a 4 inch top chop. Yet visually it was un noticable to most people, things were done subtally. Did the car go?? It was like a cat on a carpet and won almost every race, including the first one right out of the box. The only problem was the puter whiz, wired the ABS brakes in backwards.
CAD can be a Blessing and it can also be a Curse, one factor being the operator. We used NO CAD, it worked the best.
I'm gonna sit back for awhile and watch the show. I've said more than my share.
Wray, give that Sultan a Call.


05-02-2005, 07:33 AM

If the idea were to showcase our metal shaping prowess, I would recommend this approach. Define the critical characteristics of the build i.e. vehicle weight, wheel base, tread base, front wheel drive vs. rear wheel drive, number of passengers, ride height, wheel size and such, I am sure there are others, we can get the jest from this list. I would then investigate a platform that best meets these criteria and once identified, I would base my build one that. BTW, in this town, Detroit, many of the cars begin life this way. It drastically cuts down on time and the non sheet metal fabrication. I have to go for now. I’ll add more, later.

anders nrgaard
05-02-2005, 07:59 AM
Hi Guys,

This is a very interesting discussion!

First of all: If the Bugatti Type 41 Sport Carrera Replica is the car, we are going to make, there are certain measures/sizes that we have to consider. I don’t think there’ll be room for a V10 engine. Should be a 6 or 8 cylinder in line engine. There’d still be space enough to have AC and power steering (could be electro/mechanic). For the suspension, I wouldn’t rely on the original front and rear. I’d go for wishbones/A-arms like on most racing cars!

Here’s a link to a pic of the 2005 Shelby Cobra Mustang rolling chassis (there’s a copyright so I don’t dare to attach the pic!! By the way, the site has a lot of great info on car construction too!)

http://www.mustangheaven.com/2005shelby/photos.htm (http://www.mustangheaven.com/2005shelby/photos.htm)

I also found some specs on a T57SC. This car has a body style that comes very close to the T41.

Identifying Features:
Vee radiator, low build; usually with rakish body; rear axle passing through frame, multiple exhaust pipes, dry sump

Years Made
(approx): T57S, 1936-38; 57SC, 1937-38

Number Made:

No of cylinders: 8
Bore x stroke: 72 x 100mm
Capacity: 3257cc
BHP (approx): T57S: 170; T57SC: 200
RPM Limit (prudent): 5500
Camshafts: dohc
Valves (per cylinder): 2
Camshaft drive: Rear, spur train, helical
Crankshaft bearings: 6 plain, plain rods
Lubrication: Dry Sump
Supercharger (Roots): 57SC only
Carburettor: Bugatti or Stromberg UUR2
Ignition: Scintilla Vertex
Plugs per cylinder: 1
Firing Order: 1, 6, 2, 5, 8, 3, 7, 4

Type: Dry, two plates

Location: Integral with engine, 4-speed and reverse
Gear change lever: Central, Top back

Rear Axle:
Normal Ratio: 11/46 = 4.18

Wheelbase: 117.3in (2.98m)
Track: 53.1in (1.35m)
Chassis Weight (approx): 2100lb (950kg)

Location and Type: 4-wheel, 1936-38 cable operated
Brake drum diameter: 350mm

Type: Rudge wire
Tyre size: original and modern fitment, 18 x 5.50, front; 18 x 6.00 rear

Crossbreeding with Other Types:
Derived from T57 and T57C; engine very similar to that of T59 GP car

Knowing the wheelbase and track, it’s not so hard to figure out the components for the steering.

I’ll try to make a drawing which explains the basics of steering angles, What they are, what they do and what happens, if they are uneven left and right.

Also found some more pics of the T41… beautiful body!



If we should make this car in respect to the body style... well... then we'll have to make the sultan fit the car <LOL>

