Zebco is not a name you normally associate with automobiles, but the fishing reel company recently threw their in-house designers, engineers and machinists into a soapbox derby contest with spectacular results. Set aside memories of the best lazy summers you ever had in your youth, avoiding chores, floating the river in a leaky boat fishing with your buddies, because rods and reels and worm guts this ain't.
The Great Sand Springs Soapbox Derby held in Sand Springs, OK, is an event used to raise money for the Sand Springs (surprise!) Civiton Club, which will renovate a park for special-needs kids. Zebco decided to go in for a pound and managed to score the fastest time through the traps, despite just missing out on a win in head-to-head racing. They may not have finished at the top of the podium this year, but that's not really the point: it is for charity, after all. We imagine they'll be back next year with a renewed fire in their belly and resin under their fingertips. We wonder how Wert would feel if we took some time for a nice fall fishing trip. Press release follows.
ZEBCO THE TRUSTED NAME IN FISHING REELS BUILDS A GRAVITY RACER TO RIVAL VOLVO. Zebco Enters The Great Sand Springs Soapbox Derby With A Stunning Example Of Technology And Ingenuity. What do you do when asked to compete in a local soapbox derby for charity? You make a car worthy of racing against the likes of the Lotus and Volvo gravity cars. Zebco the maker of America’s Favorite Fishing Reel the Zebco 33, called in the troops to design, and build an example of the technologies going into their Quantum, and Fin-Nor lines of fishing reels all after hours and on weekends. The team building the car named themselves the Zebco Skunkworks since the project was kept quiet from the public and race officials until the car was ready for the race. “This unique vehicle is constructed using a combination of cutting edge design, manufacturing and materials. “The number 63 car began life as a computer generated model developed using Pro Engineer software. After analyzing the race rules, the direction for the vehicle was set as a body on frame design using a three wheel configuration. By measuring the driver’s height, width and vision needs a body envelop was developed. In addition, the objectives of low aerodynamic drag, and simple manufacture were established. These dimensions and specifications were then transferred to the industrial designers to shape the body. The resulting model was rapid prototyped at 1:12 scale, using an Objet Eden machine for visual reference. The files were also, transferred to a plotter. The plotted drawings gave the fabrication team a life sized set of cross sections and profiles from which to begin the body’s construction.” according to Pete Sandretto Lead Engineer on the project. Using composite materials, an extruded aluminum frame, high end recumbent bicycle wheels, and components the Zebco 63 car was deemed the fastest car at the first annual Sand Springs Soapbox Derby in Sand Springs Oklahoma by everyone who saw it race. The race, over 2 city blocks down Main Street brought out 107 cars made by everyone from engineering students to the average joe. “Zebco raised the bar on this, and next years Sand Springs Soapbox Derby. Hopefully, next year we will see some entries from the local aerospace companies in Tulsa. We put so much into this gravity racer that we would love to take on Lotus or Volvo since their cars inspired the Zebco 63 car.” commented Brad Ruprecht leader of the Zebco Skunkworks team. Official dates are being set for next years Sand Springs Soapbox Derby, however Zebco is looking for additional competitions they can compete in. There is also talk of a second car pulled from the same body molds but with improved components and an improved tubular frame.