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Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
2/22/22 10:01 p.m.

My son, Jack, and I have been collecting some Formula Vee pieces for a couple of years and Jack has started work on making two cars out of the pieces.  He's been out of college for a few years and has one of his FSAE buddies. Theo, helping along.  My other son, Chris, will probably get involved too when college and FSAE isn't keeping him too busy.   I'm mainly providing the shop space in the back room of Eclectic Motorworks, paying for stuff, and will be doing the painting when the cars are ready.

We started with a $500 find on FB Marketplace maybe 2 years ago.  It was a chassis, a body, and pretty much all of the Zink bits but none of the VW bits except for a new front beam.  I've been into air cooled VWs for a long time, so we figured we could get the VW pieces from our community.  We quickly started mocking this car up with a used transaxle and crankcase. 

Like a lot of VW people, I'm on theSamba quite a bit and I found this roller on an original Zink trailer in Kalamazoo, MI one weekend.  That's about an hour from me, and the price was absolutely right.  It also had nearly enough spares to finish the original car.  The only problem was that it was sold.  I messaged the guy with my cell number and e-mail just in case.  And sure enough, a month or two later, he e-mailed and said the deal had fallen through.    

We didn't trust the tires or bearings on the Zink trailer, but it turns out the whole thing would fit inside my enclosed trailer so we took it home that way.

We're pretty sure this isn't Rich Lamb's car (anyone know him?), just the body as the previous owner just built it up from swap meet parts over the years.  But it's cool.  This picture is from maybe a year ago when we put it on the shop floor for what we call "stare time."  We like to stare at a car and think through the build for a little while before we start work.  

It's been maybe another year, but Jack and Theo have started  working in earnest on getting one car fully built up before we blow it apart for paint.  The plan is to prep one for vintage racing (Jack et al) and the other for display (mine).

We don't know a lot about FVs, but there is a guy in Grand Rapids who is one of the national gurus.  He's been to the shop and looked the cars over and feels like we've got a good kit of parts.  He'll be a great guide for us, but we'll take any advice any of you can offer as this progresses.  There really isn't a lot of useful stuff on the internet about Zink FVs, so we thought we'd put this build thread up to help anyone else going down this path.  So far, we've mainly just grabbed as many pictures as we can from for sale ads.  There's one decent messageboard, but not a lot of pictures.

Anyway, stay tuned and please share anything that may be helpful!

adam525i GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/22/22 10:36 p.m.

Wow, that setup on the original trailer is really cool! 

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
2/22/22 11:00 p.m.

In reply to adam525i :

Yes!  It's a classic 1960s/70s race trailer.  No suspension, removable tire rack, ramps fold down, and no need for tie downs as the ramps fold forward and tighten with big wing nuts while the front pieces are "C" shaped to grab the front tires. My understanding is that this is an original Zink-built trailer, but someone may tell me otherwise.

We'd been hoping to find a trailer like this as we have perfect tow pigs.



Datsun310Guy MegaDork
2/22/22 11:01 p.m.

Whatever thread has your name it I figure is going to be good.  This one doesn't disappoint.   Too bad I didn't know this when my son was at Hope College in 2009-2013; I would've stopped by.  

ClemSparks UltimaDork
2/22/22 11:14 p.m.

I'm hooked.  Looking forward to the greatness I am sure will follow!

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
2/22/22 11:15 p.m.

In reply to Datsun310Guy :

You need to come back with him for a reunion. The FSAE team started in 2008 and ran a car in 2010--was he involved?  The team had some tough times until 2016 but has done well since then.


Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
2/23/22 10:48 p.m.

Theo and Jack have been working on the brakes.  Theo bent up the new lines out of 3/16" stainless that we got from Speedway Motors in a big roll.

This is pretty bad picture, but if you look closely at the square tube at the bottom, he made patterns out of 1/16" aluminum TIG rod.

He copied the patterns into tubing.

He put 37 degree flares on the ends.

And added fittings as appropriate.



Datsun310Guy MegaDork
2/23/22 11:17 p.m.

In reply to Carl Heideman :

He was a chemistry geek at Hope.  We came back a few years ago as he got an alumni award.  I was really impressed with the school.  

Berck Reader
2/24/22 12:54 a.m.

Awesome!  I've been racing a 1968 Zink C4 for a few years now.  As you've found out, FV information on the internet isn't great.  I'd love to help fix that, but I'm not entirely sure how.  This thread is bound to help.  There's 50+ years of really good information out there about how to run a vintage FV, but it's all in the heads of vintage racers.  They're happy to share, but not so much on the internet.

Here's mine:

I barely know enough to keep mine going, but I'm happy to help where I can with photos suggestions and contacts for people who do know.  Looking forward to following your progress.

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
2/24/22 8:23 a.m.

In reply to Berck :

Thanks for chiming in.  My goal with this thread is to put as many pictures and helpful information out there for other Zink and FV people and I'm sure you'll be able to help if you can add pictures when they're useful.

You are right about the FV community.  We've talked with a few FV owners and they're eager to share their knowledge. Our guru in Grand Rapids is really well connected and has already helped a lot.  We're going to his shop this weekend.  I imagine he'll be okay with us posting his name and photos of some of his stuff, but want to wait until I've asked him.

