A wealth of practical ideas about—

Building: One- Lung Cars for K i d s
By Harry Walton


OPS in thrills for any youngster is a car he can drive to the purposeful bark and hot breath of a real engine. Building such a car is fun for all hands from the moment you start putting a one-lunger on wheels. It can be simple. Boys build them w i t h a plank for a chassis, a wooden axle pivoted on a spike for steering, and a clutchless push-and-hop-on drive. It can be sophisticated to the point of having IT'S A FLIVVER, with a brass-bound radiator, a klaxon horn, a handrubbed lacquer finish and tin-lizzy fenders. Built by Robert Paul Moore of Tulsa, it has run 500 miles.

this Air Force jeep built by Capt. James Sparks Jr. can haul a trailer, too. A spring-loaded reel (under the lever) pulls idler to maintain driving-belt tension.




UNDER T E HOOD of the sleek flivver on the H preceding page is a four-hp. engine. Through chains and a drive shaft, power goes to two identical right-angle gearboxes. So mounted

that their output shafts turn in opposite directions, these drive two clutches on the countershaft. Engaging one clutch sends car forward; engaging the other clutch reverses it.

a real gearshift (from a motorcycle or small car) and spring suspension. In between there are many ways you can b u i l d a car that w i l l deliver a lot of f u n . A l t h o u g h it won't be legal for street use, there is usually a y a r d or driveway, a dead-end turnaround or a closed road youngsters can drive on. The parts you'll need. Old power mowers are a prime engine source. Look for trade-ins at mower shops. Rubber-tired semi-pneumatic wheels w i t h b u i l t - i n ball or roller bearings are sold by mail-order houses, surplus dealers, and bicycle stores. T h e 1.75"-by-8" size w i l l do. Better 2.75"-by-10" wheels cost about $5 apiece. Automatic clutches, pillow blocks, shafting, drive chains and sprockets are available from the same sources. Secondhand parts w i l l serve. D o n ' t overlook auto wreckers for control cables, brake, steering and body components. There are kits, too, ranging from running-gear parts only, to those that i n clude the drive mechanism and even the engine. Y o u can spend as l i t t l e as $20 or as much as $300. What size engine? A speed of 10 m.p.h. (ample for children) can be attained w i t h a 3/4-hp. engine. A 2-1/2 hp. engine w i l l wheel a car at over 25 m.p.h. One w i t h a horizontal shaft is easier to install t h a n the vertical-shaft k i n d . (These re154 POPULAR SCIENCE

Ideas for a sturdy frame and front axles with real auto steering
HERE ARE SOME WAYS you might b u i l d the backbone of a car. The one at right, designed for a front-mounted engine, is made of 3/4" p l y w o o d . Wooden members can be joined w i t h drawbolts as in the drawing. W i t h welding equipment, you can use angle iron or electrical conduit.

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D U L D C OF PLYWOOD on two steel chanO BE EK nels forms the chassis of this kit-built car. Steering is direct from a crank on the shaft. The drive, upside down above, takes horizontal- or vertical-shaft engines. Two countershafts and chain drive to the wheel have an overall ratio

of 13:1. The control lever tightens a flat idler against a belt or, pulled back, clamps a brake onto one wheel. Kacy Mfg. Co., Genoa, 111., offers chassis parts shown for $60, or with plywood body kit at 885. It runs well on cast-off one- to three-hp. mower engines.


quire a long belt w i t h a 90-degree twist.) Checking the throttle action. If an engine has an air-vane governor, you may want to connect the control cable d i rectly to the throttle for quicker response. R i g a return spring on the throttle arm so that if the control fails, the engine w i l l snap back to i d l i n g . Sizing up the chassis. T h e wheelbase may be from 4 0 " to 60", the tread from 2 2 " to 30". A short wheelbase turns more sharply; a longer one makes the drive easier to arrange, and affords more legroom for growing youngsters. P u t the engine in back to simplify the drive and to add its weight for good traction. B u t don't mount it so far back that it tends to t i l t up the front. T h e frame need not be r i g i d ; some flexing compensates for the lack of springs, helping to keep a l l four wheels

STRICTLY HOMEMADE, this car is the work of young Mike Zingarelli of White Plains, N. Y. It is built on a 3/4"-plywood platform, with a 41" wheelbase. A 2" centrifugal clutch on the twohp. engine drives a 6" wheel pulley. This low ratio is speedy but wears the belt on starts. Mike helps out by pushing, then hops on. He made a good-looking steering wheel of a babycarriage wheel by removing some spokes.

