Kimini 2.2 - Design Reference


This is not a list of books lifted from any other source - I own all of these. Only after reading them did I decide if they were worth anything and bear my recommendation. I don't recommend anything I haven't read.

First, a bit of a lecture. Regarding the cost of these books... ask yourself why you are here. You are considering building a car upon which you will trust your life, one that you will spend $1000s of dollars, and 100s of hours building. Now consider what you get out of these books - the knowledge is priceless. If the cost of the books seems too high, you may as well stop right now; the car will cost far more to build, so $500 isn't much considering what you get. If you need another way to rationalize the expense, consider that to read all of these, and to really know the material, will take about a year, and that's before you start to design your car.

If you decide to buy any of these books please do me the kindness of using the links below. I get a small kickback (at no cost to you) to put toward the car. Thank you.

Kimini: How to Design and Build a Mid-Engine Sports Car - From Scratch This is my book, and of course I think it's a valuable resource. It boils down everything I learned over 10 years: gathering ideas, setting design goals, research, collecting parts, workshop design, mock up, construction, and testing. There is more book information here.
Race Car Vehicle Dynamics , Milliken and Milliken. Expensive but worth it if you want to really get into serious suspension design. The design book when it comes to suspension. I put many of the equations in this book into Excel to figure things like center of gravity, weight distribution, roll centers, roll couples, with the math ultimately telling me the size of roll-bars I needed.
Prepare To Win This, and the three books below, were written by Carrol Smith, widely considered the expert in race car fabrication techniques. These are absolute required reading for anyone building a car, or aircraft for that matter.
Tune To Win
Engineer To Win
Nuts, Bolts, Fasteners, and Plumbing
Race Car Engineering and Mechanics
Chassis Engineering A good book, up there with the Staniforth books for simple straightforward explanations of suspension.
High Speed, Low Cost Truly a classic and back in print through The book takes you back to the early years, where a fellow could single-handedly design, build, and competitively race his own sports car. Great fun reading from a simpler time. The book details how to design and build a open-wheel formula car based on a Mini drivetrain. There's no reason why you couldn't use this book as a guide and use a modern drivetrain like a Honda or Toyota FWD assembly.
Race and Rally Car Source Book Don't be misled by the title, this is a terrific sports car design book and the one I probably got the most information from. Later I found the author published a later book (below.) Given a choice I'd say get that one instead.
Competition Car Suspension If I were forced to buy only one book this would be it. (See notes on Allan Staniforth's other books above.)
Competition Car Suspension: A practical hand book Normally I don't recommend books I haven't read yet, but if it's anything like his other books above, it's a must-have.
Build Your Own Sports Car for as Little as £250 I believe this is out of print but worth haveing if you can find an inexpensive copy somewhere. It's an easy to read, clearly written book on how to build a Super-7 type car from scratch. Many people are building this car, called the "Locost" and because of the unusual name, it's easy to use Google to find dozens under construction on the Web. The website is where they sell plans and kits. BTW, the title is very optimistic when it claims it can be done for £250!
Build your own Sports Car on a budget This, and the book below, have pretty much replaced the "Build Your Own Sports Car for as Little as £250" above. Gibbs does an excellent job of stepping into the shoes of the original Locost. Plenty of CAD drawings, and he has a website. The only unfortunate aspect for U.S.-based builders is that it uses UK automobile parts, but that's to be expected.
How to build a Cheap Sports Car Just as valuable as the book above - perhaps more so for U.S. builders. Tanner's detailed pictures, layout, and and humor result in a very informative text for anyone considering building a Locost kit, or even building one from the ground up. Highly recommended.
Racing and Sports Car Chassis Design
Race Car Aerodynamics Covers all aspects of airflow over a ca and answered all my aerodynamic questions. An must read if you plan on driving over 60mph...
Competition Car Downforce A must-have in addition to Katz's book above. They complement each other nicely.
How To Make Your Car Handle
Ultimate Sheet Metal Fabrication For metal fabrication, nothing beats these three books. While the Carrol Smith books above deal with general race car construction practice, these three books go into excellent detail about how to get metal to do what you want. I learned a lot from these.
Metal Fabrication Handbook
Sheet Metal Handbook
Race Car Fabrication and Preparation Dated, but very valid useful information for any type of race car. Deals mostly with heavily modified roadracing Camaros and Firebirds.
“Formula Car Technology”, Howdy Holmes and Don Alexander.
The Unfair Advantage Just back in print. The book blew me away, Mark Donahue lived through the most exciting time of racing development, and each page is like looking over his shoulder as he and his peers figure out suspension designs and aerodynamics for the first time. You have to read every single page - not a book to be skimmed.
Dwarf Car Technology A crossover book from the "roundy-round" boys, as in circle-track racing. Just because they only turn left doesn't mean they don't know what they're doing.
Books obtained through Aircraft Spruce.. If it's good enough for aircraft design, it's good enough for us.
  • "Standard Aircraft Handbook", Edited by Larry Reithmaier.
  • "Acceptable Methods, Techniques, and Practices. Aircraft Inspection and Repair.", FAA.
  • "Standard Aircraft Workers Manual", Edited by Larry Reithmaier.
  • Don't forget the factory service manual for your drive train!