Project 1969 Zeitler Formula Vee

I purchased my Zeitler Formula Vee in Atlanta Georgia in March of 2009. He was the 7th owner of the car. It was a basket case but the major components were there and it was in pretty good shape considering it was 40 years old and had been raced most of it's life!

It came with the frame, complete body (in 7 pieces), an engine and transaxle, bucket seat, wedge-shaped fuel tank, front beam, turkey legs, steering wheel, gauge cluster (no gauges), 7 wheels, a 4 into 1 exhaust and a few boxes of "other" parts.

We were able to get the entire car in the back of my 1988 Chevy Suburban.

The 8 hour drive back to Orlando was uneventful. I can't even remember driving around Atlanta because all I was thinking about was


When I got home, I brought my wife out to the Suburban to show her what I had bought and all she could say was


Ditto from just about everyone else I showed it to. They just couldn't see the POTENTIAL it had.

For the next 3 months the frame sat on the back porch, the body was hung on hooks in the garage and the engine, transaxle and beam all found new home under or behind my 1956 Chevy. In the meantime, I started collecting parts. I found several 1600 blocks, cranks, dual port heads, 2 sets of webers, 90.5mm pistons and lot of other items to build the autocross engine.

I also found a 1776cc long block (don't you just love that green paint on the block?) so I used it to test fit the engine/transaxle to the bulkhead and then bolt the assembly to the frame. Thats when I realized the dual port heads and 44 IDF Webers would not fit unless I modified the frame. I didn't want to do that so the hunt is on for a 2nd FV to build a SOLO car. The Zeitler will be restored to original.

After selling the 1956 Chevy Belair Beauville in July, it was time to move the Zeitler into it's new home: THE GARAGE!!!! My very understanding wife was happy to get part of the back porch back!

A couple days of sanding and painting and the frame is done. Notice the tires. These were all given to me by fellow SCCA-CFA Members. They will all be used at drivers schools.

Next was the transaxle. It needed new bearings, seals and gaskets and a real good cleaning. . Also rebuilt the rear brakes with new cylinders, shoes and hardware.

The engine/transaxle and starter were mounted to the bulkhead and the assembly was bolted to the rear frame section. Having a removable rear frame really helps.

Then the trailing arms and coilovers were bolted up. The rear is almost ready to have the wheels and tires mounted.

Next is the front end......

All new Kingpins, Linkpins, bearings, brakes, drums, shocks, lower swaybar and TRW Steering box complete the front end. A temporary tie rod setup is installed until the new aluminum ones come in. Still need to get new master cylinders and lines.

Tires and wheels are installed and I can finally move it around the garage.

A very generous FV Owner from WV (You know who you are!) sent me one of his extra intake manifolds FOR FREE! The FV community is the best. With all the other items I needed to buy for the car, a nice intake was going to take a while. This one is in perfect condition and looks like it has had all the mods done to it too. I am one lucky person. I will return the favor to some other FV person who needs something I have.

A test fitting of the 4-into-1 exhaust. The original Zeitler exhaust was a 2-into-1 which made the engine sound more like a Harley than a VW. I know of only 1 car that is still running the hard to find Zeitler exhaust and that is Sheridan Fahnestock in his beautiful 1969 Zeitler FV. Next I will remove the pipes and sand them then paint them with VHT paint.

A test fitting of the body. I still have to build a few mounting tabs but most of the Dzus fittings are still there. The body will come back off so I can run the brake, clutch and gas pedal lines. I hope to start the engine this weekend.

I am sure just about everyone know what I mean when I say "Life sure gets in the way sometimes". It seems that something kept fighting me when it came to working on my Zeitler. On Thanksgiving Weekend, I went to Sebring Raceway to pick up my medical and novice forms and to check out the club racing from the Central Florida Region SCCA. I got to meet several FV drivers and their families and picked up a few ideas and pointers from the pros. I would not be able to work on the Zeitler again until this week, February 15. Almost 3 months went by in the blink of an eye. Christmas, New Years, Family visits, Back to Tennessee to be with my sick Mom and Dad and then the flu hit my family. All eight of us got it. I was the last one and it hit me on New Years Day. Took almost 3 weeks to feel like a human again.

The car was almost done except for the brakes. I got the new Wilwood master cylinders but it took a while to get all the lines and fittings. I think I have it all now.

I started the engine and let it run for about 15 minutes and here is what happened. Watch the video.

Bad Motor

I was about 2 days from getting the car ready to track test and now I am 4 weeks behind. I hope to work on it all next week after I finish the taxes.

It has been 6 weeks since I last worked on the car.Trying to find time now but here are some updates.

Here is my new motor all torn down. Crank was spun, Block was junk from spinning the locating dowel. Time to build a new motor!

I have 3 40hp motors. 1 is a FV motor that was built back in the late 1970's and the other 2 are stock! None run at this time.

3 40hp motors. One with spun bearing, one with bad pistons and one with 5 pounds of grit and sludge from filling up with water.

Wrist pin clip broke or came lose and it ate the side of the piston all the way thru the rings. This is why the engine was spitting oil out the exhaust!

This is what the pin did after the clip fell out. Piston and cylinder were both shot. Engine ran fine but spit oil out the exhaust.

I used the pistons, cylinders and heads from the brand new (but now blown BAD MOTOR) and mounted them on the FV motor that had the wrist pin damage and I am happy to say I have a running motor again!

Engine almost back in.

Finally back in the car and running and NO OIL!!!!

Left to do:

Install brake lines, master cylinders and prop valve.

Install Fire bottle, lines and pull handle.

Install belts.

Tweek the shifter. It just does not shift right.

Mount battery box and battery.

Mount body.

Test car.

November 2010

A lot has been completd on the car in the last 3 months. It is almost ready to test.

Shift linkage fixed and adjusted.

Brakes are finally plumbed and adjusted.

Removeable steering wheel installed.

Battery,and switches installed.

Fire extinguisher (fire bottle and lines will be added when I amready to race).

Deep oil sump installed.

Rear bumper guard installed.

Safety Harness installed.

Z-BAR installed and adjusted.

Body fitted.

Car is almost ready to test. Just a few minor things left to do. It runs great! I will be taking it to a local autocross soon to give it a test run.

Yes... that is another FV next to the Zeitler. In a moment od weakness, I bought a 1972 ZINK Z5 that was set up for autocross, just to have fun with. It is for sale!!! Don't have time for 2 cars.

UPDATE September 2012.

Zeitler is finally finsihed! I trailered it to the Daytona Regional Races and got it's Annual Inspection and a new Logbook. It is officially ready to race or run in a Drivers School. I also received my Novice Permit so now I am ready for school. I still have to but a HANS so I have to sell a few items. They cost $600!  I bought a brand new transponder already so at least the Zeitler is ready to go.

Here are a couple photos of the finished car. It turned out very nice and have already had a couple offers to buy it.

I have sold the 1972 Zink and bought a 1968 ASP to run in autocross. It is not finished and will be a winter project. I also have this poor-mans race car lift.

January 23, 2008