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This past weekend I traversed the forgotten attic lands like a Hobbit with a bit of costume jewelry in search of the holy relic that was my washed up derby racer. As fate would have it, this blurred-out photo, taken roughly a hundred years ago judging from the high class linoleum product it’s sitting on, is the only remaining evidence that it ever existed.

I was very proud of the melted-lead engine block up front, which I did myself with my father’s fishing weights and a little copper tube that he helped me bend and cut. I also take full responsibility for what I’ll just call the “unusual” cartoonish styling and ridiculous shark fin. Hey, I was nine.

It was a great experience and one I still remember as a net positive, even after I jacked up the first kit (cutting it in half with the band saw) and dad had to go get another. If there were parental politics going on, as many other readers have mentioned on Friday’s post, my friends and I never saw them go down. It was just a fun time with cars, racing, and our respective dads, which as I stated last week, seemed to be the point.


3 Responses to Portrait Of My Younger Design Days

  1. DaveD says:

    Nice. My son, who was a tiger cub scout last year, made his a shark as well. Actually, he came up with the design and I did most of the work. But his level of involvement should increase as he gets older.

  2. Brice says:

    I’ve got one Eagle Scout, one Wolf Scout, and a kid that will be a Tiger next year. Never is there a better time to be had with your kids. Even my youngest, will be building his second car this year. Every year, I trace the block on all three sides and have them draw me what they want. I rough cut, do some sanding, and set them loose with the paint, masking when they need it. Then we put the axles on, weigh the car, and go melt some lead into a hole in the bottom until the weight is just right. The rules at my local council mean that every kids car is very evenly matched. No mods to the axles or wheels are allowed. It’s a great week of building and an awesome day of racing.

  3. Scott R says:

    Great looking car! I had a chance to do three with my Dad. The first was inspired by the books “Road Race” and “The Red Car.” I remember building this with Dad in our garage wood shop:


    The second car was also built in the garage with dad and inspired by my early love of big Cadillacs:


    The third car was inspired by my love for rockets. I always imagined a big powerful rocket flaming out the rear. This car was built in someone’s work machine shop open for the day to our boy scout troop:


    And a few years back I taught my son how to do a pinewood derby car. Believe it or not most of the work including the bench scroll saw work was done by him:


    I keep these proudly displayed on a shelf in my home office. Those were four very good years.


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