05-02-2005, 08:04 AM
OK we all have our own ideas.
If I were buildin it for me, I would probably start out with the purchase of a new, used, wrecked Corvette. Strip out the parts that I want and sell the rest, probably make a good profit. I would contact GM and make a proposal to obtain one of the Caddy V16's and whatever other goodies I could comandeer.
Now lookin at the Bugatti pics, I would contact the artist and see what I could get from him. If he is a CAD addict. I would have him redraw it using the new Vettes sized tires, boy will those fenders get a bit wider. I would see if I could get some of them old BDS wheels that are cast but look like wires.
I would see if the artist could draw them in with some sidepipes. I would also have him draw in a few different windshields, not just two flat panes, maybe a one piece.
I would next set up a mock chassis and have several people sit in it to get sizing down, we would want it to be adjustable. Why you say??? Well I would want to keep the beast and let people try it on for size. To promote it and have it available as a kit or components for resale. That 6 speed transaxle will be nice in adding room to the cockpit.
Part of the Chrysler thing is that sure the cars look cool but they have power from a Hemi and that they are Rear Wheel Drive.
Yes people will look at the body and whether its polished aluminum. People still buy with their eyes. Flawless metalwork will be enhanced more by paint aka Black. People will be turned on by a comfortable interior with real wood and leather and engine turned dash.
Pop the hood and see a 16 Cylinder engine with many handmade components. Caddy will probably want to have their stuff still intact and if they are donating components let it be. There is plenty of area to plan with, polished aluminum components, suspension etc.
In my dreams.
I think I'll go play with Wrays Bugatti pics.
If I had to low buck it I would use the same 2x3 tubing chassis but use a Mustang II front end and conventional rear. I would find a wrecked Camaro for engine, trannie etc and other components and take the low road.
Years ago I did several MGB's with V6 conversions, they are similar to track and wheelbase of the Cobra's. Wanted to build one with the BDS wheels and Vette sized tires. Everything would work very well, in the front only the brake lines had to be moved around. The rear was like anything else. I wanted to build one with Buick Grand National Turbo in it. Would have been interesting at 100mph and have a Porsche pull up and with a grin on the face put the pedal to the metal and show him how its done.
Booger King sez Have it Your Way


05-02-2005, 08:09 AM
and the particulars. Post as many pics from different angles as you can Please.
I think I'll play with some pics for awhile. Also is any one makin models of the beast.
Thank You


05-02-2005, 08:27 AM
Just wondering, not to step on anybody's toes or anything, but what exactly is so special about the bugatti? I thought be wanted to design something that looked completely new? (Not trying to question anybody, just trying to learn)

05-02-2005, 08:35 AM
Seriously, given the current TV formula, I'm not sure that the media is ready for a real reality show featuring real work.

PBS might be. When was the last time you saw Norm Abram and This-Old-House-Host-Du-Jour going at each other? When was the last time you saw Norm cutting corners to make a looming deadline of New Yankee Workshop. I think PBS needs a metal shaping show. It could run the whole gamut from chasing and repousse to bike tins to coach-work to original cars.

Seeing as how most good PBS shows are made in Boston, it would have to be a top notch metalshaper from MA. Do we know anyone like that :-)

05-02-2005, 08:59 AM
Not so on the PBS stuff, a lot is done in Boston, but Mn Public TV also has some pretty complete studios and needs new projects and funds. (my buddy that did the sets for Fargo and ran the TC pub TV shops for years has ended up underemployed due to the current funding attitude in the legislatures) As a result they need programs and sponsors. Sponsors means somebody will make money off the visiblity they get for their donation.
What with GoM, and the active cell of Metalshapers we have collected here it might be something to try.

of course, Wray would look pretty darn cute on Boston pub TV, and he is darn near in their back yard.


Wray Schelin
05-02-2005, 09:24 AM
Mike wrote:

Just wondering, not to step on anybody's toes or anything, but what exactly is so special about the bugatti? I thought be wanted to design something that looked completely new? (Not trying to question anybody, just trying to learn)

It's a retro design Bugatti and the Sultan likes it, remember he is picking up the tab. Dicovery channel is happy because they will make tons of dough on the show. What the Sultan wants the Sultan gets.

I have to agree with the Sultan, the design is as good as it gets. Remember all aesthetics are subjective. Ever see a Cy Thombly painting?

Here's a picture of the Sultan ( he's on the right)

As you can see he is probably 5'8" tops and weighs about 150lbs .


He inherited a fortune worth 40 billion when he was 18 years old . He is down to his last 10 billion or so, he can easily afford our retro Bugatti.

The car needs to fit him and he has a dozen plus wives one is 5' 11'' he would like the car to also accomodate her. He is not concerned with super performance he has that already with the dozen McLarens F1s that he bought like they were a taxi cab fleet.

He wants a boulevard cruiser that looks like an old Bugatti coupe but has all of today's updates present. He wants 300HP plus with independent suspension all around. Leather and walnut trim on the interior. There is no snow in Brunei so the roads are not all potholed and frost heaved. He would like a nimble sports car feel. He is very trusting in our ability to do the right thing.

