I have decided to take my 24 chassis I just picked up and do a speedster. Can anyone point me in the right direction to buy plans? I see a few, but recommendations go a long way!
Try the www.nwvs.or site. They have lots of ideas and some plans. (Northwest Vintage Speedsters)
Generally while plans may be available it breaks down into a reproduction of something original, an owners impression, or pre built (rootlieb).
The best method in my opinion is as it was done and a do it yourself. Doing it this way you will not only produce something you are proud of but also something that is comfortable to drive.
I can help design something but as there are a wide variety of options it is best to have someones input as something good for someone may not be good for someone else. Case in point the tourabout Im doing for myself now.
Step ONE buy copies of Speed and Sport an Fast Ford Handbook. The beauty of the speedster is there were no rules or standards. Just a person's own expression. Find what you like and make it. Have Fun!!! MG
Step TWO determine what body style you want to go with. Anybody else for a step THREE?
Step THREE Start collecting parts that turn YOUR crank!
Make the seats to be comfortable for YOU!! I would make them first!! Figure out a seat location and tilt that fits you to the pedals etc and to the steering. Seats that fit me at 6'4" and 36" legs may well not work for you
Step FIVE determine how fast you want to go. Remember speed=$$$. And if you go faster then you get to spend more $$$ on brakes, suspension, gearing etc.
I agree with Les. Get your steering wheel where you want it, then the seats located to where you are comfortable. Then build the rest of the car around that. If you don't fit it well, you won't like it.
I have the plans to build a body with a wood frame and covering like you would fine on the earlier airplanes, Fabric covered. These plans are also on the NWVSC site under my name. Let me know if. Tom Elliott firstname.lastname@example.org
I built mine from the plans sold by Horseless Carriage Replicas sold by Lee Thevenet. They come on a CD. Ed
Step six. Include a windscreen in the design, especially if you want someone to ride with you.
Allan from down under.
If you don't expect to drive any significant distances, pick a style you like and go for it.
If you want to really drive the car, follow the advice above. I built 2 bodies, the first was ugly but worked. The second came out a lot nicer for both form and function.
I started mocking up my car by putting the complete engine in the frame, loosely attaching the steering column and then mocked up the seating and steering wheel position based on comfort for angles, heights and distances. All this happened with scrap stuff so I then made good drawings and dimensions. I already had in mind the general shape I wanted for the boat tail body and a few other constraints like wanting doors and a trunk so I next mounted the radiator and began to layout the structure of the body based on lines that worked for my eyes. With frames made to set the shape I began work on the details of the structure and finally the skin and finish work.
If this car is to really be driven, a windscreen and brakes are a necessity. Updated steering and shocks help too.
Make it easy on yourself and buy one of these little beauties http://www.rootlieb.com/speedster-kits.html
Interesting, my plans are based on "looks cool" not on "goes fast." Actually I don't care to go fast!! I just want the "looks cool" part!
When I was in HS I built this one.
My Mom and Dad built this one back in the '80s that I then restored a while back.
Currently I am working on a '12 tourabout, pretty much a 4 seat speedster. The drawings give me a rough idea. I won't be building from the drawing but using cardboard etc to make sure it is comfortable.
Some things to remember, regardless of the body style you choose make sure the seats will hold you and your passenger in securely. A long tour/endurance run may very well involve starting out with gloves goggles jackets etc and finish up with none of that so try to have a location to keep things. When mocking up a pattern try to have someone sit next to you and go thru the motions of turning a steering wheel. Remember while driving you have a wheel to hang onto but your passenger doesn't. A final goal in mind will prevent your car from looking like something hobbled together.
Hi Rob — as a speedster owner for 25 years, I echo many of the comments above.
The gallery at www.nwvs.org is a great source of ideas and elsewhere on that site there are many technical resources.
My speedster has been modified a number of times over the years to improve comfort and practicality. The photos below illustrate my approach to other's suggestions on windshields, seating and comfort.
