Lil’ Miss Bacfire

The story of this car comes from many miles down the road from Gittreville.  Near 1000 actually, and further from the roots of the famed originals.

She’s the creation of Kelly Wood.

Kelly refers to her lovingly as “spinning death;” there are very real rotating reasons for that.  We’ll elaborate in detail later on.

Searches on the interwebs will find this car. It’s found in post after post of “bitchin” cars.  Commonly, you’ll see it running VSCC hill climbs in the United Kingdom and there’s no mistaking the car. There can be only one. It’s fast, a performer, and looks like she’ll eat you alive.

After a couple of years making other known cyclekarts, Kelly decided to attempt making the car. To do it right, one had to get creative in a way never done before.  

Similar to Bloody Mary, there was a lot to cram into a small space.

The car is the cyclekart rendition of the 1928 B.A.C. Special known as “Miss Bacfire” owned by Ben Marchant and built by Robert James Beck. And no, it’s not a typo. There is no “K” in the name.

From one of many conversations with Robert, Kelly learned the car is actually made mostly of Austin 7 Parts which were too beat up to use in a decent Austin 7 resurrection. Thus, the car is, an Austin 7.

Other accounts from Robert mentioned the car had caught fire at one time, however has never actually backfired.

So what is it?  

Her name is a play on the engine used. A 1900cc B.A.C. V-twin air cooled french motorcycle engine once used as a pacing cycle for other racing venues such as bicycle racing oddly. The real engine in the current car has the serial number 006 on it.

Six.

Kelly took on the recreation of the car because it fits an artistic building style he possesses.  One may see it demonstrated in a good episode of Junkyard Wars, any episode of the A-Team, perhaps McGuyver… but more like a twitchy-eyed hillbilly with a 220 Volt buzz-box… and he’s “fixin-tuh-weld sumthin”

It’s worth mentioning the car wasn’t born in a fancy shop. It was built in an open carport with the most basic of tools and her first drive was in the snow.

There’s rusty bolts on the car, many don’t even match.

While sketched on paper initially, many aspects of the car were simply made up as it was built. The original sketches were the stuff of nightmares starring a 3 yr old in the corner with a mis-matched box of crayons. 

It’s mayhem really.

A trip around the car will have you wondering at times.  The steering shaft goes straight forward, then down, then right.. then forward.  

On the dash, the wonderful “anything gauge.”  Nobody’s sure what THAT does, but it’s neat to look at.

The most unique feature of the car is that the driver sits with the engine just under their knees. 2 inches down actually. To capture the character of the car, one couldn’t just hang the engine off the back. That’d just be “punting” and not creative at all.  

On the original car, there’s nothing back there but wheels.  

So careful (no, not really) consideration was taken when placing the engine.  Look down, you’re sitting on it.  Creatively, it’s in a removable “carriage” which, with 4 bolts, can drop right out of the bottom of the car. There are 3 rigid guards in place to keep things from wiping out your nether-regions should something fail. A special throttle linkage was also created along with the tiny tiny low profile spark plug cap to allow for clearance.

TECHNICAL DETAILS
Chassis No. TBA

Wheelbase: 74″
Front width: 38″
Rear width: 35″
Last known weight: 236 lbs
Engine: 196 CC Greyhound 4cycle, OHV
Drivetrain: Spec TAV unit, dual #35 chains, one jack shaft and split sprockets. Right wheel drive, right brake. Left rear wheel can be keyed however is normally run with a thrust bearing.
Known top speed: 51 mph.

It’s worth noting also, that the spec TAV unit used is run outside of the frame rails. Most of the drivetrain is outside of the frame. It could very well be the only car that’s ever done it.

ABOUT THE PARTS:

– The body is made of a 1951 Buick Hood and an old Tee Boat Trailer Fender. Welding them together required a hazmat suit as the original Buick hood… had actual lead paint in it.
– Braking system is vintage 1969 Bendix drum
– Steering wheel found at a yard sale while driving around in a cyclekart for 5 bucks. It was used on a forklift at one time.
– Leaf springs from a junked utility trailer, single spring was sliced in half.
– Heat shield on engine, a pizza cooling plate bent into shape.
– Chain tensioning device was a brake pedal from a race kart. Comes complete with ball bearing mounts.
– Brake pedal, 1961 volkswagen bug pads welded to a rod.
– Wheels, OEM honda trail 90 hubs coupled to rear go kart Tri-star inner hubs accomplish the 3 lug mount. Also, they are laced to mid 1980’s Kawasaki KX80 17″ takasago front rims which are aluminum. This dropped a couple pounds per wheel in weight compared to the stock setup one might use.  The wheels are balanced precisely.
– Steering system accomplished via dual turnbuckle system which were once vintage race kart front hubs. There are 12 Heim joints on the car.
– Seat is vintage and was torn from someone’s failed “drift trike” project.  It’s from a tractor. The seat back is actually an honest-to-god… badly bent, metal garbage can.
– Due to how things came together, the throttle on the car is on the right hand on the steering wheel.  A finger trigger throttle runs to a cable then down to the engine.  The brake pedal, is on the right foot going out the side of the car… to a bell crank, then back.

Yes, it’s a tad warm to drive and in the winter keeps you nice and comfy.

It’s one unique cyclekart… for just under private parts… and inches from your elbows… is nothing less than spinning death.

Arms & legs inside the ride at all times or you get hurt.

Is it pretty? Now that depends on who you ask.

Is it one of the classic recreations of the beautiful cyclekarts we’re used to seeing? No, It’s not.

Does it resemble the inspiration car? 100%.

She’s one hell of a cyclekart.

Accounts from some describe the car as somewhat “tractor-like” on initial impressions, the steering seems hard, but give her a little throttle… and she’ll take you for quite the ride and level out nicely.  

“You don’t get in it… you mount it,”  said Kelly.   “To drive the car, you straddle the thing… sit down… then put your legs in.”

“Just remember to hang on… there’s a mess of items that can go wrong here, in which case, this girl will probably bite you.”

by Ab Jenkins

http://www.huntsvillegp.com

1 Comment

  1. Great job getting the details right on this one of a kind Cyclekart.
    I love all the upcycled parts used, it really makes it look like something from the 1920’s. Very well done.
    I am a little scared to drive it. Lol.

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