Let's see if we can walk though this step A through Z using our collective knowledge. We will all learn by this exercise.

Lets stay on focus and remember to back up on this thread because if you don't you will miss a lot of the posts.

05-02-2005, 09:34 AM
I think Im missing something. Is this porject for real? Is the discovery allowing you to build the Sultan a car from the ground up? How does one become part of this project?

05-02-2005, 09:43 AM
I think we are inventing the project, funding will come when Big Daddy Warbucks*, General Bullmoose**, or somebody who has inherited an inordinate amount of money sign onto the dream.


*see Little Orphan Annie **Al Capp

05-02-2005, 09:54 AM
Building on my last post, after the platform has been chosen the project can split into 2 paths that will join again later. One path is the design tasks, up to this point you have a concept. The design work begins adapting the concept to the base platform. If the research is thorough enough, much of the working parts should be retained. This is to keep the path to creating the body as clear as possible, assuming this is still an exercise in sheet metal shaping. A lot of time can be consumed in developing a rolling chassis. Assuming the platform is well chosen, the design staff get the body ready for fabrication. I expect the buck design work would happen during this phase as well.

The second path is readying the platform to accept the body. A second group could take on this task. This would include removing anything that doesn’t fit the new body, stiffening the chassis where needed with the end result being a rolling chassis with driveline. If all hard points are retained the engineering is minimal and easily overcome.

As the design matures, low risk parts can be fabricated and when the design is complete the buck can begin. I would recommend one group being in charge of creating the files for the stations, these can then be distributed as needed to create the parts to assemble the buck. I am assuming we would want to take advantage of various CNC methods for fabricating these pieces. Alternately, full size prints of the station profiles could be made and used by gluing them to the wood for the buck or to the fixture for creating the wire frame. This helps to maintain consistency. One source for the information reduces the Murphy factor. The buck can be done in sections to be joined later or the parts could be produced in sections to be joined later. I would imagine a lot of individual work; mini-meets would take place with the final joining to take place during the international meet or a large meet for that specific purpose.

This can be done with some hard work and dedication. Cars, planes and military apparatus are made this way all the time, with the contributors scattered across the country, even internationally.

Neal Nicholson
05-02-2005, 10:00 AM
Wray has added some information that helps a lot.
We now have a rough idea of the size of the occupants.
The car should be nimble which to me means that the weight should be kept to a minimum.
He also said that the car should be a "boulevard cruiser that looks like an old Bugatti coupe", it should have "all of today's updates present" and about 300 HP.
Someone suggested an inline 6 or 8 which certainly helps with the width problem under the hood. I don't know if anyone currently makes an engine of that design that will reliably put out the required HP and be cruiser material. You can pull a lot of HP from a small engine but they usually don't end up as cruiser material because they lack low end torque. If such an engine is available then lets go for that. A V8 will certainly fill the HP requirement and will be readily available with all the modern goodies. If it is all aluminum (like the body) it would also help keep the weight down.

I am having a good day when I can draw a straight line so I am no stylist but I think that the proportions of the design are critical to the overall appeal.
This is where I have a concern with the rolling chassis idea unless someone adapts the design to the chassis dimensions first to see how it looks.
Wray are there any dimensions available for the concept you used as an example?
My thought is that if we could start with something like that and then massage it to fit different rolling chassis we could see if the design lends itself to what is available or not.


anders nrgaard
05-02-2005, 10:07 AM
Hi Tony,

I think Im missing something. Is this porject for real? Is the discovery allowing you to build the Sultan a car from the ground up? How does one become part of this project?
The project could be for real, if we want it to and a lot of people contributes something! Discovery isn't in it (yet?)
Easy to become a pat of this project... just think and post. This is what it's all about for now. Making a car from scratch as a community... You know, sharpening skills, sharing information.
Let's do it!
http://smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/26/26_23_1.gif (http://www.smileycentral.com/?partner=ZSzeb001_ZNxdm414YYDK)

Tony Sanchez
05-02-2005, 10:20 AM
---I think that Wayne Rodgers had a very good idea for the Ascot. Mid rotary engine on a mazda platform. Good handeling, light weight, small sports car power, and cheap.

