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frenchyd UltimaDork
9/23/21 6:31 p.m.
Driven5 said:

Please help me to understand this whole 'pick the car you want to drive' thing, as it's not really making sense to me.

If my main goal is competing against myself and the clock, sure I'll care more about the car than the competition. But at that point, it's basically just an over-priced 'advanced' run group track day... Which is what a lot of vintage racers seem to be doing anyway. And while totally acceptable, not really what we're talking about here.

However, if my main goal is competing against other cars and drivers, I'll care more about the competition than the car. I'd start with looking at the classes that have the most competition and widest applicability, then within that class looking at what I can afford that's competitive, and finally picking the 'one I most want to drive' from that bunch. But I struggle to see the point in stepping 'up' to W2W from track days, if actually competing wheel-to-wheel is going to be the exception rather than the rule.

As cars, F500 are absolutely awesome in my book! The problem for me with F500 is that I can't justify one for competing only against myself and the clock, but there also aren't enough regularly running locally to justify one for the competition. If it weren't for that fatal flaw, F500 would probably be at the top of my list if I ever have the space and time that I'm willing and able to dedicate to getting into W2W.

I don't care what car you buy today. Soon it will be eclipsed by faster and faster cars. Then you'll be relegated to mid pack and slowly go from there.  
keep spending a lot of money and you can stay on top until you age out. 
         Or buy a car your heart wants.  It doesn't matter how fast or slow it is, because you'll just like that car.  
Vintage racing is a social and racing event. It's about having fun not having a big ego.  I'll never know if my buddy is a better driver than I am,  ( he probably is ) but in a faster car he'll wait for me and let me dice with him. Maybe I'll tuck in the draft of a faster car and catch up. It doesn't matter where we finish, we'll come in happy and laughing. The next day my face will hurt from the smiles.  
    Then I can jump into my massively faster car and really have a great race.  It's really not about winning and losing. Rather about doing your best.  
You'll be considered good or even great when others can rely on you.  

Driven5 UltraDork
9/24/21 11:59 a.m.
frenchyd said:

Or buy a car your heart wants.  It doesn't matter how fast or slow it is, because you'll just like that car.  

This sounds like great advice for a street car or track day car. But as a stand alone statement, I still don't see it for wheel-to-wheel competition and I think you misunderstand my reason why.

I'm not talking about 'winning' at all, as I'm not a good enough driver or willing to spend enough to run at the point end of any field. Dicing, regardless of where in the field you are, is exactly what I'm talking about. I don't see how simply buying the car your heart wants does anything at all towards ensuring you spent all that money, space, and time to actually have somebody to dice with. Which is why I'm trying to talk about picking an acceptably desirable car within a class, run group, or whatever that is well attended with (key words) similar performing competition to what you are willing and able to afford. 

Based on the significant number of cars I see in some (but not all) of the run groups at the vintage races who are driving a glorified track day because the car their heart desired has nobody turning sufficiently close lap times, this does not seem to be a great way to pick a car that will have meaningful competition. This summer I watched Old Yeller II, as driven by some of the most famous names in racing history, running around the track. Which was fantastic to see, but not fast enough or slow enough for them to have anybody they were really running with. In all fairness, perhaps not a car many would be comfortable 'dicing' in, but the longer the race went the fewer cars there were even near them. That's a car my heart would desire, if my wallet could afford it, but doesn't appear that it would fullfil my hearts desire for competition.

In my mind you somewhat have to choose whether your heart more desires a particular car or the heat of competition. If what someones heart desires is W2W racing competition, I would think that which particular car they are in would end up being more of a secondary consideration to it meeting the time, space, money, speed, and competition requirements. 

Last I gave W2W competition serious thought, Legends cars would have been a top contender for me. That's despite my considering them rather underwhelming cars mechanically and didn't care for the engine rules, but well priced, small sized, lightweight, acceptable performing and with fun bodywork. As far as I could tell (at that time), they were eligible for autox, road racing, and maybe even track days, in addition to their circle track home environment. On top of that they appeared to have solid enough local attendance at not only the many circle track events, but also the handful of road racing events. A jack of all trades that would practically ensure I could be somewhere, dicing it out with numerous drivers, on just about any given weekend. I'm not sure if their popularity and alternative venue options are still in the same ballpark, but that's the kind of thing I'm talking about.

