1. introduction

2. suspension lessons

3. stressing

4. chassis 101

5. Autodynamics

6. jet set

7. sun set

8. Raceware

9. enter the Seven

10. skin deep

11. the DSK concept

12. the list list

13. DSK hits the road

14. postscript

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The List List

As we collected all the pieces to finish the first prototype, I called Carroll Smith out on the coast and described the project to him. He said that he worked exclusively on professional racing teams, but would look at the project because we knew and liked each other back on the Dodge Trans Am team. It seemed clear to me that having Smith involved would accelerate the timetable for completing the car, improve the design in any number of unanticipated ways and make the prototype bulletproof. When Carroll Smith screws your car together, it stays together and goes like hell. I hoped he would take on the build.

Smith visited twice. On the first visit, he looked over what we had done and agreed to get involved in the project, "because the chassis design was so good." It is one of the finest and most important compliments I have ever been paid. He followed quickly with several suggestions for nice refinements of the chassis and suspension, lest I get too inflated. Then he made several of his famous lists. I immediately recalled Carroll's lists from the Trans-Am days. They were incredible.

'Prototype 1' prior to skinning, with full Dave Bean 'C' mule motor
original DSK photos

The dashboard hoop had already been redesigned as a load-bearing beam across the front of the driver's bay and as a stiffener for crash protection. We decided to tie a reinforced drive shaft tunnel into that structure to add torsional stiffness and more cockpit integrity. Carroll also settled an internal debate about the final configuration of the rear suspension. I was not clear on whether to use a Watts Link or a Panhard Rod for lateral axle location. Smith threw his weight behind a (level-with-road) Panhard rod. The rest of his drawings were "taken from" the prototype as we had built it before he was involved. Carroll was responsible for a myriad of mechanical details. The brake bias system that I designed into the chassis came from him originally (but was a part of the design before he came aboard) as were any number of other mechanical flourishes, including the staggered rivets. After all, I was student of Carroll's and his books on tuning and race car prep were my Bibles for many years prior to the DSK chassis.

The integral roll-bar hoop, added chassis tubes, relocated (rearward) engine - all were part of my original concept. I take full responsibility for the chassis design. The whole point of the DSK Seven project for me was the opportunity to redesign the chassis and suspension in accord with late 1970s technology. That's my baby!

More details of Prototype 1. The powerplant in these photos would eventually be replaced by a turbocharged motor prior to undergoing a road test by Car and Driver magazine in May of 1982.
original DSK photos

Carroll made a list of parts that we would need to complete the car, often with up to ten digit part numbers and down to the last fastener. He made a list of shop supplies we would need to have on hand. It included a particular brand of epoxy, specific grades, styles and sizes of insulation material, rivets, studs, tubing, Heim joints and spherical bearings, hose materials, Aeroquip lines and fittings, clamps, bulbs, mirrors and more. It was an absolutely comprehensive and unbelievable list. How could anyone do that? But Smith wasn't done yet. He made a list of tools we would need to have to fabricate certain parts and to assemble the car. He gave me a list of the things we needed to complete on the chassis and other sub-assemblies before he could return to do the work. He compiled a list of the drawings he would make on his next visit so that we could reproduce the car. Finally, he gave me a list of all the lists so that I could not forget anything. The magician had begun his act.

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