Project Baja: Class 11 Build log

CameraCourage

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I feel like I should give you a bit of a backstory on our team.  Our team consists of mechanics, designers, photographers, industrial designers, fabricators and marketing professionals. When we started out we decided that we wanted to have something fun to play with and the Red Bull soapbox races seemed like a fun thing to do. We went WAY overboard and build two very custom very labor intensive cars that we used to win Red Bull soapbox races. 


</div><div>IZ7Q7831 by joshmcguckin, on Flickr<br><br><div>
</div><div>red_bull_soapbox_race_09-1 by joshmcguckin, on Flickr<br><br>

We took a bit of time to work on some real cars after this. Jeeps, Rally Cars, sports cars and plenty more<br><br><div>
</div><div>IMG_7425 by joshmcguckin, on Flickr<br><br><div>

</div><div>bimmer by joshmcguckin, on Flickr<br><br><div>


</div><div>Steve Nelson by joshmcguckin, on Flickr<br><br>


But after a while we remembered what we have wanted to do for a long time. Desert Racing. We are a team that looks for adventure, we enjoy a BIG challenge and we love to use creative solutions to complicated problems. Our goal was clearly not to be the fastest, but to face a big challenge and succeed. So earlier this year we purchased a 1970 VW bug and we stripped it down to build our Class 11 car.&nbsp;<br><br><div>
</div><div>Bringing it home by joshmcguckin, on Flickr<br><br>

Our car has clearly had a few accidents.. Every panel of it has bondo and it even was bondod through one of the wheel wells. But overall this car was cared for. The original owners manual. Gas reciepts from the mid 70's and more were included with the car. In addition it was in full running condition for a price we couldn't say no too.&nbsp;<br><br><div>
</div><div>Bringing it home by joshmcguckin, on Flickr<br><br>

We got this thing home, welded up a rolling rack for it so it was mobile in the shop no matter what and set about the task of tearing it down to the bare bones.&nbsp;<br><br><div><div>


</div><div>Tear Down by joshmcguckin, on Flickr<br><br>

The original floors were in bad shape. The rust had claimed the drivers side nearly completely and the codrivers side wasn't a whole lot better. So we cut out the floors and replaced them with some new metal.&nbsp;<br><br><div>
</div><div>IMG_6891 by joshmcguckin, on Flickr<br><br></div></div></div><div>

We then made quick work of the cutting and rotating of the front beam.&nbsp;<br><br><div>

</div><div>Cut and Rotate by joshmcguckin, on Flickr<br><br>

Then we took a ton of time to just go over the car, rid it of any bondo and fix panels properly so we wouldn't have any trouble. This includes body panels but it also includes bumper mounts. Nearly every bumper mounting screw was seized and broken off. The mounts themselves were just rusty and worthless. So we replaced them with our own versions which should be a bit stronger.&nbsp;<br><br><div>


</div><div>IMG_6809 by joshmcguckin, on Flickr\


</div><div>IMG_6803 by joshmcguckin, on Flickr<br><br>

With fresh threads lined up and the front suspension modified we moved on to the back end of the car. Chop cut and a bit of weld to install our King Kong unit.&nbsp;<br><br><div>



</div><div>IMG_6765 by joshmcguckin, on Flickr<br><br>Then a ton of boxing in to get a nice solid rear end.<br><br><div>


</div><div>IMG_8554 by joshmcguckin, on Flickr<br><br><div>



</div><div>IMG_8557 by joshmcguckin, on Flickr<br><br>

In order to mount up the transmission we designed and fabbed up a trans mount. Flat pack design was made so we could send it off and have it laser cut. Not to shabby really. For $35 bucks we had a new mount that we had to weld together. Add about 10 of&nbsp;Urethane&nbsp;and we were in business.&nbsp;<br><br><div>



</div><div>Front View trans mount by joshmcguckin, on Flickr<br><br><div>



</div><div>Trans Mount by joshmcguckin, on Flickr<br><br><div>



</div><div>Untitled by joshmcguckin, on Flickr<br><br><div>

</div><div>IMG_8509 by joshmcguckin, on Flickr<br><br><div>

</div><div>IMG_8540 by joshmcguckin, on Flickr<br><br>With the trans mounted and the majority of the rust repair finalized we were able to move the car up to our cage shop. Built By Bones is our cage specialist that we are working with on our cage design as well as our cage fabrication. We don't want to just hand the car to someone to return it to us with a cage in it, we actually would much rather do it and learn everything ourselves. So we have been spending a ton of our time bending, cutting and fitting tubes. The cage is over done but we are psyched with it so far. We stil have a ways to go, but this will be a good initial post on our progress so far.&nbsp;<br><br><div>



</div><div>IMG_8754 by joshmcguckin, on Flickr<br><br>We do have a ton more details on our project, our build and more on our website so feel free to cruise on over there too in order to check out more details, photos and videos as well. www.projectbaja.com<br><br>Hope you enjoy our build, we'll keep the updates flowing and be looking for you guys at the races soon!
 

CameraCourage

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Oh, of course we forgot to show you what the car looks like right now! Jeez. Ok, so with the front suspension all rotated and the rear suspension not yet preloaded it looks a bit funny, but here it is.


IMG_8610 by joshmcguckin, on Flickr
 

N8ball

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Wow. The SBD cars are pretty rad. This looks like a sweet project. Keep us posted and Good luck!
 

CameraCourage

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Thanks N8ball!

Here is a quick shot of our Cage shop. This is a place called Built by Bones. I met Grant a few years ago at Pikes Peak. He has been doing the cages in the Rally cars that I have been working on as well so he was a natural choice for this car. In the end he has become our sponsor so it has been a great situation for both of us.


IMG_8717 by joshmcguckin, on Flickr

Here is a quick shot of our shop from a while go. We are pretty fortunate to have a nice, inexpensive but big space to work in.


IMG_7515 by joshmcguckin, on Flickr

Also a quick shot of our donor bug. Nice thing about VW's is that everyone has one and they don't all want them. So this one came to us free, donated a motor and trans, a ton of body work, some doors and more then got towed off for scrap value. All profit!


IMG_6764 by joshmcguckin, on Flickr

Also as a side note, we had a chance to visit with Jim Graham and the Desert Dingos a couple months ago. They gave us a nice tour of their car which was a huge help as we moved forward with our build.


Desert Dingos racing by joshmcguckin, on Flickr

We will have some more updates in about a week or so, thanks for following along!

www.projectbaja.com
 

firedog

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Looks like it's coming along!! We will have to bounce around the Dez in Grand Junction when we're both done!!
 

NIKAL

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Great project, the rear adjuster and trans mount look awesome. What materiel did you build the cage with? It sort of looks like Mild Steel, The only two materials that are legal for most series are DOM and Chromolly. When and where do you plan on racing?
 

CameraCourage

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Great project, the rear adjuster and trans mount look awesome. What materiel did you build the cage with? It sort of looks like Mild Steel, The only two materials that are legal for most series are DOM and Chromolly. When and where do you plan on racing?

That is DOM tubing. 1.75x .090 so it is actually spec'd a weight class higher but we did a bunch of weight calculations and the tubing is actually a bit lighter than the 1.5x .120.

We are hoping to race the USA 500 and the Baja 1000 this year. We will see how all this works out!

Thanks guys!
 

y2kbaja

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Great project, the rear adjuster and trans mount look awesome. What materiel did you build the cage with? It sort of looks like Mild Steel, The only two materials that are legal for most series are DOM and Chromolly. When and where do you plan on racing?
Mild steel isn't allowed in class 11 anymore?
 

CameraCourage

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Mild steel isn't allowed in class 11 anymore?

Seems funny since Stock VW bug seats are still allowed in the rulebook... Imagine that 1000 miles with horse hair poking you the whole time you are rolling off the edge of the seat!
 

CameraCourage

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We just cranked up the suspension and now are seeing the car, for the first time at full ride height. Still need to get some tires for this thing, but first step is these shocks and seats that should hopefully be here any day... ish

 

CameraCourage

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Well we have been cranking along on the build. Doing a bit of Ice Racing in our spare time as well.


Georgetown by joshmcguckin, on Flickr


WingedWonder by joshmcguckin, on Flickr

We have been doing "Webisodes" of our progress and Here is Webisode #4 if you'd like to check out some more


We'll be back with more info on our build pretty soon...
 
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Full Trucker

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Mid-Summer Build Update

We are hoping to race the USA 500 and the Baja 1000 this year. We will see how all this works out!

Holy cats it's been a while since we updated our build log here on race-deZert.com ! This will probably be my first post (aside from the mandatory intro post) on the forums, so let me introduce myself. I'm Evan with Project Baja, aka teh weird beard aka chops aka the guy that does all the graphics and web stuff for us. With that out of the way, let's move onward to the updates...

IN A NUTSHELL: the car wasn't done in time for the USA 500, like we'd been pushing for. We're getting closer every week, and every shop day, and we hope to be doing some shakedown testing as early as the beginning of August. I'd love to start copy and pasting all the updates from our website, but it's starting to get a bit late and I've still got work to do. I know, I know... "Booooo." I'm gonna just link to a bunch of photos of what we've been doing, feel free to fire off questions if you want. We've also got tons and photos on Flickr and our website that you can check out, and PLEASE do so if you're into it. I swear we'll try and be better about updating this thread. So help me FSM.

Shocks mounted and in place:




Seat mounts:




Fuel Cell placement:






Started on the dash:




Rebuilt some carbs:


Like I sayed, moar on our website if you're interested.
 

Full Trucker

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USA 500 Update

And... speaking of the USA 500, today was our first full day back in Colorado from trying to destroy a fine piece of German engineering in the Nevada desert. Myself, CameraCourage, and another non-forum member of our crew went to Reno to help Desert Dingo campaign their Class 11 in the VORRA USA 500. It was tiring, stressful, intense, joyful, maddening, and basically awesome as hell.

Bonus action: if all went well and the car held together, I would be co-driving for the 3rd leg of the race. Well, all did not go as planned and the car did not exactly hold together despite the best efforts of us, MegaMonkey Motorsports, Team Drake Racing, the guys at ProPits, the Green Booger team, and pretty much anyone within 27.3 meters that could turn a wrench and had ever seen a VW.

Although we didn't wind up with a co-driving spot, our crew learnt a metric boatload about how to race an extremely limited vehicle for a very long distance in the most ridiculous of terrain and conditions. The weekend was even complete with a "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?" style speech from the lead driver. This rally'd the race crew to drop the engine in the desert, replace the clutch, weld the body back together, kick the dents in the door and roof back out, bolt the fenders back on, re-wire the trashed lighting system, get the engine back in the car, and head out for what was to ultimately be a completely futile effort in finishing the race.

Like I said, it was awesome.

Aside from the racing in the desert, it was a fun experience all around. We checked out the Bonneville Salt Flats on the way home, kind of a must-do if you're driving across that part of the country. We did miss the (alleged) best tacos in the known universe by about 10 minutes, but we'll save that for another time. You can read all about our adventure if you want...

WORDS!
USA 500: Crewin’ for the Dingo

PICTURES!
USA 500 2012 - a set on Flickr

MORE WORDS!
Never, never, never give up | Desert Dingo Racing






Meanwhile, back in Colorado, the remaining PBJ crew member put a fresh coat of paint on our car, and we're back to bolting parts on as fast as we can. Like I sayed above (probably three times now) we'll try to be more diligent with the updates in this thread, and you can always check out our website for more pictures and info. In the meantime, I leave you with that classic scene from Animal House:

 
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Full Trucker

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Paint? Parts? What's going on around here!?

