Back From The Dead Part 2: Penelope Pitlane Chassis

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For the past couple of days I’ve been inflicted with the debilitating disease known as man-flu. As such I’ve only wanted to do stuff that takes minimum thinking and physical effort.

A month ago I brought what can only be described as the worst slot car to ever be brought with actual money. You can read the original build post by following the highlighted link. I then rebuilt the original motor but the split in the chassis was causing the car to come apart under load. Not satisfactory!


The only remedy was to put a new chassis under it! Chassis’ for these BMWs are readily available on popular auction sites but lord knows I wasn’t going to spend any money on this car! I have a resin Honda I made a few years back that never gets used and that I’m not particularly happy with; it has a perfectly good Penelope Pitlane chassis under it which would do nicely!

donor cars

It even has the same size front and rear wheels in alloy. Since this car is never used the good rear tyres got swapped onto the BMW during the initial build.

The first job was to get the gnarly old chassis out of the BMW. Not a difficult task as it’s pretty much held in my goodwill rather than any sort of pressure.

shit chassis out

We want to keep the grill with the car but lose the section of chassis it’s attached to. I simply cut the uprights holding the two together and stuck the grill and lights directly into the shell.

grillgrill modifiedgrill in

There is a slight difference between the wheel base of the Honda and BMW as one would expect but thankfully Penelope Pitlane chassis are really easy to adjust! It’ll fit in there nicely!

test fit

The big question is how does one fit the chassis to the shell. Most slot chassis will need to be screwed into a post. Most of the resin shells that come with the kits will come with these posts pre-moulded but if you are using a different shell then obviously it won’t. Many slot car builders will have different techniques in making these posts but personally I like to use wooden dowel.

This is what I used for this car. It’s actually a little thick but it was in my room rather than in the garage. As I stated earlier I was full of man flu and the garage felt like a very very long way away haha!


To determine how long you want your post to be you will need to measure the best distance between the interior of the shell and the bottom of the chassis. Normally if you’ve got wheels that are the same front and rear you would set it so the wheels sit nicely under the arches but since the wheels are of different sizes, the fronts will sit slightly higher in the shell than the rears (Penelope Pitlane chassis’ are designed to have wheels on equal size.

ride height measure

Now transfer that measurement onto your piece of dowel and cut it.

dowel measuredowel cut

I should explain the little knobbly bits on the end of the posts. Basically, you don’t want them there. For some reason I took this photo before cutting them off. If you use a junior hacksaw which is really the proper tool for doing this then you won’t get those but my ill, lazy self didn’t want  to go the garage so I used a rotary tool, which actually made cutting the posts a lot more effort than going to the garage to get the proper tool.

To fit the posts I find it easiest to look through the post and try to find a reference point on the inside of the shell. If there isn’t one it may be worth marking where the hole lines up with a bit of paint. Putting the paint on the end of a super thin metal rod and putting it through the hole in the chassis is probably the best way to mark the body.

Once you know where the posts want to sit I Uhu them to the shell and then put hot glue around it to add a little reinforcement.

As mentioned before the dowel I used was actually a little too thick and thus only the front mount would fit into the chassis. Penelope Pitlane chassis’ normally have a rear tab that is used for mounting but the Honda required you to cut that off and use another hole by the motor’s shaft. The space between the motor’s shaft and the outside wall of the chassis was too narrow to fit the dowel in place.

Simply use a small self tapping screw (or two) to hold the chassis in place.

chassis in

Job done! Using a nice Penelope Pitlane chassis in such a hideous car is a bit overkill but I doubt it will be staying in there forever. There are still plenty of stupid things I want to try out with this little old car.

done 1done 2

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