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.
- 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 While some of the information about vendors is out of date, the basic information is invaluable.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.