11/01/08 OK, the big events I've been talking about? - it took a long time to put in place but today our newly formed company, Palatov Motorsport LLC, officially occupied its new 4,000 square foot facility. Yes, we've secured backing from a fellow car enthusiast and are moving forward with the production dp1 as well as three other models. Details will come soon, but here ara some teaser pix:
The dp1 remains the king of the hill with over 1,000 hp/ton but other models will range as low as 400 hp/ton and down to $20K in price for a roller (minus engine). Stay tuned for many more details to come.
Much has already been done but there's a lot of work ahead. Today, however, we spent the whole day moving various pieces and cars to the shop. Of course after weeks of unseasonal sunshine we finally got heavy rain, but we did find a long-enough break in the downpour to sneak both the dp1 and the Atom to their new home.
The rest of the stuff had to be moved under less favorable conditions but we got it done. We even took delivery of our first piece of shop equipment, a Bridgeport mill. Things are definitely moving forward.
The new company will eventually have its own website - www.palatov.com - but it will take a while to get it put together. For the moment, updates will still be posted here. Wish us luck!
Setting up the shop is a lot of work but fun in a way. The new engine crane has already proven very useful in unloading a 500 lb compressor from the truck. It was a bit precarious getting it off the truckbed due to height but once on the floor it's easy to move around. Now it all needs to be set up.
The shelving is assembled now so we can get lots of miscellaneous stuff off the floor. This week the major projects are building the composites room, running power and air throughout the shop and getting the equipment set up. Still need to get a lathe and a couple of welders. Then comes the real work :)
11/12/08 An integral part of the dp1 grand plan is the 'RC car' aspect of the design - the chassis will take a very wide variety of bodies, including (eventually) a classic Mini replica and a Bugeye Sprite replica (both wth 9" wheel flares to accommodate the extra width). That is still to come but in the meantime I've been exploring alternative sports racer bodystyles. A long time ago I invited some other people to put forth proposals but it never got finished, so as the saying goes - if you really want something done, gotta do it yourself. Here are some pictures:
The standard dp1 bodywork is on the right in all the front shots. The one in the middle is 'dplite' - more on that when the time comes (think smaller and much cheaper, intended for kart tracks). The car on the opposite end is the dp1 with optional bodywork #1.
So far the response to the teaser pix I've posted has been gratifying - people tend to pick a favorite car and don't care as much for the rest, and there's no clear winner. Validates the decision to make all four. Likewise the preview pictures of the standard and alternative bodywork that I've sent to a select group of people have produced a mixed set of results. So posting the pictures here now is an outreach to a wider audience. What do YOU think? And yes, there's a bit of Ferrari FXX influence in the new design. Although mine is about 95% cheaper and should be a good deal faster, too :)
Speaking of Ferrari, at a recent PIR event there was a very cool car - the second Ferrari ever built. A friend of a friend owns it, apparently it's been in the family for over 40 years. It was just sitting off to the side in a modest tent. And yes it gets driven on the street every now and then. I don't even want to think about what the thing is worth.
I told the owner I wanted to check out the early work of another car constructor, to which he replied that Enzo had spent quite a bit of time with Alfa's racing division prior to setting out on his own, so it's hardly amateur's work. True enough, and it shows. Something to aspire to.
11/15/08 Still setting up the shop before work can move forward on construction of the cars themselves. Currently the task at hand is the composites room - it is a way to separate the mess and fumes from the rest of the facility. Conveniently there's an exhaust fan already in the corner of the ceiling, it can be seen in the first picture below. All I need to do is install ducting and wiring. With help from Satya the box was designed and lumber ordered, then much more help from many other friends resulted in standing walls and most of the ceiling in place. Whew.
Quite a bit more remains but M and I can handle the rest by ourselves. The lift really came in handy during the build - it's good to have proper tools for the job. OK, a forklift would have been even handier but the lift worked and that's what matters. I had used the optional casters just once in the past seven years but it turns out I got them for a reason afterall. Makes the lift useful for this stuff.
I had made the decision to go with 10' walls. A bit on the tall side but should give plenty of room to work on both current and future projects. It's a nice view from the top on the rest of the shop. I can see myself sitting up there contemplating things on a regular basis. Overall composites room size is 20' X 24' X 10', basically a generous two-car garage. Ought to be plenty.
So progress is being made but I'm looking forward to having the shop operational and focusing primarily on the cars. Soon.
11/18/08 The Hewland gearbox is finally here. It was a royal pain dealing with shipping and customs (not to mention expensive!) - thankfully M took care of all of that and the box was delivered today.
The gearbox is based on the JFR case and is a nice and compact unit weighing only about 80 lbs. It is a 5-speed sequential with reverse and was built with gearing to my specifications. The standard diff is replaced with a custom-made spool that only has an output on one side, capable of handling the torque. In first gear the peak torque at the shaft is about 1,500 lb-ft so a good deal of design work had to go into making sure the parts are up to the task.
This is the fun part when components start arriving. A whole lot of work is ahead.
12/02/08 The shop is pretty close to being set up (still working on it but we can actually use much of the equipment now). Parts for the dp1 are being made and work is progressing on the design. Concurrently I'm still working on the bodywork design for the dplite and the dp1 alternative. Quite a few people have written in response to the earlier pictures, with about an even split of preference for the original bodywork vs atlernative. Below are a few more pictures. First is the dplite (it is much smaller, lighter and cheaper than the dp1):
The altrnative dp1 bodywork I think looks pretty decent in black. Gives it the sinister apperance befitting an 850 lb machine with 500 hp :)
Here's the original bodywork for comparison:
I'm going to spend some more time tweaking both designs. The dplite body will be made first for a number of reasons. I already have an original dp1 body and mold. Also the dplite is smaller and therefore will be a less costly learning experience for making the buck, mold and body inhouse.
12/21/08 (updated 12/22) A few parts are being machined and the shop is just about set up. I do still need a lathe and a press but I can take some time getting those and look for the right machine at the right price.
It would be a bit difficult to go pick up something as substantial as a lathe right now anyway, as we've had very un-Portland-like weather lately. The hill we live on has been covered in snow. Considering that roads around the house are 10%-22% grade and the city has no snow removal equipment, we are faced with a few challenges in getting around. The Rux may be AWD but its tires are not suited for these conditions so the last couple times we left the house it was on foot.
The snow should be gone in a few days but in the meantime this is a perfect opportunity to get some of the remaining design items taken care of. And do some gratuitous renderings, of course! Click each picture for a larger version.