P. O. Box 858

244 Walker Road / Grantham, NH 03753

(603) 863-5272 / Fax: (603) 863-5323

DRAGON SERIES II
The Frame
SeriesII Debut at Knott's Berry Farm in April 2005
Debut at KCI's Run and Gun 2001. Street Big Block Class Champion: Autocross and Roadcourse '02 & '03
Show Winner at Knott's Berry Farm AHA Show April '05: Best in Show Factory Sports, Director's Choice, and Longest Distance Driven( NH to LA)

  Site and cars under construction! Please check this site often for updates and progress reports on design developments and completion dates

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The Feel of the Past with Performance for the Future!®

   

Fiberglass body, trussed 2x2 Space Frame Chassis, Can be built from '82-'02 Camaro/Firebird Donor for Live Axle Roadster, or 88-96 C4 Corvette for IRS

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THE FRAME

...

The type of frame designed, and the type of material used, determines the ultimate performance potential and use of any car. Look at the component car industry and you will find a wide variety of frames being used. Some companies use a ladder style with a fiberglass cockpit bonded to the body and bolted or bonded to the frame. Some companies tout the superiority of round tubing over square or rectangular.

The fact is that each type of frame and material has its proper use and place. A ladder frame is fine for cruising, while a space frame is superior for high performance. Round tubing offers better resistance to twisting, while square tubing is stiffer.

We chose to build a steel and aluminum space frame. We used a combination of square and rectangular tubing orientated to take advantage of its superior beam strength in order to create a sophisticated, race quality base on which you can build your dream car. The use of square tubing also makes for an easier and stronger way to attach the body and aluminum panels.

Steel tubing creates the super structure to which pre cut and pre bent tempered aluminum panels are riveted. The aluminum forms the floors, foot boxes, bulkheads, and transmission tunnel. Aluminum is attached to the side rails and acts as shear panels negating the need for heavy diagonal cross bracing. Aluminum is lighter, stronger, and has better heat reflecting properties than the fiberglass that most companies use. It is more difficult and costly to build a car in this manner but it is the best way. Race cars are built this way, ours is too.


Our frame is what is called a perimeter space frame. Meaning that the main frame rails go around the cockpit not under it. With this design it allows us to place the seating position as low as possible. You sit in our frame, not on it. We still have 5 inches of frame ground clearance but our center of gravity is lower than with other frame designs. When you drive the Dragon, you are one with the car, not perched high above it.

The perimeter design also provides for superior occupant protection. The frame rails are spaced 12 inches apart. This means that at ride height the top frame rail is 21 inches up from the road. With safety in mind our frame encloses the fuel tank or fuel cell completely within the main frame rails. A 2 inch in diameter, full width frame mounted roll bar is standard and solid mounting tabs for 5 point racing seat belts are installed.

Our main frame rails are made from strong .120 wall tubing. The completed frame looks heavy but in fact only weighs about 350lbs. The aluminum adds about 40lbs so the total chassis weight is less than 400lbs. A typical ladder style frame that utilizes a fiberglass cockpit would weigh several hundred pounds more.




THE BODY

The shape of our car had to stir the soul. We worked long and hard to make the car great looking from every angle. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we think that we nailed it! Every where we go, throngs of people surround the car and say things like "Thatís the most beautiful car in the world!" If you build our car be prepared to attract attention!!!!

Paul and I tried to capture the look and feel of the late 50ís and early 60ís sports racers. Look at the car and you will see influences from Jaguar, Maserati, Aston Martin, Devin, Ferrari, Chapparal, Scarab, and Lister. The Lister in particular was noted for a low cowl height, raised engine bulge, and swoopy fenders. The Dragon has these features, so for ease of registration we call the car a 1958 Lister replica.

Our body is simply a beautiful skin. It is not a structural component. In fact, you can assemble all of the mechanical components and than slip the body on at the end. Made from a combination of machine and hand lay-up, we use Coremat in specific areas to reinforce and to prevent print through. The bodies are about 3/16 of an inch thick. In total, the fiberglass parts weigh approximately 170lbs.

We would put the quality of our parts against any other kits out there! We spent an unbelievable amount of time and money on our molds to make sure that the parts you receive are the best they can be. Our bodies are straight and true and require a minimum amount of prep work before painting. Look at the wheel openings and you will find molded-in returns. Look at the firewall area and the back of the hood and you fill find smooth nicely finished surfaces.

The main body simply slides over the frame and attaches in mere minutes. The hood pivots open for full engine access and uses two _ bolts as pivot pins. Putting a body on our car and getting it properly aligned is as simple as possible.

NO DOORS?

One of the biggest decisions we had to make was whether to fit the car with doors or not. We decided to eliminate them. Without doors we could make the frame and body stronger, and do away with the fit and finish problems always associated with the door parts. But, the determining factor was that it is only 24 inches from the ground to the top of where the door would be!! It is EASY to just step into the car and slide into the seat.


THE WINDSHIELD

We use the DOT approved windshield from a Jaguar XJS. We have a reliable source for this glass and itís reasonably priced. The glass fits our frame without modification. Simply take the frame and glass to a windshield glass shop and they can "glue" it in. We designed the frame as a separate unit. There is _ inch round steel tubing imbedded into each side post. The windshield fits over the body and bolts to brackets that are attached to the top frame rails.

We designed the windshield as a bolt in piece so that we could offer other options. For example, someone might want to use a vintage style single windscreen, or for racing, our frame could be cut down and Lexan, instead of glass, could be used. By making the frame bolt in, the car can easily be configured for different uses. The frame can also be bonded to the body and the seam smoothed out for those wanting that look.