I'm genuinely glad to hear that F500's can run well enough (and can be classed) with FF's to provide this as a much lower price point. The more sporadic sounding close-competition in the wings and slicks class is more concerning to me. Perhaps when the kids are a bit older I'll have reason to pay closer attention to where F500's are classed with the local group(s). Although, the reality is, F600's (if that's still a thing) might be allowed in vintage racing by the if/when I ever have the balance of money, space, and time to do it.

frenchyd UltimaDork
9/24/21 1:28 p.m.

I've raced vintage since 1976. In that time things have ebbed and flowed.  Group three for cars like Old Yellar and my Black Jack Spl were red hot. Crowded fields, cars worth tens of millions with famous international racers driving. To today almost no cars at all. And Most of those are Bitsa cars or assembled cars with no province at all. 
    All groups go through ebb and flow.  If it's a car you love the look of, or what it represents to you that won't bother you.  
     I've owned my MG almost 60 years now.  It wasn't fast then and it hasn't gained much speed since.  I can remove the cover, wash and wax it. Then go cruise around the lake, go to the car show at the drive in,  enter a vintage race,  or just relax and admire it. 
 There is no incentive for me to sell it. The few thousand the market allows isn't worth the hassle. Then the loss of those memories, trips, races, events, fun. Would go away with it. 
   While I'd like a F500 I'd prefer the first ones  with the British Single.  Burning  alcohol and using Castrol R as a lubricant. ( you have to smell it  going by to even begin to understand ) 
      If a car is just a means to an end, (going fast?)  it becomes a mere commodity. Then it can be an entry point on a spread sheet.  To be sold whenever circumstances dictate.  Next.  
    If however you give it your heart and soul,  learn from it, trade your time and resources into it you might get what I have. A depth and richness that's not measurable on a spreadsheet. Somehow an inanimate object  gives you a return beyond wealth. 

frenchyd UltimaDork
9/24/21 1:41 p.m.

You like Ol Yellar?  Why not build a tribute car to it?  It's easy enough.  There are parts available in junkyards and stored away in collections. Enough so a "tool room " copy could be made if you wanted. 
    They are fast.  A Bitsa Devin was running towards the front of Group 6 at Elkhart Lake.   Ahead of Porsches, newer Mustangs,  Corvettes etc. ( NASCAR, IMSA, etc up to 2016 ) 

 Or a Cheetah  ( the Corvette powered short little coupe)   One of our members has a roadster variation which raced as the Cro. Sal special.  
   Etc etc etc. it has to be something you really care about to reward you long term. 

Tom1200 UltraDork
9/24/21 1:52 p.m.

In reply to Driven5 :

As with any group be they modern or vintage the best approach is going to events and looking at the run groups.

Vintage is sort of odd in that there are groups of people who are racing hammer and tongs on the track at the same time as guys exercising cool old cars. 

Check this video: I'm in the red 1200 coupe just in front of the camera car. I'm an extremely aggressive driver but we still give each other room. Note me car is down 50-100hp then the cars I'm racing with so that's part of the aggression. You can race hard in vintage and depending on the car they're may be plenty of cars to race with.


As for my F500 in vintage; my group initially talked about putting me in with Formula Fords or the small bore group, I was the one who suggested wings and slicks might be better and the person making the decision concurred.  The only down side of the wings and slicks groups is it's a bit small usually 12-15 cars. Regardless thus far I've had cars to race with. Note my concern with the FF group was that I'd be an interloper and I didn't want to be in the middle of a battle between FF guys and potentially mess with there race and points. At the events I attend FF has it's own group.

