Are you for, or against, modifying warbirds as air racers?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Alte Hase, Dec 29, 2011.

  1. Alte Hase

    Alte Hase Member

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    Hi all.

    Well, the title says it all, I've had this debate numerous times with friends, just interested what you guys think about this?
     
  2. Timppa

    Timppa Active Member

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    I am against it.
    These warbirds are too rare and and precious to be used in racing.
    The idea of making a custom built aircraft for racing (such as Pond and Tsunami racers) was born because too many valuable and historic aircraft were being crashed and destroyed, not to mention many engines being damaged or wrecked beyond repair. I would rather see them in airshows only , using their original painting and markings.
     
  3. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    I think it is already a done deal.
    I don't believe anybody is currently modifying warbirds into racers.
    Some people may be flying warbirds in stock condition in races for "fun" but they are not serious contenders.
    Any "modified" warbirds were modified years ago and have kept being modified or gone from owner to owner.
    Now you have the question of trying to take a historic race plane and "modify" it or repaint it to represent something it may never have been. Most "racers" were surplus aircraft from US training commands or un-issued aircraft from stocks. Few if any were ever used in combat before being sold. Painting them up to represent a war time combat aircraft and ignoring their "racing use" seems to be ignoring part of aviation history also.
     
  4. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    #4 FLYBOYJ, Dec 29, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011
    Folks, as Shortround6 mentioned many of the modified war birds racing today were built up as racers and were never really stock to begin with. Sometimes its cheaper, implacable or even impossible to "un-mod" the aircraft. Personally I think it’s crazy to mod a stock WW2 fighter to race the Gold division at Reno, in this day and age it's probably better (and cheaper) to build a racer from the ground up, either reverse engineer some of the components (it's been done) or design from scratch using existing engines.
     
  5. Torch

    Torch Well-Known Member

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    I agree with with Flyboyj, I cringe everytime there's a mishap, not only for the pilot/owner if something happens but a piece of history that can't be replaced.
     
  6. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    its a shame to see them get bastardized....but if someone shelled out the mega bucks to own it and has a crazy vision on how to make it really cool, the plane is going to get chopped.
     
  7. pbfoot

    pbfoot Active Member

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    Whats even worse then that is the guys using and abusing what few engines are out there in Tractor Pulls or Hydrapalne racing the supply is getting very thin
     
  8. BikerBabe

    BikerBabe Active Member

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    #8 BikerBabe, Dec 29, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011
    Against.
    To me, it's a lot like some guy I saw on the internet, who had rebuilt a veteran BMW motorcycle into something resembling a chopper. I nearly cried when I saw the photo - damn!
    You just don't do that, it's sacrilege!
     
  9. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    I think Rolls Royce agrees with you. In another thread someone was writing about RR efforts to undermine use of V-1710's in European tractor pulls. ;)
     
  10. woljags

    woljags Active Member

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    i don't agree with using warbirds for racing or anything else that stops them from being vintage warbirds,i'd rather see them static than modifed,we have the same problem in my classic car circles,rare cars are being rodded or banger raced,once there gone there gone
     
  11. MikeGazdik

    MikeGazdik Member

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    #11 MikeGazdik, Dec 29, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2011
    FOR Let me explain. I drag race. I have a 69 Mercury Cougar XR-7. The body is stock looking, but the suspension and engine are modified for racing, add the roll cage. To me, the WWII fighters are the muscle car equivalent. My car was a unmolested street car when I bought it, and modified to race. No it isn't worth the left landing gear of a P-51, but in the big picture the same thing.

    The people with the money will continue to restore these rare craft, and keep the ones flying now still in the show. But if someone that had the money, wants to race one, game on!

    I love seeing these old birds in a museum. But I really love to see, smell and hear them fly. But to see them race (which I have not yet been able) would be a dream come true! These planes were obviously made for war, to kill. But now they can be the ultimate expression in piston aircraft performance. I would hate to see that end.

    I equate going to a drag race and watching purpose built dragsters. These vehicles were built only to drag race. They never graced the roads we drive, they are built only for the track and that makes them less special. Now if you have ever watched a Stock eliminator, or Super Stock eliminator drag race, the exitement level is multiplied. There you will see rare, factory built muscle cars; 426 Hemi Mopars, 428 or 427 Fords, 421 Pontiacs, 427 Chevys and the like, beating on each other to perform. LOVE IT. Yes the purpose built dragsters are faster, but they lack the soul of a vehicle built for another purpose and adapted to racing.

    My big ticket on my bucket list is to travel to Reno, and see, smell, feel and hear a Merlin, Allison or Pratt, give everything it has to offer!

    My edit; Also, for what it is worth. When I went to the 2007 Gathering of Mustangs and Legends in Columbus, Ohio. I drooled on several aircraft, but to me the one that really stood out was Precious Metal, a P-51 racer with a Griffon and a counter rotating prop, teardrop canopy, clipped wings, etc.
     
  12. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    How many warbirds have been chopped up in the last 20 years to be turned into racers?

    If the answer is none or one/two then what is the problem?

    A race plane that has been to Reno a number of times in the last 20-30 years has it's own place in aviation history. Painting it up in WW II colors and trying to pass it off as a WW II 'artifact' doesn't really do justice either way.
     
  13. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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  14. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    I am personally against the practce, but also am very strongly in favor of the owner making the decision.

    Very few, if any, stock warbirds have been turned into racers in the last 25+ years. Most of the current Reno Gold Class racers were modified when the planes were plentiful and cheap. They aren't today.

    There is a third avenue that I am strongly in favor of and that is as follows:

    Some warbirds have crashed and exist only as "spare parts." If a person wants to build a racers and does not cut up a stock warbird, but rather uses "parts," I have no problem with it and would even help build it. Tsunami was such a bird. It had a large dose of P-51 fuselage, but the wings, tail, and some of the fuselage were custom built and / or modified from scratch. I have NO issue with that.

    I just wish soeone wanted to go race an Allison and whip the Merlins with it. We can build it and make VERY cometitive power, but there are no "takers" at this time.
     
  15. wmaxt

    wmaxt Active Member

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    #15 wmaxt, Dec 30, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2011
    I don't care for it, but it helps keep the warbird movement going. otherwise I agree with Flyboy.

    BTW a little Allison races with every Merlin - the rods used are from 1710-111/113 Allisons used in the P-38L-5s as they were built for huge power and RPM of up to 3800.
     
  16. evangilder

    evangilder "Shooter"
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    Seeing how it is currently not a common practice, I see no reason to put an end to it. When they were cheap and plentiful, I see how this came about. But these days, owning a warbird and keeping it flyable is not a poor man's game. Besides, there are plenty of warbirds out there without proper paint schemes. What's worse, chopping up and hopping up a warbird, or painting it to dsiplay and fly at airshows with an inaccurate paint scheme or accessories?
     
  17. MikeGazdik

    MikeGazdik Member

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    How about Polar Bear? An -A model Mustang. There are some youtube videos of her racing at Reno. I saw that one too in Columbus, but had a starter fail and didn't get to see her in the air. :(
     
  18. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    Polar Bear is a nice aircraft and we are very well aware of it. Unfortunatey, Jerry Gabe doesn't want to go the full racing Allison route, and that is understandable. However, we wish SOMEONE would want to beat the Merlins with a complete Allison instead of just borrowing Allison rods.

    We can put out some SERIOUS horsepower to the prop, and we wish someone wanted to do it. We have a much greater inventory of possible racing Allisons than exists for racing Merlins and, maybe in the future someone will step up due to the increasing expense and lack of parts for Merlins. We think we can run right uop there with the big boys, but need an airfrane to prove it and a team that wants to do it ... other than us. We can do the engine, but an engine doesn't make a team, does it?

    If they ever run out of Dwight Thorne replica Merlins (as in Strega and Dago Red ... at least the last time it raced), the speeds will drop quickly unless some has a powerplant that will make the power. Too bad Dwight passed away or we'd probably be going even faster.

    The "Dwight Thorne" of the radials is Dave Cornell of teh Rare Bear team. Now HE can put together an R-3350 that makes SERIOUS power. He can do the same with the R-2800, too.

    Joe Yancey can make serious power from anA llison if someone wants it, but most people want a stock Allison for a stock warbirds with stock Allison reliability, and that is VERY understandable. If they run out of R-3350's (and they will SOON), we can out one or two V-3420's in the nose of a Sea Fury and make some great power! We have two in stock that can be made flyable and even race-worthy. For a Sea Fury, the CG would hardly move at all!

    Ah well, we can hope for some good times at Reno, but can't make them happen on our own. Air racing is a rich man's game.
     
  19. Trilisser

    Trilisser Member

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    I have nothing against it for I believe that it is much better to have a modified warbird in the air as a racer than to have it gathering dust in an aviation morgue (=museum).
     
  20. Edgar Brooks

    Edgar Brooks Active Member

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    Put simply, it's none of my business; if someone has the money, it's not for me to tell him how to spend it.
    I notice that nobody says a word, when someone gets the data plate, from a Spitfire firewall, surrounds it with completely fresh-built parts, and calls it an original Spitfire Mark ..whatever.
     
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