2010 Top Gear Live
2010 Top Gear Live MPH Show
For the third year in succession SHP Engineering has produced stunt vehicles for the MPH Top Gear Live World Tour. The vehicles included two Porsche 996 inferno cars, the Stig’s prototype super car and two Ford Mustangs one for the Stig and one for his young apprentice. Each vehicle offered its own engineering challenges.
SHP Engineering, as always, are privileged for the opportunity to supply the vehicles for the MPH Top Gear Live World Tour and hope that what we have created in 2010 you have found interesting and entertaining.
Innovative automotive engineering at a level where everyone who sees them wants to drive them and everyone who drives them including the Stig wants to take them home to keep.
The cars ooze with sophistication, are built with a passion and all carry the SHP logo with pride.
Fiery Porsche 996
The inferno Porsche was a complete car built from just the outer skin of the 996 bodyshell. The level of specification and the detail incorporated into the vehicles had to meet the requirements of Health and Safety for not only the driver but also the team of engineers working on the cars between each show and the public who were seated only metres away from the stunning display of precision driving of the stunt drivers.
The outer skin of the bodyshell is all that was used. The car is built on a tubular steel chassis with integral roll cage. The interior of the cage is made up of a safety cell for the driver created by lamination of stainless steel sheets with 44mm gap. This void was filled with Fibre-Tech heat retardant material. The doors were produced using the same format.
The cars are designed and built as front engine, rear wheel drive. The rear axle initially from a Ford 1 ton pickup truck fitted with 4.6 crown wheel and pinion using heavy duty halfshafts and motorsport limited slip diff. Front double wishbone suspension and GM pickup uprights.
The cars have coil over shock absorbers fitted with 850 pound front springs and 500 pound rear springs.
The steering rack is a motorsport part, two and a half turns lock to lock, with SHP designed electric power steering.
The front brakes are big vented discs with 4 pot American calipers. At the rear each wheel has two separate calipers one for the foot brake system, the second for the hydraulic handbrake, the pedal box is an integral part of the tubular chassis.
The cars are powered by Cosworth 24 valve V6 engine built using motorsport components. The drive is via a specially developed sintered driven twin plated clutch to a Quaife gearbox fitted with a set of ratios to suit the gearing for the stunts the vehicle is being asked to perform.
Due to the amount of electrical power required to operate the pyrotechnic inferno charges, the car is fitted with twin motorsport dry cell batteries and 160 amp alternator.
Elements of the car exterior have been re-manufactured in stainless steel, other parts have ceramic covering. All of the exterior of the cars are painted in UHT high temperature satin black paint.
The glass was specially produced to specification that would tolerate the heat of the burners and cooling fans were added. Many internal components were wrapped to protect them against the heat.
The vehicles took 680 hours each to produce and were built in approximately ten weeks.
Two truly amazing cars created for theatre entertainment extending the boundaries of fear and disbelief in one breath.
Stig’s prototype super car was a creation that allowed the body to transform from an opaque to a transparent body shell. It was the vision of the designers to enable Stig to be seen visually in action at the wheel of his car. At the flick of a switch not only does the exterior transfer to clear but the tunnel, bulkhead as well this allows the complete workings of the car to be seen. This vehicle development required not only international co-operation between several companies working with SHP Engineering to achieve the designers vision but brought alternative skills not normally found in the automotive industry together in its creation. Visually the most stunning vehicle ever created by SHP for theatre entertainment and Top Gear.
This was from one person’s vision and a simple sketch. The project required courting companies with no automotive experience and convincing them to be partners in a venture that not only had not been done before but had to be completed in a maximum of ten weeks.
The chassis is space frame design with the suspension taken from one of SHP’s already proven motorsport cars, the now familiar RSR Escort. The engine is a Ford Cosworth 24 valve taken from an ex-police car, raced tuned and coupled to the same gearbox as fitted to the Porsche Inferno cars
Brakes as expected with a Supercar are 6 pot calipers on the front, 4 pot calipers on the rear with 310mm diameter discs all round.
Coil over shock absorbers are fitted to each corner with 750 pound springs front and 250 pounds rear.
The electrics are powered by a single alternator but it uses three batteries.
The glass that makes up the translucent body goes clear at the flick of a switch and is powered from a 600 watt inverter.
Prior to the body being produced the whole of the bodywork was produced by a cabinet maker using special marine ply which was shaped, glued and moulded to suit every contour of the car. As each part was removed it was transferred into a laminated polycarbonate body. This may seem easy except the glass company was in Australia, the laminator in Dublin and SHP in Cambridgeshire UK a big triangle and to remind you ten weeks manufacturing time from design to producing a turn key car.
This vehicle would never be seen for its full potential until driven by the Stig, with lady cat burglar at his side. Operating under the lights in the MPH Top Gear Show the vehicle just comes alive.
A must have car to drive around theatre land on a Saturday night.
Stigs Ford Mustang
The Ford Mustang, an automotive cartoon character, big, wild, a real monster of a car, yet can be driven with precision to drift between lamp posts and other vehicles within the sequence it was asked to compete in.
SHP’s experience with motorsport suspension allowed us to be creative in converting a pure muscle car into a vehicle that was really fun to drive.
SHP were issued with a Ford 4.6 litre Mustang GT complete with Whipple supercharger, that was too fast and powerful for its previous owner, resulting in a seriously dented tree and the car being parked in a ditch. We were asked not to tame the monster but to create cartoon character style bodywork.
The engine is a Roush tuned Ford fitted with a manual gearbox, big Ford rear axle and plated limited slip diff. The rear springs were discarded in favour of a coil over conversion which was created within the original chassis. Rear brake disposed of and Wilwood 4 pot calipers added using some very special brackets.
The complete fuel system was removed and replaced with motorsport fuel tank, filter, high pressure pump and fuel regulators. Engine management re-programmed to enable SHP to bypass fundamental obstructions normally found in this type of conversion.
The front suspension was completely rebuilt using 2.5 inch springs and bespoke adjustable front legs, all anti roll bars discarded to assist in the precise manoeuvrability required in the driving sequence.
Exhaust system fully modified to accentuate the beautiful sound of the V8 engine.
SHP was asked to take an artist’s vision of the Stig Mustang and make it reality. Given the opportunity, what a cool car to drive down the high street on a Saturday afternoon, it would be a traffic light winner every time.
For the boy’s Mustang the story was that he takes Dads pride and joy that enters into a street race. We had to ensure that the door and bumper fall off in a number of crashes and when extracting itself from a skip it leaves behind the front bumper, two wings and the bonnet embedded in the skip. Electronic solenoids, springs, a lot of wires and precision handling, place the car exactly where it needs to be to engage the release mechanism. Most importantly when the car is wrecked it can be completely reassembled in minutes to be ready for the next show. Without Dad knowing it had ever left the drive.