“The work involved replacing the lower frame tubes and lower radius rod mounts, all tubing and steering rack mounts forward of the footbox bulkhead (except for the rectangular tube), and about half of the lower cross members, plus the upper cross member in the dash bulkhead, not to mention TIGing up numerous pop rivet holes (still a few left to do). The frame was also pretty twisted, so he straightened it with his frame jig as he put things back together. Quite a bit of work, and still a little more to go. At this point, Mike needed some garage space to get his Lotus 69 FB car ready for the season, so he suggested I do a cleanup of the chassis and a “test assembly” of the car to see what else might be needed in terms of additional brackets and such, in addition to removing some rust from the sheet metal bulkheads so they can be re-attached. At least the frame is strong and straight now. All brazing was done in the traditional gas-fluxing method as was used back in the day at Arch Motors. I also need to make the new radius rods and have Mike TIG the threaded “spuds” into the ends. Not a lot of work, but it all takes time. So much left to do!”
Thought I would send you an update on my progress on the RP16 restoration. I was planning to sandblast the chassis myself, however the person that is going to do the frame repair for me, Mike Henry, suggested that I use a company in Denver, Blast-Tech. They do a lot of media blasting on classic and race car chassis and, based on my conversations with them, are aware of the brazing used on British race car chassis and how to blast them without damaging the brazed joints.
As shown in the pictures, they did a super job. From what I can tell, the rust was mostly on the surface with the tubing in pretty good shape. The price, $130, was right also. They even were able to reach the difficult areas of multiple tube joints/bulkheads and cleaned them really well. A few pictures are attached.
I have also attached 2 pictures of a mockup of one of the radiator shrouds that I will use to make the molds for them (this particular one was a test piece made from scraps as it was a little narrow compared to the actual size). The chassis will go to Mike on Jan 10th, so I will have to see how long the repairs will take. He does super work and I have a lot of confidence in him. I don’t know when I will get the car finished, likely not for the 2015 season.
Thought I would let you know how things are going with the RP16. I have not made as much progress as I had hoped. I did find quite a bit of frame damage once I got it down to the bare chassis. In addition to the damaged steering mount tubes at the front, there was a lot of damage to two of the lower tubes, not so much from rust, but just on track incidents. A few other damaged places also. The chassis does look to be pretty straight, however. This car has a hard racing life. I found a local guy, Mike Henry (races a Lotus Twin-cam Formula B) who believes he can repair the chassis for a reasonable amount of money (~$1000). I have seen his work and he is quite an artist on tube frame chassis, both with Tig welding and the silver bronze brazing used back in the day. I hope to get it to him in the next week or so.
I also pulled apart the rear uprights and found one bastardized stub axle that has to be replaced. The other is not in the best shape either. I am looking into converting the rear stub axles and drive shafts to CV joints for both the inboard and outboard since I have to have new drive shafts anyway. There is a guy in the club that has done the same mod to an 1972 Elden MK10 Prototype as he kept breaking driveshafts and RMVR still lets him run vintage. Since Carroll Smith voices serious technical and safety concerns about running CVs and u-joints on the same axle (when articulated, they move at different rotational velocities), the conversion would be a safety improvement.
Everything else is ongoing, just a bit slow. I’m currently working on the foam molds for the radiator shrouds and tearing down the Hewland to see what kind of shape it is in. There was a lot of wear on the bushing, where the shift lever comes out of the gearbox, so lots of gear oil likely leaked there, although the previous owner tried to fix it with boatloads of silicone sealant. Hope internals aren’t overheated and damaged.
I have attached some pictures of the radiator mockups and some initial templates I have on the tops of the radiator shrouds. The templates were traced from original RP16-38 bodywork by another owner/racer in Austin, Texas. You can also see that I have stripped the paint off of the body down to a very heavy layer of filler and begun to cut/modify the old body. The filler has cracked pretty badly due to cracks in the black gelcoat underneath, so I will remove most of it and fill/reinforce the cracks in the gelcoat. In the two series of radiator mockups attached, you can see the difference in orientation between the stock radiator inclined angle (~36 deg) and a revised angle of ~41 deg. I actually like the 36 degree better as it lowers the CG of the radiator package by an inch or two, although it may not cool as well as the more upright 41 degree configuration. My thoughts right now are to go with the stock angle first and if I have cooling problems, try the more upright angle. All subject to change of course!
