It isn't often that a new design turns heads. But this back to the future big spring car c
I had already heard talk about some racers going back to big spring super Late Model cars from coilovers when I heard about the car Dick Anderson designed. I admit to being curious as to why anyone would revert back to the big springs. So, I made a visit to Dick's Wildwood, Fla., race shop to take a look at the car. What I discovered surprised me.
Most of the older, more experienced and wiser racers like Dick don't usually adapt too well to some of the modern techniques and trends in racing. I was amazed at the level of knowledge he had when it came to some of the more technical details we have discussed in Circle Track and that have come along over the past five years. He was right on top of it all.
Once I had a chance to inspect the car, I found that I had a lot of questions and that led me to the fact that this car was very innovative in a lot of areas. A lot of thought and development went into this design and it has performed extremely well right out of the box. It is called the Anderson Elite chassis by Port City Racing. Here are some of the areas where this car is a little different.
Front Spring Design
The springs used up front are the standard five-inch diameter. The spring pockets are of a tubular design by Harley Boeve at Port City Racing. Because some teams opt for the newer softer spring setups that will compress the springs so much, these were designed to accommodate any setup.
The use of stock lower dimensioning for the lower control arms helps with softer spring setups. The big spring moves much less than would a coilover spring. This reduces spring binding that can be a problem.
Winning is becoming a habit for Jeff Choquette in the Dick Anderson-designed #92 super Lat
One very innovative and helpful redesign was the mounting of the adjuster bolt. We all know how difficult it is to adjust our corner weights and ride heights with big spring cars. Dick designed the front adjuster bolt so that it is extended up through the upper-hoop bar and easily accessed with a half-inch ratchet or breaker bar. Small changes to the crossweight can be accomplished with no more busted knuckles.
The shocks can be removed and serviced and/or changed easily, without the need to remove the spring as you would with the coilover design. And, the spring can be removed and changed easily too, if need be.
Dick is aware of the importance of moment center location and design and on this new car, the upper control arms are slugged so that adjustments can be made. It took a lot of racers a long time to buy into the fact that MC design was critical to how the front end would work. Some never have. But in my conversations with Dick, it became apparent that he knows this subject well and incorporated MC location into the overall design parameters he knew he needed. The car builder, Port City Racing, is also on top of the MC revolution.
The ball joints he uses are of the design where you can order different length shafts to alter the heights of the ball joints, again to affect the arm angles and move the MC if needed.
Sway Bar Mount
Dick uses a one-piece sway bar, but designed improved mounts. He did this to reduce friction and to make adjustments easier. This design has the advantages of the three-piece NASCAR-style bar with the simplicity of the one-piece design.
Note the five-inch springs and the tubular lower control arm. The buckets are set lower th
Dick modified the #92 car by building longer adjuster bolts that run up through the upper-
We see the upper control arm mounts are adjustable on this standard Elite version. It is i
These unique sway bar mounts were designed by Dick for better control of the arms. They wo
Rearend Design Innovations
At the rear of the car, Dick has made some changes from the current designs. The rear supports for the fuel tank and bumper behind the rear end are removable. This facilitates quick and easy replacement at the track, if necessary. Now you can make the feature race if something should go wrong, like someone using you for brakes in practice or the heat race.
The frame in front of the removable part is well braced and built to withstand a good lick, so all of the damage is done to the replaceable part. This has a dual purpose, convenience as well as being able to build a crushable structure somewhat to absorb the energy if the car is backed into the wall helping to reduce injury to the driver.
The rear springs are mounted on top of the rearend. Dick uses the 2 1/2-inch springs with adjusters on top. So far, spring stability has not been a problem. Again, having the spring separate from the shock facilitates both spring and shock changes.
Both rear springs use jack bolt-type adjusters and on the right side of the panhard bar, there is a remote access height adjuster to fine tune the setup. So far, Dick has not had a problem with searching for the right setup. His years of experience translate into knowing exactly how to set up the car.
We won't divulge his exact setup, but it is interesting to note that this car is very fast, earning numerous poles and wins while running what we call a soft conventional setup instead of the BBSS setups everyone else is trying to make work.
The rearend Dick chose is also innovative. It is a Winter's Reverse Load design. The left side of the panhard bar is mounted solid to the rearend and is not adjustable. It is placed right where Dick wants it and the only adjustment is on the right side at the chassis. I would be willing to bet the adjuster is not used very often.
The rear fuel-cell mount is removable in Dick's car. That way, he can easily change the re
Dick has always been aware of the advantages of aero design and when looking at the way this car and its body components are put together, he has broken a lot of ground. I won't divulge too much here, but I came away with a whole new respect for how much he knows about how to utilize the air moving around his cars.
One of the reasons he has so much time to think about aero is because his cars are so dialed in that he doesn't need to thrash around at the track switching springs and shocks to find the balance, his setups are already balanced. Once you find what your car needs, there is very little that needs to be done week to week and even track to track as far as spring layout and shocks are concerned.
There are areas within the rules package where you can tweak the aero on these cars and make a difference in increasing downforce and reducing drag. Some you might be able to see, some you might not. But his efforts should be a lesson to us all to be always looking to improve the overall package on our cars.
We want to thank Dick for allowing us to visit and write about this very innovative design. It isn't every day we are able to find a car designer who is so open to discussing the details of his cars. After all, innovation is what racing is all about. Knowing his history of winning, longevity and status as a legend, it all seems to make sense. I think the more we listen to the more mature racers among us, the better off we all are.
This close-up shows the plate where the rear framework is bolted to the rear clip. This de
The right side of the panhard bar is adjustable with a screw slider mechanism. The left si
Dick calls this Winter's rearend a "reverse load" type and he uses steel axle tubes exclus
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