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Snapey's 1935 Racing Biposto
#1
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Matt snape
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It has been some months coming but here, at last, is the start of my project thread. I don't assume that this will be of particular interest to anyone in particular and I will only be telling my side of the story (ie tales of curse words, botched attempts and thrown tools will be far and few between - when I tell the story everything works perfectly - the first time!) but I hope that some of you may drop in from time to time to be entertained and maybe even learn from my adventures - although I won't be giving you the chance to learn from my mistakes because, and here I want to be perfectly clear, I NEVER MAKE ANY...*

Now that we have that clear let me start by telling you a little about myself. I am currently 41 years old and I living in Sydney, Australia having grown up mainly in the dry, inland areas of our country (the 'bush') surrounded by the sounds of the great Australian outback, wildlife and supercharged, methanol guzzling engines. My father was/is a mechanic who prided/s himself on the ability to build a quick, efficient engine and then drive the wheels off whatever car it was/is in. At 70 he remains one of the fastest drivers in the 'historic' category and last year won outright first place in the Queensland 5 round historic racing championship. From the age of about 4 or 5 years of age I spent many, many weekends at race tracks all over Australia collecting discarded bolts and bits of wire for anyone that might want them and from these humble beginnings slowly became the "best pit crew 10 blokes ever had". That last quote was from one of our historic racing stalwarts and it is one of which I am very proud.

The racing that we participated in (and still do) is 'historic racing' which in Oz covers the years from veteran (early 1900's) to historic (1970ish) - although our particular period of interest is the 'golden era of Australian motorsport' from the early 1930s up to 1960. At one time my father, I and my older brother were all racing while my mother was secretary (main organiser) of our meetings, chief timer and still found time to make lunch for us. Let's just say that I believe that racing old cars is in my blood and it is not something that I am seeking a cure for. These days, although I have not had a car of my own, I often drive one of my father's collection. Normally a Willys engined monoposto special based on a 1927 Amilcar. More recently he has 'allowed' me to have a go of a car he has recently finished building - a late 1930s Willys 77 based monoposto special which sports the same side valve 2.25 litre engine, but with supercharger and running on methanol. At around 200bhp+ and about 600kg this is a pretty serious piece of equipment and is more than capable of scaring the living cr@p out of me!

I understand very well that many of the people reading this will be in the USA. My first wife was American and I spent a year or so living in Washington DC as well as time before and since travelling around the United States. I own Jeeps and my time in the USA is something that never really left me. You can take it for granted that I do understand much of the 'American way', language and idiom, but you will have to forgive me as I will be writing this thread in my own words. If you have not yet worked out (through the splendid efforts of others on this forum) that a 'bonnet' is a' hood' and that a 'bumper bar' is a 'fender' then I think you may need to get out of the house a little more often.

So enough about me, what about some information on how I came to be here penning this for you, my suffering audience? Well, a year or two ago I happened to drop into an otherwise inconspicuous mechanics workshop located in the central western suburbs of Sydney only to be confronted by a brightly gleaming Packard sitting in the corner. "Wow!" I said to John, the proprietor "I didn't know you had real cars here!" John then went on to tell me about the strange and often secretive gentlemen that often congregated in the back corner of the shop, discussing things such as vent tubes and overdrive boxes. He may have held out some hope for me in those initial moments, but I think he work out pretty quickly that I was 'one of them'. Now don't get me wrong, John is a really nice guy - but I'm still not sure if he really 'gets it'. After all the race car that he plays with is a Mazda with a dangerously large rotary engine shoehorned into a space it was never designed to fit... I'm sure you get what I mean.

Anyway, after briefly rolling his eyes John referred me to Wade and his erstwhile 'sidekick' (for want of a better term), Mal. These two fine gentlemen are well known to many on this site and Mal is the serial scribe responsible for the thread "Wades Workshop" as well as being the chief greeter for the site and resident 'Packard Registry' Nazi. For some time up until I meet John, Wade and Mal I had been looking for a project. Something I could use for track days but also run on our roads and take the wife on weekend jaunts through the nearby Blue Mountains. I wanted a car that was different from what the rest of my family already had (in other words I wanted to be a bit of a rebel) and since my father and brother are both very keen on the European marques it seemed that something American would be the thing to have. I had also considered the concept of a side valve Ford V8 special but, to be honest, there are so many of them popping up these days they has almost become a clich?. There has, however, been some very interesting straight eight specials in Australia over the years and I had also decided that I wanted a car with 'presence' - something that would be both seen and heard and would be remembered. So this was the general direction my thoughts were heading when I 'discovered' Packards in the back corner of Wades Workshop.

