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The Plume School Micro Project

Report 5: June 2001

Friday was the lads last day officially working on the car and we decided to make the most of the weather and spend the day driving. The modifications we had made had seated the driver further forward and lower to aid stability and we had reworked the front suspension and steering to give improved geometry. I had even splashed out on a pair of new front tyres on our alloy wheels. The change from the handlebars to a Yugo steering wheel made the steering feel a good deal heavier at rest but once rolling it lightened up and felt fine.

We first decided to take the micro to the sports field as this provided a bit more scope and although a bit bumpy in places the  running track was fairly smooth sloping gently to one end. Down the slight slope  the car picked up speed very quickly and held it well when climbing back along  the other side of the track.

The first few laps were taken at moderate pace but as was to be expected the three pilots soon got into the swing and there was only slight lifting of the throttle foot at the bottom of the downhill slope to take the reverse camber and start the climb. The track runs alongside a road and it was great to see the micro "overtaking" cars as it traveled alongside them (I should point out that this is a very minor road leading to a Doctors surgery so the opposition was not trying too hard!). The verdict on the handling was all  positive with reports of much improved stability in tight turns. A break for  lunch and we were back again and lap times seemed to be getting ever faster. Then the stunt driving started! Matt came to the end of one of his two lap  drives and without warning performed a spectacular handbrake turn. Much glee was  expressed by the small crowd of onlookers and his two co-drivers while I sat dumbfounded trying to decide if I should disapprove strongly, moderately or gently. After a few seconds Matt looked over and with a big smile shouted "great  eh John?" Half an hour later all three were accomplished in the fine art of the  handbrake turn and I rationalised that they were probably better drivers than me and were testing the car far more effectively this way. Both the car and the team performed well and the  day was great fun. I shall miss our Friday metal bashing and hope another team will take over. Next steps will be making up a suitable body shape out of wood, chicken wire and plaster and taking a moulding from this to produce the final  body mould

Mechanical work will include getting the electrical system working and fitting an electric reversing system. Loads to do yet then but I'm really pleased with the basic rolling chassis and have high hopes for a worthwhile  little car sometime soon.

I don't know exactly what's happening now as no  plans for the next group have been made. I'll let you know as soon as I know what's happening with the project.

More pictures and details of the project will appear as it progresses. John R welcomes any help or suggestions that any one may have to inject into the project. John can be contacted at: