Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Mabaan... Dick Bear's Custom Build Number Two

With only the recent damage caused by an up close and personal encounter with the deer to be repainted on the Mcbearen I have started another custom build.  My desire to do so is the result of  taking the Mcbearen to VIR last spring and finding that although the car (not always the driver) could keep pace with most everyone negotiating the corners the 2.0 liter stock Honda K20A was no match for the bigger units at top speed down those huge straight-a-ways.  And even though it is the setting, executing and exiting corners on any closed circuit that is the most exciting and challenging part of road-racing, there is a point at which the desire to be among the others at the end of a straight is important, as well.  To accomplish this I had two choices. I could build a track car by gutting an existing vehicle or, I could custom build a track car of my own design.  Being a glutton for the work involved I chose the latter and began to build the Mabaan around the first of October.  

Naturally I wanted this one to be as unique in appear-ance as the McB had been when it first appeared on the streets of Winston-Salem nearly two years ago .... I plan to make the Mabaan a street legal vehicle as well.  As I considered several possibilities I settled on the use of a plastic model I had constructed about 20-years ago when I first came to N. Carolina.  My older brother had had some involvement with Kenny Burnstein's 1988 0r '89 Indy entry through his association with Kenny's sponsor Planters Peanuts.  I suppose that little yellow and white Lola model had been one of many promotional pieces produced by Planters for that years race and because it had never been constructed he gave it to me.  Since then it had been sitting around my studio gathering dust and in spite of the fact that it was missing one wheel I decided it would be the perfect point of departure in building my track car.

The original Lola was a monocoque so I  designed the frame from scratch since I'm not qualified nor wealthy enough to design, construct and test a replica of the monocoque. After several weeks (months) of working out the configuration of the frame I began cutting and welding the structure together with the knowledge that the little rocket will be powered by a Chevy LT1 taken from a Camaro I purchased solely for its engine.  When completed sometime this summer,  the reduced weight and increased horse power of the Mabaan over that of the McBearen should provide some exciting track days in the region.  Hopefully I'll not have to waive too many past on those long straights!

Just like the McBearen, the Mabaan will feature hand shaped aluminum body panels fitted over a conventionally constructed steel frame. And although I am trying to stay faithful to the general outward appearance of the Lola, there is no attempt on my part to create a replica of it.  The frame consists primarily of 1" x 1" square 16 gage steel tube and I anticipate the final weight (without driver) to be between 1,250 and 1,350 pounds.  It will have a wheel base of 116" long x 70" wide  with an over all length of 155" including the rear wing.

The following photographs are posted in the order they were taken. Since no explanations are necessary for the making (shaping and fitting) of panels the pics speak for themselves. 

I'm sure a question or two has crossed your mind regarding the name; Mabaan.  Names are picked sometimes for strange reasons. Many are chosen because they relate in some way to the item being christened and others have no connection at all.  Mabaan falls into that last category .... it doesn't relate to cars, racing, speed or anything like that.  It is the name of a tribe in Sudan with which my aunt and uncle (and four cousins) lived for many years and I've been fascinated by the name since I was very young. 


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