I assume the Eagle was developed has a VW based car and then progressed to a ford front engine to give it power to match its looks. How did switching the weight etc to the front affect the handling as the weight distribution as totally changed. Are the any issues with having a relatively light rear end.
Hi Rich, You are totally correct in your assumption, Tim Dutton, of Dutton cars, the original owner of Eagle Cars Ltd. and who developed the SS from the American Cimbria in 1980/81 also made the MkI SS Eagle/Ford chassis that is used on the SS and RV before selling it to his cousin Reg Budd. It wasn't so much to gain extra power, as a standard 1.6 Cortina SOHC lump isn't much more than a 50hp 1600 VW but it did give an alternative.
Handling is seriously compromised on both VW and Ford version due to the greatly reduced and redistributed weight with the seats further back, in fact in the rear passengers foot well. Work on the wheels/tyres, suspension and brakes is required to make the car handle, as well as give acceptable road holding.
As far as on the road goes, the swing axle VW has a tendency to 'lift a wheel' if pushed hard in a corner and to break away without much warning, the IRS is more stable but 'swapping ends', even in a Porshe, can happen suddenly if wet. the light front is a problem and can cause the front brakes to lock up, so discs are a must and the bigger the better so as to reduce 'grab', the larger the brake area the less pressure required the smoother the braking. The original design called for a standard wheel to be carried as a spare in the nose to assist weight distribution and afford some crash protection but if running larger wheels like 255/60-15 rears what do you do with that when running a 'skinny spare'? so most don't and carry a plug kit and a mini compressor like many modern cars today.
The Ford has characteristics all of it's own and lack of weight at the rear is a problem with the tail hanging out due to lack of grip if push in a corner, dough nuts are easy to achieve lets say but with the weight over the front wheels steering out of it is easy. The advantage is a much wider choice of engine and transmission, if one ignores the engine and gearbox mountings in favour of making new ones, I would still like to see a full Subaru 4x4 installed in an Eagle chassis. Going too big, either in the rear using an adapter plate on the VW box or in the front, like a Rover V8 as Jason did, can make the car pretty much undrivable other than in a straight line, which is why Jason's SS is resident at Prescott as a race car, just too scary on the road, (he said).
Best to stay under 120HP on the VW or Ford version to get the best from it, over that and it can be a handful and driving a handful can be fun for a short while but it soon looses it's appeal. Mine is about 110Hp and more than enough to see of all but the biggest super cars, well, up to 80 MPH anyway.
I am looking at a number of ideas ranging from OK to You cannot be serious. I have to admit I have got fed up with air cooled engineering, even the "machine gun" buggy now has a Subaru engine. I must admit one of the ideas is to fit a Subaru 4x4 system. At the moment I am looking at a Reliant Scimitar chassis, the choice of engine is yet to be decided. The Scimitar had the same light rear problems despite moving the engine well back. I used to carry a paving slab in the back. Another idea is to put a Subaru engine in has a mid engine, 2 wheel drive. The Subaru in the back has in the buggy is good with plenty of power but puts even more weight at the rear. OK in a slow buggy but not I think in a SS.
Any way back to the planning. Any advice or ideas welcome.