TQ Midget Racer Build.
Series describing the assembly of a replica 1950s Midget Racing Car
TQ Midget Project - The Stuchamp Special
This is a project about building a 50's style TQ Midget. TQ stands for
three-quarter, which means the car is 3/4 the size of a full size midget
which would normally run an Offy 4-cylinder or a Ford 60 flathead V8.
Full-sized midgets would have a wheelbase of 72 - 76 inches, the TQ's use a
wheelbase of 54 - 66 inches.
This car is actually a downsized fiberglass replica of the famed Kurtis
Kraft midgets that were built in California in the 40's. Since it is
basically a new car it has no race history. The basic car was built in
Rushville Indiana USA by Ray Leisure and Russ Hankins in 2002
The frame is new chrome-moly tubing and is a close copy to the Kurtis style.
It uses a torsion bar rear suspension and a leaf spring in the front. The
car has a complete Crosley drive train from the 44 c.i. engine, clutch,
3-speed trans, enclosed driveshaft, and a locked rear end with 5.17 gears.
This car also has an onboard starter. The body panels, nose, cowling, and
tail are fiberglass. The grille is a Kurtis copy made of cast aluminum. The
two-piece belly pan and hood were made from sheet aluminum.
The specs for this TQ is as follows. The wheelbase is 64 inches, the
overall length is 8 feet - 6 inches, width at the cockpit is 20 inches, the
height at the tail is 38 inches, and the tread width is about 42 inches.
My history with this car started on Ebay. I had been looking at vintage
midgets and front engines dragsters for a new project. While I was mostly
looking to buy a full-size midget, this little jewel in the rough showed up
on ebay. After one look I knew I had to have this car.
The TQ was originally listed in July or August of 2003. It had a fair
starting price, but with a higher reserve price. The car also was located in
Ohio, which is a good long drive from my location. I really wanted the car,
so I bid on it, but less than the reserve. The car didn't sell, so I
e-mailed the owner to see if we could agree on a price. We came close, but
without the means of transporting it and length of travel, I decided not to
buy it. I then found an old aluminum body TQ midget only 100 miles from
home. It was in rough condition, but had lots of spare parts. It was priced
too high, so I returned home to think about it. I then decided that I
wanted it, but when I called, it had been sold ! It was the old case of "if
you snooze, you lose" !
So now I was back on the internet, checking for more old midgets when I was
again checking Ebay. Well lo and behold, the little TQ from Ohio was back
on ebay. The seller had relisted it with a much lower starting bid and no
reserve. I jumped in with a bid right away and after waiting for a week and
to my surprise I ended up being the high and only bidder. I contacted the
seller by phone and made arrangements for paying and picking up the car.
Thanks to a very good friend who volunteered the use of one of his trucks,
we were off to Ohio and 3 days later we were back home with the little TQ.
Anyway, back to working on the project which I have named the "Stuchamp
Special"! Stuchamp is not my name, but a handle I use on the internet. I
also own a 1942 Studebaker Champion, so the name was derived from the '42.
Hopefully someday, the TQ will be towed by the Studebaker (Studie).
As you see the car is mostly complete, but lacks steering, brakes, wiring,
fuel system, radiator, exhaust, paint & upholstery and a few other items.
The gentleman seller from Ohio did give me a radiator, a modified Ross
steering gear, a stainless exhaust pipe, and a vintage racing seat with the
car. All which will need to be installed except for seat. The seat really
doesn't fit the car, so we'll have classic midget upholstery installed later
in the project.
Our first job of the project will be fabricating the firewall, which we'll
show in the next installment. In the future we'll be fabricating the mounts
to hold the steering gear in place, making a steering arm and linkage,
installing the brakes and linkage, the dash, and all the other things needed
to completed the project. We'll also be adding new polished wheels & tires
We hope you all will check back later to see how the TQ progresses.
By the way, this car will not be raced, though it could be driven in
vintages races, but will be put on display at local car shows and such,
hopefully in 2005.
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