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Old 07-12-2015, 10:05 PM
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airdave airdave is offline
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Budweiser Rocket ...Car

The Budweiser Rocket powered Car is claimed (by some) to be the first car to go supersonic (break the Speed of Sound).
Eighteen years before the Thrust SSC!



A ton of controversy surrounds the Budweiser Rocket Car...
and over the years many questions and arguments related to the car.

Was it an original design, or was it just a repaint...the SMI Motivator?
(Seen here in this 1973 photo)



Just how many Budweiser Rocket cars are there?
Where are they today and who has them?
Was it really the first car to break the sound barrier?
Is it even a "car"?

All I know is, back in the 1970s I fell I love with the whole Budweiser image.
I loved their logo, their slogans and all their advertising strategies.
I was also excited about their involvement in my other love: motor sports.
Budweiser paint schemes were my favorite.
I collected a lot of Budweiser "stuff" through the 1970s and 1980s
and I sent away for this great poster (below)...had it pinned to my shop wall for years.
I still have it today.



I think that poster introduced me to the Budweiser sponsored Rocket car.
Although I don't think (at that time) I knew much else about the car.
I was already a fan of the Blue Flame.
And I had an interest in fast cars and world speed records...who didn't?!

The Budweiser sponsored Rocket Car was powered by a hybrid liquid and solid fuel rocket engine.
although on early test runs it was unable to generate enough power to reach the current (at that time) land speed record of 622mph.
(The land speed record had been set at 622.4 mph in 1970 by Gary Gabelich in the Blue Flame...another bullet shaped rocket car.)




So a second rocket engine was added to the Budweiser car...adapted from a surplus military Sidewinder Missile
and positioned directly behind the Driver's head!
The car achieved an estimated* 739.666 miles per hour (Mach 1.01) on a dry lake bed at Edwards Air Force base in December of 1979.



To answer some of the questions posed at the beginning of this post, I have discovered a few facts on the web...

At various times there were debates over whether the Budweiser/Needham Rocket Car was an original.
or was it just a repainted "SMI Motivator".
Well, it seems that the Motivator was an earlier project co-owned by Hal Needham, and still exists today in private hands.
Obviously two LSR cars co-owned and designed by the same person would have had many similarities.
Sources state that there were in fact six Budweiser Rocket Cars produced:
one real race car and five fiberglass bodied copies for promotional use.
The real car is in storage at the Smithsonian and at least one of the five copies is in private hands.
One is on display at Talladega Speedway Museum in Alabama.
Owner Hal Needham, being in the movie industry, would have had easy access to companies that could produce these copies.
The biggest argument is over whether the car did or didn't break the sound barrier.
Former Test Pilot Chuck Yeager says it did. (He has a lengthy explanation)
Owner Hal Needham says it did. (But then again, why wouldn't he?!)
The US Air Force reported that based on tracking, elevation, weather, radar, etc at the time of the record attempt,
that the car was estimated to reach a top speed of 739mph
(which was about 30 mph above the estimated speed of sound at that time and place)
Unfortunately there is only one group that records and acknowledges a "world land speed record"...the Federation Internationale de L'automobile.
...and the FIA have rules about how you get and hold a land speed record.
First you have to set the record using specific timing equipment, and measured over a specified distance (speed/time trap).
You also have to repeat the speed, in the opposite direction, over the same course, within one hour.
And a "car" technically has to have four wheels.
Unfortunately the Budweiser Rocket car met none of the requirements for the FIA to support a land speed record attempt.
...

Anyway, years later, here I am designing these silly little KoolWheelz paper models
...and I have had the Bud Rocket car on my to-do list for some time.

But at this scale, its proving to be a challenging KoolWheelz model.
Not a beginner's build, like these things are supposed to be!
There isn't much I can do, to simplify the shape and style of the vehicle.
Its pretty simple already.
And the issue of how many parts isn't the problem either! lol
It all fits on one page easily.

Its just that every part is very small.
And its going to end up as another "advanced" model.

But...I know there are a lot of fans of Speed record cars.
So, here goes...

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Last edited by airdave; 07-12-2015 at 10:17 PM.
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Old 07-12-2015, 10:07 PM
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I have built the Blue Flame, I enjoyed it, I am always looking for LSR cars

Rick
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Old 07-13-2015, 12:22 AM
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MPC was going to do a plastic 1/25 kit of it, but the deal fell through. I think I still have a promo sheet announcing it stashed somewhere. If I run across it, I'll scan and post it.
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Old 07-13-2015, 03:20 AM
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The world can always use another LSR model. They are too few and far between.
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Old 07-13-2015, 08:00 AM
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Been reading a lot more information about the Bud Rocket Car and that day in December of 1979...
some very interesting transcripts, from people who were there and people in the know,
disputing most of the claims as to a supersonic run by the car.
According to some eyewitness accounts, there was in fact a legitimate speed trap reading recorded
during the "supersonic" run of the Bud Rocket car...a recorded speed of 666mph.
Obviously well below the speed of sound.
(According to car owner Hal Needham, the car had hit 740 mph before the speed trap and was
(for some strange reason) slowing down when it entered the trap.)

Its important to note that 666mph would have set a new World Land Speed record at that time
if the car had met all the FIA requirements.

Air Force pilot Chuck Yeager's support that the car did indeed go supersonic, is based on a theory that
supersonic shockwaves will create a lifting cushion underneath the rear of the car.
A well know photograph of the car, taken as it enters the SpeedTrap, clearly shows the rear wheels
about 10 inches off the ground.



Regardless of the actual speed, I say you have to have some very large kohonees to drive a rocket
at that speed...on only one front wheel!!

...

So I think the toughest part of this model (for most people) is the main tubuar body of the car.
I am in that group, that struggles with rolling paper tubes.

I tried three slightly different construction designs before settling on this last one.
I also considered breaking up the tubular body into two or three smaller/easier segments.
But this car does not have any major seams in the fuselage and the scale demands fewer parts.

I use wooden dowels, and other round objects, to assist in rolling my tubes.
I have a large dowel that is almost the correct size for the tube.
A smaller dowel helps get a stronger curve into the parts.

Start by cutting out the main part and the joiner strip.
Cut out the forward notches (for the front wheel parts).
Edge colour the part.
And then, start rolling the main tube parts.





...
I don't do anything until I have established a strong curve into the parts.
I want the parts to retain their tubular shape, on their own, as much as possible.

Next, I glue the joiner strip in place.
(You could glue the joiner strip into place before you roll the tube, but sometimes you create a crease
visible on the outside of the tube (right at the edge of the joiner strip).)





...
Last thing to do is glue the opposite side of the joiner strip.

This is where it gets real tricky...keeping a tight seam, while keeping the tube straight and untwisted.
I use dowels inside for support...and clamps to hold the ends as i glue the middle areas.

And, I print extra tubes.
Do it three or four times and you get the hang of it!

You can also see, in the photo, I am preparing the nose cone parts.

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Old 07-13-2015, 08:22 AM
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This is exciting, Dave. You have made my day. I know of exactly 3 LSR cars in paper, and you're the designer of one of them - the Bud car will make 4. I've built your fine model of the Blue Bird, my copy of the Blue Flame is as yet unbuilt, and unfortunately I made a mess of the poorly die cut model of the Golden Arrow that I bought from an Aussie book seller. I can't wait to get my trembling hands on the Bud Rocket Car.
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Old 07-13-2015, 08:46 AM
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looking forward to seeing this complete..
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Old 07-13-2015, 09:20 AM
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airdave airdave is offline
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I am seriously considering a Blue Flame model.
And now that I have this Rocket car template, it might be a lot easier.

If it weren't for some complicated shapes, I would do a lot more LSR cars.
Anything Craig Breedlove or Malcolm Campbell.

And I would love to do the new Bloodhound,
but as I said, I think its just too complicated a design.

But, after I have finished presenting the Bud Rocket to you, I will be
starting on another speed record vehicle from one of my favorite movies.
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Old 07-13-2015, 11:00 AM
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"The World's Fastest Indian"?
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Old 07-14-2015, 08:32 AM
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So, every time I have to wait for glue to dry, I work on other parts, other areas...

to complete the fuselage of the Rocket Car, we need the three tapered nose cone sections,
and the insert for the front wheel.



...
The front wheel mounts into an opening...a cutout in the front of the fuselage.
At first I was just going to black out the wheel well, and fit the wheel to the bottom of the fuselage.
but there is enough room to do a cut out...and it would add some visual effect, and the insert part
serves as a reinforcement for the tube and a tabbed joiner for the nose cone parts.

Roll and preform the nose cone parts as much as possible for easier assembly.

The three nose cone rings will be attached using one tabbed inner ring. (back row, left)



...
After creating the wheel insert ring, slip it into the front of the fuselage tube.
Its important that the tubes are sized correctly to fit together properly.
The outer fuselage tube is the important size...if you mis-cut the inner ring, it will need
to be properly fitted to the fuselage. Test fit before you glue!

Align the center-line/wheel mark with the fuselage seam.
Make sure the part is securely glued in place before you continue.





...
Three ringed sections make up the pointed nose of the fuselage.
Shape the tabbed ring to fit into the middle section.

Join these three parts togther before fitting the nose to the fuselage.
Its just a lot simpler this way, and you have a better chance at lining everything up.





...
Fit the assembled nose cone section to the front of the fuselage
using the tabs from the wheel well insert/
Line up the graphics as best you can.
Slight variations in the tube diameters (at this scale) will throw off the smallest of things.
Its tough to get this perfect.

Yes, its a small model with small parts.



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