In my next post I will tell you about my Packard project in detail - where the concept came from and what I intend to make out of it. Such projects, of course, can not be about making money but since I don't have that much of it to spend then budget will always be a major controlling factor.

So, stay tuned and I hope to be able to find the time to tell you all more about the racing car that Packard never quite got around to building...

* Assertions that the author does not make mistakes, stuff things up or, in pure and blind frustration, stupidly throw expensive and/or rare tools, engine parts or recently welded and red hot pieces of steel at other equally innocent and inanimate objects are TOTALLY FALSE. The author is, in fact, a bumbling and under skilled individual that at times struggles to tell the difference between a camshaft and a bent dip stick - although his past experience with 1930s English cars may excuse this particular point of confusion as they all look so much alike...

Posted on: 2011/2/2 7:43
If at First You Don't Succeed - Skydiving is Not For You...
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Re: Snapey's 1935 Racing Biposto
#2
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Guscha
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Matt, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you and your Racing Biposto thread.
--> This will help you to keep track of your project.

Posted on: 2011/2/2 9:08
The story of ZIS-110, ZIS-115, ZIL-111 & Chaika GAZ-13 on www.guscha.de
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Re: Snapey's 1935 Racing Biposto
#3
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Ozstatman
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Matt,
No real need to you as an active PackardInfo Project Blogger but after your introduction couldn't but do otherwise! Looking forward to seeing the Packard Biposto taking shape and the challenges overcome, of course without error or mistake, through the build process.

Posted on: 2011/2/2 14:45
Mal
/o[]o\
====

Bowral, Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia
"Out of chaos comes order" - Nietzsche.

1938 Eight Touring Sedan - SOLD

1941 One-Twenty Club Coupe - SOLD

1948 Super Eight Limo, chassis RHD - SOLD

1950 Eight Touring Sedan - SOLD

What's this?
Put your Packard in the Packard Vehicle Registry!
Here's how!
Any questions - PM or email me at ozstatman@gmail.com
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Re: Snapey's 1935 Racing Biposto
#4
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Matt snape
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Of course thank you Mal for your 'welcome'. I will do my best to maintain the high standards you have set.

LOL Guscha - those instructions are just what I needed - looks like an easy job now! Although some that know me may argue that I fall below the 10yr minimum recommended age limit! Also I may have trouble finding a tube of Airfix glue large enough...

Posted on: 2011/2/2 23:59
If at First You Don't Succeed - Skydiving is Not For You...
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Re: Snapey's 1935 Racing Biposto
#5
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Matt snape
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So, the obvious question is what sort of vehicle is this strange bloke from the back-of-beyond talking about? There are perhaps a few photos I can use to best show the styling features and intension of this project.

This first one is the 1917-19 Packard racer built by the factory and raced very successfully by Ralph De Palmer. Notice the distinct Packard grill, louvers and tail shape. I would like to use these styling cues in my own car.

Then we have De Palmer again - this time in one of the three cars Packard funded for the 1923(?) Indy race. The cars were completed only just before the race and qualified well, but did not last the distance - not surprising given the lack of testing they had. Once again note the grill, louvers and tail.

Next we have a Packard based special based on, I think, early 1930s mechanicals. I am quite smitten with this car, but I would prefer something a little later perhaps? The mid 1930s were a big time for race car development. In a matter of just a few years they went from similar to the cars already discussed to the next photo which is of a 1935 Alfa Romeo 8C GP car - which to me is almost por0graphic... ahem... anyway.

Alfa also built a 'road going' or sports version of the famous 8C which was used very successfully for a number of the big European road events, such as the Mille Miglia, and this is essentially the style of car I would like to build.

Also I really like the style of the Buick 8 Special pictured and I think it is very much in line with what I intend, only with the early Packard styling cues with grill, louvers and tail.

So now you know some of the background and influence of my concept, the brief is basically this...

"If Packard had been encouraged to build and enter a car in the European GPs of the early to mid 1930s (as Duesenburg had done successfully in earlier years with their own car - see photo) what would have resulted?"

So there you have it fellow Packardigans, a brief tour of the inner workings of what was once a young and promising mind, but was then polluted by carbon monoxide and methanol fumes.

