- Stefan Vapaa
- Mary Anne Fieux
- Randy Cook
- Ed Diehl
- George Vapaa
- Jon Ewing
- William Harding
- Chris Moberg
97 Sonett III
97 Sonett V4
Quantum Formula SAAB
Brand'X' Sports Racer
- Tom Cox
- Chip Lamb
- Sune Nilsson
- Laura Briggs
- Don Wollum
Mar 26, 2006
very gracious and generous financial support from Viking Automotive, Gaithersburg,
MD, I’ve been moving slowly but surely forward with important safety
upgrades on my 1973 Sonett. Plans are still 'on track' for me to compete
during the 2003 historic racing season.
One of the major upgrades
is to replace the existing simple, plastic fuel bladder with an FIA-approved
fuel cell -- a requirement for almost all forms of road racing. Included
in this improvement effort is the design and construction of a cage made
of ¾" square steel tubing to support, suspend and protect
the fuel cell. In addition, a solid metal bulkhead must be built to completely
isolate the fuel cell from the driver’s compartment.
To date, I’ve
bought a slightly used Fuel Safe 8-gallon fuel cell with an aluminum container.
The fuel cell cage is constructed, painted and mounted in the trunk. The
measurements for a metal bulkhead have been passed to a local fabrication
shop for custom bending of aluminum sheeting. I wanted the bulkhead job
to look first-rate, and only a metal bending brake can produce the desired
Several other important
jobs have been completed or are progressing:
- A battery
power cut-off switch has been purchased and installed, and the battery
cable re-routed to and out of the switch. A metal bracket was fashioned
from steel angle iron and welded to the existing roll cage behind the
passenger-side A-pillar and above the door. The switch is easily accessible
from outside the car, as required by competition rules.
- A seatback
brace has been designed and fabricated using steel angle iron and ¾"
square steel tubing. Modern rules require that a seatback brace be added
to an aftermarket seat to minimize the possibility of the seat breaking
away from its floor mounts. Like any other brace of this type, mine
attaches to the roll cage tubing at the rear of the driver’s compartment,
and is bolted to the rear of my aluminum racing seat. It wasn’t
an easy job building a brace that accounted for the curvature of the
seatback, added support for the headrest (my headrest was weakened when
I cut material away to give my shoulder harnesses much needed room),
and tied into the roll cage in a mechanically-logical way. Then, the
order of the fabrication was important for the final unit to come together
- A driver’s-side
window net has been bought and the mounting system partially constructed.
The bottom mount is an aluminum rod that passes through the base of
the net and two steel end tabs. The rod isn’t meant to be removed
often, so ‘hairpin’ clips keep it in place in the tabs.
The mounting system for the top of the net hasn’t yet been designed.
This is the part of the system that’s removed every time the driver
gets into the car, so a spring-loaded or latched rod system is required.
- The majority
of my stickers and decals were stripped off the car.
- A 2.75-pound,
BC dry chemical fire extinguisher w/metal mounting bracket has been
purchased but not yet installed.
- My six-year
old 5-point racing harness was traded in for a brand new SafeQuip unit
that was custom-designed for the small dimensions of my body and the
limited dimensions of the Sonett’s interior. SafeQuip harnesses
cost little more than other high-quality harnesses, and they’re
hand-made in America, so you can talk directly with the builder if you
have unique requirements.
There are several
more small projects, and one big project, yet to be completed. More on
these in a future report.