Lowell has updated his progress of restoring the RP-16 he got from me.
“I’ve made contacts with quite a few Royale RP16 owners/racers and prior owners/racers as well as Alan Cornock in the UK who took over Royale from Bob King, and Chris Shoemaker of RoyaleracingLLC in Pennsylvania. After spending a bit of time trying to track down the chassis number, I believe it to be either #19, or #20 based on several factors, including the gearbox delivery date to Royale as received from Hewland (Feb 6, 1973), the date of manufacture of these two chassis (Feb 1973), and the fact that these two chassis were exported to Dick Schmer (now deceased) of Ft. Collins, Colorado, as this chassis started its racing life here based on the roll bar stamp of “008-152.” SCCA has no record of early roll bar numbers issued, so they were no help. One or both of these cars also had a shifter modification, where the shift linkage from a Lola was adapted and it looks like my chassis also has this mod. Another former racer sent me a couple of pictures of “RP16s racing here in Colorado from back in the day,” and both have relocated radiators and cut-off bodywork, similar to mine. There is another fellow, John Barker, who also used to race and race-prep cars in the Denver area through a company called Performance Racing Developments, that is still looking for a file folder he says might provide some added information. With the early 1973 date of manufacture, the car would be a RP16, as the RP16A did not begin production until 1974 based on the book, “No Place to Hide, The Story of Royale Racing Cars,” by Paul Lawrence – a great read that really gives a lot of detailed insight into the Formula Ford Manufacturing and racing scene during the heyday of the 1970’s.
I have also received a great deal of documentation that was used to get the RP16s accepted by Monoposto Racing as “historic FFs,” confirming the RP16’s made in 1973 were the same models as the ones made in 1972, should that come into question with RMVR. Bob Alder seemed to think that all should be ok and indicated it would be my choice as to whether to run as FF historic, or CF.
As far as the driveshafts and radiators go, I could get these made in the UK through Alan Cornock, or fabricated here in the US. An RP16 racer, John Allen (posts on ApexSpeed) in the Tacoma, WA area, has a race fabricator that says he can likely make the driveshafts for about $200 each, given the parts I have. That doesn’t sound too bad, as I have been unable to find what the correct end yokes should be. As far as the radiators go, I have dimensions for the originals and should be able to get these made in aluminum for around $300 each. I will get an exact quote in January. I’ve also received some recommendations from other racers regarding the plumbing and swirl pot changes that seem to really make a difference in cooling.
Given the information I have, my plan is to make the bodywork parts to shroud the radiators myself. On another note, I also will need to make a bottom mid-section out of fiberglass as the original cars had. This car had the lower mid-bodywork and undertray replaced. It looks like they bonded the undertray to the chassis with silicone rubber in addition to the rivits, so maybe the rust will not be too bad at that juncture. The lower mid-section is a “U” shaped piece that runs from around the front bulkhead to the roll bar bulkhead.
Upon further inspection of the chassis, I found another bent tube on the driver’s left side that looks like a result of being “t-boned.” The bend is not too bad, but will require some repair. I should get the frame stripped soon and will take it to J. D. McDermott’s shop, Front Range Motorsports, in Aurora, CO to see what he will charge to get it in good shape.”
From Lowell D after he got the car home to Colorado Springs , CO.
“Also checked on the roll-bar stamp, 008-152. SCCA region 8 is supposed to be the Colorado region, so it appears the car initially started racing here in Colorado.
Found out some interesting information on the engine in the RP 16. I googled the casting number, 831C 6015 R34, and it appears that it is an uprated engine, from a South African “Sierra.” Although most of these blocks were cast with an “AX” on them, some were not. Supposed to have been produced after the 711 series block and weighing about 10 lb more. Used quite a bit in British Formula Fords and supposed to have the HD maincaps. ”
Keep up the good work Lowell
The 1972 Royale RP-16 has been sold to Lowell D of Colorado Springs CO. He intends to restore the car and take it racing at RMVR events in the Colorado area. Good Luck Lowell.