I realize what follows is probably not terribly funny for hard-core buggy people, as it relates to the Infamous SAE "New Ken Limo"
-- used for many years as a humorous entry on race day, but if you are that hard core, please skip this post.
For the rest of you, some background: the "Limo" (as it was known in later years,) started its existence as a nameless "push practice" buggy in the early '70s. Built by BuggyBob and another member in a single weekend, it was basically the simplest, cheapest vehicle that could be constructed with minimal effort and materials and still meet the definition and safety rules of that era for a buggy. Its original function was simple -- it allowed the race buggy not have to be used for nightly push practice, reducing danger of damage and kept prying eyes from ogling it too much. Secondarily, it had the benefit of being a solid 25 + lbs HEAVIER than a race-day buggy. The pushers complained bitterly about this, especially when a 135 lbs driver -- such as myself -- was pressed into service to drive it for push practice, instead of the regular 120 lbs driver. The benefit was the pushers really had to work HARD in practice to get this beast up the hill. I believe, as a hill #5 pusher for several years, this really worked. Painful, but it paid off on race day.
- C:\Documents and Settings\d\My Documents\My Pictures\buggy\Limo.jpg
- Limo.jpg (69.93 KiB) Viewed 5071 times
Made of a plywood pan with 2" x 6" (?) planks for sides, the practice buggy featured standard OSBD axles and wheels, with angle iron crash protection that was arguably more robust (and surely heavier) than any other in Sweepstakes.
No body, no aero shape, and heavy as a lead sled, it dutifully served it function as the push practice buggy on which the erstwhile pushers impaled their guts each night. A Hill #1 with it was like running a marathon, and took nearly as long (well over 20 seconds.)
It was the first buggy I ever pushed, and very nearly the last. As freshmen second semester pledge, I wandered past the bottom of Hill #1 one night (push practice was 11PM to midnight in that era) and saw all the buggies being pushed up the hill. The guy running SAE's push practice spotted me and said: "Hey, I heard you're on the CMU soccer team -- you think you can push this thing up that hill fast?
Being young and foolish, I said: "Sure, I'll give it a try...."
After a couple of pointers, still dressed in street clothes, I grabbed the push bar and gave it a mighty heave........ I immediately knew I had made a very big mistake. I was half way up the hill (all 135 lbs of me) and the thing still wasn't up to full speed. After what felt like an entire Dr. Fugazi lecture in Intro to Chemistry
, I passed the end of Hil #1 and nearly passed out. I spent the balance of the push practice that night trying to avoid blowing lunch.
Fast forward several years: the size of the SAE house had grown to something like 80 members, so there was more interest in buggy than the house had buggies, so somebody got the idea of entering the practice Buggy in the race, not on a competitive basis, but for just the guys who came out and flagged, swept the course, flagged, etc., to be able to "participate." An alumnus who owned a limousine company in New Kensington had several guys from the house working part time for him as drivers, so they nicknamed the practice buggy "New Ken Limo,"
and was given a lovely coat of flat black spray paint -- so it looked like a "limo." Race day times were in the 3:00 + range, but considering the pushers had never practiced, and the buggy was rolled with the same practice wheels used in push practice, with original OSBD bearings, one couldn't expect much better than that.
Fast forward several more years: during the 1980s, the brothers began to get innovative in their use of the Limo as an entry. One year, in an obvious lampoon of the retractable push bars of the era, they made the limo look like a sailboat, replete with retractable mast and bed sheet sail that was pulled up by the driver at the bottom of Hill #3. The Limo driver proceeded to driver zig-zag path up the back hills to simulate "tacking."
The ultimate "politically incorrect" gag entry of the limo was the year after OJ Simpson was charged with murdering his wife. The Limo was once more transformed for race day (under complete secrecy, of course) into a white Ford Bronco look-alike, with a black driver holding a toy pistol to his head, while the pushers where dressed in serious business suits and briefcases,wearing "Groucho-glasses" with a big nose & mustache, in honor of Allen Dershowitz's legal contributions to OJ's legal team. Onlookers in the back hills were in tears from laughing so hard....Another incarnation of the irreverent "Limo" w/cardboard body panels
With the later revisions to the rules requiring structural covering over the entire length of the driver, the Limo's days of Sweepstakes "competition," and irreverence, were over for good.
I now return this thread to discussion of serious buggy issues.