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From the Publisher
Speedscene, July 2008
The magazine of the Hillclimb and Sprint association
As anyone who read his long-running series of articles in 'Race Tech' magazine will know, Marengo constructor Tony Pashley is as adept at conveying the technicalities of race car construction to the reader as he is at actually building the cars themselves. With the modern motorcycle engine now the power unit of choice for the majority of cars in the smaller – and some in the larger – capacity classes in hillclimbing, it’s perhaps surprising that the modification and installation of bike engines for use in competition cars has rarely been covered in detail in any publication. So it’s good that Veloce have entrusted to Tony the first book to be devoted entirely to the building of these cars. This is an essentially practical guide, covering all the basics of race car design and construction (of both tubular and honeycomb chassis) based on experience gained with Tony’s three highly successful Marengo chassis. In any design process, other people’s ideas provide not only inspiration but a valuable guide, and a useful feature of the book includes multiple examples of suspension construction, engine installations, damper layouts, exhaust and cooling systems and many more essential items laid out on one or more pages for instant comparison. Materials and hardware selection form another important part in the process and the author guides us through these and indeed all the myriad of other basic engineering techniques involved. An engineer is, he reminds us, someone who washes his hands before going to the toilet! – an old saying perhaps, but just one example of Pashley’s immensely readable style that provides an easy grasp of a complex subject. This, together with literally hundreds of diagrams and full colour illustrations, make this book an absolute ‘must read’ for anyone contemplating such a project.
Track & Race Cars magazine, October 2008
This book is aimed primarily at hill-climb and sprint car and helps to build one from a budget. It begins with choosing the right engine and works through to design and construction. There is an extensive amount of pictures and diagrams, which does help as there is a lot to read and it breaks up the text well. It describes the subjects that will affect this kind of build in good detail and would be very helpful for people looking into this area.
British Racing News, December 2008
Astoundingly comprehensive, well-written – with nicely inserted humor – it might be a soft-back, but this book is well worth 25 smackers. Even if the last thing you want to do is build a ’bike-engined racer. If you thought the process was just welding a few tubes together and slotting a breaker’s yard ’bike screamer and ’box in there, then think again – it is nothing of the sort. It is a major project, likely to daunt many, demanding determination to succeed and the most fastidious attention to detail. Pashley has those qualities, as proven in the past 20 years spent designing and building three ’bike-engined hill-climbers from scratch, at the time immersing himself in others’ similar projects. And the complete, honest way he approached that is evidently how he approached writing this book: it shines from every page. Mrs Pashley, the book’s unpaid proof reader, has done a great job. She also ‘gets’ hubby’s subtle humor. Under ‘C’ in the alphabetic glossary of suspension, steering and chassis terms, we find; ‘‘C’ word, compromise. A device for by-passing impasses met frequently during the design and construction processes, normally determined whilst [sic] engrossed on unconnected activities such as sleeping or drinking.’ The reviewer is a qualified mechanical engineer with decades of motor sport engineering under his belt: I learned more from this book. In a way it is a worthy, more modern, yet more specific, companion to Terrapin guru Allan Staniforth’s obligatory 'Race and Rally Car Sourcebook'; to which Pashey makes deferential reference within his pages. Informative and educational – and fun to read. Who cares if it’s a $50.00 paperback? Read it; you won’t be disappointed.
The Motor Cycling Club, September 2008
Having spent the summer of 1956 with a Cooper JAP, after which I never wished to see anything engined by something from a motorcycle again (although I broke that vow the following year when I raced an outboard hydroplane with a similar motor), my face was wreathed in a wry smile when I read this title. However, we should remember that modern motorcycles are powered by something much more sophisticated than the poor old speedway JAP with its total loss lubrication system, which liberally coated the driver with evil smelling castor-based oil, although in my case it fortunately never had the dire effects on my digestive system that my father suffered in WW1 when he had to sit for hours on end in an open cockpit breathing from a slipstream full of castor oil droplets. Apart from bringing back a few memories I enjoyed this book which is much wider in scope than its title suggests and indeed deals with most aspects of designing and building a special, certainly not confining itself to the whys and wherefores of modern motorcycle engines. Although looking specifically at something for the track much of the content would be of interest and helpful to any member who is contemplating a trials special or even modifying an existing car. It’s not light reading although easy to follow and I suggest that once read it will frequently be taken from the bookcase for reference. Worth having.
teamdan.com, July 2008
When this book landed on my doormat I opened it with much interest, as it isn’t something I would normally read about. If I show the book to my wife I know that there will be a polite look of interest followed by a snort of derision at the idea of me building a car. I might have the spanner set, but they are still largely unscratched and unused in their original carry case, unsullied by grease and oil. But how hard can it be anyway – I was exceedingly handy with a technical Lego set as a child! Reading the introduction entitled “Health Warning” didn’t seem to me to be any different to my usual experiences. Mr. Pashley says “You’ll also have suffered the ridicule and contempt of family and acquaintances as you neglect all of the duties and pastimes of the ‘real world’, and maybe, just maybe, excite a few feelings of respect and even envy in the folk whose views you care about”. It sounds as though building a motorcycle-engined race car is just like maintaining my website!
The book has certainly achieved one of its aims – it has convinced me that I would be unable to do it. It takes you step by step through the entire construction process, highlighting all of the bits and pieces that you need to consider. However, to read the book it helps if you have some familiarity with metal working terminology – especially as you will be expected to construct your own chassis, either from metal tubing on aluminum honeycomb. If you don’t know how to weld you ought to buy a companion volume and practice first, and if using glues, you will need something stronger than Pritt Stick. The book is about proper engineering ...
Reading the book is like talking to a knowledgeable mate down the pub, helping you to avoid the pitfalls and giving you the benefit of the author's experience. What is also great are the diagrams in the book, helping to simplify what can be complex topics such as suspension. But the book is not the be all and end all on the subject, and it doesn’t pretend to be. What it is is a good all round basic introduction to the subject and the issues involved, with pointers to where the budding builder can find out more information as and where needed. If you are thinking of perhaps building your own car, then buy and read this book before you start, and if you are still enthusiastic at the end of it, read the other books referenced. At the very least you will make a better informed decision, but as to whether it was the right one only time (and perhaps track results) will tell.