Thursday, May 14, 2009

External Inspiration:The RWD Ford Escort rally cars

I can hear all you “cage haters” now.
I know, I know… you hate anything that doesn’t have 2 wheels and you are going to lynch me for posting pictures of a vehicle other than a bike on this blog about choppers.
Get over it.
It’s my blog, I can do what I want and not everyone in the universe hates cars.
I happen to love all kinds of vehicles no matter how badly they are driven by people.
And as I stated before in the “external inspiration” post… there is a lot of brilliant stuff going on with cars and other vehicles that you can learn from. Especially race vehicles.

So here is my first External inspiration post pertaining to cars.
The European Rear wheel drive Escorts.
The US never got any of these; they are just rear wheel drive, front engine, 2 door passenger cars powered by an inline 4 cylinder gas engine. Nothing special right?
The Escort went on to become the winning-est rallycar in the history of the world.
(In case you don’t know what Rallying is… just start looking around on Youtube… it’s basically driving cars off and on road at insane speeds.)
Driving light RWD cars on lose surfaces, really, really, REALLY fast isn’t exactly an ideal situation.
Ideally you would use an all wheel drive vehicle right?
Well, there weren’t any all wheel drive cars yet. Audi invented that in 1980 with the Sport Quattro. The MK I and MK II Escorts were made from 1968-1980.
Not only did the Escorts dominate Rallying back in their day, they continue to destroy in modern competitions to this day.
But it’s not so much that they win… but that they win in such a dramatic fashion.
The RWD Escort is one of the most tail happy, oversteering race cars ever.
Just take a look at these pics and videos.

So here is my point: taking an antiquated motorcycle frame with no rear suspension and making it handle good, and go fast is a challenge that some people say is futile and stupid.
There are perfectly good bikes that can do everything with front and rear suspension and do it very cheaply.
So why bother?

Taking a rear wheel drive 30 year old passenger car and trying to make it handle good and go fast on lose surfaces in a racing event that is clearly better suited for all wheel drive computer controlled, triple limited slipped quarter of a million dollar cars… is futile and stupid some people would say…
So why bother?

But beyond that rather abstract connection... it's a race car. A light, fast, strong, old race car. There are tons of ways to lighten a vehicle, to make it stronger and work better. And spending time studying race cars can yeild tangible fruit in your attack chopper projects.

Take a look for yourself and you see if you can guess why I love the RWD Escorts.

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