05-02-2005, 11:44 AM
I would like to see a tube frame, instead of a scabbed together modified frame.
I am now building #3 copy of a Lotus 7. I have a frame table for it. If you didn't go too big with this car, I could build the frame on my table.

Yes, you can consider that an offer.

Now for the LEGALS.

Every car that I have built, I started by going to the WSP (Washington state patrol) office and tell them what I'm doing. They tell me the current rules, and I build to those.

#1 on the list, for the last 25 years, RECEIPTS!!!
They want to know how you got everything! And did you pay taxes on it.
For the engine, trans and rear end, I have copies of the title for the car that they came from. I have a 3 ring binder, with a pouch to put them in. Also I have build photos, with me in the picture so they know I did the work, and didn't steal the photos off the internet
During the build, I have an officer come by the shop to see how it's going, and get his picture with the project. ( more insurance) When I'm done, make the inspection appointment, get a trip permit, then get the car weighed at a certified scale, then on to inspection.

I have never had a problem. The state issue's a title for an "assembled vehicle" for the year it was inspected. They also attach a vin plate to it.

My 2c

05-02-2005, 11:53 AM
Wray & group
I've been interested in this type of project for quite a while. I brought this up a couple of years ago when guys like Foose & Trepannier were just starting to get good $$$ for their efforts. Back then I was told that it wouldn't be worth it. Funny how time changes things. <G> I've been working on a way to get surface data into the computer. I know some of the other guys were coming up with a high tech way to do this, but I'm trying this low budget method. I made up a grid with lines spaced 1" apart and plotted it out on 36" x 72" paper.


By setting the piece on the grid I'm able to get enough data points to create an accurate 3D model of the piece. The pics show a frame rail for my Firebird. I'm working on installing a Corvette rear and Air ride setup into this car. The CAD model is helping me to come up with ideas before cutting metal. This works good for me 'cause I don't really know what I'm doing and I can ask better questions if I have pics to show
someone what I'm talking about. Getting back to the point, by using a grid
and some templates we could get an accurate 3D model built. This model could be a copy of something that already exists, or something totally new, but more importantly,the CAD model could be manipulated into what ever we want.
Bambi made some good points, CAD is only a tool and shouldn't be thought of as a miracle solution. Some of the good points are:
a. scaling, if you designed the car to fit the Sultan, but forgot about his 5'11" wife, you can easily increase the size of the entire model.
b. you only need to draw up half of the model and mirror the opposite side to get a complete model.

Whatever the group decides, I'm in.

J. Clear

05-02-2005, 11:57 AM
That would be a sight, but he would have to get something unique. Norm has his signature plaid shirts. He loves them bisquits and his always faithful Tablesaw.
Wray could have his ever faithful King Yellow Ewheel, Kerry could sponsor that like Delta and make clones. Hmmm somethin instead of bisquits...somebody invent a tig tacker machine or someother fine gadget...hey the infamous tucker tool. Have tucker will travel. Now for the shirt???
This week on the French Chef


anders nrgaard
05-02-2005, 12:37 PM
Hi All,

I have a book with frame dimensions from Autodata (Bosch). Looks like the dimensions from a Jag XJ6/XJ12 (Series II) 1974-79 fits the wheelbase and track of the Bugatti T41 Sport Carrera. Wheelbase 108.88! and inside of rails 31.12". That's close enough for using some of the steering components (Wishbones and spindles) without getting into trouble.

The filler panels between the engine compartment and the fenders makes it possible to design the suspension like on a Fomula 1 racer. Inboard springs with adjustable load/hardness and driving height.

Volkswagen has a 2.8 litre VR6 engine with 260 hp @ 6200 (hp@ 6200)rpm and 320 Nm @ 3200 (Nm@ 3200) rpm. VW engines have a reputation of a large tourqe at low rpms because of the long stroke, related to the bore. The last 40 hp+ shouldn't be a problem!

I'm sure we could find a BMW or Mercedes engine that would cover our needs too. (haven't got access to specs of US in line 6'es).

I think this discussion is getting better and better! Wray... you really made us think and dig out ideas.. Thanks! And to everybody else, participating on this thread: Thanks to you too. I'm sure it can be done. One way or another. Jeffrey really posted some valuable info on the legal stuff.

Maybe I'll start making a 1:3 scale model, starting with the tubular chassis frame, and post some pics.

Enough babbling from me now!!!