My tall friend and I drive to the PNW for an MWVS event every September. We find these "foot pegs" to really help with comfort on long drives. Along with the step plates they give many more options for foot and leg placement.
From a comfort perspective, a windshield is pretty much required. From a design perspective, a windshield tall enough to see through is usually visually awkward, and tends to make a speedster look "dumpy", too tall for its length. My windshield is tall enough to be an effective wind deflector (and a proper windshield for kid-sized passengers) but the modest height improves (IMHO) the lines and makes the car look longer. With no frame on the top of the glass, it looks lighter still.
I used Rootlieb seat skins for the initial build many years ago and, like most builders, situated them directly side by side. During a major overhaul in 2010, we offset the seats by about 4", moving the passenger rearwards like the riding mechanics of yore. Big improvement in comfort for both of us — more elbow room for the driver and more leg room for Jerry.
The side view photo illustrates a few other points about lines and design: The red skirt forms a horizontal line from front to back and helps the car look longer and less dumpy. The dual spares also improve the look by making the car longer but not higher. I also find the mild rake/angle from rear to front pleasing to the eye. This was achieved by reducing spring height front and rear along with a dropped front axle.
Wow guys! Thanks for all the ideas and info! Now to decide what is tonight work for me!
Right to work for me. Damned autocorrect.
Hey Rob, the your Model T could be certainly be "tonight work for you".
Rob - Someone may have already mentioned this earlier, but if not, GOOGLE (Northwest Vintage Speedster Photo Gallery) and there's enough there to keep you busy to the extent that you'll spend a few more hours gathering ideas! Many of those speedsters shown have lots of detail photos included! FWIW, .....harold
I just completed this one:
It would be great to build one but still tinkering with my 26 rpu right now. Tim
Build what ever floats your boat and have fun with it.
Your statement regarding seats is critical if you want to enjoy your speedster for longer rides.
I love the speedster my grandfather built when I was 10, but it sure does not fit me now that I am 6'2". Seat design and comfort is not the only important decision here. The angle and position of the steering column and distance to the pedals is critical.
In the case of my speedster, the angle and position of the steering wheel is okay, but my legs are too close to the pedals. The seats are about as comfortable as a cinder block. However, my grandfather built the seats and my grandmother upholstered them, so they stay. Driving a speedster is a test of machine AND man!
Others have recommended checking out the Northwest Vintage Speedster and Museum of American Speed websites. Very good advice. The Vintage Ford magazine used to have yearly articles on speedsters and Model T speed. Not sure if MTFCA still does that, but I used to drool over some of that stuff as kid. I do not know how many plans for speedsters exist, but you can get endless inspiration and go from there.
So much to choose from! I started taking stock of the parts. 26-27 rear end. Early twenties frame and front axle. 21 inch wooden wheels all around. Rims are different types, so I must sort that out. Not a bad start
Or these . . .
I have owned three, two I built.
I would recommend a windshield for sure.
If you have a windshield that you can look straight ahead through you will have wind turbulence that can be hard to deal with.
Any ladies or guys with long hair will have their hair pointing straight forward at speed.
The top of the windshield needs to be even, or level, with the driver’s eyes, like motorcycle windshield. A better setup for low wind drag is two small racing windscreens. Or none at all.
Keep the body as narrow as possible without sacrificing
Donnie Brown’s speedster that has had many pictures of the build posted here is an excellent example of a well thought out design.
Having the passenger’s seat at a 4 inch setback helps too.
Also, the battery, spare wheel and tire and fuel tank mounted as far back as possible helps balance and handling, but a side mounted spare can be an exception.
I like the front axle set a couple inches ahead of the front cross member for chassis lowering and better riding and handling due to longer wheel base.
There are a few hundred speedster pictures on the Northwest Vintage Speedster site but they are hard to find.
Go to: nwvs.org
Click on Home
On the rite side click on gallery near the top, then start out on Dan Price’s speedster where the list comes up to the lower left and just choose next speedster after that.
I wanted to go faster, so I got another job. Dave in Bellingham,WA