Thunder Races


Here are a few pictures of our Thunder Races exploits. All the pictures were taken by John Sleath, a member of out team.

I will give you the full story later.

Our task was to convert a small front wheel drive car to a high powered rear drive machine, then race around a 5 mile off road rally cross style course against two other teams. The car had to be built in two days for £800. We had to buy everything we required from the local area, from scrap yards, steel stockist etc. There were no big blocks under bails of straw on the farm we were based at!

The technical guy was suggesting we put a large V8 in the front, cut out a transmission tunnel, weld in a new one and add rear suspension from a car like a Sierra, in two days. We knew this would be very difficult so we planned another approach. We were going to get a large engined front wheel drive car (first choice being a Renault V6, then a Saab turbo, both with inline engines and a transaxle) and cut out the whole engine bay with suspension, engine and gearbox. We would then cut a big hole in the back of our front drive car and weld the engine bay in place. An automatic gearbox would simplify matters.

We would also drive the car in the scrapyard so we knew we were getting a good one.

One of the other teams has a website detailing the building of their V8 Micra HERE

What The Program Did Not Show:-

We returned from the trip to the scrap yard three hours before the other teams.

We got our car finished and were ready to race a couple of hours before we had to stop building.

The other teams cars were not in a state to race (no trans tunnels, seats not fixed in etc) when we had to stop building.

The other teams were allowed to take their cars home and finish them in the week between the building and the race. Our car raced as we had built it.


The Fiat Uno, our small front drive car. It was complete and the only rust was at the rear
where were cutting out.


The remains of the Saab that provided the engine. Due to lack of time we could only get to one yard
and the only suitable car was a twin carb (non turbo) automatic. But it had points ignition and drove.

The Saab engine in the back of the Fiat. We were supplied with a basic over head loop of a cage,
but added much more. The engine bay and Fiat were welded where they touched.


Front view of the Saab engine in the Fiat. The floor of the engine bay tied in nicely with the base
of the rear seat crossmember. The water pipes run down the centre of the car.


Left to right, John Beardmore, Robin Beardmore, Mid engined Saab powered Uno and John Sleath.
The paint job was expertly sprayed by Robin.


The red teams V6 Fiesta, Sapphire front suspension and Sierra rear.

The blue teams Rover V8 Micra, with Sierra rear suspension.

More details of the Micra can be found HERE