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The FED flunked tech

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Doc., Jan 30, 2007.

  1. Doc.
    Joined: Jul 16, 2005
    Posts: 3,558

    Member Emeritus

    I spent the day yesterday with the region 4 tech inspector for NHRA. My 58 Chassis Research FED needs 12 additional bars to meet current NHRA specs. That was the good part. Minimum wall thickness for all tubes built from mild steel is .118. The thickest tubes on my chassis are .115. They were checked with a sonic tester. The only way to pass tech is to cut the car all the way down to the frame rails and build a whole new cage. I'm not gonna do that. I love the car because it's a piece of history from 1958. If I cut everything off it and build to current specs it will no longer be a 1958 FED. What are my options on running the car without an NHRA chassis tag? Can I run at outlaw tracks,test and tunes, or any other venues? I'm not looking to campaign it on a national circuit, but I sure would like to make a few passes now and then.

  2. elcornus
    Joined: Apr 8, 2005
    Posts: 652


    Find another tech guy who will be willing to let a measly .003 go???

    Oh, nevermind, I just re-read it and saw it says the THICKEST you have is .003 under, not all tubeing being just .003 under but more than .003 under

    What is, and where's it locateded, the thinest tube the chassis has?
  3. Scott B
    Joined: Dec 31, 2002
    Posts: 548

    Scott B

    It sounds like your dream house needs a long "driveway", with a return lane beside it...
  4. Doc.
    Joined: Jul 16, 2005
    Posts: 3,558

    Member Emeritus


  5. You should be able to make some passes at an outlaw track or go to a test and tune night and run exhibition. Just be prepared to load it back up if it's to fast.
  6. Revhead
    Joined: Mar 19, 2001
    Posts: 3,027

    from Dallas, TX

    If it were mine I would keep it as is. I agree that it just wouldn't be a '58 FED anymore if you replaced that much of it.

    We have a track near here called Cedar Creek.. I'd bet they'd let you run it..hahah Although I'm not sure you'd want to.:D I'm pretty sure their paveing job isn't up to any kind of standards either.
  7. hog mtn dave
    Joined: Jul 14, 2004
    Posts: 1,350

    hog mtn dave

    Run slower than 9.99. I'm not trying to be smart ass, that's going to be your only option at a track that goes by the letter of the rule book.
  8. SUHRsc
    Joined: Sep 27, 2005
    Posts: 5,079


    jalopy showdown drags :confused:
  10. Bob K
    Joined: Mar 3, 2001
    Posts: 5,773

    Bob K
    Member Emeritus
    from Antigo Wi.

    The HAMB drags, It'll be my chance to buy you that drink I owe you.

  11. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,015

    from Atl Ga

    I know it isn't cheap, and not what you want to hear, but if it were me, I'd invest the money in a Tig welder and some GOOD classes to learn how to weld, and then I'd buy a weld-it-youself kit, or simply use the original as a template and build a new frame that is up to spec. Bolt all the original parts to it, and hang the original frame from the shop ceiling.
    While you're doing that, take the car out and display it. Do a Cackle Fest or two with it.
    The other way to look at it is this: If you do go out and run it as-is at an outlaw track or 10.00 ET, and something breaks (tubes at the engine mounts, rear end mount, etc), you'll end up destroying a piece of 1958 history, rather than preserving it. Not to mention wrecking yourself. My uncle balled up a FED in the '60s with the technology and cage you're dealing with, and was in a coma for three weeks. In the '80s, in a much, much more powerful rear engine car, he went thru the lights at 6.50sec/218mph...upside down and backwards, and walked away thanks to the chassis and cage technology.

    History is cool, and original cars are awesome, but advances in safety have been made due to someone else paying for the R&D with their blood and death. No need to verify that they were right in deciding a chassis needs to be made of thicker material and have more bars.

  12. 2manybillz
    Joined: May 30, 2005
    Posts: 827


    Does this look right? I guess you could build a copy with tubing that would be to spec. to go and keep the original to show.

    Attached Files:

  13. Yo Baby
    Joined: Jul 11, 2004
    Posts: 2,812

    Yo Baby

    Drag that bad boy up here to Ardmore ,Ok. I know it's not exactly in the neighborhood but I'm sure Johnny will let you run here.He's been in the game for a long,long time,is an independant track and has a soft spot for all old iron.He also knows quite a bit of old history and lore.LOL
  14. Thirdyfivepickup
    Joined: Nov 5, 2002
    Posts: 6,093


    Listen to Brad54.

    Doc, I'd have someone build you a clone of it using good materials and modern stuff to keep you safe.

    Use the original for shows or as an exhibition piece.

    If you want to compete... build a new car. Please.
  15. I hate to speak on a subject I am not knowelegeable about, but when you show up to a new track, how do you prove it is certified? A plate rivited or welded on, like a VIN? Guys get "creative" titling old cars, give you any ideas? Just for fun, of course. Not to compete or do anything dangerous.
  16. Yo Baby
    Joined: Jul 11, 2004
    Posts: 2,812

    Yo Baby

    Did your man draw a diagram or anything related to where the "12 additional bars need to be? Or are the 12 bars more along the lines of replacing existing bars with up to snuff wall thickness?
    I have a 16' jig a mig a tig and a soft spot for old iron myself maybe we could figure something out.
    Dave has a pretty good idea in staying at 9.99 or slower albeit going slow if ya can go fast sucks.
    Richard,without going into great detail,the cert. is a dated sticker that depending on how fast you go has to be recerted every so often.
  17. zman
    Joined: Apr 2, 2001
    Posts: 16,594

    from Garner, NC

    What Bob said....
  18. Danimal
    Joined: Apr 23, 2006
    Posts: 4,147

    1. A-D Truckers

    I don't know squat so I'd listen to Brad54. He's on the right track (pun intended).

