Getting Children Interested In Cars

There are hundreds of ways of getting children interested in cars. As may be understood if you regularly follow us, it leads to hundreds of careers and side projects – go karting or visiting a racetrack for instance. But it ultimately comes down to the child themselves.

We just wanted to point to some, in case you have some time off this Christmas and want to do something fun with your kids.

Lo Tech

There are many different craft videos out there, telling you how to make a car out of popsicle sticks or even matchboxes (the business Matchbox was named after the practice of homemade cars). For the more technically minded there are videos on making battery-powered toy cars and propeller cars. There are videos about general propulsion and how exactly they move designed for young minds.

Or you could choose one of the many balloon cars designs, whether out of cardboard or out of Lego. It teaches children about propulsion, as the balloon deflates the car goes faster. Or you use a zip line or rocket to propel it. Again, videos to make these items are available online with simple research.

Robot Cars:

There are several online challenges out there for those who wish to design their own. Robot cars can be customized into different designs and by following online guides, step by step instructions are needed to bring about positive results. An Arduino car for instance works through a USB and microcontroller. It creates its own path through obstacles.

An Elegoo robot car (as well as various robot tanks) can be programmed online via code. It could take some time to become an expert.

Remote Control Cars:

Remote control cars may be thought by some as yesterday’s toys by some but options include:

  • Those which can be controlled via Wifi
  • Those with a HD camera
  • Those which may be driven in all terrains

There’s even one made for the Nintendo Switch that works with VR (Virtual Reality) to impose a virtual racetrack onto your floor. You can drive the remote-control car around the virtual track and compete with virtual opponents.

There’s a range of colors too, including camouflage green and metallic blue.

Other ways to Play, er we mean Experiment…for education…

Even with regular toy cars your child can make ramps out of cardboard, wood or plastic. Sticking a block in the way in a car could teach about what forces cause a car to stop for instance. They can also alter the height and length of a ramp to see how fast a car goes when launched by gravity.

Another thing to look at is the size and weight of a car. Why do small cars start quicker but larger cars in the end go faster? They can also experiment on which surface works for the toy car.

There’s also the possibility of marking out a racetrack on the floor with colored masking tape. It comes down to how much mess you want your child to make!

Depending on the age of your child and the amount you’re able to be involved with the project the “shed projects” that involve building the car or obstacles before using them seem to fascinate more than the items you may find in the stores. However, both are useful if you want to teach about science and technology, or pass on your passion for cars to your own kids.

If your child doesn’t enjoy getting their hands dirty, there’s still encouraging your child to draw various types of cars and trucks, just whatever piques their interest. Car design is a great career and who knows where the next car startup will come from. If you get them to keep it up, you may have a genius on your hands. They’ll be working for Elon Musk – or one of his competitors – in no time. Maybe they’ll be the next Elon Musk?

Best of the Web: Drifting a Big Rig?!?

Our staff ran into this little six minute gem that will drop you jaw for sure. Wait for the ice trick, it’s astounding! The rig is modified, obviously, 1100BHP powered semi truck. It’s set in Fursten Forest(Germany).

Big thanks to the mechanics at Tire Kickers for pointing this one out to us. Get your cars inspected folks. What’s your excuse? It’s not the right time? When is it ever the right time?

 

Lightweight Cars

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Caterham 7

“Lightweight” is a subjective term but many cars, usually sporty varieties have special techniques to get the weight down. Reducing the weight can increase road performance, cost to manufacture and fuel economy. Lightweight can refer to hardcore sports cars and many of the mass market cars as well. The challenge is to have the same horsepower as a more built up car in the lighter model.

There is the Caterham 7 for example which only weighs 1,201 lbs. They market themselves as “less is more” and with good reason. The tubular steel chassis is apparently important to make the car so light. Should you have the opportunity to see it on the racetrack you’ll be impressed with the Caterham’s fantastic top speed–155 MPH.

Ariel Atom

Ariel Atom

On the other hand, the Ariel Atom might resemble driving a go-cart. The light weight is accomplished through what the company calls Lightweight Innovative Flexible Technology, which is car jargon for a “double unequal length wishbones” which is really just o a pair of flexible components which slightly resemble a wishbone. The suspension doesn’t just move up and down so dump that Y Shape in your mind’s eye and picture instead thick strands of hair. We’re assuming there’s still something wishbone-like about the design.

The way the Lotus Elise Sprint managed to shave off the pounds was by substituting carbon fiber for the metal used in making the car. The designers couldn’t just leave it at that, so they also redesigned the interior and added a new instrument panel with Bluetooth. It seems it’s not just about being light with Lotus Elise Sprint it’s also about creating a brilliant experience while you drive.

210300Another car which uses carbon fiber is the Noble M600. It is given the description “Superlight” by its marketing team. There are three different types of M600; the Coupe, the CarbonSport and the Speedster (the original version was the Coupe).  Perhaps the most unique feature here isn’t the weight but the fully bespoke interior meaning you have to design it yourself. Clever marketers call it an “unlimited color palette.” Could you design a car’s interior? Yeah, us neither.

mazda-1296295_1920.jpgAnother popular example is the Mazda Miata. In common with the Noble M600, it comes in three different trims; those being Sport, Club and Grand Touring. The Grand Touring price tag weighs the most. Despite the lightness in weight they still have both back and front suspension as well as power assist. Many of the cars above skimp on the power steering, but to be fair, lighter cars don’t need as much. Perhaps the Miata targets a crowd with a smaller physical stature.

ktm-x-bow-gt-photos-and-info-news-car-and-driver-photo-503669-s-originalThe KTM X-Bow GT may look like a racing car but it’s still a brilliant car to drive on the streets. The most unusual item that the X-Bow comes with is a luggage system, but it does have some additions which might suit a racing car, a center console, sun visors; a windshield with no actual frame and so on. The design calls to mind Tony the Tiger, but it sort of pulls it off, if that makes sense.

This is by no means an exhaustive list…there’s no end of light weights, and that’s okay.