Josh aka CameraCourage just updated our website with a new build log, so I'mma repost it here for you guys. Cheggit:

During the moments of insanity when things were looking bleak then suddenly we got the Dingo's car back on the road. One of our team members stayed behind. Wow, how lonely... But he is a productive guy and at one moment just as we received news that we may not be able to go forward with the race we got a text message with a photograph. Yes, our car had paint, and wow does it look good!



Seriously, that photo just brightened everyones day. As the Project Baja guys we were like proud papa's running around showing everyone our new paint job and the dingo's and their crew were just psyched to see a good lookin' car.

The paint is all Rustoleum that we bought from home depot. we have about $16 invested in the paint job and I couldn't be happier!

In addition to the paint we have parts, wow do we have parts.







Parts are now coming from our Class 11 friends as we mentioned before and also from our local source: 23Deluxe.

We actually have most of the parts to assemble the car now. Well, at least we think we do. There is always something you are forgetting. But we are making a big push to get through this weekend. Our car should have the final cage work all in place this weekend and when that happens we will be happy campers!

We're putting our nose to the grindstone so check back soon for more images... in the mean time, check out some more pictures of the car...



 

okielynch107

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Love the build. Just a few questions, Approx. how much $$ did you put into the suspension? Im looking at doing a class 11 myself and just trying to figure out how much Im going to put into it. anything will help.
 

Full Trucker

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It's been a long time in the works, but the team leaves for the 2014 Baja 1000 in 16 days. Entry fee is paid, car is mostly done save a few odds and ends here and there, spare parts are collected, hotels are booked, fuel is purchased. It's game on! You can read moar of this drivel on our website www.projectbaja.com but here's some updates from the past few months, starting in mid-summer:

The Long Winter is Over!

We completed much of the little odds and ends, which seem endless: roll cage gussets, seat hardware, safety wire, painting, brake adjustments, sealing oil lines, electrical goodies, shifter, body modifications, mirrors, dash—a little bit of everything. But most importantly, it’s not a race car without GRAPHICS!



Our very own Full Trucker pulled through with awesome Colorado flag theme stripes and beautiful faux-mahogany dash wrap.



Next, we figure it’s been a long, slow build – we might as well actually drive it… After fixing the flat tire and severe oil leak from driving it in the parking lot, we were ready for our first test day at Colorado Off Road Extreme park out in Deer Trail, Colorado.

It was our goal to put the car through it’s paces as well as exercise the suspension. The new torsion bars and torsion leaves need to take a ‘set’. Once the springs are broken-in we can start tuning the suspension. First test day was a success. Only a few minor things broke/fell off – tires got a little cut, fenders detached and a tail pipe tip found it’s home in the dirt. The guys driving were quick thinkers and limped 1137 back to the pits, with a spare v-belt holding up the front left fender.

The 1584cc engine has plenty of power and runs strong. It’s much faster than we thought it would be.





Before we got too many battle scars, we decided to show off a little bit at VW’s on the Green in Littleton, Colorado. We met lots of friendly faces and lots of interested people. You just don’t see Class 11’s in Colorado. It truly stood out as one-of-a-kind.
 

Full Trucker

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Love the build. Just a few questions, Approx. how much $$ did you put into the suspension? Im looking at doing a class 11 myself and just trying to figure out how much Im going to put into it. anything will help.
I think full price on the Fox dampers would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $2500+ for all four corners. That was the big expense... everything else was just fab work and figuring things out. We did purchase some Sway-Away race-firm springs for the front but they're just not working out for us, WAY to stiff for the car. Hoping that's it's not a bad decision to run stock "non-race" springs but she drives pretty nice. I *think* our rear torsion bar springs are firmer, more of a race setup.
 

Full Trucker

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Whew! Baja 1000 starting line only 7 weeks away!

Needless to say, we’ve been busier than we can imagine. We’ve got our tow rig all set up and ready to make the haul 1,200 miles to Ensenada – and then some!



Last week we were able to fly-in Mr. Art Savedra, who handles roll cage certification as well as class compliance. To be honest, we were sweating this a bit—if the roll cage needed major work, or if there were other major class compliance issues, it may severely throw off our schedule.