    You are a doc, you know what happens when old meets stationary. Why not clone your own car? Copy all the details but do it so you can get the tag. Double trailer, etc.

    I'd be willing to bet if an old dragster kept his, he'd update along the way. Or sell it cheap to build one to meet updated specs.
  19. Rusty
    Joined: Mar 4, 2004
    Posts: 9,449


    Pretty much any old dragster wont pass and I am pretty sure it wont even run low 9's. I say use it for what it is. Outlaw tracks, Hamb Drags, etc
  20. brandon
    Joined: Jul 19, 2002
    Posts: 6,349


    a 10.00 will get you on the track without a license as well....wonder they didn't mention having to have a diaper on the car too....the local (used to be) nhra track mandated that for all the 9.99 and faster cars....besides....a 10 something car with a 3 something gear will be fast enough mph wise to thrill brandon
  21. Plowboy
    Joined: Nov 8, 2002
    Posts: 4,267


    Hey Doc, I know that street out in front of your house has too many turns, but I have about a 3/4 mile of uninterrupted road in front of my house. Ha Ha Ha
  22. Chevy Gasser
    Joined: Jan 23, 2007
    Posts: 703

    Chevy Gasser

    Hey Doc. Our situations are similar. Last fall I bought a '55 Chevy gasser that lost the rear u-joint in 1976, it was taken back to the shop where it was parked in the rear and left untouched for 30 years. After I bought it I was considering what needed to be done to put it back on the track. I have decided to put the car back into running condition and display it as the last time it ran. I don't plan to drive it fast because it still has the tires on it from its last pass. To make all the changes would change the character of the car, it would be no different than any of the newer built cars.
  23. Doc, you might want to email Keith Tardel, he just finished a reproduction of the 1958 Chassis Reasearch chassis. This frame was built from the original chassis research plans, with a few little changes here and there. We took the frame and chassis jig, to the Turlock swapmeet, last weekend, and fooled alot of the old timmers. The frame is built from thicker wall tubing than the original, and it is Tig welded....Ed
  24. ANewBeat
    Joined: May 1, 2005
    Posts: 245

    from Floriduh

    Preserve it! Does the chassis have any history? What was it's orignal class? I'd restore it to it's original glory and show it or cackle it. Then do as stated above, build a very close replica that's up to modern specs and beat the piss out of that one.
    I know of a guy down in South Florida that had an old RCS chassis. They ended up replacing the "back half", then later replaced the "front-half" There's only about 18" of orignal tubing on the current digger. Now he's hauling ass going 6's, and thinking off welding the old two halves back together and making a cackle car. Sounds like it'd been easier to just start with a new chassis based on the specs of the original.
  25. rooman
    Joined: Sep 20, 2006
    Posts: 4,052


    although others have made the suggestion to replicate the frame with the correct wall tubing it would be very hard to retain the look of an old Scotty Fenn chassis while making it legal under the current rules. My shop builds new front engine dragsters for the currently contested classes and although we like to make them look as original as possible about the earliest era that we can duplicate visually is the late 60's.
    With the current requirement for head protection etc the tube layout of your car does not lend itself to making it legal without screwing up the look. We recently built a new chassis for the Winged Express and although the base platform is much as the original the cage and associated tubing is very different so that Mousie and Mike can continue to play.
    I would suggest saving the car for Cacklefests and the like (and maybe the HAMB drags) and putting together a new car if you want to race at sanctioned events.

  26. Simple answer. Sell it to me so I can do another re-creation for the cackle fest..............big smile here
  27. tdoty
    Joined: Jun 21, 2006
    Posts: 821


    Ain't that where Lee Shepherd died in the RMS Camaro?

    Tim D.
  28. Doc.
    Joined: Jul 16, 2005
    Posts: 3,558

    Member Emeritus

    Thanks guys for all of the replies. I bought the car because it is a piece of our automotive history. I would have still bought it if I had been told up front that I could not ever race it. I don't own anything that I don't drive, so you see my desire to put this thing on the track. It's also what I told the former owner, Scootersnpie, that I would do. I don't want to "compete" in it, so I don't really care how fast she goes. However,I aint gonna take a rail to the track and run 12's. My street cars can do that.

    I agree that if I were looking to do alot of runs that I would just build a new car. I did get a detailed drawing of where all of the new bars have to go. There is no way to keep the original looks with all of the updates, as a lot of them are in the helmet area. The body also has to be extended as the rear motor plate must be inside a continuous loop to pass spec. I'd just like to be able to take the old gal out a couple times a year and show the youngins what she looked like back in the day. Exhibition runs in the tens would be fine for me. I'm not trying to become a drag racer, I'm just trying to figure out how best to let this old girl shine a little. Dave is going to send me some photos of how she looked when she was built. I would like to build her back to look like she did on her first birthday.

  29. rainh8r
    Joined: Dec 30, 2005
    Posts: 792


    This is exactly what killed nostalgia drag racing in this area a few years ago. The track operators run on NHRA insurance even during the non-sanctioned meets, and the cars had to pass current tech to run at all or the track would be risking it's coverage. A non-sanctioned track that wasn't using NHRA coverage would be your option if they still exist. Good luck.
  30. A little O/T but I used to help out on a FED, that used to run some GG events. The last time at Indy they told him next year he had to have a reverser. He flipped saying it wasn't nostalgic, they said they didn't have time for a push back after the burnout.
    Needless to say he never went back after 13 yrs. straight of running there.
    It's a sign of the times thay they make you conform to.

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