GT40 Driving Impressions

My son and I washed and waxed the car today and then took it to the gas station to get gas. Since the gauges are not operative, we weren't sure how much we had. We filled both tanks and it took 3 gallons.

Feeling confident, we entered the freeway and accelerated with traffic. Merging is very difficult with a RHD car because of the lack of visibility. A passenger really helps as the mirrors are useless.

The car is very stable and smooth at highway speeds. No darting or tracking even though I have the AVON race tires. The suspension is stiff, but this is a race car and not a Cadillac. Dtiff, but not harsh. Steering is quick and predictable. There is no leaning or roll even with hard turns at moderate speeds. In fact, it tracks like a slot car.

As cars come along side, it's nearly impossible to see them and make eye contact. This is important to make sure they see you. Pickup trucks and SUVs are even worse. All I see is their door handle from the sides, or their undercarriage if I'm behind them. Again, a passenger is great to help with watching other cars.

We got many waves and thumbs up as we drove. We went past a school that was having soccer games. As we drove by at around 4000 RPM's all the parents turned to see us. We went around the block and past them again. The car is not loud inside but it does get warm. We hooked up the NACA vents this afternoon which should help some. AC is a must with this car.

Steering the car at slow speeds or in a turn is light and easy. I was expecting it to be hard like my Roadster. But it felt almost like power steering. Probably because the engine is in the rear.

The only downside is the turning radius. I wish it was tighter. Making a turn in an intersection requires having to back up and turn some more.

Getting in and out is getting easier the more I do it. Having a removable steering wheel is essential for old farts like me. My son, who is 6'1" and weighs a whopping 138# jumps in easily.

Inside, the cockpit is tight and not as comfortable as the Cobra. Probably similar to a Coupe. It can even feel claustrophobic because the windows don't roll down. Still it's an incredible experience.

I am still somewhat nervous driving the car. I'm sure it will get easier with more seat time.

All in all, it was a good day
 

Chuck

Supporter
Congrats Bill!

Makes all the work and effort worth it . . . . . agree?

Look forward to some more driving impressions. Maybe some video?

Chuck
 
Congrats Bill. Glad you had a good first long drive. It's a unique and wonderful driving experience.

Your turning circle seems longer than may be necessary (if you need need to do a three point in intersections - that could get really old). Do you have some steering stops installed/set? Perhaps too conservatve with the stops?

Yes, it'll get easier to drive with familiarity. Again, congrats!
 
Hi Bill.
My car is similar to yours(14" wide rear wheels & RHD).
I'm very glad I specified RHD: I became accustomed to it very quickly, it really does help out on the track, and it always feels like you're driving something really special-even after you've driven your GT40 a lot(like I have).
I think you'll find with experience that you CAN see all around you-you'll be surprised at how much you can see by turning your head and looking through the back window in a Mk1 body car like you and I have.
Don't worry, with experience you will get comfortable in your car and driving in traffic will cease to be daunting.
Congratulations on getting your car on the road!

Jack
 
Bill, nice to hear that you got the 40 on the road. I was wondering, could it be that the front tire size you are running is affecting your steering radius? I figured that if your tires are real wide up front and tall this could be the problem. I wonder if others are experiencing this?
 
Bill,
So glad to hear that you got your first long drive in today. Reading about your trials and tribulations made me really feel for you. Glad it went so well. I am sure that there will be a few more little hiccups as you get the bugs worked out (there always are). At least with a good drive under your belt you will have the motivation to work through them and realize that the light at the end of the tunnel isn't a freight train.

Congrats and enjoy,
Don
 
Bill, nice to hear that you got the 40 on the road. I was wondering, could it be that the front tire size you are running is affecting your steering radius? I figured that if your tires are real wide up front and tall this could be the problem. I wonder if others are experiencing this?
No. I checked the turning radius when I had the car apart. I considered sending it back to the manufacturer to see if it could be modified. Lack of time and money shot that idea down
 

Chuck

Supporter
Bill: The steering arms on my car have two holes. If one uses the aft hole it tightens up the turning radius making it manageable. Is yours configured the same?
 

Bill Musarra

Supporter
Bill,
Congratulations on getting the power to the ground. Most people with limited visibility cars don't have the mirrors set properly. It takes two people to set a car if you don't have power mirrors. If you have a central mirror it will help also. I did this on my Lotus Turbo Esprit after I had a wreck trying to judge how close a car was in the adjacent lane years ago. Here is how I set mine.
Sitting in the drivers seat, lean your head over as far as you can comfortably toward the door(If you hit the window that is O K). Looking into the mirror, set or have your helper set the mirror so that the inside edge of the mirror is set to the edge of the body panel. Do the same for the passenger side. Try to keep your body upright in the seat when doing both sides.(As we get older, our necks seem to not function as well as they did when younger) Once set, look at the mirrors on both sides. They will appear to be looking way to the side of the road rather than the edge of the body panel. They are supposed to. Have your helper simulate a car coming up from behind and then pulling out to pass you. As he leaves the field of view of the central mirror, he will magically appear in the side mirror. ANY car that is seen in the side mirror is now a car you can not move into their lane. They will be at or beside your rear panel if you see them in the side mirror. I know the visibility out the back is virtually non existent, but if you try this on your daily driver, you will get used to it. If you have one of those distorted mirrors(objects in mirror are closer than you think type), this won't help. They will still be closer than you think!!
I use this in my truck as well, and wouldn't think of doing it any other way.You will need this technique if you are driving alone. You might want to consider one of those $99 rear view cameras. It uses a fish eye lens so you won't be able to judge distance, but it will do two things for you. 1. It will let you know if someone is right behind you, and 2. It will help you in any situation that requires backing up. Most of them use a license plate mount, but you can put them anywhere. I would suggest higher for a better field of view.
Now get out there and learn that new car!!

Bill
 

Ian Anderson

Lifetime Supporter
Supporter
Bill

Congratulations

Yes I agree that setting the mirrors helps a lot - additional blind spot mirrors are also useful fitted to the front of the door in the inside doorframe space.

nother thing I do just to ensure nobody is in the "blind spot" -following around the back quarter is to indicate to change lane and then give it a bootful of accelerator - thereby leaving anyone in that space behind and allowing you to move into the clear space. (It also sonnd good too!)

IAn
 
Chuck-
Not sure what you mean. where are the holes?

Bill-
Thanks for the tip. My son and I will try to set the mirrors tonight. I might also add a rear view mirror to the windshield
 
Bill,
Congrats on the drive. I have watched your build from the start. I am inspired about what you and others have completed and I look forward to hearing more as you roll on.
Garry
 

Randy V

Staff member
Admin
Lifetime Supporter
FANTASTIC news Bill!!!!

I am so happy to hear that you are actually getting some time to bond with your GT in a POSITIVE way now!!! :rockonsmile: :thumbsup: :pepper: :pepper: :thumbsup: :rockonsmile:

I won't say I told you so about RHD in a LHD country like USA - but... :D
 
Thanks guys. I feel like the monkey is off my back finally!

Chuck. Good picture. My steering arm has only one hole. Did yours come that way or did you drill it out?
 

Chuck

Supporter
Bill:

It came with two holes. I did not modify it. You may want to give Fran a call. I am guessing it would be an easy swap. (A lot easier than drilling another tapered hole!)
 
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