05-02-2005, 02:37 PM
Funny how Bambi gets credit for the idea of selecting a chassis and working from there .................................... but anyway.

Okay, the basics are there, cable network backing and plenty of royal money. Now, how would we do it? Everyone going to quit their current jobs to participate at a central shop? Have a core team doing design work and making the required information available to group members across the country? <That's the idea I like! As subassemblies are completed, mini-meets are held to put them together with the car shipped from place to place? Sounds like a plan to me. So far, it doesn't even sound like we require the Sultan's participation here. Maybe in a couple of years we could get something like this going?

Actual dimensions of the car in the drawing mean little, it's all in the proportions. Lay out the body using a known wheelbase, and the blanks get filled in from there. The actual dimensions can be tweaked from there to fit a person and the suspension components inside the body lines.


Well, since this is a car for a Sultan and not just some schmo:
brand-new all-tube it is
Corvette components on each end - due mostly to proven handling ability. But, what generation? How adaptable are C5 components.

Built for a schmo like me, I'd go with an existing, proven, affordable chassis - the GM G-body fits the bill here, though it may need to be narrowed in the passenger area. Why? Handling is there, just about any Chevy engine will fit and they're cheap as dirt. Sure, there are some other options, but a rebody on a plentiful frame tops the doable list. Licensing issues are minimized, and there are plenty of people already doing it.

Powerful engine An exotic might be good, but an LS6 Chevy is much more reasonable, and doesn't even sweat making 300hp. There is also a custom head available for the Chevy straight-6 - might be able to get the head builder onboard to sponsor the build of the engine?

Once the dimensions are worked out, clay models are almost a must - though cardboard and bondo would be a more than acceptable substitute. Make sure there is plenty of space for the wheels, tires and passengers, make sure you can see out the windshield. That's the beauty of combining the cardboard/bondo method with clay modeling - it wouldn't need to be solid, you could actually build your model and allow someone to sit in it.

While the outer body is being tweaked by one or 2 members, another group can work on making the measurements and models that would end up being the floorpan and/or interior tub to mate the body to the chassis.

Once the body design is finalized - well there are numerous options. The obvious in the auto industry would be to start making a station buck from the model. That could be accomplished with scanning the model and CNC cutting the bucks. Since we're metalshapers (or try to be), flexible shape patterns pulled directly from the model would also be obvious. That's where trying to do it froma CAD model changes things; with a full size mock up, we can pull patterns instead of just cutting buck stations.

Sure, there are issues like project management, logistics, storage and such ........ again requiring someone to step up to the plate. Voluntarily for the advancement of the group, getting a cut of that $250,000 budget to get a car that satisfies the Sultan of Brunei.

So, when do we start? Any CAD guys out there willing to get the ball rolling with some basic work fitting the Pursang drawings to a set of dimensions we can build to - or a known chassis? That's where it all begins.

Tim D.

05-02-2005, 02:51 PM
I think a lot of us are getting very excited by the idea, and are all going to go into depression when we find out it won happen. :(

05-02-2005, 03:39 PM
Mike, even if it ends up just being an "air build", there will, hopefully, be some lessons learned about how to do it yerself! It's all about information exchange, especially since people here have a wildly varied background. Some have experience that others have never dreamt of, others have dreams that some have never experienced.

Besides that, how much planning would something like this take? What is the investment at this point? A bit of knowledge, experience and spare time? Who's to say it won't happen (okay, maybe the Sultan of Brunei isn't stepping up to the plate right now, but that just adds an interesting story behind it. For some the story is just as important as anything else that comes out.) Not right now, maybe in a few years? There are some on here that seem comitted to actually doing things like this in connection with the various MetalMeet events. I think doing a Midget body at MM05 is just a start.

Hey Mike, how's the '37 coming along?

Tim D.

Wray Schelin
05-02-2005, 05:54 PM
OK, a few more refinements are needed to completely define this project.

ONE-- This build will be done in a fully equipped shop including CNC machining capabilities (if you are in need of a tool all you need do is ask for it and it appears). The shop is provided by the Discovery channel it was designed by them as an ideal filming environment to film the progress of the build. The shop's tool cost is not a part of the budget and not your worry.

TWO -- one person is selected to build this car he or she has a $250000.00 budget to get the job done. If you do an outstanding job you will be offered a contract to "star" in a regular series building one off cars. You can hire any help you might need for the shop requirements plus you can subcontract with any outside help. All help has to paid out of the $250000.00 budget. You have one year to build the car.

