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“The Box” - All Wheels Steer

Cornering attitude of Box when tested is flat, no lean or pitch—but all wheels adopt curious camber angles, and rear

steering; power by a rear-mounted planes of) and fiberglass (the kind

Look at this ultralight motorcycle engine, and belt drive to used in big aircraft). The balsa, end-
on-and-off-road vehicle that transmit the power. With the two- cut into small pieces, is fitted between
stroke, 500cc, 60-hp Kawasaki engine, layers of the fiberglass.
hits new highs in mobility the Box will top 100 mph and do the Although aircraft fiberglass is
standing quarter-mile in 13.5 seconds harder to work and requires more at-
By JIM DAVIS / PS West Coast Editor at 95-mph terminal speed! A four- tention to detail, it gives greater
stroke LaVerda engine is now being strength. Using this balsa/glass sand-

tested. wich construction made it possible to
From the engine, power is transmit- strengthen points exposed to the
acing car? Economy car? Dune ted to the rear differential via a pul- greatest stress—such as suspension
buggy? Off-road vehicle? The an- ley. Suspension is an independent mountings—without beefing up areas
swer, every time, is yes; the Box is all swing-axle affair, front and rear. It that don’t need it.
of these. It began life as a multipur- utilizes a hydropneumatic nitrogen- Controls for the Box. They’re sim-
pose car suitable for street, track, and oil system, with separate reservoirs ple—borrowed from motorcycle com-
offroad use; but because it has a fully for each wheel. Over rough terrain ponents. Gear-changing is managed
watertight body, it even converts to this system really proves itself, tak- with the right hand, and so is the
an amphibian when paddles are fixed ing the bumps out of ruts and gullies, clutch control. The left hand controls
to the wheels. and making off-road driving almost the throttle by a twist-grip arrange-
The designers, Dan Hanebrink and comfortable. ment, as used on motorcycles. Brakes
Matt Van Leeuwen of Costa Mesa, There is no separate frame. The are applied simply by pushing the
Calif., aimed for aircraft lightness. body structure is what holds the parts throttle grip forward.
They also had their own ideas on just together. The body is made in two You steer with your feet. It sounds
about everything in the chassis de- sections, a top and bottom, bolted to- weird, but really isn’t. It’s like the
partment. gether. The Box is a two-seater. You steering on those soapbox carts you
A radical departure. The Box is far step into it through a single front had as a kid. When you pushed with
from the norm. But when you analyze door, which also serves as the wind- your right foot, the cart turned left.
it, you see the thoughtful reasoning shield. When you pushed with the left, you
and the simplicity behind the design: The Box is made of balsa wood turned right. But in the Box, instead
four-wheel-drive as well as four-wheel (the ultralight stuff you build model of pushing directly on the axle, you
Yo u s t e e r with your feet, use hand controls box. Driving the Box, D.avis discovered,
of motorcycle type for throttle, clutch, gear- is no stranger than anything else about it.

To p s e c t i o n is made of
end-cut pieces of balsa
wood sandwiched be-
tween fiberglass and
molded. Door (which
holds windshield) and
windows are cut out
wheels show a pronounced steering angle!

and Drive
after molding.

F i b er g l a s s bo t t o m m o l d
shows great tightness of the
supporting structure with
are operating a hydraulic four-wheel total lack of seam, joints, or
steering system. The surprising thing bond. The raised area in the
to the designers was that it proved floor pan form the cover for
the suspension control arms.
easier to make than a conventional
Sketch below clarifies trans-
two-wheel mechanical steering gear mission and suspension
and linkage. principles, and shows the
When can you buy? Plans call for unique disk brake that is
about half a dozen of the Boxes to be mounted inboard.
built by the end of the year. A team
of them will be entered in the Mexi-
can 1000 off-road race this winter.
They’ll still be experimental. After
that, start watching for yours.


Wheelbase 77 in.
Track (front and rear) 68 in.
Overall length 144 in.
Overall width 80 in.
Overall hight 40 in.
Ground clearance 8 in.
Steering Closed-loop hydraulic
Suspension Swing axles front
and rear with hydro-
pneumatic struts
Wheels 13 x 10
TIres 5.75/12.00.13
Dry weight 700 pounds
Transmission Uniroyal belt drive Engine
3-cyl. Kawasaki 500
or 2-cyl. La Verda 750