02 03 Pinewood Derby Stories and Photos from Maximum Velocity 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33


On several occasions, I have showcased cars from Andy Holzer. Here are
his amazing creations for 2011.

Turbine Car

For my 2011 car I chose the Chrysler Turbine. Back in 2001 I pulled
up to a stoplight. Another car pulled up beside me, and to my
surprise it was a Chrysler Turbine car. I knew about the Turbine car
as my dad had a model of that car in his display case when I was
growing up. I rolled down the window to listen to the car, figuring
the motor had been replaced, or the car was some sort of replica. But
to my surprise the car made the turbine whistle as it drove away.

The Turbine car came in second in the pack open race and second in
another race put on by a local motorcycle shop.

DeLorean DMC-12

For my son's 2011 car, Noah decided to build the DeLorean DMC-12.
Noah was in Boy Scouts, so he had to race in the open class with his
old pack. Noah decided he wanted to build the stock DeLorean, not the
time travel version. He used a Hot Wheels DeLorean as his guide to
draw his plan. The DeLorean came in 4th place in the pack open race.

1959 Cadillac

On Christmas Eve as we were leaving my sister's house, my nine year
old niece came up and asked, "Can you help me build my pinewood car?"
(At this point it was Christmas for me!) Of course I said yes. I
asked her if she had the kit and the rules. She said she was going to
get the kit the next time she went to her Wednesday church class. I
told her mother we needed the kit (assuming it was an Awana kit), the
rules, and if she could find out what kind of track the race was going
to be run on.

We brought my niece to some hobby stores to look at cars to build.
She liked a lot of cars from a '63 Thunderbird to a 2002 Camaro, but
in the end she chose a 1959 Cadillac. I told her the '59 Cadillac
could have come from the factory in a pink color. My niece told me she
hates pink; she wanted the car to be black with a white top.

When she received the kit she called me and said the car needed to be
completed the next Wednesday for the weigh-in. This left us only
seven days to complete her car. We arranged for her to stay over for
the weekend and also for the school holiday. When she arrived she
drew up her plans for the car using some pictures and a die cast model
of a '59 Cadillac:

The kit she had received was not an Awana kit, but a Maximum Velocity
kit. The MV kit has excellent wheels and axles included with the kit
and of course a very nice pine block (I would recommend this kit to
anyone having a derby that does not require a specific kit, very good
parts). Her block had been "pre-cut" by someone at the church so all
we needed to do was finish it (yea right).

The rules said we needed to use the block included with the kit so we
glued the precut block to another MV block and trimmed all of the
precut from the block.

At her Awana race she placed 1st for speed and 1st for design.

Vespa Scooter

In January 2010, just after the weekend of my son's last official Cub
Scout pinewood derby race, a friend sent me a link to a race at a
local motorcycle shop. It turns out the race was the same day as our
pack pinewood derby so it had already passed. I thought to myself this
would be a cool event. I found some online pictures of the event and I
was hooked. Fast forward to January 2011 and the event was happening

Being that the derby was sponsored by the motorcycle shop I decided to
see if I could build some sort of motorcycle car. I had done some
drawings trying to make a motorcycle with a sidecar work; to keep the
plans in scale proved to be difficult. Motorcycles have large wheels
and when trying to stretch to the pinewood dimensions I would have an
extremely short car (or bike).

I was having trouble making the Vespa narrow enough to fit over the
wheels (1/2 inch wide centered). I decided I could just not make this
plan work. One day I was down in the shop and I spotted some old PWD
wheels (pre 1980 narrow wheels). I figured I possibly could make these
wheels work with the Vespa. So I modified the plans to use the old

The rear axles are drilled at 2.5 degrees camber. The front axle was
bent 2.5 degrees. I ran the Vespa down the test board and adjusted the
drift. Now it was time to run down the 20 foot BestTrack. These were
nervous times for me as I was not sure what would happen on its maiden
run. It is a very tall pinewood vehicle; I made sure I had pictures
of the Vespa taken from all angles (in case of a disastrous crash).

My son Noah was at the lever ready to release the Vespa, and I was at
the stop section. On its first run it went to the rail and down the
incline, just after the curve it went to the left and fell from the
track. Turns out the wheel replacement peg I made was too short
(probably a good thing to test before the first run). The Vespa was
OK with no damage. I made a longer peg and tested it before the
second run.

The second run it went to the rail and down the track without any
trouble, I just wanted the Vespa to be able to finish the races
without taking out any innocent cars in the process. I was off to the

The Vespa was indeed fast, it took 1st place in the stock class. The
only car it lost to was the Turbine Car (once).

If you interested in Andy's technique for building these detailed
cars, check out his article in
Volume 9, Issue 9

From Pinewood Derby Times Volume 11, Issue 7

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