How To Build a Pinewood Derby Car

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Pinewood derby cars are made from kits containing a wood block, plastic wheels and metal nails for axles. The completed cars race down a multi-lane track powered by gravity and slowed by friction and wind resistance. Pinewood Derby and related races are run by Boy Scouts of America's Cub Scouts, Awana Grand Prix, Royal Rangers, Shape N Race, Kub Kar Rally, Royal Ambassadors, and others.

Pinewood derby racer modeled on Richard Petty's famous Plymouth Superbird

Construction of a pinewood derby car involves:

  • cutting out the body
  • adding weight
  • filing and polishing the axles
  • truing and polishing the wheels
  • final alignment and assembly
Pinewood derby cars ready to race

A number of "speed secrets" have developed over the past half-century of pinewood derby. This book covers the hows, whys and even the physics and chemistry of this race, including

  • rear biased weight
  • lead, tungsten and zinc weights
  • extended wheelbase
  • raised front wheel
  • coned wheels
  • light wheels
  • wheel molds
  • plastic polish
  • H and V tread
  • beveled axles
  • notched axles
  • metal polish
  • shimming and alignment
  • graphite, moly, and liquid lubricants
  • and how to paint the wheel spokes silver.
Electronic track timer

This book is for kids who will be working with adults to construct their cars, for parents who will be working with their kids and purchasing tools, parts and supplies, and for race organizers who will be writing the rules, inspecting the cars and running the races.