Car Design and Tuning Books

If you are going to try to design your own car you will need to get some academics behind you unless you want to repeat every mistake ever made, and/or end up very disappointed.

Recommended Books:

Competition Car Composites: A Practical Handbook, Simon McBeath, 2000
Excellent coverage of composite construction techniques for the small (home) shop. No magic solutions, just solid information

Build Your Own Sports Car For as Little as £250, and Race It!
, Ron Champion, 2000
“The Book” that started the “Locost” community. Well written, but has many errors. Don’t attempt to build from this book alone.

Carroll Smith’ Nuts, Bolts, Fasteners and Plumbing Handbook
, Carroll Smith, 1990
This is an excellent subject that is mostly ignored by people working on machines. Sound engineering principles and lots of data. While some of the information about vendors is out of date, the basic information is invaluable.
How To Build a Cheap Sports Car, Keith Tanner, 2005 Excellent book by a recognized Miata expert. This book is a great complement to the Champion Book.

Competition Car Suspension Design Construction and Tuning, Allan Staniforth, 1999
Good coverage of suspension tuning, not as much design information as I would like, but this deserves a place on the bookshelf of anyone who wants to build their own car.

Engineer to Win, Understanding Race Car Dynamics, Carroll Smith, 1984
Good broad coverage but if you have to choose between this and ‘Nuts Bolts and Fasteners’, get NBF .


The Effects of Chassis Flexibility on Roll Stiffness of a Winston Cup Race Car, Thompson et. al., SAE 983051
Excellent discussion on chassis optimization including hard numbers on what NASCAR chassis’ actually achieve
Design of a Winston Cup Chassis for Torsional Stiffness, Thompson et. al., SAE 983053
Similar to the paper above but interesting structural ideas and shows how some counter intuitive changes can make significant improvements
Using a CAD Program to Analyze Your Suspension, Mike Polan, 2004
Good explanations of how to make basic suspension calculations, like roll center, using a CAD program.

Web Articles:

Automobile Ride, Handling, and Suspension Design, With Implications for Low-Mass Vehicles, Robert Q. Riley

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