So you want to build a Nitro Cackle Car... part 2
by Roger Lee
If you missed Part 1 by regular contributor Roger Lee, click on “Back Issues” and you can read the first installment in the September Nostalgia Drag World……..
So now you have made the decision to build one of these “Kings of the Sport.” Here are two bits of advice: First, don’t even try to set a budget for the build! Secondly, when you are finally done is when you do your first cackle event and are back at home in one piece.
You may want to make a list for your AA/FD for all the parts that are going to be needed. The big parts are easy: the chassis, wheels and tires, fuel tank, motorplate, master cylinder, hand brake lever, brakes, pedals, seat belts, clutch can, rear axle, parachute, and gears, for example. Now add all the little stuff you’ll have to have to put your new car together. You will have pages of parts and pieces (don’t forget to list the money you spent on all these if you want to have your AA/FD appraised later on).
You can take the easy way out and not worry, taking a “build the AA/FD at any cost” attitude. I wish I had your money! In this case all you have to say is, “I want this built” to your builder of choice and wait till you get the call that it is done. One cackle car that was built has $13,000 in chrome plating done on it.
Most of us can’t afford the unlimited budget AA/FD. So you have done the research, compiled one magazine article and a half-dozen pictures. Is that really enough to get the task at hand done? The answer is NO! I have 175 pages of articles from magazines and drag racing newspapers from the time frame it raced as well as pictures from the owner, drivers, internet, and photographers from that era. In all, that represents the entire racing life of one of my AA/FDs. Elapsed times, speed records and races it was in are all there, too. I am still finding and receiving pictures after its first event four years ago.
The more information you have about the car you are about to build, the better. You can also set up a timeline of the changes that were done during the time your dragster was raced. Goodyear slicks or M&H, how many different injectors did it use, different rear wheels, decals and paint jobs. You can now choose the version or era that your AA/FD raced.
Do you have a well-stocked local hardware supply source along with catalogs from aircraft and race car parts suppliers? Just another list to make with phone numbers. Don’t buy nuts and bolts to merely get the job done, buy extra; double your order at the minimum, because you will need them sooner or later. You don’t want to make a trip to the hardware store for two bolts you need now and stretching a quick 5 minute job into one that will take an hour. Planning ahead is a wise thing to do.
Make room for bolt, washer and nut bins or boxes. Mark them with sizes and grades and keep them organized - you will thank yourself later on. Old bolts and lock nuts get thrown away or used for preassembly usage only. All the hardware on your new AA/FD WILL be new! Go online and have a Bolt and Nut Torqueing Chart printed out and available.
Do you have all the chemicals, oils, silicones, sealants, gear lube and cleaners for your new beast? Better make room for cans and tubes of this stuff and don’t forget the rags and towels either!
Will you have all the tools to do the job? The answer is NO! Always plan on buying more. When you need a certain tool and it is not in your tool box where it belongs, it’s as if it has grown legs, but more than likely it’s because you didn’t put it back in its place the last time you used it.
NOW…Are you ready yet to start on your new AA/FD?
Till next time, Roger Lee
Nostalgia Drag World - by Roger Lee; photo by Martin Libhart Martin Libhart Photography