Awright, I know there's folks here who know about this. After seeing a
1949 Ferrari 166MM on the show "Victory By Design" I wanna learn about tubular space frames. That 166MM car has a just about perfect body. The looks of the car just blew me away when it first showed up on the tv screen. The interior and the engine were also spectacular. So , I guess books should be a good starting point but what about web sites with examples. And a link to pictures of the 166MM with the body off would be great too. I've googled and haven't found any yet. So, books, web sites, museums ? Thanks, Eric R Snow, E T Precision Machine
Welcome to my secret passion. First off, the 166M (popularly known as the Barchetta [bar-ket-a], not to be confused with the more recent Ferrari of the same name) did not have a space frame. It was twin-tube. As an aside, the Barchetta is the car copied by AC of the UK and which became the AC Ace. Carrol Shelby stuffed a Ford V8 into the Ace and it became the Cobra. Then Shelby beat the Ferraris with it for the World GT Championship.
Back to the question, there is one book that is an absolute must for anyone interested in space frame car construction, _Racing & Sports Car Chassis Design_, by M. Costin and D. Phipps. I have an original copy from 1965, but I'm told it was recently reprinted. You need that book if you want to avoid going around in circles. It's still *the* book for understanding the ideas behind space frames.
Beyond that, _Chassis Engineering_ by Herb Adams, and _Race Car Chassis Design and Construction_ by Forbes Aird. I think they're both in print.
There are other chassis books but I don't know how much they talk about space frames. I have a couple of others but they're mostly about monocoque and other types.
There also is a welding book that specifically talks about welding space frames, _Performance Welding_ by Richard Finch. It's pretty good. Ignore what he says about brazing 4130. He's wrong about that.
Web sites? About Ferraris or space frames? 'Lots about Ferraris. Little about space frames. I've looked.
Regarding racing frame history, here's a short sequence: 1) Ladder-type frames. 2) Twin-tube frames. 3) Multi-tube frames (Cooper). 4) Space frames (1948 Cisitalia; 1952 Lotus and Mercedes-Benz). 5) Semi-monocoque. 6) Monocoque ("tubs").
That will keep you oriented. It's all explained in Costin & Phipps' book. Have fun.
An interesting aside, during the crazy inflation years of late 80's and early 90's when prices went through the roof for all sorts of classic cars, people were selling Ferrari engines for over 1 million each depending on the vintage- also chassis, bodies etc, were being sold or re-made to resemble certain valuable vintage models. It did not take long before some enterprising types realized that you could actually duplicate the engines as well as chassis from the castings up for 1/2 the price of a real one. Counterfeits flooded the market in the entire spectrum of classics until the price fell to more realistic levels. There were 2 guys in England involved in a lengthy legal battle over a Le Mans vintage Aston Martin. The original car had been wrecked during the race and subsequently scrapped. One guy ended up with the engine block and another guy came across part of the original chassis. Both guys had complete replicas built around the small parts they had and then were trying to peddle them both as the "original"
They may have said it. They may not know exactly what a "space frame" is. Don't be surprised, even some serious car historians can't tell a space frame from a henhouse.
Ferrari and Maserati used twin-tube frames until well after their time was passed. I don't think Ferrari made a space frame until the late '50s. The same is true of several other major makes that won races anyway. It's a complicated story, the interaction of chassis design, engine power, tires, and suspension. It was clear by 1952 that space frames were superior but tires and suspensions weren't yet up to the job of exploiting the extra stiffness. The Cobra, even in 427 form and into the late '80s, was winning races with a twin-tube chassis.
In the case of old Ferraris, some people get confused because there is a lot of small structural tubing under the hood. But the "structure" is body framing, not the car chassis. It doesn't support the major weights (engine, trans, passengers, fuel tank) and it isn't tied to the suspension. It just stiffens the body and connects it to the chassis. Thus, it's not part of the chassis structure.
Chassis pics of most cars are hard to come by. I have some, including an Elva Courier which many people said was a space frame, back when I did a little racing. When you look at the naked chassis, you realize it isn't so. It's actually a very flimsy twin-tube with some body framing tacked on.
Someone gave me a coffee-table book as a present, _Inside 100 Great Cars_, by David Hodges, which is the best collection of chassis cut-away drawings I've ever seen. If you can find it, you might want to get one of those. The oldest Ferrari it shows is a 250 GTO, which is a fully triangulated space frame.
BTW, the drawing you really want to see is the Maserati Tipo 60/61. They didn't call it the "Birdcage" for nothing.
Look at this and drool:
Those chassis photos, BTW, are of a multi-tube chassis almost trying to be a space frame, but not quite making it. Ferrari just didn't have advanced chassis until the 1960s.
The mark of a true space frame is that all structural tubes are straight, and all loads are resolved at tube-end joints, with the overall structure fully triangulated in three dimensions. If you see a tube connecting mid-span along another tube, chances are it's not a space frame (although it could be; further discussion is necessary). If you see a pair of trussed-girders on the sides of a car, but with no triangulation across the chassis that resists front-to-rear torsion loads, it's not a true space frame. Likewise, if you see a bent tube and it's structural, the frame is not a space frame (Coopers were built like that). The Cobra Daytona Coupe has a number of bent tubes, for example, but they are not structural as far as I can tell from photos.
He says that brazing 4130 can crack it. I did a real research job on it and found that no one agrees with him, including the old author of _The Brazing Book_, who did brazing research for 4130 aircraft frames during WWII, and, more recently, some high-quality custom bicycle builders who bronze-braze
4130 all the time.
There was some speculation by those experts about where he may have gotten the idea, but I forget exactly what it is. I tried to contact him through his publisher about it but I never heard back from him.
That's what several people have said. I remember now what the speculation was: Someone said that if he grossly overheated the joint, it could be weakened by intergranular pentration. The speculation was that 4130 may be somewhat sensitive to it, but no one reported that problem from actual experience.
Amazon lists "used & new from $148.95" then lists only five used ones.
I remember having it at one time. I may have given it to a friend who was building a wood-bodied sportscar. He was using thin strips of veneer laminated with epoxy to form curved surfaces, same principle as Howard Hughes "Spruce Goose".
I still have Philip H. Smith's Design and Tuning of Competition Engines. Revised edition 1957