This 1/4 scale Novi V8 sprint car was designed and built by Jim Riggle, of North Dakota, in the mid-1980s. The model car is 37″-long, 16″-wide, and 12″-high. Jim used this sprint car as the test platform for his new model of the NOVI V8 engine. He made the patterns and molds for the castings and machined all of the parts to make it operational; his ultimate goal was to eventually design and develop a fully functional 1/4 scale “Indy” NOVI powered race car.
The engine is a water-cooled DOHC (Dual Over Head Cam) 4-cycle with a one-inch bore and stroke. It sports a peristaltic pressure and scavenge pump for pressurized dry-sump lubrication, two peristaltic fuel pumps, a water pump, eight downdraft butterfly-type carburetors with velocity stacks, and it is designed to burn methanol on electronic spark ignition. The serpentine timing belt ensures positive drive to all accessories and pumps. The car is set up for radio control and it incorporates a Columbia type quick-change differential rear end. Courtesy of Ed Miller.
The full-scale versions of these cars normally run on 1/4- and 1/2-mile dirt ovals and can turn lap times in the 14-15-second range for a 1/2-mile track. For example, the lap record at Knoxville Raceway on the 1/2-mile oval is in 14.07 seconds. That is a lap average of almost 128 MPH on dirt, much of which is done sliding totally sideways with full lock oversteer! Speeds on the straightaway can top 140 MPH. The power-to-weight ratio with 650 HP in a 1,400-pound car is similar to that of a Formula 1 car. Watch a video of the engine being test run below, courtesy of Ron Colonna.