One car you might look at is an old SCCA Sports Renault (pre Spec Racer Ford); you can find a good one between 8-10K and they are typically in the small groups (Sprites, Spitfires FV). these can be front running cars within that group.

frenchyd UltimaDork
9/24/21 2:13 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

Well thought out. You can tell I love thunderboomers even though they can be embarrassed by much more modest cars. 
         Tom is right, you almost always will have someone to race with. They will push you as hard as you are comfortable with and if it's too aggressive, just let them by. 
   Ever see dogs playing?  They give this little bow saying"let's play". If answered by the other dogs's bow, Game on.  
 Play too rough and a dog will Yelp!  That's the clue for the rough dog to ease off and if they want to continue to play the little bow ceremony happens and away they go.   
    Vintage racing is kinda like that. 

frenchyd UltimaDork
9/25/21 11:54 a.m.
johndej said:

$2,000 in 1976 is about $10,000 now also. As many on this page have demonstrated, you can get on track and go W2W for $10,000 in several different race series.




Slap a manual and a safety equipment in one of these and get going, or buy something already built like a spec miata and jump right in.



It's hard to wrap my head around these prices since for a very long time I saw similar condition cars in the $300-500 range. 
     Potentially they are a great opportunity  to either restore or race. 
  One of the "tricks" here in Minnesota  is to  make your low dollar bid around Halloween and contact that person again at the first snow fall. Winter here is a 6 month ordeal and the idea of it sitting around in a snow bank or something else   In that snow bank often drops the price. 

frenchyd UltimaDork
9/26/21 7:34 a.m.

In reply to Shavarsh :

It does look like fun.  I wish I were 50+ years younger 

frenchyd UltimaDork
9/26/21 4:46 p.m.
Apexcarver said:

In reply to Tom1200 :

NO DOUBT!   I shudder to think what it would take to keep a roadrace flathead alive.  I just have a romantic attraction to it.  I love the early 50's era of roadracing. 

With modern repo parts available for Ford Flatheads  you can make a nice reliable 250 hp without much problem.   
     The reason I'd prefer the Straight 8 Buick of the same era is instead of starting with 80 horsepower, you start with 160 hp out of as much as 360 cu in.   The camshaft can be ground by any machine shop to almost double the power while still running cool. Mill the head and the compression will become high enough to take advantage of modern fuels.  
      With as much as a 5 inch stroke  5000 rpm is all you can rev it to, but it was known as the doctors car because of its reliability and dependability.  The ports are relatively short and it's OHV meaning combustion takes place over the pistons instead of partly over the block. Like a Flathead works.  Plus not forcing the exhaust ports to wander through the block to get the exhaust out.  
   Yes it's probably 100 pounds heavier than Fords Flathead. But doesn't have the same tendency to overheat the Ford does.  And the transmission is much stronger than Fords.  
    The intake has 4 ports. Drawing in 180 degrees  for each other.so unlike a V8 there is no 2nd order harmonics.   While the exhaust has 8 ports. Making headers easy to fabricate  and a source of additional power. 

frenchyd UltimaDork
9/26/21 8:34 p.m.
Apexcarver said:

In reply to Tom1200 :

I am somewhere around 6'1"  (back injury seems to have made me shorter) and 165lbs.  Car fitment is taking a little work to ensure passing broomstick and neck comfort, but nothing too far out there. Perhaps unique to my car (KBS MK7) is that the most limiting thing for people fitting is shoulder width, nothing to do with waistline - I could be 4 inches wider in the hips and still fit fine. (size 34 pants)

Frenchy: the higher level formula cars you are talking about were sprint races in very highly funded categories. I think you would agree that its not wholly fair to compare with cars built for amateur competition or with cars that were built for endurance racing. 


One question each person has to answer for themselves is how fast do you need to go to get your fix?  At least for autocross, after 18 years, slower cars werent doing it for me.  I could see similarities and differences with big track stuff.  Frenchy is right that there isnt a much cheaper way to go fast than a formula car.  Also, people tend to be less argy-bargy in formula car classes. You dont have Spec Pinata bent fenders happening. 


 I would say, that Formula Ford is worth an additional consideration despite being more expensive than F500 for larger run groups. 

At 6'1" most formula cars roll bars will need to be extended. Unless you have 36 inch inseam.  Then the chassis will have to be lengthened. 
     Part of the reason I like big thunderboomers is because  outsized people like us are at a disadvantage in low powered cars like those.  

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