Kit Car Builder, September 2007

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By D. Brian Smith

If you’re going to test kit cars, you should hire KIT CAR’s co-workers to organize the event. Never before have we had to attend so many meetings. We were beginning to think that maybe the KIT CAR Performance Day wasn’t worth all the effort in entailed to pull it off. We planned and strategized, going over and over the same list of to-dos once KIT CAR Publisher Tim Foss came up with the idea.

Led by KIT CAR’s Associate Publisher Angela Schoff, who doubled as the Performance Day director of festivities, several collegues visited the El Toro Marine Base in El Toro, California, where we’d be testing those replicar manufacturers against the clock, gravity, skill, luck, and the whims of Mother Nature. Another colleague, Nick Licata, met with AMCI, the venue’s overseers for new car testing. Another co-worker, Yasmin Fajatin, made sure we’d have a cool logo, event T-shirts emblazoned with said logo, and participant Performance Day license plates complete with the iconic KIT CAR Performance Day 2007 image. She also orchestrated renting tables, chairs EZ-Ups, and a visit from a Carl’s Jr. catering truck at lunchtime.

Editorial Director Brian Brennan made sure that the KIT CAR editorial staff of one, yours truly, wasn’t the only person taking photos. There were so many editorial types at El Toro on the day of the test, it was as if we were all covering some huge automotive event, not a kit car event. Also, Nick Licata and Jason Scudellari, who have the most experience running the testing equipment did so with consummate skill.

To the amazement of none, the testing day was a huge success, and a great deal of fun. Everyone we invited raved about the results. Brenda Frias helped recruit the participants. All the companies asked to be part of the next event, the planning of which is already in the beginning stages.

The first ever KIT CAR Performance Day consisted of four different timed tests. In the morning, we ran the cars through a  420-foot slalom that had cones spaced 70 feet apart. Each driver had five runs to reach their best mph result. For valid skid pad results, each contestant ran their car clockwise, then counterclockwise. Adding the two times and deriving an average of the two assured an accurate g-force figure for each car.

In the afternoon, the 12 cars had three runs at achieving their fastest 0-60 mph time. They then had two attempts at braking from 60-0 mph. When all the testing was complete, all the manufactures said they’d like to participate in the second KIT CAR Performance Day.

KIT CAR wished to thank the following manufactures  (in alphabetical order) for being part of this event: Backdraft Racing, Cobras ‘N’ Vetters, Factory Five Racing, Midstates Classic Cars, Shell Valley, Thunder Ranch, Stuttgart Spyders, and Vintage Spyders. We imagine every company will be back next time, and we hope to see some new manufactures that couldn’t be part of the first event.

Look for the test results in feature articles for each manufacturer’s vehicle tested in this and upcoming issues of KIT CAR. Also, be sure to check out kitcarmag.com for expanded coverage of the KIT CAR Performance Day.

Kit Car Builder September 07 page two

Thunder Ranch