Thanks again!

rob_lewis UltraDork
2/24/22 10:31 a.m.


I've watched FV for years and think it's probably the cheapest and easiest way to get into wheel to wheel racing.  There are still huge fields to race with and the combination of both vintage events and modern events seems like you'd have plenty of opportunities to race.  I know the motors and carbs can get expensive, but compared to other racing (heck even to national karting events) they're still crazy cheap. 

I've always wondered if you could take a Vee that meets the vintage class rules and still be competitive in the SCCA races.  IIRC, other than tires, the rules are basically the same.  There's been some different designs for the Vee's over the years, but are they more ease of use or actually faster?  I bet if you live in a fairly dense area for racing, you could almost race the Vee every weekend.


Apexcarver UltimaDork
2/24/22 11:03 a.m.

Look forward to watching progress. Formula cars are tons of fun.

TED_fiestaHP HalfDork
2/24/22 11:15 a.m.

  I think if you check SCCA has a second set of rules for formula Vee, I think they alow front disc drakes and a slightly different motor set-up.   I don't run this class at least not yet, but it does look like great fun.  

    They don't take up much space at home, and can be towed to the track with almost anything.

therealpinto GRM+ Memberand Reader
2/24/22 2:27 p.m.


Nice thread and it will be interesting to follow. The "Zink" caught my eye since I remember my childhood books about racing with Wynn and Lonny (in Sweden they were renamed Nick & Lonny), http://seriesbooks.info/wynnandlonny.htm

These are the books that were my introduction to racing and the technical details are just right (at least for a youth book). They were racing a Zink Formula Vee...

...and by coincidence, I have worked a bit with the founder of one of the Swedish Vee brands from back in the days, RPB or RacingPlast Burträsk. https://racingplast.se/historia.htm or https://www.spoca.se/racingplast.php and google translate if you want to read more. 

This summer a number of Vees have been running at our home track again. Quite fun indeed but not really racing yet...


Berck Reader
2/24/22 3:03 p.m.
TED_fiestaHP said:

  I think if you check SCCA has a second set of rules for formula Vee, I think they alow front disc drakes and a slightly different motor set-up.   I don't run this class at least not yet, but it does look like great fun.  

    They don't take up much space at home, and can be towed to the track with almost anything.

An old Zink is not going to be competitive in SCCA against modern Vees.  The powertrain is the same, but modern cars have much better suspension and aero profiles.  You wouldn't want to ruin a good vintage car by updating it for modern rules when it's never going to be competitive.  Also, the top cars in SCCA are still running drum brakes. FVs don't need a lot in the way of brakes, and the drum brakes have better aero and less drag.

californiamilleghia UltraDork
2/24/22 5:02 p.m.

I have been looking for a Formcar from the 1960s , I  guess they were first made in Florida , 

Foreign Car guide had a good story about them back in the 60s

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
2/24/22 5:36 p.m.

Thanks for the comments, everyone.  

Regarding other internet resources, the only one I've found that seems useful is https://www.apexspeed.com/forums/forum.php, which has several FV sections.  There is also a Facebook Group or two but not much activity.  Does anyone know of other resources?

TVR Scott
TVR Scott GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
2/24/22 6:31 p.m.

Super cool projects.  Something about these little formula cars catches my imagination.

californiamilleghia UltraDork
2/24/22 6:37 p.m.

Someone sent me this link

norcalfv.pro boards.com

Northern California FV board , it's old but hopefully some info

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
2/24/22 7:30 p.m.

I follow this group, and it seems pretty active:

Northeast Formula Vee. Org

slantsix HalfDork
2/24/22 7:51 p.m.

Trailer and Tow rigs are great!


Oh yeah the Zinks are a good prize too!


Thanks for sharing!

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
2/26/22 8:37 p.m.

We went to visit  our guru, Bob, today.  He has a 20x28 shop behind his house that is amazingly well-equipped and chock full of useful stuff.

He's building another Zink for himself.

It was nice to see another chassis and take some dimensions and photos. 

He says he builds a few engines and transaxles every year.

You may have noticed a dyno in one of the photos above  He also has a flow bench in his basement and checked one of our intakes for us.  It was about 20% off of some of the good ones he had, so we have some work to do.

He's loaning us some stuff like this exhaust so we can make copies.

He's a great guy and gave us tons of great advice. Fun day!

preach (dudeist priest)
preach (dudeist priest) GRM+ Memberand Dork
2/26/22 11:58 p.m.


Is that a decent price?

Not going to buy it but damn they are cool!

MuSTANK Reader
2/27/22 9:07 a.m.

"It was about 20% off of some of the good ones  . . ."

Is that just due to the variances between stock single port intakes, or does he do a bit of "refining" that result in better flow?

vwcorvette (Forum Supporter)
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
2/27/22 11:15 a.m.
MuSTANK said:

"It was about 20% off of some of the good ones  . . ."

Is that just due to the variances between stock single port intakes, or does he do a bit of "refining" that result in better flow?

Like heating up the tubes and pushing a steel ball through to open up the radiuses in the curves without splitting the pipes open? Haha

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