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jmc14
jmc14 Reader
7/7/14 7:52 p.m.

The last thing I need is another old fiberglass body or project. But, I came across this over the weekend and couldn't resist. It's a Crusader.

In the mid 60's Chuck Tatum designed a fiberglass body for essentially a formula Vee. His idea was to start a new class of sports car racing. The class never was approved. From what I understand 7 cars were built of which 4 remain. The VW specialty company EMPI was going to market the car. It used a dedicated frame, used VW suspension and drivetrain. It was mid-engine. It weighs under 1000lbs complete and ready to drive.

Tatum contracted with his friend Jim Kellison to produce the bodies. With out Tatum's knowledge Kellison cloned the front half of the body and redid the rear so that it would fit on a shortened VW pan. Kellison kept the engine rear mounted. There is 1 known, surviving Kellison.

The body that I picked up is pretty rough. It is labeled on the underside as a kellison. But, it has the rear for the mid engine application. The 2 larger holes would be where the carbs would stick through the body. This body also has had the fenders flared.

I picked up the body from a gentleman that has one of the 4 known Tatum Crusaders. It was on the original frame. I'm going to be copying the frame and build the car as it would have been in 1964. (The roll bar in the pic is one that I had laying around. It's not the correct one for the car.)

The look of an old Can Am racer on a VW budget. I love it. [URL=http://s1143.photobucket.com/user/jmcbigbelly/media/crusaderbody34rear_zps2dbefdf8.jpg.html][/URL][URL=http://s1143.photobucket.com/user/jmcbigbelly/media/crusaderbody34front_zpsf8d5de7b.jpg.html][/URL][URL=http://s1143.photobucket.com/user/jmcbigbelly/media/crusaderbodyrear_zpscce8b4ac.jpg.html][/URL][URL=http://s1143.photobucket.com/user/jmcbigbelly/media/crusaderfronthigh_zps7a2d4a0c.jpg.html][/URL[URL=http://s1143.photobucket.com/user/jmcbigbelly/media/crusaderframerear_zps23c3e7f8.jpg.html][/URL]

tuna55
tuna55 UltimaDork
7/7/14 7:54 p.m.

How does one "come across" this?

Woody
Woody MegaDork
7/7/14 8:01 p.m.

This is very cool.

A few months ago, I went to look at what was advertised as an RSK replica body. That may have been accurate in theory, but it was just a really crappy, unfinished fiberglass body. He had it loosely draped over a rusty, unidentifiable useless Formula Vee chassis and he was asking way too much for it. I did like the idea though.

jmc14
jmc14 Reader
7/7/14 8:35 p.m.

I have a couple of Kellison bodies. I search ebay for "Kellison" regularly. The body was on Ebay, only 3 hours away and was for local pick up only.

Hi Woody, This body is in VERY bad shape. But, it was cheap and I can work with it.

Here is a picture of the Tatum Crusader. [URL=http://s1143.photobucket.com/user/jmcbigbelly/media/kellisoncrusader_zps9ce8c90d.jpg.html][/URL]

jpnovak
jpnovak Reader
7/7/14 8:44 p.m.

This is a very cool project. I would love to take a body like this and put it on a modern exocar frame. Basically something like the 818 but with actual style.

Woody wrote: This is very cool. A few months ago, I went to look at what was advertised as an RSK replica body. That may have been accurate in theory, but it was just a really crappy, unfinished fiberglass body. He had it loosely draped over a rusty, unidentifiable useless Formula Vee chassis and he was asking way too much for it. I did like the idea though.

I think that body was a GP Spyder body. I called but decided not to make the drive down to Kerrville. I have wanted an RSK/RS61 for about 15 years.

Dusterbd13
Dusterbd13 Dork
7/7/14 8:45 p.m.

Soooo much want.

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed SuperDork
7/7/14 9:55 p.m.

Yes this is very cool. You must keep us updated of your progress!

jmc14
jmc14 Reader
7/7/14 11:26 p.m.

Here is a picture of the Crusader that is owned and raced by the guy I purchased my body from. He is interested in being able to get replacement bodies. There is a possibility that I will be able to pull molds directly from his car. That would save me a lot of work. I hope to finalize the deal to do that tomorrow.

I can see building 2 versions of the car. The first, a replica of the original. The second one on an updated frame with modern drivetrain and suspension. It's only a matter of money and time. [URL=http://s1143.photobucket.com/user/jmcbigbelly/media/crusaderericsside_zps5229c893.jpg.html][/URL]

Hasbro
Hasbro SuperDork
7/8/14 3:06 a.m.

Subscribed

tuna55
tuna55 UltimaDork
7/8/14 4:50 a.m.
jpnovak wrote: This is a very cool project. I would love to take a body like this and put it on a modern exocar frame. Basically something like the 818 but with actual style.

I love this recipe.

noddaz
noddaz Dork
7/8/14 6:21 a.m.
Hasbro wrote: Subscribed

Me too!!

jmc14
jmc14 Reader
7/8/14 7:18 a.m.

If I'm going to make this so that it can easily be street legal it needs a DOT windshield. I have a Porche Spyder (550/356) windshield. I placed it on my body. It's almost a perfect fit and I think that it looks good as well. They are inexpensive and are available in 3 heights. Mine is the lowest at around 12 inches. They make one taller for a convertible and a taller one still that was used on their Coupe. It could be made so that it could be easily removable.

I think that there are 3 ways to go about building this car. The first is to keep it as a replica as it would have been built in 1964. This is the easy way as I have access to the complete rolling chassis. The bug stuff is inexpensive. A front axle complete, spindle to spindle, is $500. An aftermarket close ratio transaxle is $1000. A 100hp 1835cc engine is probably pretty reasonable. (I haven't checked). Bug stuff isn't state of the art but in this light of a car it probably works pretty well.

I don't have any experience with Subaru parts but the engine/transaxle would probably work. My flared body is 69 inches wide at the rear and 68 at the front. But, I think the Subaru suspension would be too tall to fit under the body.

The 3rd option is to use a motorcyle engine. The Suzuki Hayabusa engine would be the natural choice.

If this car were offered as a kit which version do you think would have the broadest appeal? ( I see a couple of votes already for an 818 like version)

I'm retired. But only 57. I'm bored and looking for something to do.

In the mean time I'm spending tomorrow finishing up my Exoskelton frame that will attach to my stripped down C4 Corvette.

Having fun. [URL=http://s1143.photobucket.com/user/jmcbigbelly/media/crusadermybodywithwindshield_zpsf907d119.jpg.html][/URL]

Mr_Clutch42
Mr_Clutch42 HalfDork
7/8/14 7:29 a.m.

I would say that whichever engine that is most available is the one that would have the broadest appeal, especially if a third to a half of the interested parties wanted them for track days.

JohnnyBquick
JohnnyBquick New Reader
7/8/14 7:42 a.m.

I'd vote for non VW stuff. Something newer. Cool looking styled body!!!!

Johnny Consulier GTP

fasted58
fasted58 PowerDork
7/8/14 8:04 a.m.

Love the 60's sports racer look. What about a modified spec racer chassis? Too bulky for this gem? Are they cheap enough?

Busa engine would be a blast in a chassis that could handle it. E36 M3, I'd be giddy w/ a one liter MC engine.

Dusterbd13
Dusterbd13 Dork
7/8/14 8:53 a.m.

id personally go with whatever the cheapest and most readily availible donor is. in my mind, thats going to be VW. all those parts are availible aftermarket. with the subaru, you have to find a parts car, which will get expensive quick in my area. i wouldnt want to street drive a sport bike powered sports replica racer. i dont think that would be any fun, long term.

or, configure it for a FWD transaxle setup like a neon motor, or camry motor, or something like that. only rear engined. kind of like the midlana build on here. that would keep it cheap with a ton of availible low cost readily availible options. i think the camry being #1 in that regard.

Ditchdigger
Ditchdigger UltraDork
7/8/14 8:55 a.m.

I love old sports racers as well. I would love to build a sub 800lb one with Fiat 850 power.

I am lucky enough to be involved in the resto of the Zink Mk3

Leafy
Leafy Reader
7/8/14 9:18 a.m.

If this was me, I'd have quit at formula V chassis. But forced to persevere I'd be trying to find a bike engined cheeta or dragon DSR chassis to put the vintage body on. Bike engines really are the way to go with formula cars. The old guard formula/sports racer engines from WV, porche, ford, and lotus just dont make any sense any more unless you like spending a whole bunch of money to end up with an inferior product (less power, less reliable, shorter run times, more weight, etc).

singleslammer
singleslammer SuperDork
7/8/14 9:59 a.m.

I think that avoiding the Subaru choice might be a good idea, however, the NA EJ motors make plenty of power for this little thing. Street use with bike engines is a hard sell to a lot of people (not me). Setting it up for a Cobalt 5 speed/ecotec might be the ticket. There might be width and height concerns. I agree that bug stuff is getting long in the tooth. I have similar concerns there as with the bike motor, mainly being high strung on the highway (No OD transmission) but the bike is designed for it.

Set it up for a bike engine (Busa is good though a little pricey. I am sure that the supply will last though). Mount laterally and allow for the owner to pick sprockets for quick gear changes. The primary problem there is rear axle of course. Offering a simple, cheap(ish) solution would make this way easier.

ebonyandivory
ebonyandivory Dork
7/8/14 10:11 a.m.

I'd hate to find room for the cooling system if one went with Subaru. V-Dub or hayabusa for me.

wspohn
wspohn HalfDork
7/8/14 10:14 a.m.

I have a soft spot (my wife would say it's in my head) for old sports racer bodies too.

I had a Porsche Python body stored for years just because it was neat and also a complete chassis for a Buckler Mk XI stashed with the thought of maybe actually doing something with it (I didn't).

And come to think of it, the 63 TVR Grantura I used to race was really a front engine sports racer.

Leafy
Leafy Reader
7/8/14 10:21 a.m.

Busa really isnt even the best choice, they're not amazing any more. And there are bike engine options with reverse for street use now.

singleslammer
singleslammer SuperDork
7/8/14 11:04 a.m.

In reply to Leafy:

What the Goldwing? That is a starter motor! Buy GM starter motor, install ring gear, place motor in N and reverse. Also, How is 170hp from a 1300cc motor NOT amazing. I agree that there are PROBABLY better motors but none of them have reverse, as big of a supply, or any support for this kind of thing like a Busa motor. /rant

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr Dork
7/8/14 11:47 a.m.

Rotary.

Woody
Woody MegaDork
7/8/14 11:51 a.m.
jpnovak wrote: This is a very cool project. I would love to take a body like this and put it on a modern exocar frame. Basically something like the 818 but with actual style.
Woody wrote: This is very cool. A few months ago, I went to look at what was advertised as an RSK replica body. That may have been accurate in theory, but it was just a really crappy, unfinished fiberglass body. He had it loosely draped over a rusty, unidentifiable useless Formula Vee chassis and he was asking way too much for it. I did like the idea though.

I think that body was a GP Spyder body. I called but decided not to make the drive down to Kerrville. I have wanted an RSK/RS61 for about 15 years.

No. This car was in Connecticut.

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