Text courtesy of George Staley, along with photos by George, Bill Fleming, Garet Tanner & Ivan Lajeunesse.

Hopefully the following will inspire more folks to create cars for future events!

NOTE" The 2020 VCCC May Tour will hold an Inter-Chapter Valve Car Race Challenge.

This page is dedicated to Valve Cover Race Cars and Events.

VINTAGE TIN . . . . January 1999

VALVE COVER CAR RACETRACK . . . update from George Staley.

                   The membership of the Okanagan Chapter gave approval, at the December meeting, for the design and construction of a racetrack for valve cover cars. George Staley will design the track and coordinate construction. Some members have already agreed to supply materials and labor for this major club project.

                 We have considered the design of the Columbia and Vancouver Chapterís racetracks and concluded that it is preferable to have a track permanently mounted onto a trailer, rather than build it in pieces and have to assemble the components every time the track is used. Therefore we will design and construct a trailer-racetrack unit that can be towed to a destination and made ready for use in a few minutes. 

                Jake Warkentin of Kelowna Steel Fabricators has offered to supply all of the steel we need to construct the trailer and track. Jake has even offered to cut the steel to appropriate dimensions for us. This will safe the Club considerable amount of money and the construction crew considerable time.

                Jerry Scherle of United Hitch and Truck Accessories has pledged to construct the trailer and provide the hitch, lights and wiring. He will assist the club in obtaining a new axle assembly and springs at cost. The completed trailer will then be moved to Georgeís shop where construction of the track will take place.

               A key component to successful Valve Cover races is to eliminate the guesswork in deciding the winner of each heat. Two cars are raced at a time and one is declared the heat winner. Because many cars are so competitive, it is almost impossible to visually declare a winner. Butch Chouinard regularly works with optical sensors and laser beam guidance systems in steel fabrication. He has offered to design and optical system that will utilize light beams, relays and indicator lights to instantly declare a winner for each heat. Unfortunately, this marvelous idea did not work. Seems we only use the Track when the  sun shines - which really messed with the optics!!

              A number of Club members have agreed to assist in building the track. The time line should be as follows: trailer construction during January 1999, track construction during February and march 1999, with the first trials taking place in early April.

              This project has the potential to add considerable interest for participants and spectators at some of our Club Meets and activities. It will most likely be used by club members several times each year. We hope to feature Valve Cover Races when we host the May Tour in 2000.       Thanks, George, for the update.


Garet & Marnie's Valve Cars - note the custom 'Carry box' for the yellow racer!

Marnie and Garet often perform at all May Tours with stellar results!


Valve Cover Car races are a fun event that can be enjoyed by adults and young people.  The Kelowna Vintage Car Club has a track on which the cars compete.  From time to time, we set up the track and conduct races.

The basis for most cars is the tappet cover from any overhead valve engine.  It is also permissible to use the fairly flat plate that covers the valve-adjusting compartment on a flathead engine like a 6 cylinder Dodge engine or the intake manifold from an old Ford flathead V8 engine.

The specifications for a car are:

Length up to 36 inches

Width up to 10 inches

Height up to 9 inches    (including optional driver or decorations)

Weight up to 10 pounds

Wheel diameter up to 4 inches

The race track is about 26 feet long and each lane is about 22 inches wide.  The cars are held at the top of the track by a pin that is about 1.5 inches high.  It is vital that a car run very straight because rubbing onto the side of the track will slow the car and winning is unlikely.  Almost every car has a mechanism for adjusting the front axle to ensure that the car runs straight.  Trial runs are allowed so adjusting the axle is permitted prior to the start of the races.

Sometimes there are prizes for the best decorated cars so let your imagination go wild on paint and added design features.   You might also create a name for your vehicle.

Check out the next four pictures to see the parts and a how they might be assembled. Of course you are free to create you own as long as you meet the specification listed above.

An example of the typical parts required.

Top view assembled car, all ready to be disassembled and fancied up with a paint job, etc.!

Bottom view showing a typical steering adjustment setup.

A closer look at a typical steering mechanism.

Look at these folks having fun!

Great sport to involve kids and grandkids!

Looks like the 'Blue Streaker' has beat out the 'First Aid Special'. Probably had something to do with the fact it could see where it was going.

This season a concerted effort will be made to use the track more often and to take pictures of the events along with profiling the cars.

Yikes! Looks like a new kid on the block! Interesting body style! Time will tell how it runs!

The B & E #1, Ford Model A valve cover, sports a fancy 50's flame job along with certified Model A engine green base coat.

Valve Cover Car Races have become a traditional event at May Tours as these four pictures illustrate.

Garet gets set to race his at this year's May tour hosted by the Nanaimo Chapter.

A fine example of a race car! Might create a little wind resistance, but sure looks good!

Check out the wheels and bodies on these two racers!

Remember folks, if you need some assistance or a place to build your race cars, call George!

Super Mario's newest wheels!

The Chief Mechanic adjusts the RCMP Cruiser . . .

. . . before it takes on the 'Contractor' at the 'MEET the DEAN' 2013 May Tour in Kamloops.

Please notice how a gentleman operates . . .

Hey this is fun . . .

. . . but it's time to get serious!

'Steaming into Revelstoke' MAY TOUR 2014

Lining up properly is IMPORTANT!

The BIG BLACK BEAST has moved on in the elimination round!

I think these two are having a GREAT TIME!!!!

The audience appears to be also enjoying themselves!

And the winners in order 2, 1, and 3.

Popping over from the parking lot to the . . . 


May Tour 2016 'VALVE COVER RACES'.

The participants are busy making test runs . . .

. . .  and adjustments in preparation for the 'CHAMPIONS' runoff!

Oops! Small problem! Big car has a 4" advantage!

Time to call in the 'Supervisor' for a ruling!

NO PROBLEM! See next slide for a 'Barn Yard Mechanics' solution.

Top off a pen extends the gate, making it legal!

Glen brought along some of his Vintage Motorcycles to view.

OK, vote for the 'Best Looking Dude'.

Meanwhile, back at the track, test runs are still in progress!


Cathy observes Morgan setting up the spreadsheet for the runoff!


A little alignment advice from the 'Starter'

Look out Grant, this is about to get really serious!!

Listen up folks! Here are the RULES for the CHAMPIONSHIP RUNOFF

Last minute fine tuning, or is this a major rebuild!!

George and Morgan confer on the runoff data!

New 'Starter' for the Championship Runs.

'Old Starter' now 'Goal Judge'

Light's getting bad, time to go home.

The folks are certainly enjoying themselves.

And the 'WINNERS' are . . . look familiar?

Scroll back up and check out winners for Revelstoke &  Central Fraser Valley May Tours!

Silent Auction Table looked very enticing!

In the 'RESERVED LOT' a gorgeous Pearce Arrow was just pulling in as I headed home!