The Sultan of Brunei has agreed to purchase the car for $250000.00 and he will take the car home to Brunei with him. The car will not have to meet US crash, fuel, or any other standards. Liability is being wavied by the Sultan after he has a team of engineers inspect the car after the build. The Sultan has a lot of faith in you to get the job done right.

Remember YOU is YOU. How would YOU do it exactly step by step starting at step A working to step B all the way to step Z.

This is not a group build project this is YOU as project manager of a once in a lifetime opportunity.

The car is the Retro Bugatti design that is in two of the previous posts in this thread. I put up several pictures and Anders has put up a few more. Remember this thread will be long so you have to back up to the earlier pages to make sure you did not miss anythng.

The Retro Bugatti has been specifically picked as the car the Sultan wants. He wants the car to fit him, he's 5' 8" tall and weighs 150lbs. He also wants the car to accomodate one of his wives who is 5' 11" he didn't say her weight but she is slender. He wants the car to have 300 plus HP and he will use the car as a casual driver around his Kingdom. He is not expecting super high performance in handling or speed he just wants the car to be fun and comfortable to drive . He does not want the finished project to deviate too much from the drawings. He understands some dimensions will need tweaking but he does not want a finished project that is qute different from the drawings.

Remember also this is just an exercise devised so that we can tap our collective knowledge. If in the future we do choose to build a MetalMeet group project car we will all be on the same page or at least in the same book. We will all learn from this exercise. Scatchbuilding is where the fun and challenge is and it is the freedom that the craft of sheetmetal shaping offers. Learning about the tools and how to work metal are the elementry facets of this craft. How to scratch build using both traditional methods and today's CAD tools are where the real challenge lies. It is also something that we should all aspire to accomplish.

We will all have different perpectives, it is from this multi perspective input we will learn what we don't know.

05-02-2005, 06:09 PM
I don't know a thing about how to draw in CAD, so can't offer a picture, but since this is hypothetical here's my wish. I'd go with the Corvette engine, widen the entire center section of the car, cockpit and engine compartment, while tapering the boot. Widen, lengthen (somewhat like a '48 Chevy) and drastically decrease the heighth of the front fenders loosing the "wings" blending hood sides into the fenders and add a short skirt over the wheels(front and rear) As for suspension I'd want all wheel drive.


05-02-2005, 06:14 PM
Wray, Jack,

Can we put a subcatagory in the design section and call it the
"The Bugatti Build Project - a design exercise"
or something like that.

I can see right now that this thread ought to break into subthreads on all the components and if they were all in the same directory it would be easier to keep track of them.


05-02-2005, 06:38 PM
Gene has an excellent thought!

My "Buggati"

Scratchbuilt all aluminum tube chassis. Why aluminum? Because its cool and not many people do aluminum chassis. The chassis would also blend into the roll cage and be the complete foundation for the body work.

Suspension from a Vette. Adjustable gas coilovers.

Custom CNC wheels that I design. Probably 5 to 8 Spoke. Polished billet with gunmetal details. 20x12 Rear 18x8 front.

Some 13" Willwood or Brembos with 6 piston front 4 piston rear.

Heres the tricky part. Take the Classic retro Buggati and make it sleek and elegant. Its too broken up and doesnt flow from one end to another like a swan. Something only a picture can explain.

I might make some drawings later.

05-02-2005, 06:58 PM
I think I would by pass the clay models and use 3d drawings. There are people that can draw almost anything with 3d. Then you can put the people right in the car to see how they fit. Also can open doors and hoods to see how and if they work.

............................................I don't think anyone here really realizes how long it takes to build a complete car. Could take years! Don't think a tv show would want to wait that long. Getting people together to build it would be imposible too. Unless they all quit their jobs and moved to the same location to work on it. Took 2 of us 3 years full time just to build a streamliner and that is a very simple thing compared to a high quality car for the street.

I would have agreed on the 3D and CAD usage, but some great points have been made - and there's one that I don't think has been made.

I've noticed from following a bit of the 3d world, as detail oriented as they seem, a lot of the car models are very vague. Video game programming, maybe, but Blender and 3ds aren't eactly the most effective tool for building cars. Anyone have a spare copy of Catia along with the knowledge to use it effectively?

