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Popsicle Car
by Al Penrose as told to Dennis David


Al Penrose's famous Porsche Popsicle Car Popsicle stick Chassis are chassis built from popsicle sticks or lolly sticks. The idea of using wood for a building medium of model cars is a very old one but in recent years has been made popular by people like Al Penrose of BWA Slot Cars. Al designed a simple way of building a popsicle stick chassis which any one can construct with the minimum of tools and experience, this is a chassis which works extremely well in most cases.

Step One
Take 2 popsicle sticks and tape them together as this will keep the axle holes in alignment.  Drill a 3/32 hole at one end for the rear axle, this can be asclose as 1/4" from the end if you don’t require any over hang for rear mounting. I usually only use a central mount and allow the rear to float free. Measure the wheelbase of your proposed car and drill a second hole in the appropriate place; you shouldhave two identical side members.

Take a piece of hard wood the width of your motor, drill a 3/16” hole in it and fashion a piece similar to the one in the following photo, this will be the guide holder. Cut a piece of popsicle stick the inside width of your body shell and drill and countersink a couple of 1/8” holes near the edges this will be the front body mount. Cut a piece of Popsicle stick the width of your motor for a rear cross member.

Step Two
Put the axles you are going to use in theside members and place the chassis on a piece of flat level track or a board with a slot cut into it. Fit the guide into the holder and glue in place at the front of the chassis making sure every thing is both square and level as a mistake at this stage can lead to the finished chassis taking on the appearance of a parallelogram. Once the guide holder is set you can cut the sticks to the correct length. Place the motor between the side members and get a good gear mesh, if you are using Scalextric type (with a boss) gears this should be automatic, glue the motor in and allow it to set. Lastly fit the front and rear cross members. Hook up the lead wires and your Popsicle racer is now ready to test.

Step Three
The car should run ok as it has been described but you may need to make one or two minor adjustments for optimum performance. I prefer to run mine with the front wheels just clear of the track by about 5 to 10 thou as you will find it gives better pick up and better straight line speed if the front wheels are only to stabilize the car in the corner. The car might also need a little lead weight on the front or under the rear cross member to stabilize it, depending on what type of tyres, surface and how powerful a motor you run.

Step Four

Choice of body is up to the builder the Popsicle stick chassis can be adapted for any type of car mine is one of my own vac forms and is mounted with two wooden blocks glued inside the edges and screwed through the front cross member at each side the top of the motor rests against the interior so no rear mount is necessary and the body is left a little loose to damp out the vibrations. When you get really adventurous then you can always make something like these 3 entrees which competed in the Pendle Popsicle Race in 2002.