What makes a good and primarily a safe car?
The cars we used to build when we were kids were meant to be driven around the neighbourhood and maybe raced a few times. We usually had a friend pushing us with a broom handle pressed against the car’s rear and away we went until the friend got tired and we switched places. The cars had rope steering and NO brakes other than our shoes dragging on the ground.
Soap Box Derby cars are NOT the same. They are gravity race cars that have brakes and steering.
- A steering limitation that allows cars to only move 2″ off center creates the flexibility of minor corrections off of center, but won’t let the driver over correct if they feel they are in trouble. Therefore cars go straighter and therefore faster.
- Braking in the middle of the car allows pressure to be transferred in the middle of the car and keep it on and even keel. Side braking systems work only if the downward travel does not allow the car to be lifted off of the ground, as was witnessed at last years event.
In 2016 we changed our fleet of DERBY*GOKIT® cars to Way Cool Kit GT2000 style cars. Though the DERBY*GOKIT® kits are inexpensive and easy to construct they don’t meet our steering, braking, and encl0sed cockpit requirements without major modifications. The Way Cool Kit GT2000 though slightly more expensive, meets all of our safety requirements, is easy to assemble and just looks cool.
Below are some great plans from the New Berlin Sop Box Derby Commission in Wisconsin who have been putting on a derby since 1965.
Click on any image to enlarge it
For those who would like to build a more professional car
we have included class specifications below.