View Full Version : Building a car

03-27-2007, 02:40 AM
Does anyone know what it takes to build a pre-war MG into a race car and get it certified for racing? Can any car when properly set up be entered into the majority of historic races, regardless of its history?

03-27-2007, 06:01 AM
Actually, you don't need to do much of anything.

I have been to SVRA vintage events here on the east coast, where the only "mod" to the car was tape on the headlights.

And, although "history" is nice, it is virtually never required. I have seen ordinarly Minis painted up in replica-livery of the BMC works Monte Carlo cars....lots of other similar "replicas". While this might be viewed as "fake history", it is usually fine.

Many vintage clubs, including VRG (the vintage club I have run with) will allow the driver to sign a "roll bar waiver" if the car is not so equipped. I have seen SVRA races where some of the cars did not have seat belts or roll bars.

I guess the logic is that many owners not wish to modify their valuable classic, even in the name of safety.
I'm not saying *I* would race a car with no roll bar or belts, but it is not uncommon in vintage racing.

Virtually all vintage clubs have a "13/13" rule, which essentially bans a driver for 13 months of racing if they are involved in *any* metal-to-metal contact with another car. This rule tends to keep the cars "spaced out" more than a regular SCCA-type club race and it is particularly obvious in races with pre-war cars (probably because they are much more valuable). And pre-war cars almost always run in a separate race-groups from newer cars.

One of the most important safety features in vintage racing is not in the car but in the driver's head. There is great respect (and even reverence) for certain cars. And most of the drivers are in it for the fun, and do not care about winning another $10 bowling tophy.
Last year at Summit Point, I was able to have a nice 20 lap "dice" with a Sebring Sprite that was formerly owned by Graham Hill. I will never forget that. If you try vintage racing, you'll be hooked!

The *big* thing to consider is whether or not you could "write off" the car if you really screw up. This is always a possibility in racing and it can have a lot to do with how much financial pain you can bear. I have seen Lulu Wang race Hammer-n-Tongs around Lime Rock in a Ferrari GTO that her husband payed 6 million dollars for. Guys like me would have a tough time writing off a common Sprite (which is why I'm switching to a cheezy Ford Escort for most of my non-vintage club racng in '07).

I am including a link (below)to the VRG Rules and Regs. These rules are very similar to most of the other vintage clubs that I am familiar with. You will see a lot of "recommended" (but not required) terms, as well as "waiver allowed".

Rules&Regs Link:

By the way, the big "schism" in the vintage community seems to be "How old is a car before it is truly vintage?".

Some clubs like the VSCCA ( https://www.vscca.org ) do not allow any cars newer than 1959. Further, if you have a fairly common, older car (such as a 1958 MGA), you may have to go on waiting list to run with them since they prefer to have a nice mix of cars and they already have plenty of MGAs.
Other vintage clubs such as the HSR ( https://www.hsrrace.com/ ) have been roundly critisized because they allow too many "moderns" racing.
Clubs like VRG ( https://www.vrgonline.org/ ) suggest that cars be built before 1972. My car (which is really a 1978 MG Midget) is allowed to run because it has been "backdated" in appearance.

G'luck! If you try it, you'll love it!

03-27-2007, 12:44 PM
Thanks for the info! I've never raced but I'm already hooked. I have already wanted to do it all my life, but then I got to drive a 1934 MG racer and since then it's been bad.

The year of the car is not a problem. I'm considering a late 30's MG. It's a basket case right now so I could build it with a custom body. My whole thing is to have fun. I couldn't care less about winning, especially since pre-war class is typically won by the car, not the driver!

03-28-2007, 01:50 PM
Ya, I'm building a 71' GT6 MKIII as a vintage racer. In doing my homework with the various clubs, I too have found that each club has its own set of rules. We decieded where we want to race and what clubs run there, our car is being built to those club specks... Vintage is good! But not cheap...

03-28-2007, 02:43 PM
""""" It's a basket case right now so I could build it with a custom body""""""""

unless the custom body replicates the original you might not be able to run with vintage clubs.

For So.Cal you want to look at vararacing.com and click on 'rules' on the left. or........

CSRG in No Cal. neither require a pedigree to run, just the usual safety items.

also General Racing, where provenance counts.

You will need all the usual safety items....roll bar, fire system, fuel cell and drivers gear. This in addition to car prep.

03-28-2007, 03:56 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:]You will need all the usual safety items....roll bar, fire system, fuel cell and drivers gear.[/QUOTE]
I don't think roll bars are required in pre-war class. Most of the cars I see racing do not have them including those racing at the Monterey Historics. Same for fuel cells and fire system. I do see fire extinguishers and fire suits in all cars.

03-29-2007, 10:54 AM
A friend of mine has this 1933(?) Alvis Speed 20 with a custom body (that he built). He likes to vintage race it when he can. The last time he showed up to a race with a local Vintage Club he pulled up and began removing his cycle fenders. They wouldn't let him race unless they were in place. He went round and round with the steward about how these cars were originally raced (basically, pull up and remove cycle fenders and weather protection equipment and hit the track). It really soured his view on Vintage (pre-war) racing. But he would like to do more sometime if time allows him to.

BTW, this car is quite something to ride in at 100mph and makes a glorious noise at full chat. That was with his 2.7l inline 6. He's in the process of building a 4.0l inline 6 and thinking of making a boat tail body for it.

His 'day job' is restoring aircraft and specializes in WWII British Fighters. He bought the Alvis when he was 19 and growing up in the Midlands of England. When he bought the Alvis it was a rolling chassis with drive train. He built the body. The seats are aircraft items and most of the switch gear and guages are from various WWII era fighter aircraft. The ignition switch/button is from a P-51.


03-30-2007, 12:26 PM
"""""""I don't think roll bars are required in pre-war class. Most of the cars I see racing do not have them including those racing at the Monterey Historics. Same for fuel cells and fire system. I do see fire extinguishers and fire suits in all cars. """""""

Steve...your kinda right.....

If you only plan to enter an event that has a Pre War only group (among other groups) you might not need a bar or other safety equipment.

If you plan on entering race groups with other than pre war cars then you will have to have.

Look up specific rules of the clubs that interst you and go from there. I cant speak for other clubs that I have never run with nor am I a pre war expert.

Hap Waldrop
03-30-2007, 03:46 PM
MG Vintage Racers club, may be a good place to inquire about pre-war racing MGs, try their website and drop them a line. https://www.mgvr.org

03-30-2007, 11:04 PM
Thanks all. I don't know anything about racing clubs, who does what and where, etc. But I will look into it.

04-01-2007, 06:23 AM
The big-dog club on your side of the world is VARA. You can find their rules (including stuff about roll bars and so forth) here:

SOVERN is also big on the west coast:


I'd suggest you check the VARA or SOVERN event schedule and show up at one of their events. Talk to the tech guy and any of the pre-war racers. That way, you'll get the best answers to many of your questions.