When we started the Formula Ford restoration project, we quickly decided that the current engine cover was unusable due to being excessively heavy and the unsuccessful alterations made to accommodate the relocated air filter.
Therefore the decision was made to make a new engine cover out of glass fibre reinforced resin using an existing mold that we planned to modified. After the minor modifications to the nose cone, it was thought that the engine cover would be a similar task. However we were more than surprised by the amount of work that it required to get it to the state it is in today.
Initially the mold was modified by adding a piece of supported mdf to made the mold shallow and effectively bring down the height of the pattern (to allow for recovery access to the roll hoop in case of an accident). Unfortunately this plan did not work as the weight of the glass fibre matting and resin while being laid up, caused the mdf to bow and set in an irregular shape.
When the engine cover was placed on top of the chassis, it was apparent that certain sections did not have adequate clearance. This resulted in the offending sections being cut and the cover made to fit. Replacement sections were made from the mold and flat panels and merged together (plenty of resin).
The majority of time created this new engine cover was spent either filling or sanding. This was to ensure that the top was perfectly flat, sections met without a seam and all imperfections were removed. The filler was applied in thin layers and heavily sanded to keep the weight to a minimum and strength high.
Unfortunately it is still waiting for it’s final coat of white paint to match the rest of the freshly painted body panels, but will hopefully in the near future be either used on the car or as a pattern to create a mold for future engine covers.
The restoration work on the Formula Ford began over a year ago in September. Some of the most heavily damaged areas that required a large amount of attention were the nose cone and impact attenuator. These had suffered numerous impacts and collisions from when the car was previously in operation on track. As a number of attempts at repair using copious amounts of filler were evidently not effective, we decided to remove the damaged sections and replace them with new glass fibre.
Since September, a group of us have been in the process of restoring a 1600cc Formula Ford Kent which is owned and run by our former course leader’s company Speed Factor.
The Restoration work was initally started by students of the formula student team UWE Racing and was carried out in their free time. Unfortunately this was not enough to complete the work required and so the car was moved to our garage for a complete overhaul of all of the body panels and preparation ready for racing.
The majority of the panels needed minor adjustments and repairs to ensure correct fitment and minimal bodywork gaps as the car had previously acquired damage when last on track.
The nose cone had taken its fair share of abuse and had been repaired numerous times but not always with care! We decided that this needed all the previous attempts as repairing ( copious amounts of filler applied haphazardly) to be removed and instead sections replaced with new glass fibre.
The existing engine cover ( not in great shape) was deemed unusable as the air filter had been relocated to behind the driver’s head instead of the side port and alterations were required inline with the Formula Ford Kent regulations in order for the car to compete at race tracks such as Castle Combe. The decision was made to make a new engine cover out of glass fibre reinforced resin using an existing mold that we modified.
The engine required rebuilding as two of the valves had collided with the pistons and caused damage to the cylinder head. The work is currently being performed by Speed Factor and we are eagerly waiting on news that the car is yet again running.
Over the next few weeks we will post about the restoration and race preperation work that we accomplished including engine cover and nose cone fabrication, spraying and detailing and general maintainance. Hopefully the work over the past few months will cluminate in the car being tested on a track day soon and being entered in a championship in the near future.