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Old 05-03-2012, 10:13 PM
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Donor car for "Drop Tank Lakester"

OK, I'm making the leap!

For years, I have wanted to build a "drop tank lakester."

The car I want to build, though, has some provisions.

First of all, "real" drop tank lakesters were built from airplane drop tanks. I don't really want to build a whole car and try to stuff it into a drop tank. what I want to do is take a donor car and turn it into something that looks like a lakester, but that won't require stuffing a car into an actual drop tank.

What I am thinking about is taking a small car that has a frame, so no unibody car will work, stripping off the body, and adding arches over the frame and covering them with aluminum to get a drop tank lakester look without having to disassemble the whole car and jamming it into an existing drop tank.

Does anyone have any suggestions about a donor car? I'm thinking small & cheap, like perhaps an old Triumph Spitfire might to the trick, but I'm not sure. Most small US cars are unibody, and I can't work with that, so I'm thinking 60's 70's foreign because a lot of them were still using frames, but most of the smaller US cars weren't.

At this point in time, the engine, tranny, rear end, and so on are secondary, but I would like to get something that is maintainable. In other words, I don't want to have to scour the globe for parts, so if making the car out of something else, or getting a small foreign car with a frame that is easily adaptable to to retrofitting a US engine, tranny, rear end, would be acceptable.

I hope you understand what I am trying to do, and can make some suggestions.

Thank you.

Kevin

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Old 05-04-2012, 02:52 PM
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Weren't most of the drop tank cars rear engined??

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Old 05-04-2012, 10:42 PM
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Yes, I believe most of them were, but understand I'm just looking for the "look." I don't want to race it, and I want to drive it on the street, so I don't want to be two inches off the ground, and it will have to have headlights, taillights, etc. As I said before, I'm just looking for a small car with a frame, rather than an unibody. An old Beetle would work, but a re-bodied Beetle is just that, you know what I mean?
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Old 05-05-2012, 12:45 AM
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Google the term "Lowcost"
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Old 05-05-2012, 07:59 PM
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Model A frames are pretty durn small, and plentiful, with lots of aftermarket support.
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:47 PM
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This is a bad idea. Get an old 200 gallon oil tank and put a set of wheels and a motor in it.
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Old 05-05-2012, 10:06 PM
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I don't want an "an old oil tank with a motor in it," What I want is something that looks like the Lockheed Lakester (Google it). I tried to stick a picture in here of what I'm looking for, but I can't figure out how to do it.
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Old 05-06-2012, 10:27 AM
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Dmv

You don't list where you live. Some states make it next to impossible to have something like that on the road, other places are easy.
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Old 05-06-2012, 11:03 AM
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Another option might be a t-bucket frame from Speedway, Spirit, or any of a dozen or so other suppliers. Not sure what dimensions you have in mind, so not sure how to make a recommendation.
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Old 05-06-2012, 02:37 PM
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old car hoods

there were a few lakes cars built using 4 pointed nose car hoods 2 top and botton front and 2 for the back. but probably as hard to find 4 old hoods. as a good belly tank. mabe use some plastic kayaks for a stream liner.
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Old 05-06-2012, 03:18 PM
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I think it's a no brainer, there is NO and I mean ZERO cars that you could use as a "donor" car in the usual sense of the word. Where you are using darn near everything from that car, there isn't a car made other than an early Ford (pre 1948) or an early Chevy (pre 1935 or so) that you could use the front and rear axles, engine and transmission. There is simply nothing you are going to go buy today that you could reasonably use much of anything other than the engine, trans and maybe the rear end.

If this is what you really want, a belly tank lakester looking car, make it from scratch. The frame, you can't get much more simple that this! A T bucket like frame made from 2x4 tubing, a welder, a measuring tape and hack saw and a floor to do it on is all you need.

At swap meets you will find stock axles and such for next to nothing, just start collecting parts.

Once you make the frame you make the body to go around it. Again, it can't get much simpler when you talk about bodies than this. Start studying metal shaping and looking at what some of the guys are doing on http://www.metalmeet.com/ and do it.

Learning to metal shape can take a long time, I have done my share of studying and hands on and I am MILES and MILES away from the skills that these guys do to make a fender for a Model A or that sort of thing. But the simple shapes of the belly tank is really not that far off and you CAN pull it off. I have seen many lakesters over the years that were sort of a hand made belly tank, build one. Let's face it, you could make it out of very small pieces of metal and cover the thing in bondo, it really is do-able for just about any skill level. But honestly, you start studying what these guys do and you will be forming pieces faster than you can imagine now.

I once had a real belly tank body from a real lake car about 25 years ago. I can kick myself so hard for not keeping it. But just where to you store something like that without a big shop? It was so damn cool, white with a red nose and scallops, damn it was cool to have.

Brian






Here's one made from scratch.



Another chassis.


More here.. https://www.facebook.com/note.php?no...34021096633166
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Old 05-06-2012, 08:43 PM
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Martinsr:

Thanks for your reply! I really like the photos you sent. The frame does look really easy.

I have access to a lot of friends and metal forming equipments. One to the reasons I decided to "build" a belly tank lakester rather that stuff a car in a belly tank is:

1. Finding a belly tank (easier in the West, I think, I'm in Ohio)

2. As you say, the fab is pretty easy - I'd basically have to cut metal to size, rather than form it.

3. In Ohio, we have lost of good engines/trannys/rear ends on cars with CRAPPY bodies.

4. I'm in the aircraft industry, and my friends and I have access to to the tooling, and the know how to build an "aviation-like" body.

Is the front end on the one photo that's a basic frame from a Model A? How different are those from a Model 'T?" I've got a good friend that has LOTS of Model T parts.

When you say "cheap," How cheap is "next to nothing?" What would I expect to pay for a front axle from a Model A, lets say?
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