BUILT OF S E L TUBING, this car comes readyTE made with 1.75"-by-8" wheels at $40, or with 2.75"-by-10" wheels at $50. It has automotive steering and a brake acting on both rear wheels. Rocco Products, Inc., Minneapolis, Minn., offers drive kits for it less motor for $20 and $30, with motor at $70 and $90. Rack-and-pinion steering can be added to the assembly for $10, and snow runners for an additional $8.

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on the ground. Wood makes a satisfactory frame requiring only common tools. Auto-type steering can be improvised from hinges, scrap iron or even pipe fittings, as shown. Angle the steering knuckles inward. T h i s maintains correct radius in turns. H o l d wheels on w i t h husky cotter pins or by clamping the i n ner bearing race tight w i t h a nut on a threaded spindle bolt. The simplest steering w i t h a step-down ratio is the drum-and-cable type. T h e d r u m must be concentric w i t h the shaft and pinned to it. Use the 3/32" steel cable and end clips sold for power-boat tillers. Brakes are a must. For modest speeds and level ground, a single one on the nondriving wheel suffices. L i n e wooden brake shoes w i t h machine belting or tire tread. See that brakes release f u l l y . How to rig a drive. W i t h an engine of two hp. or more, a single reduction of one to six or seven w i l l r o l l the car too fast for children. An overall ratio of 10, 11 or even 13 is safer. Drive one wheel only. Y o u can key it to the axle, mounted in pillow blocks, and drive the axle, but it is simpler to fasten a " d e a d " axle solidly, let both wheels t u r n on it on their own bearings, and bolt the drive pulley on one. To center a pulley or sprocket having a hole bigger than the axle, d r i l l bolt holes oversize and mount the pulley w i t h the nuts finger-tight. Spin the wheel on the axle to detect run-out. T a p the pulley or sprocket one way or the other u n t i l it runs dead true. T h e n tighten the nuts. Be sure to mount the engine to drive forward. Pipe the exhaust downward and shield hot parts. Hang countershafts in pillow blocks or oilite bushings. W i t h sprung rear axles, the countershaft must be so mounted as to m a i n t a i n a constant distance between the drive pulleys. A stepless ratio shift can be had w i t h a transmission pulley. N o t to be confused w i t h an automatic clutch, this forces the belt to ride on a greater diameter as speed goes up. A spring-loaded idler or swinging countershaft is necessary to keep the belt taut. Cut paper patterns as guides in shaping sheet a l u m i n u m or galvanized iron over the body. O l d auto fenders can be cut down for parts requiring difficult compound curves. M e t a l plasterer's lath makes a neat radiator grille. 158 P P L R SCIENCE O UA

similar device near it makes a compact variableratio drive. These shift one belt to a smaller, the other to a larger diameter as the lever is moved. Automatic clutches shown are (left) mercury and (right) centrifugal types.

A DRILL-PRESS SPEED CHANGER ( t o p left) or the

BOXED-IN ENGINE of Capt. Sparks' jeep drives a jackshaft extending over the drive wheel. The rear axle is mounted on half lengths of auto leaf springs. Spring-tensioned idler keeps the belt taut. Pushed forward, the control tightens a band brake on the other (nondriven) wheel.

SLICKLY PROFESSIONAL is this two-step reduction drive engineered by V-Plex Clutch, of Hagerstown, Ind. The jackshaft turns in a tubular crosspiece mounted on one frame member. As the engine revs up to 1,800 r.p.m., the centrifugal clutch engages the belt. END

APRIL 1959