Kawasaki ZX9R two-cylinder 140-hp engine. Weight — 500 pounds (226 kg). You have already got acquainted with the vehicle built by the guys from the British Patvan Racing — Postman Van Pat1 — the world’s fastest mail van. Our previous article did not reveal the secret how a regular person can be fitted in such tiny van. Well, it’s not very comfortable but it’s possible.
In the last seconds of the video you can see Ben Rushforth sitting behind the wheel:
In august 2013 the red Pat1 van was equipped with the brake parachute which demonstrated excellent results.
And now it’s time to describe the second dragster built by David Taylor and Tom Armitage. They started working on Pat2 in January 2013 and the exterior of this vehicle is much less surprising. The guys began collecting units and parts for it starting from the autumn 2012. The body, or the chassis to be more precise, of the new Zorstec dragster is elongated, the engine is mounted in the front part of the vehicle and the pilot’s seat is now behind the rear wheels. So technically, it’s a front-engined “sidewinder” (slingshot dragster).
Pat2 borrowed its engine from a Kawasaki ZX9R motorcycle; its exhaust system is built using the in-house designed “spider” 4-2-1 scheme. Dragster’s gross weight is 500 pounds (226 kg).
Productivity slowed down in February when Taylor’s son was born and David did not have enough time to spend in the garage. Only by the end of June Pat2 was able to demonstrate good results at the York Raceway. After that Tom and David addressed Specky Conversions & RS Tuning and it took them several hours to adjust the air-fuel ratio for the Pat2 van using the dynamometer.
Pat2 first tests at the Yorkshire Autodrome
August 2013 — the team thanks Specky Conversions & RS Tuning (www.rstuning.co.uk/) for their help with the dyno.
After getting back to the raceway, the guys found confirmation that everything had been set up just fine and also conducted parachute brake tests. And in August 2013 at the National Hot Rod Reunion event Tom was able to cover the ¼ mile distance driving Pat2 in 12.2 seconds and reached the speed of 108.9 mph in spite of some gearbox issues.
Pat2 vs Toyota 1600 Twin Cam Tiger Kit Car
This event also let them compare two Pats. It might seem strange, but Pat1 and Pat2 turned out to have very similar specifications. Below you can find a video of that run. Ben Rushforth is still behind the wheel of Pat1 and Tom Armitage is driving Pat2.
Hot Rod Reunion PAT 1 & PAT 2 — Worlds Fastest Postman Pat Van & Slingshot Dragster at York Raceway
In the off-season period both cars go through preparations for the next season. The major task regarding Pat1 is bringing down its weight from 33 to 23 kg. Certainly, the easiest solution would be making Ben lose some weight but he does not seem happy with such decision. That’s why a lighter bodyshell is being built to replace the original one.
This video shows the preparations before moulding the new fibreglass body for Pat1 (GRP — Glassfibre Reinforced Plastic). It’s also a good chance to have a look inside Pat1.
Here’s the new Pat1 body taking a mould. It’s a rather fascinating process!
It is still unknown whether this mould will be used for the renovated Pat1 or might it be... the body of the third Pat?
Well yes, the guys from Patman Racing are in the process of building their third car. Now it’s going to be the Express Pat with safer elongated 4-feet chassis (1.21 m), larger rear wheels, two-cylinder Mille engine (most likely it is going to be an Aprilia RSV Mille) painted in sponsor’s colours — Express Bi-Folding Doors graphics. The bodyshell of the black Express Pat is based on the mould of Pat1 but it was cut into pieces and made a few inches larger by means of fibreglass plates.
The new body will be featuring not only more legroom but also more space for the pedals. Ben sits in Pat1 between its rear wheels in an absolute vertical position, while the seat in the new body will be brought forward. It is still unknown whether the air intake is going to be mounted on the vehicle’s bonnet, right now it’s still a working version of the body.
No power increase is planned for Pat1. The new engine will cost around £2–2.5 thousand in case the team succeeds in finding a suitable one. They hope Ben is able to squeeze something else out of the 60-hp 500cc engine and cover the ¼ mile distance in less than 11 seconds.
According to David, Pat1 and Pat2 will have as many runs in 2014 as possible — at the York Raceway, Shakespeare County Raceway, Santa Pod and Man Island. Wish everyone had so much passion, imagination and diligence! You can follow the team’s success on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/postmanpatvan
First runs will be held at the York Raceway starting from April 20. The schedule has already been announced: