12/09/05 - Had to trip to Columbus Ohio to pick up the T492 HU 53, so when a March 729 FF came up for grabs it was a natural. March was located in St. Pauls, Mn. so the owner, Scott Livingston, agreed to meet me in Columbus for the hand off. 629 miles each way, my race buddy and crew chief Chris long agreed to endure the trip with me. Borrowed my friend Paul's converted Ryder truck which is set up to hold 2 formula cars. Leaving around 8 PM Friday night, it took about 11.5 hours at 65 mph, due to the limited speed of the truck's past rental history. Trip to Ohio was un-eventful. The trip back was another story. Fully loaded with 2 cars and trailer and 3 hours sleep, we left Ohio at 7PM Saturday night. Truck handled well until we started to hit black ice and heavy fog. Surprisingly enough, along as you didn't do anything stupid, the truck tracked through the black ice without incident. But coupled with no visability, it made it challenging at best. Despite this, tractor trailers were buzzing by us at 70 mph and going 40 mph just made us an "almost" moving target. So fighting off the exhaustion, I followed the lane dividers at two lines at a time and picked up speed to 65 mph. For those who have not ever done this, it is a hoot. Pitch white, visability of 10 ft., and hope that the road does not make a sharp turn or a disabled car comes in front of you without tail lights. 12 hours later, we're home in the frigid cold at 7 AM Sunday. Unpacked and crashed until Monday.
History on this particular March is unique. All the March 729 Formula Fords were made in California by Wayne Mitchell who was under contract with March UK in 1972. About 14 cars were made. During this time Joe Grimaldi, then March US importer, was approached by Niles Sanborn (1st owner) to build a Formula Ford using March's Formula 3 space frame chassis used in 1971 by its 713S F3 car. Bill Stone and F2 mechanic Bill Scotty Assembled the car using FF brakes and front uprights. Everything else was F3.
12/14/05 - Time to see what we have. Outside of swapped parts, it wasn't too bad. But who said that Race Ready was a reality anyway. Valves had to be adjusted, but I wanted to know what was in good order and what needed attention. The sideways K&N had to go, original pictures had an ITG filter which looked much better. So a call to BAT solved that problem. Went through the gear box and filled it with a set of gears and hypoid.
Body was acceptable, but showed spider cracks. The nose showed wear through on the bottom, and the tail has bubbled from the heat of the headers. So a new nose mould is in the works. Thinking about making a 2 piece mould flanged at the bottom outlined in yellow.
The upright is one of those un-obtainable parts. Scott has one that he agreed to give me, so serious thought is being put into making a mould to cast new parts.
Windscreen was cracked in several places, unfortunately, it is a moulded windshield which requires the ploycarbonate to be heated and shaped via a mould. I will attempt to see how a flat sheet of lexan would fit but will make inquries on how to make a moulded windscreen.
12/20/05 - Ok, promised the wife that I was going to clean up the living room for Christmas, but with 39 degree weather outside I couldn't resist to work on at least the wind shield for the March. Drew out the windscreen from the template I made earlier and carefully cut it using my new reciprocating hand saw. I love that tool. The windscreen came out perfect and fitted like a glove. After test fitting, I used my plane sander and smoothed out any inconsistencies. Then finished up with block sanding the edges round. I was worried about the slight concave slope of the original, but it fitted good and didn't stress out in any areas.
Nice fit, but the top of the windscreen needed a bit of sanding
After light belt sanding with 60 grit and then hand block sanding with 150 grit, the windscreen shaped up perfectly. Won't take the protective film off until I get to the body. But the windscreen is clear, couldn't find a source for tinted yet.
The seat upholstery was pretty much dried out and ripped. Using the old insert as a template, I made a new seat with what is quickly becoming my trade mark yellow piping. The new seat is larger and will be less prone to ripping.