22 Aug 2008

Being back at my day job gives time to reflect on various design decisions – during break time of course. One consideration is whether to push on with a traditional A-arm rear suspension, or change over to what was used on Kimini, long lateral links and even longer trailing links. Doing so would eliminate one of the two bulkheads behind the engine, freeing up room and simplifying the layout. My only concern is the trailing links, long tubes heading back from the main roll hoop plane to the suspension uprights. In the case of an accident, they might be driven forward into the gas tank(!), or even into the passenger compartment. One solution is to use tall U-shaped channels to attach them to, which also act as “catch fences” for broken or bent trailing arms. The large bracket catches the failed tube and prevent it from passing forward of the main roll hoop plane.

Even if the above is done, it doesn’t avoid the need for one transverse bulkhead behind the engine to attach the lateral suspension links to. The bulkhead is a prime issue when it comes time to install or remove the drivetrain. The trick is to have few – or no – tubes that have to be removable; I’m not sure yet if it’s achievable.

In other news,¬†philanthropist/actor/race car driver/race team owner Paul Newman is expected to pass away within a few weeks – cancer. I had the honor to see him in person once in 1984 at the Los Angeles Times Grand Prix. I was walking through the pits and there he was, sitting on the end of a bench all by himself, race suit around his waist, kicking his feet back and forth like a little kid. I was to shy to walk talk to him but in hindsight I know he’d have liked to talk about the Datsuns we both once owned. Anyhow, that’s how I’ll remember him, someone who obviously really enjoyed what he was doing. When he was out on track he was just one of the guys, and a very competent driver in his own right. With the millions donated by his “Newman’s Own” food brand, he’s done a lot to help people. I read one time that he said that he acted in order to fund his racing and I don’t doubt it. I enjoyed him most in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “The Sting” –¬†a simpler time in Hollywood. Yes, he’s had a pretty good ride. I think that’s the best we can do here, where when it’s over, people say, “you done good.”

To end on a higher note, Kimini is virtually sold; the deposit has been received and the buyer has through September to pick her up. Her new home will be Salt Lake City, Utah, where the new owner said that I can come visit her. I might just take him up on that.