My, err, my daughter's Pinewood Derby racer is done!

Some time ago I asked you hoons about Pinewood Derby race cars. I was deprived as a child, so I never got to do anything like that. I read all your comments and googled most of the internet extensively. Some advice was good, some was great, and some just totally wrong. Serves me right for asking.
The outcome of all this research, drawings, designs, cutting, painting, attaching, polishing, weighting is pictured above. We had three designs: a limo, a pickup truck, and a Porsche 911. We nixed the limo right away. I wanted to do the pickup because I made it aerodynamic and I could have easily placed all kind of weight in the bed, over the rear wheels. But no, my daughter wanted fancy not redneck, so it was the Porsche 911.
Several issues came up right away. First, the guy at the hardware store who was doing the cutting for all of the Girl Scout team (I don’t have a decent saw), could only do straight cuts. Crap, that means no iconic headlights and no iconic whale tail. I quickly decided that we should go with a slant-nose and typical non-spoiler rear. In order to cut down on weight and reduce the center of gravity, we decided on a cabriolet model.

I think it came out pretty good, if a bit Ferrari-esque from the front. My big design flop was in the rear, where the engine cover goes directly to the bumper line. I forgot the vertical taillight strip that sits above the bumper and below the engine cover lip. My daughter sanded it, painted it, and finished the details off with a sharpie.
In the interior, about an inch forward of the rear axle, I drilled a 1.5” space for the ballast. Low to the ground, and in perfect location. The folded convertible top is made of clay and is pretty heavy itself. The painted body weighed only 2.6 ounces, which wasn’t good – too light.
A ballast of rolled up washers fit perfectly into the interior tub. My daughter insisted on a driver, a Lego Goblin. We glued in the top, the driver, ballast, and the license plates into place.

On a separate table we polished the axles. I put each axle into a drill and used a set of small files to smooth them down. We finished it off with some chrome polish. We matched each axle to each wheels and put the slowest spinners in the front. This Porsche rides on three wheels, by the way, with the front right wheel slightly raised for drag reduction.
I have made a mistake of not fitting the wheels and axles on before the car was done. The first one was going in, so I carefully hammered it in. I used a drill bit some carefully enrage the other axle openings. Before inserting the axles, we put some graphite on them.

The finished Porsche weights in somewhere between 4.90 and 4.95 ounces – my scale is not that accurate. It a bit under the maximum, and desired, 4.999999999999999999 ounces, but it’s good enough.
The race is at 4:30pm today. Wish us luck! We’ll report back with the results.

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9 responses to “My, err, my daughter's Pinewood Derby racer is done!”

  1. Monkey10is Avatar

    Just what I would choose to drive if I was a Lego goblin.

    1. Monkey10is Avatar

      So how did it go?
      We want results!
      We want to see the trophy!
      We want to see the podium ceremony and whatever the Girl Scout equivalent of champagne is…

        1. Monkey10is Avatar

          Came here for a thorough summary of the contest and a picture of a glittery trophy. I leave satisfied.
          Well done to both of you!

  2. mdharrell Avatar

    “…carefully enrage the other axle openings.”
    Ah, it really is a Porsche. Best wishes!

    1. Vairship Avatar

      When those swing axles start swinging, and those Weissach axles start Weissaching, yo’d better watch out!

  3. jeepjeff Avatar

    “In the interior, about an inch forward of the rear axle, I drilled a
    1.5” space for the ballast. Low to the ground, and in perfect location.”
    Funny how they don’t put the heaviest component of the car in that spot on the real ones…

    1. outback_ute Avatar

      Well they are now for the racing ones!
      I must admit when I read the original post I was thinking of billy carts. The best one I ever drove was made by joining 2 Honda Super Cub motorbike frames together. Well best going down hill, it was very heavy when pushing it back up!

  4. Alff Avatar

    Looking good – hope the race goes well. If you want curves on future builds, you might consider a Dremel and the sanding drum attachments. Perfect for taking material off in small increments.