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Posted on: 2011/2/3 7:14
If at First You Don't Succeed - Skydiving is Not For You...
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Re: Snapey's 1935 Racing Biposto
#6
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rdsieber
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Have you considered the Jesse Vincent racer from 1928 as an inspiration or start point? It would have an authentic Packard look. Pls post photos of where you are in the journey.

BTW and relatively somewhat related to this, have you picked up a copy of Rewind Magazine out of Singapore? Eli Solomon is a friend of mine and its publisher. He covers all sorts of automobilia in SE Asia and gets down to Oz as well. He might interested in your story, as he writes of vintage restorations. Very nice mag!

If you contact him, tell him I sent you.

Cheers,
rdsieber
USA

Posted on: 2011/2/21 10:19
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Re: Snapey's 1935 Racing Biposto
#7
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Ozstatman
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Pic of the man and the machine, taken about a year ago. The rolling chassis is still under the ramp to the rooftop carpark, in fact it's even further under now.

Waiting....waiting....waiting.....

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Posted on: 2011/2/21 14:42
Mal
/o[]o\
====

Bowral, Southern Highlands of NSW, Australia
"Out of chaos comes order" - Nietzsche.

1938 Eight Touring Sedan - SOLD

1941 One-Twenty Club Coupe - SOLD

1948 Super Eight Limo, chassis RHD - SOLD

1950 Eight Touring Sedan - SOLD

What's this?
Put your Packard in the Packard Vehicle Registry!
Here's how!
Any questions - PM or email me at ozstatman@gmail.com
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Re: Snapey's 1935 Racing Biposto
#8
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West Peterson
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It is thought that Packard had plans of taking the 626/734 Speedster to Europe to compete, but no hard copy confirmation of those plans have ever materialized, and we know that they never followed through if there even were plans.

Posted on: 2011/2/21 20:09
West Peterson
1930 Packard Speedster Eight Runabout (boattail)
1940 Packard 1808 w/Factory Air
1947 Chrysler Town and Country sedan
1970 Camaro RS

https://packardinfo.com/xoops/html/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=4307&forum=10

http://aaca.org/
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Re: Snapey's 1935 Racing Biposto
#9
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Rusty O\'Toole
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Chrysler and Stutz gave the Bentleys a run for their money at LeMans in the late twenties and a Duesenberg won a Grand Prix but I never heard of Packards competing in Europe. Perhaps they were just too big.

By the way its Ralph DePalma.

Posted on: 2011/2/21 20:55
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Re: Snapey's 1935 Racing Biposto
#10
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Matt snape
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Aah yes, the Vincent 'Racer'. A car developed and maintained under the direction of the engineering guru that headed Packards develpoment for so long. I would dearly love to get my hands on even the plans for some of his experiments - like the supercharged I8 that was fitted to it or even the overhead cam experiment I have heard rumours of. It seems a great shame that those in charge of the purse strings didn't have half of his vision. There is some great information on this car in 'Packards at Speed' by Robert Neal - a book I borrowed from Wade and poured over for weeks, but I still have to buy my own copy...

As I recall the car still exists, although I don't know what engine configuration it uses now. The body style, however, is not exactly what I am looking for, as it seems to be esentially a cut down roadster with the broad, flat tail that was popular on such cars at the time. It is also a little earlier than the cars I intend to emulate.

I have not heard of Rewind Magazine before, but will make an effort to look it up when I get a chance. Thank you for the information.

Thanks for the reminder Mal - knew I could count on you. As often happens life keeps getting in the way of my hobbies, but I am still making slow headway in clearing a spot for the 34 chassis.

Hi West - thanks for chiming in. I think I read something of this in Mr Neals book also and I found it truely intruging. I wonder if it may have been the failure of the 1923 Indy attempt which left something of a bad taste in the mouth of the Packard board so that they were not keen on spending money on racing development afterwards. I think it a great shame. Given what Duesenburg/Miller were able to accomplish (particularly in winning the 1921 French GP - something that I suspect still has not been forgiven by the French) it is interesting to consider what might have been. I think the trick to this project will be to somehow extrapolate the designs and cars that did exist so as to picture what might have occured in later years.

I am expecting delivery today or tomorrow of a book detailing the Formula Libra cars of the 1920s to 1940s in Argentina - so you never know what we might find...

Posted on: 2011/2/21 22:01
If at First You Don't Succeed - Skydiving is Not For You...
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