Art is very thorough. He did a special electrical resistance powder test on all the welds surrounding the passenger compartment, to check for full weld penetration. He also ultrasonically tested all tube wall thickness. And whaddaya know? We passed chassis inspection no problem. No alterations needed to the cage! Huge sigh of relief. Only a couple small things are needed as far as finishing up our safety stuff.



The car is 98% complete. Spares collected also 98% complete. Now to figure out all the logistics plans, pit plans etc. (and maybe get some more testing in soon). And what do we do when Hurricane Odile washes out the Baja peninsula? Or when flooding closes down I-15 into Las Vegas? Tons to think about!

 

Full Trucker

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Getting approved

It is tough business being in Colorado and deciding to race offroad. We are a big tow away from the scene. It gets even more tricky when it comes to rules compliance and cage approval. Do you tow the car all the way to Mexico and assume you will pass or do you take action and make sure you have everything approved, certified etc well in advance to avoid any last minute fiascos… We don’t like fiascos so we decided to fly Art Savedra out to inspect our cage.

Art is a great guy and a man with a ton of information, if you ask him a question he has someone on the phone in 2 minutes that is the authority in that question. It is pretty much incredible. We were specifically impressed with how thorough the inspection was. Electro Magnets, ultra sound and years of experience went into making sure our car was safe. When the dust settled we got a thumbs up and the additional encouragement with Art saying that our car was one of the nicest builds he has ever seen for a class 11. After a few years of work… that really feels good.



The added benefit of flying Art out was that he introduced us to Kristen and Erin Flaherty who are involved with BFG pits and also have tons of experience in Baja. The information and attention they have been giving us has been invaluable since and we can’t thank them enough for their help!

We have also gotten our Rugged Radios intercom and radio set up in the car. Whew, Another hurdle covered.



Testing, testing and more testing

Over the past two months we have been out nearly every weekend testing the bug. If it is going to break we want to know about it and if we are going to encounter it we may as well have a plan to try to tackle it. So we have been putting a lot of miles on the car and it has been teaching us what it needs to stay together.

We have an offroad park nearby that is very convenient to go to. Colorado Offroad Extremeis a great park with a variety of terrain and it is an easy tow and low cost. We have headed out and bounced the car around a lot and most recently we headed out for “rally day.” when a ton of Rally cars were out there showing us what a ton of horsepower can do.



We have also explored the mountains in Colorado. We have tons of trails that range from easy to very difficult and we have tackled a lot of them. Of course most of these start well above 8000ft in elevation so the little bug is struggling to find power when we head out there. The great thing about these trails is we can run them day and night, night testing is important for us since we have been dialing in our Baja Designs lights and even adding a bit more after we discovered we hadn’t quite given ourselves much in the way of turning lights. We are very happy with the setup now and have tons of light for the night time. 28,000 Lumins all directed in the right places, We are pretty psyched with the setup.





In addition to testing the car we have been testing the crew. Everyone needs to know all the crazy stuff we did to the car, so this weekend we pulled the motor so everyone had their hands on the job. It gave us a great excuse to check everything over as well and what we found was a lot of broken welds on our stock exhaust. So we took the time to put all of that back together again and now the car is solid again and our crew is educated.



We have been fortunate to have the Wilson family taking us under their wing as well. Gina has been handling logistics and she has been really been doing a great job. With all the odds and ends we are working on with the car it has been great to have someone whos focus is the details of the trip. Ed Wilson has been tackling a lot of our chase, transport and organization, wow, we knew it would be a lot of work but really I can’t imagine where we would be if we hadn’t had these folks step up.

We have also been fortunate to have met Kristen and Erin Flaherty. Both have a ton of experience in Baja and they have been so willing to offer information and guidance as we get closer to the race. With that being said, We can not say thank you enough to all the folks that have come out of the woodwork to help us out!

Updates to come! In the mean time Check out some photos from our build!









 
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blue dog

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Best of luck to you guys. Most important, HAVE FUN AND BE SAFE.
 
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