The beauty of clay or bondo modeling it is that you get to see the details. You can formulate a plan to make them as you model them - you have to make it with your hands in the first place. Space might be an issue, but I wouldn't bet on a detailed 3D model taking any less time than clay or bondo. It would be really nice, and probably groundbreaking on the hobbyist level, to combine CAD, 3D and clay modeling (even if some of that clay is a catalyzed polyester resin).

How long does it take to build a complete car? Maybe we're bringing too much "rod shop" and "home builder" into the whole equation here. It's all about "do you know how long that would take?". How long did it take Ferrari to turn out one of their 60s beauties? Hey Wray, how long did the Italian and British coachbuilders spend on a car? We're talking the hand made stuff too, very little in the way of power tools that aren't available to this group. There are a number of kit car "companies" out there that have built their original from the ground up. So they work in fiberglass. Is working metal that much slower than making a hand laid fiberglass prototype?

Time for me to get grumpy! Why is it that these conversations are always about the negative and why WE can't do it? People have been building cars by hand for well over a century, some with fewer resources than just about any individual on this board! Yes, the metalshaping skills were more at the forefront, and were actually taught and learned back then - Just what is supposed to be the point of this group? Sure, the engineering may have been a bit simpler then, but using an existing chassis negates the majority of that argument. Look, I can talk all day about what I can't do, I get told every day what I can't do ............. let's talk more about what we could - or, even better, what we can do!

How many guys here have totally amazed themselves with learning to use an e-wheel? How many have had at least one succesful metalshaping project? How many think they can further their knowledge by being involved in a project with a group, one with real direction, one with a definite purpose in mind?

Okay, grumpiness is turned off now.

If this is an air build, so be it. If this actually starts to become reality, all the better! The point is that cars can be built from the ground up, by hand - and it's done on a somewhat regular basis by people with far less knowledge than we have pooled here - so let's just dive in and see where it goes!

Tim D.

05-02-2005, 07:03 PM
Okay, there were several posts made while I was typing that, and getting interrupted on this end :)

Looks like Wray has pretty well defined the "rules" of this "build". So, time for all of us to quit our jobs and build this car - individually ......................... strictly in the virtual world though :)

This should be a fun excercise.

Tim D.

Wray Schelin
05-02-2005, 07:04 PM
Wray, Jack,

Can we put a subcatagory in the design section and call it the
"The Bugatti Build Project - a design exercise"
or something like that.

I can see right now that this thread ought to break into subthreads on all the components and if they were all in the same directory it would be easier to keep track of them.


Hi Gene,

Breaking the thread up into subthreads is a good idea but it might not insure less confusion. I think for archiving that is what we shoud do after this whole exercise runs it's course, we can then edit the whole body of information into sections.

Right now I would like to hear what members think should be step a, b, c...

Wray Schelin
05-02-2005, 07:08 PM
I don't know a thing about how to draw in CAD, so can't offer a picture, but since this is hypothetical here's my wish. I'd go with the Corvette engine, widen the entire center section of the car, cockpit and engine compartment, while tapering the boot. Widen, lengthen (somewhat like a '48 Chevy) and drastically decrease the heighth of the front fenders loosing the "wings" blending hood sides into the fenders and add a short skirt over the wheels(front and rear) As for suspension I'd want all wheel drive.


Hi Phil,
The Sultan is the boss, he is paying for the car so we have to meet his requirements.

The Sultan wants 2wheel reardrive with a standard transmission, and independent suspension front and rear. He does not want the look of the car to differ too much from the drawings.

Wray Schelin
05-02-2005, 08:19 PM
Please click here to follow this thread.


05-02-2005, 09:49 PM
I spent hours trying to find this PurSang thing that Wray has proposed and have found nothing vaguely close.
Where Oh Where did Wray find these pics and Where Oh Where did Anders find the info he supplied???
What model and year is this thing???
Did this come from some coffee table book? I seen some that started at over $200. I won't spend $200 of real money for a imaginary project, aka exercise
I need the data and more views, pics etc.
So in fairness to all, please post the sources.


anders nrgaard
05-02-2005, 10:06 PM
Hi Bambi,

Here are the links to the stuff I found.
http://www.bugattipage.com/2002news.htm (http://www.bugattipage.com/2002news.htm)
http://www.bugatti.co.uk/trust/ (http://www.bugatti.co.uk/trust/)
As you can see in the post below, this thread has moved to:

05-03-2005, 03:51 PM
Hi Bambi


This is the site