2010 Specialty Constructed Vehicle

Neal Rideout, Edwards, CA, USA
February 1, 2014

The exterior of the car has one aluminum side panel on each side currently painted gray but sporting a Sand Sports Magazine logo. There is also an aluminum panel covering the radiator directly behind the seats.
The car is officially a 2010 Specialty Constructed Vehicle according to the California vin number and title. However, it was actually built in the 90’s by Chenowth.
Inside is a pair of cloth covered PRP seats that are non adjustable. The pedal assembly has multiple slots allowing adjustment for the driver. Shifter is by Fortin and the Instrumentation consists of three Autometer Gauges for water temp, oil pressure, and boost. There is a switch that turns the water temp into an oil temp if you wish to check it. A light for the alternator and another light used to indicate cooling fan operation. Currently there isn’t a tachometer but future plans include one. Since the engine is a Mazda rotary, there aren’t any rods to throw and redlining the engine is part of the normal use. Lastly is a single lever steering brake between the seats.
The chassis is a tube design utilizing 1.5 inch chromoly tube as the basic structure and 1 inch chromoly tube for most of the bracing. Configured as a mid-engine, the car is not a wheelie machine but has excellent handling characteristics. A minimalistic approach was the thinking when this car was built. Light weight (1300lbs), four Fox shocks, two seats, remind one of the old Nissan Xterra commercial. “Everything you need, nothing you don’t.”
The four wheel A-arm suspension makes for a fun ride and great handling but does have a drawback, whoops. The car will bounce and swap front to rear in a larger whoop section if you get your speed up too much. On the plus side, the car has a very low center of gravity and balanced enough that the car can do figure eights on the side of a hill. Although , it is an uncomfortable effort as you feel like it will go over but doesn’t.
As mentioned earlier, the engine is a Single Turbo Mazda Rotary. Originally setup by Redline Performance in 1991 the engine continuously has been reliable and strong. It is a 13b, 1988 RX-7 timeframe engine that has had some porting done and the original rotor oiling pump removed. The alternator bracket is a custom Redline piece that relocates the alternator to the side of the engine instead of on top. Rotarys running full throttle all day make a lot of heat. This is taken care of by an oversized radiator and high power Spal fans. The engine oil also has its own cooling system since oil is the only cooling for the rotors. The horsepower is estimated between 300 and 350 on ten pounds of boost. Coupled with the light weight car, very sporting ride!
The transaxle is a Fortin five speed. An older unit based on the original British Hewland gearbox designed for Formula race cars. Rugged and dependable designed to handle more horsepower then the engine puts out provides some piece of mind when out slamming gears in the dunes.
About the Car
This buggy was originally built by Chenowth but remained in storage and sometimes used as a display car for most of its days. From the research I have been able to do, the car was a custom built two seater utilizing a set of four wheel A-arms that were part of a VW Beetle conversion kit.
It is unknown how many were made and another hasn’t been seen. The car was fixed up and registered as an OHV early in 2010.
I would like to thank my wife Jane and son Tony who put up with my dune addiction as well as the staff at Sand Sports to whom I owe a lot.

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Neal Rideout
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