Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Those were the days.......

Mongoose III 1966 in Greenwood Park DM

Out of necessity I was forced to learn many valuable things. I already knew a little something about acetylene gas welding and the soldering of electrical connections from my old Hot-Rodding/School shop days. I had to expand my skills of learning to woodworking & plastering with house-hold building materials, electric arc welding, custom machine design and fabrication, plus the new fiberglass forming, the State Of The Art medium of the day. I had to increase my general auto body working knowledge by learning to spray paint cars along with the revamping of hydraulic systems as well as the redesigning of electrical systems to make things work.

Mongoose III Spring of 1966, Greenwood Park DM, IA

I had to learn aerodynamics the hard way, by trial and error--without the aid of a wind tunnel.  Learn bout suspension roll centers and the longitudinal stability formula, wheel base length to wheel tread width ratio, how to drill holes in plexiglass for mounting windshields there's a trick to it, all about electric fuel pumps and hydraulic accelerator pumps for fuel injectors. Not to mention all about fuel injectors, fuel nozzles and how to clean nozzle screens, fuel pumps and air vacuum lines, special fuel injector / distributor drive cables and exactly what a fuel spider is and  to know how to fix one. Plus knowing how to take the whole fuel injector all apart and reassemble it again in good working order, cause very few others but specialists did.

Not to mention how to trust a automobile traveling at nearly 200 mph, that you had designed and built yourself from the ground up.

Mongoose II at Greenwood International Raceways IA 1965

AND REMEMBERING......the valuable secret taught to me by my grandfather in the very beginning, of how to finish a really complex project. Follow it all the way through to the end from "conception to completion". No matter how big and difficult the project may seem in the beginning.

As I mentioned before-- One of the most valuable lessons that I learned.

"A project may seem overwhelming at first, but if you attack just a little segment everyday, dividing the project up into easily accomplished portions, you're getting the satisfaction of accomplishment everyday, and eventually it all adds up into a finished product you're proud of".

A boy and his dream - Greenwood park, Des Moines, Iowa 1966

Plus the other lesson my step-Grandfather taught me while working on my soap box derby car at a young age. To visualize the finished project before you ever begin. Sounds rather obvious and simple, but it's so often overlooked.

That's why I built the model of the Mongoose race car to better visualize it in the beginning.  SIX months later I was driving the Mongoose down the street.

Everything I've every ever built or owned was a model first...........

Mongoose III Orange, 1966 Greenwood Park DM

Just when the car seemed totally finished then the final modifications and development began......it was learned through extensive testing and actual racing experience that the Mongoose required air vents to be cut in the hood and cowling to prevent overheating by allowing the hot engine air out. The brakes were already outfitted with their own competition air scopes available from the factory. The main front air scoop grill opening let in plenty of air but the primary problem was channeling the air to where it was needed to cool the engine. Then to get that hot air out effectively. For looks as well as function, louvers were custom installed in holes cut in the fiberglass hood and cowling. The hood louvers had to be measured and cut from sheets of aluminum, then individually hand formed and fashioned to fit. Finally pop riveted in to place at equal intervals in the openings in the fiberglass hood. Other louvers had to be again measured, hand-cut and formed differently to fit the outlets in the cowling, then once again they were riveted in place.

Mongoose III w/ dual air meters and louvers

The Mongoose also had a unique custom designed and fabricated fiberglass curved dash so the driver could conveniently see all the gauges at racing speeds. Along with individual toggle switches controlling each electrical system on the car.

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