Aspiring young Dale Earnhardts and Jimmie Johnsons have been finding ways to improvise for car racing thrills for nearly 80 years. The first soap box race took place at Dayton, Ohio, in 1933 with cars constructed from material children found around the house and garage. Despite the name, these early models often featured orange crates placed atop baby stroller wheels. Today, building kits are available, but it is still possible to put a car together from scratch.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Things you need
- Pull wagon
- Axles and wheels
- Seat belts
Develop a soapbox car blueprint. You can find many by searching online. Choose one that uses parts that are easily available around the house and garage.
Select a chassis. It is the foundation of a soap boxcar. Pull wagons are ideal. Not only are they sturdy, they have a built-in steering system. For the rest of the chassis, use sturdy but light material. Lightweight metal is better than carbon fibre. The light weight will increase speed while still being strong enough to protect the driver.
Weld the chassis material together. Make sure each weld is strong. A weak joint could break and endanger the driver. Wear safety goggles and other protective gear if attempting to weld on your own.
Construct the drive train. Follow the instructions carefully so the axle system and wheels work well together. For stability, use torsion trusses. When building a four-wheel car, connect the steering system to both axles.
Set up the brake system according to the blueprint. Then install seat belts for safety. This is no place for cutting corners. Buy new seat belts instead of using old ones. Carefully inspect the brakes to make sure they work properly before allowing a child to use a soap boxcar.
Construct the body of the car. Use materials that will be strong enough to protect the driver. Make sure the blueprint includes a roll cage. It will help keep the driver safe in case the car flips over.
Paint the car. This is a chance to be creative. Again, use any paint available around the house. Then let the imagination loose and create the desired look.
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