Chuck and Ryan's RCR Build

I found that if you are using a ban saw with a metal cutting blade, that the speed needs to be up, not down. Once the blade starts cutting then it actually melts the stainless and you can proceed rather quickly with not sacrificing the blade. I went through an entire sheet of stainless with only one blade years ago when I was making high mileage carburators.



Moon Buggy

Ryan will graduate a couple of weeks from now with a degree in mechanical engineering. But before he graduates he must complete his senior design project. Ryan is president of the Moon Buggy team. The project.

Think four wheel human powered ATV.

Is it okay to mention this project on our GT 40 build blog? Since a lot of what he learned building the GT influenced the buggy, I see a correlation. So just for fun some details will follow.

Ryan started designing the project about a year ago using the Pro Engineer software. Once the chassis and suspension were designed one could view the images in three dimensions, rotating them on screen. Moving assemblies, like the suspension, could be moved on screen through their ranges of travel, revealing any conflicts. I found it amazing that once construction began the components looked exactly like they did on the computer screen and fit remarkably well without conflicts.

The chassis and all related components were built from Chromalloy steel. The size and thickness was dictated by data from a structural analysis – using the computer modeling. (ANSYS Workbench). A jig board was made with moveable sections so all major components could be precisely build per the computer design. All joints were tig welded. Ryan spent countless hours welding over the last six months (and a half dozen tanks of argon to prove it).

The suspension was designed to have minimal bump steer, adjustable heim joints for camber and caster, appropriate roll center and appropriate Ackerman. Maximum suspension travel was incorporated, since this is an 'off road' vehicle. It tracks remarkably well.

The shocks are mounted inboard and have rocker arms with connecting rods joining them to the lower A arms. 7.5 inches of wheel travel translates to 2.5 inches of shock travel.

Splined half shafts transmit power from the differential to the wheels (like the GT). The uprights were fabricated on a jig to assure uniformity and box construction used for strength and minimal weight.

Close attention was paid to construction techniques referencing Carroll Smith's books. Rod ends were not used in single shear. All fasteners were either wire tied, nyloc nut, or Lock Tite to keep them secure.

Here is the tricky part. In an effort to simulate the original moon buggy (currently parked 250,000 miles away), this project must fold into a four foot square cube (just like the original). The chassis has a pivot in the center and both the seat backs and pedal supports fold.

The rules require a 'simulated control panel.' Ryan elected to use an I Phone with a speed application for that purpose, inspired by the control panel in Fran's Cadillac roadster.

On Friday and Saturday, April 26 and 27, Ryan and the other team members will trailer the moon buggy to Huntsville, AL for the international competition. There will be two competitions: best engineered buggy and fastest around the course. About 100 teams will be present from all over the world (the German team usually has a strong entry).

So what does this have to do with the GT 40? It explains why we have not done anything on the GT for a several months.


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RCR GT 40 Gulf Livery 347 Eight Stack injection
Huntsville, Al., that is 70 miles from me. :thumbsup:
What building or location? Time? I may go and check it out.

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Huntsville, Al., that is 70 miles from me. :thumbsup:
What building or location? Time? I may go and check it out.


The event is at the NASA facility. The timed events start Thursday morning around 0730 until late afternoon and resume on Saturday. The entrants will have their moon buggys on display. You should have no trouble locating the SIU display.

Stacy David (Gears) was there two years ago. Gears just ran an episode about this event a month ago.

If you visit be sure to introduce yourself to Ryan. I will also be around as a spectator. Would be great to meet!



To follow up on above post, can't say what building. The course is set up outdoors and I expect the 100 or so entrants will cover a lot of ground. Should be easy to find. Check you PM


Lifetime Supporter
Great looking project! If you recall I am in Huntsville Al and I can see the Space and Rocket Center and NASA from my office window.
If there is any way I can be of assistance to Ryan and his crew while they are here please let me know.
PM sent.


Moon Buggy Results

The Twentieth Anniversary Moon Buggy Competition ended Saturday evening. There were 90 teams from around the world, including Russia, Germany, India, Puerto Rico, and throughout the United States

There were half dozen awards handed out at the end of the two day event in various categories, but the most coveted is the award for the most innovative and best executed design.

To my knowledge SIU has never received any award of any significance in the years it has been participating in this event. Until now.

The SIU team came home with the Design Award.


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Congratulations to Ryan and the team! Great design that was very well executed. Those design, fabrication, and welding skills that Ryan has acquired while working with you on the GT40, the other project cars, and this school project will serve him well. Too many graduating engineers have zero real world experience in building their designs. It will clearly differentiate him from his peers.

Jim Rosenthal

What did I tell you?

Seriously, congratulations, Chuck, and I hope this is the beginning of a highly successful career....maybe he'll start designing race cars.



So which one is Ryan in the picture?

Tom got it. Fifth from the left back row.

During the first day race the steering bar slipped on the shaft, which was unexpected since the steering knuckle is a commercial bike part. Here is a pic of RYan with his hand on the roll over bar contemplating a solution. It was easily fixed by simply drilling a hole and pinning it. The second day the steering worked flawlessly.

But the second day the chain jumped costing about a minute and a half to get it back on the gear. Nonethless SIU finished with a tie for seventh place. But for the chain jumping it would have finished first or second. This buggy was incredibly fast going over the obstacles as if they were not even there. The suspension design - the key - proved ideal for this event.


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Too many graduating engineers have zero real world experience in building their designs. It will clearly differentiate him from his peers.

Bill: You are so correct. One of my biggest frustrations watching this project unfold was the total lack of support from the university. I seriously doubt the faculty advisors have any real understanding of such things as bump steer, ackerman, caster, camber, angling the front wheel to facilitate climibing over bumps, etc. The faculity contributed nothing to the details of the design.

But even more frustrating was lack of any knowledge that Ryan's team mates had about going from a design to a finished product. The most basic things like setting up a jig, working with materials, fasteners, etc. is alien to nearly all of his classmates. Ryan was the only team member that knew how to weld. I suspect that not only SIU but many engineering programs should seriously consider offering real hands on training in construction techniques.


What did I tell you?

Seriously, congratulations, Chuck, and I hope this is the beginning of a highly successful career....maybe he'll start designing race cars.

Thanks Jim

Ryan did get several inquires about employment while in Huntsville, including one from a race car manufacturer in Chicago. We will see what develops. He has four interviews this week and hopes something will materialize soon.