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Prepared for the New Jersey Chapter's 2002 Pinewood Derby event, this is my Pinewood E30 M3.
The center grille is formed from orthodontic wire, the twin tailpipes from small brass tubing. The rear wing was fashioned from denture repair acrylic. The roof graphic is made from those VFW stickers you get in the mail along with address labels. The license plate reads "Li'l M".
The low beams are actually white LEDs, and yes, they work! A 3 v photo battery powers the lights, which resemble ellipsoid headlamps! A battery holder was fashioned in the space behind the front grill, and the battery is placed prior to the event. The battery will light the LEDs for several hours.
The main feature in making a wood model that looks like a real car is to have a full-width block with realistic wheel openings in the fenders. This can be greatly simplified by pre-cutting the side pieces. Start with a piece of 1x2, and mark the axle centers. Using these as centers, bore two holes with a hole saw, each 1 3/16" in diameter. These will just clear the Pinewood wheels. This piece can now be sectioned lengthwise to form side pieces with wheel openings. An extra top piece will be needed to form the greenhouse. For the Pinewood wheels to be in true scale to the model, they would have to be smaller. Since it is not feasible to make the wheels smaller, the wheel openings may be somewhat oversize for the car. Hey, this is Pinewood Derby, not a true scale model contest.
It helps to have a scale side view photo of the car you are modeling to aid in scribing the outline onto the wood block. The shaping process can now begin, using mostly hand tools. Coarse files and sandpaper wrapped around wood blocks come in handy.
The weight of such a model could well exceed the Pinewood limit of 5 ounces unless a great deal of wood is removed. In this case, wood is removed with a drill-mounted rotary rasp from the inside of the block, resulting in a nearly hollow wooden car. Does all this make it go faster? No, but it is a lot more fun!
Last Modified November 10, 2002