Mystery Seat From 20R Sprite Hell Project Lives On In Illegal Soapbox Derby Racer

Illustration for article titled Mystery Seat From 20R Sprite Hell Project Lives On In Illegal Soapbox Derby Racer

The Illegal Soapbox Derby race was to be held in San Francisco over Halloween weekend, and four-time DOTS honoree WhatWouldJesseDo needed a driver's seat for his race car.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Mystery Seat From 20R Sprite Hell Project Lives On In Illegal Soapbox Derby Racer

Once the mandatory beer holder and ought-to-be-mandatory chain steering wheel were installed, he mentioned to me that he was thinking of using a lawn chair as a seat. Lawn chair? I happened to have something much better in my Stash-O-Useless Car Junk™: a car seat of mysterious origin that came with my 20R Sprite Hell Project.

Illustration for article titled Mystery Seat From 20R Sprite Hell Project Lives On In Illegal Soapbox Derby Racer

Since I scored some near-perfect Miata seats at the junkyard a while back, this 60s-vintage seat- which the Sprite's seller suspected might be of Volvo 544 origin- was sort of a white elephant. Take it away, Jesse!

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Mystery Seat From 20R Sprite Hell Project Lives On In Illegal Soapbox Derby Racer

Check out that all-plumbing-fitting steering mechanism! The steering wheel has about 1/8 turn lock-to-lock, so precise inputs are recommended.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Mystery Seat From 20R Sprite Hell Project Lives On In Illegal Soapbox Derby Racer

And look- Grade 8 bolts as kingpins! This machine really is all about the safety. Unfortunately, the hardware-store bearing-challenged wheels offered a bit too much rolling resistance in action, and the car tended to drag to a stop while going downhill. Wait til next year! In fact, wait a couple of weeks and you'll get to see Jesse behind the wheel of the Killer Bees MGB LeMons racer; that's right, Jesse has switched from the V8olvo to a vehicle more in keeping with the automotive philosophy of a Mini owner.

Advertisement

Here's a video of some of the cars in action:

DISCUSSION

Hey now, that's a pretty sophisticated steering linkage when it comes to unsanctioned downhill racing. Someone always has the center pivot board, or various bicycle and scooter front ends, or string wrapped around PVC. But the most insane thing I have ever seen, by far, was the guy who rode way at the tips of a pallet jack, steering with ropes tied to the handle.

Pictured above is the result of one test session where our driver was 'a little uncertain' about the steering. #soapboxderby