MANVIL and the 2013 Soapbox… a timeline

Sub set 2Portland Adult Soapbox is a big deal to us. It represents a time to get away from the reality of the office to spend time with friends. It’s also time to get out and play in Portland’s parks.

It’s a time to put together the skills built of a lifetime of creative chaos, to enjoy the comradery and miscellaneous skills of good friends, and a time dust off the freak flag of individuality.

A client asked us for pics to see what the process looked like to create this years racer, so here’s a brief sojourn through pictures.

We started at our metal fabricator’s shop, where the header picture was taken.


A little of the lowdown on the team: We are either current member of trades groups (all non-union) or we have been in ‘the trades’. Wood workers, arborists, cement installers, stonemasons and welders, we all have a prior history of building/breaking/cutting down stuff with our hands. And this sort of ‘build a soapbox car’ thing is a huge pitch to our wheelhouses. From MANVIL’s perspective, there are few who find so much entertainment in building Soapbox Cars as folks who have to build the same thing the same way (the correct way) for years. Hell, that creativity is what makes Soapbox so awesome.

Last years racer was a bit worse for wear after a year of storage, a race full of abuse, and the apparent lack of necessary braking. (I drove, I know. The brakes stink)

So when we got to it, the old girl looked like this:Sub start

But she was all there for all intents and purposes.

She had brakes, steering, a sound and secure frame, a comfortable seat, and she could succumb to the effects of gravity. She also had a pitiful bike horn, which, for our budget, was all we cold afford.

We came up with the idea for the 2013’s racing body early in 2012 as something that would be really cool to see slicing down the course. And the name of the beast was to be: The Hunt for Red Octoberfest

In order to get the ball rolling on the fabrication we called on our friends at Bart’s Swedish Formula, as we know they use only the finest oils for their cars and they buy it in bulk.

We approached them for the oil drums. (why nobody recycles these 55 gallon drums in PDX we have no idea) In order to get a nice front, take the cans and split them.

Like Greg here, working his MG Design and Fab/LinkWall muscle with the plasma torch.Sub start 2



Take the halved drum, add it on the top of the other half, and voila… you have what is essentially the round for the front of a conning tower. Ben and Greg were notably stoked to see the lunacy coming to fruition in this pic as until this point, it all kinda sounded like a lunatic’s pipe dream.Sub start 3

At that point, with the particularly stout framing, tried and true suspension and the ‘hella-bumper’  on last years car, all we needed to do was build a cage that would support the likes of a skin.

So we set to work on the cage, trying to be particular on the verticle lines and cautious about placement for where things “would eventually go”.

The cage, when all is said and done, had to taper to the back end like that of a submarine and as the work continued, we realized that if we were able to find a similarly rounded

pipe that matched the dimensions of last year’s boat tail end, we’d be set.Sub start5 Sub start 4

More on the adventure soon.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s