McGrew's MiscellaneaDerby

Unusual Derby Car Designs
for a Shape N Race Derby, Pinewood Derby, etc.

Shape N Race Derby, Pinewood Derby, Kub Kar Rally—whatever you call it, a derby is a lot of fun, and it's a great opportunity for learning and for making memories.

Unusual derby car designs are a great way for "kids of all ages" to express their creativity. Many unusual designs can be seen in my photos of unusual derby cars, but here are descriptions of a few more. I've created separate sections for derby cars built by boys and for derby cars built by men.

Derby Cars Built by Boys

Most boys should be able to build a car similar to one of these designs with no more adult assistance than normal. I've included construction tips for several of them.

Candy Bars

I've photographed cars with paper candy-bar labels wrapped around the car body, but another approach is to use a plastic wrapper as an improvised decal. Select a large candy bar that is about the same size as a derby car, and that has a wrapper made of thin plastic film. (It's a good idea to buy more than one, in case you make a mistake.) Shape the car body to resemble the candy bar, and paint it the main color of the wrapper. Carefully trim the logo and other artwork from the label and glue it to the block. The thin plastic film should allow the label to blend in. Several coats of clear finish will protect the label from damage.

The Anchor

Immediately after painting the final coat, he sprayed it with just a touch of green paint. The wet paints blended together very nicely.

Fish, Sharks, etc.

We've had several fish and sharks entered. One of the best ones used heavy paper for the fins, which looked great, even if it wasn't durable.

The Ice Cream Bar

This one looked like a standard chocolate-covered vanilla ice cream bar, complete with a popsicle stick.

The Astair-Mobile

This looked like a patent-leather dance shoe. It was absolutely gorgeous.

The Coffin

He probably came up with this idea sometime around Halloween. The basic rectangular shape is easy to do.

The Canoe

The inside couldn't be carved out very much, but dark colors created a reasonable illusion of depth.

The Turtle

The first boy-built unusual car I saw. The shell was nicely textured. The feet stuck out of the shell right where the wheels attached to the car. Very nicely done.

Derby Cars Built by Men

Many (but not all) of these designs will be beyond the capabilities of most boys, unless they receive more adult assistance than normal.

The Plastic Slab

Two pieces of plexiglass, laminated together. There was just enough wood at the wheel locations to hold the axles in. (The plastic body would violate our current rules.)

The Surf Board

An upside-down surf board, with a bite removed by a shark. This was a simple shape, with excellent finish and detail.

The Screw

This one looked like a giant screw. Carving the threads was very time consuming.

The Brass Bed

A newlywed leader created this one. It was complete with pillows, lace bedding, etc.

The Police Car

Complete with working lights and siren. The original kit formed the chassis, and the body and lights from a plastic model were attached to that. On one wheel, the creator painted a spot with aluminum paint, so an optical sensor could detect when the car was moving.

The Laminated Corvette

One dad built his own block of wood by laminating eighth-inch strips of redwood and fir. Then he carved the block into a wonderful replica of a Corvette. The lamination really emphasized the curves of the Corvette design. (The use of wood block other than the one in the original kit would violate our current rules.)

Kawabunga (Skateboard)

Michael Mahone built this car for his church's biannual Awana Grand Prix. It was a skateboard with metallic flaked paint and the word "Kowabunga" on the top. The original block was trimmed down to form the undercarriage. The skateboard top was the maximum width allowed by the rules, and was held over the wheels by the undercarriage.

The Refrigerator

Michael Mahone built this car for his church's biannual Awana Grand Prix. The refrigerator door was the top of the car, so the best way to display it was standing on end. He glued doll-house "food" to shelves made of cross-stitch plastic.

Bubbles (Bathtub)

Michael Mahone built this car for his church's biannual Awana Grand Prix. He painted the tub to resemble blue marble, and then created a "bubble bath" using white texture paint (using blue paint for spots not covered by the "bubbles"). A tiny rubber duck and a bit of improvised plumbing completed the effect.

See Also