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Monocoque midget chassis: Reason for concern?


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9 replies to this topic

#1
Bob Cowgill

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I am about to purchase a midget for vintage racing.
One of the cars I'm considering is a Harry Turner midget with an unusual aluminum tub main chassis, one of only 11 such cars built by Turner with design input from one of the Bettenhausen family.
If the quoted numbers are accurate, at 750 pounds, this car is about 150 pounds lighter than the typical Chevy 2 powered midget.
One of my advisors has raised the questions of stiffness, longevity, and the possibility of repair if the car is involved in a crash, as compared to the more conventional all steel tube frame.
Can anyone here add any info that would help me decide on this car (which needs only new tires and harness update to race), or should I pass it over in favor of a car which needs an engine job and cosmetics?
Thanks!
Bob

#2
buck2

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Here's my take on this. Vintage racing is at least 60 percent talk and only slightly about going fast. I think the concerns about chassis rigidity and longevity are not relevant. Repairing it if you crash might be more difficult than a tube frame car but is more than offset by the unique design. More than likely you will only bend bolt-on parts, anyway. I say go for it and hurry before somebody else snaps it up. You will have a truly unique conversation piece with historical significance and it will be a blast to drive.

#3
BFB

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Let me know where the car is and I'll buy it.

#4
jdull99

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Let me know where the car is and I'll buy it.


:D


Jason Dull
815 494 6002
jdull99@hotmail.com
jasondull.com (For all the Racing News)

#5
larryo

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Excuse me for butting in....lol! But what a fascinating topic. You mention the words "Tub" chassis. Have any pictures? Herb Adams, head engineer for GM and father of the camaro suspension, specializes in "tub" chassis', which is really not a bunch of tubes but a boxed in structure using a lot of flat sheets of aluminum panels to design and fabricate a chassis. Kind of like the Indy cars of the 70's. Tub chassis' are very strong and very light.

So, it might be just possible that your "Tub" chassis, is not only lighter, but stronger, with more rigidity and longer life than a very archaic steel tube chassis, which in the minds of most engineers is a big joke.

Sincerely,

Larry Otani

#6
Bob Cowgill

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Excuse me for butting in....lol! But what a fascinating topic. You mention the words "Tub" chassis. Have any pictures? Herb Adams, head engineer for GM and father of the camaro suspension, specializes in "tub" chassis', which is really not a bunch of tubes but a boxed in structure using a lot of flat sheets of aluminum panels to design and fabricate a chassis. Kind of like the Indy cars of the 70's. Tub chassis' are very strong and very light.

So, it might be just possible that your "Tub" chassis, is not only lighter, but stronger, with more rigidity and longer life than a very archaic steel tube chassis, which in the minds of most engineers is a big joke.

Sincerely,

Larry Otani


Larry,
When I have completed the purchase and had a chance to buff out the paint (car has been sitting for 6 years since restoration) I will post some pictures.
Yes, it is a true "tub" chassis made from an aluminum sheet bent into a "U" shape with all of the suspension and other bits bolted or riveted to it.
I've been in contact with one of the fellows who helped Harry Turner build these cars and he assured me, not only of the pedigree of this particular car, but also of the structural integrity of the design.
Should some unforeseen circumstance prevent me from completing the purchase, I will post the owners contact info for other interested parties.
Thanks to all who contributed to my education about the car!
Bob

#7
larryo

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Dear Bob,

Hope you get the car. It's always fun to fulfill dreams! I think I know the person selling this car...not personally lol.

The internet is a powerful place where you can learn and find information on just about everything.

I found a link to a Turner Midget and picture. Here it is. Once you get to the link it's about the fourth picture down in the "web" page. Click on the following link.


My link

http://www.thevintag.../wg/wg51_07.htm

Sincerely,

Larry Otani and thanks for the post. Very interesting...lol!

P.S. All our aircraft in WWII, were basically aluminum bent or rolled and riveted...lol! Good enough for an airplane I would guess it would be good enough for a midget...lol!????

#8
DocF

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I saw Richie Vogler driving one of the Turner monocoque cars at the half mile almost circle at the Onekama, MI fairgrounds many years ago. He managed to hook the left wheel on one of the many light poles inside the track. 8 pop rivets later, the car was ready to go. Of course having Rich, Don and Eleanor working on the car, the repair was done right and done fast. The pieces that get bent and broken were in sub-frames and easily replaced.

These cars worked for drivers who liked them. Those who felt uncomfortable with the design found they were very slow.

Yes, they were very light. No, they were not even close to the lightest midget ever. That would be Jimmy Knight's last Lite-Knight Offy. I saw this car on the scales at Jackson, MI with no fuel, but with oil and water, weigh in at 510 pounds. Of course, that was pre-cage. A very trick car built by the racing brakeman from Chicago.

Anyway, any Turner built car is worth having.

Doc

#9
GeneS

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What ever happened to this car? If you want to share I'm all ears!!!!  gsteele@wcnet.org



#10
zerohunger

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We are very fortunate to count among our racing friends Harry Turner's son Lance & one his last "stooges" Gregg Kishline. They have located almost all of the eleven "Turner tubs" and a few of the clones others made. Very interesting cars. The idea apparently originated with Gary Bettenhausen; the Turners, Bettenhausens, & Voglers were  great friends so the cars got built. And they were raced hard. And won races. In my opinion they were among the most beautiful cars this side of an Edmunds. Fat tires and big horsepower did them in and got us on the path to the ugly things we race today.

Any Turner built car is worth restoring. Especially the tubs.






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