This section is from the book "The Boy Mechanic Vol. 2 1000 Things for Boys to Do", by Popular Mechanics Co.. Also available from Amazon: The Boy Mechanic, Vol2: 1000 Things for Boys to Do.
Ill: Cars Lined Up Ready for the Start and the Course Patrolled by the Boy Scouts, All Traffic being Halted For the Race and the Roadway Made Clear for the Entire Half Mile of Track
Pending the time set for a 500-mile international automobile race that was scheduled to take place several weeks later, a number of boys in the sixth and seventh grades of a public school were enthusiastic over the idea of building for themselves, in the school shops, pushmobiles and having a race meet similar to the large one advertised.
The pushmobiles were made and the race run as an opening feature of a field meet held in the city. The course was about a half mile long, and was chosen to give the contestants plenty of curves, a part of the run being over brick streets and the final quarter on the regular track where the field meet was held.
Interest was added to the event by petitioning the mayor of the city for a permit to run the race, and the Boy
Scouts patrolled the route, while the city policemen cleared the streets, and during the race all traffic was halted.
Two of the requirements for entering the race were that the car had to be made in the school shops and that it must have a certain kind of a wheel, which in this case was one condemned by a local factory, thus making the wheels and wheel base of all cars alike. Two boys to a car constituted a racing team, and during the race they could exchange positions at their pleasure. The necessity of "nursing" their cars down the steep grades and around difficult corners developed into an important factor. All cars were named and numbered.
The car that finished first was disqualified for the reason that it took on a fresh pusher along the course.
The Cars Winning the First, Second and Third Prizes Respectively, the "Hoosier" being Penalized 10 Yards at the Starting Tape for Having Larger and Better-Grade Wheels
The cars were constructed under the supervision of the regular shop instructor, and a drawing was furnished each boy making a car. The design of the hood and the arrangement of the seat and steering gear was left for each boy to settle as he desired. The matter of expense was watched closely by each one. Most of the hoods and seats were constructed of empty dry-goods boxes.
With the aid of the sketch any boy can make a car as strong as the "Peugeot" that won the race. The side rails of the main frame were made of cypress, 58 in. long and 2 in. square.
Ill: The Entire Chassis was Made of Cypress Wood. All Cars of the Same Length and Width, the Hoods and Seats Being the Only Parts Optional in Size and Shape for the Builder
The location of the crossbars A and B is very important, as they give rigidity to the frame and reinforce the two bolsters C and D. The size of the hood and the location of the seat determine where they should be set into the rail, after which they are fastened with large wood screws. The three bolsters C, D, and E are cut from regular 2 by 4-in. stock. Be careful to get a uniform distance between the rails when they are framed together. If desired, the dimensions can be increased, but do not reduce them, as this will narrow the tread too much. The bolt connecting the bolsters C and E is a common carriage bolt, 5 in. long and 1/2 in. in diameter. A washer is placed between the pieces C and E, to make the turning easy.
1 wo pieces of 1/2 -in. soft-steel rod were used for the axles, a hole being drilled near each end for a cotter, to hold the wheels in place, and also holes through the diameter between the wheels, for 1 1/2 -in. screws to fasten the axles to the bolsters.
The steering wheel is constructed of a broom handle with a small wheel fastened to its upper end, and the lower end supported by a crossbar, F, and the back end of the hood. Before fastening the crossbar F in place, adjust the steering wheel to the proper height for the seat; then it is fastened with nails driven through the sides of the hood. The construction of the steering device is very simple. The crossarm G is a piece of timber, 7 in. long, 2 in. wide and 1 in. thick, rounded on the ends and provided with a large screw eye near each end on the under side to which are fastened the ends of two small-linked chains. The chains are then crossed and fastened to the bottom bolster in front and as near the wheels as practical. The connection is made with a screw eye similar to the one used in the crossarm. Another type of steering device may be made by building on the rod a 5-in. drum which takes the place of the steering arm. It is a more positive appliance, but is somewhat harder to make and adjust.
The making of the hood and the seat completes the car. Decide upon the shape and size of the hood, but, in any case and irrespective of the size, it will require a front and back end. These are made first and then secured at the proper distance apart with two side rails. These two ends are nailed on the ends of the connecting rails. It is then well to fasten the hood skeleton to the car frame and cover it after the steering device is in place.
The seat bottom is cut the shape desired, and fastened to the rear bolster and crosspiece, first placing a piece of the proper thickness under the front edge, to give it the desired slant backward. The back curved part can be formed of a piece of sheet metal and lined on the inside with wood pieces, or with cloth or leather, padded to resemble the regular cushion.