SPOILERS, WINGS, AND HEAD FAIRINGS.

Knowing that many of you want to customize the look of your car we will offer several rear deck options. The trunk lid comes without an attached spoiler. However, a separate spoiler is being designed. In addition, we are designing a vintage looking head fairing and a modern looking rear wing as options. They will be available soon.


THE COCKPIT AND DASH

One of the best features of the Dragon is the large and comfortable cockpit and foot boxeís. At 6í2 inches tall and 230lbs I found it difficult to fit comfortably in most cars. With size 12 shoes and a 34inch inseam, in the Dragon I can stretch my legs completely out. In addition, there is plenty of space for proper pedal spacing, even room for a dead pedal.

The distance between the transmission tunnel and side of the cockpit is 23inches on the driverís side and 21inches for the passenger. This provides plenty of space for a variety of seats, including our molded ones, and provides for a lot of shoulder room. The rear bulkhead is raked back at a 22degree angle, which is a common lay back angle for racing seats.

Two different dash configurations are available. One resembles the 250 Ferrari in that it has raised eyebrows with recessed areas for large (up to 5 inch in diameter) gauges. Typically this dash is painted. The other conforms more tightly to the front of the windshield, which results in greater cockpit space.



MAKING THE CAR WEATHER TIGHT

Our goal is to create a top that, when not used, does not alter the clean look of the car. This ruled out a normal convertible top for two reasons: One, the top would fold down and be strapped to the rear deck; Two, a regular top uses some type of exposed hardware, such as ferrule nuts, to attach it to the body.

In the design stages now, we hope to have a four-piece enclosure system finished soon. It will consist of hard Lexan rear and side windows and a flip up roof that will attach between the roll bar and windshield. When not in use the pieces will be able to store in the trunk.




THE DRIVETRAIN

The Dragon is designed to utilize small block Chevrolet engines. Any small block through 1997 will bolt into our frame with out modification. Several customers are currently fitting the newer LS engines, but this requires modification to the front cross member. We will be offering those changes as a factory option soon. Because of the sleek hood design, high rise intake manifolds may not fit. There is 10 _inches of clearance between the intake valley of the block and the bottom of the hood. Most intake manifolds will work, and all the factory LT1 and LS1 factory fuel injection systems easily clear. Virtually all the common automatic and manual transmissions will easily fit.

The Dragon uses the front suspension, brakes, and steering from the 1988-1996 C-4 Corvette. These parts are a direct bolt in. The parts from the 1984 to 1987 Corvette can be used with a slight modification to the upper A-frame bolt hole locations. We delete the use of the standard mono-leaf spring, opting instead to use coil-over shocks. The upper brackets for which are included with the basic frame. The lower front mounts are taken from the Vette cradle and the lower rear mounts are modified by welding on a shock bracket to the shock stud in the rear hub carrier. The Corvette suspension parts are readily available at reasonable prices. In addition, they offer superior geometry, and are made from beautiful and light aluminum. The Corvette steering is quick and stable.

We offer two different rear suspension options. At the time of ordering just specify which one you want.

The independent rear suspension from the 1984 to 1996 C-4 Corvette bolts in without modification. These parts are made in aluminum and offer good brakes. Again, we do away with the mono-leaf spring and use coil over shocks. The advantages of the independent rear end are a higher level of sophistication and perhaps higher perceived value, less unsprung weight, and the ability for each wheel to move independently. The bottom line is that the independent rear usually offers a smoother ride on rough surfaces. The negatives of the independent rear are higher cost, more complexity, usually greater weight and less traction under acceleration.

You could use a C-4 Corvette as a donor and use the complete suspension, steering, engine and transmission from it. However, it is only the later C-4ís (1993-1996) that have the good LT1 engine.

We also offer a live axle rear suspension. Our system, a four bar Satchel link, offers lightweight, roll under steer, and superior anti-squat. (The amount of weight transfer under acceleration.) We use the rear end from the 1993-2002 Pontiac Trans Am or its sister model the Chevrolet Camaro Z-28.

The Trans Am and Z-28 came with good LT1 engines in 1993 through 1997 and then the all aluminum LS1 engines from 1998 through 2002. These cars utilized 4 speed automatic transmissions or 6 speed manual transmissions. The rear ends featured 3:42 to 1 gear sets with posi-traction and good disc brakes with aluminum calipers. A great and relatively inexpensive way to build the Dragon is to use the drive train, rear axle, and even fuel tank and fuel lines from these cars.

To use the rear end, you will strip the factory brackets from the axle tubes and bolt or weld on new control arm brackets that we provide. The advantages of these rear ends are their lightweight, availability, low price (around $250), posi-traction, good performance gear ratio, and great brakes. It has been our experience that the car drives beautifully with this set up. The GM rear is not known for being as strong as, say, the Ford 9 inch. But, except in all out racing applications, in a car as light as a Dragon, it works extremely well. And there are after market solutions that allow you to significantly upgrade the parts, even eliminating the C clip retention system. Our car weighs about 1300lbs less than the Firebird or Camaro and therefor results in significantly less stress being put on engines, transmissions, rear ends, suspensions, and brakes.

The Ford 8.8inch or 9 inch rear end can also be used. But, they would have to be custom made to the right width and pinion offset. We need to know which rear end you will use at the time of your order so we can provide the correct axle conversion brackets.

WHEEL AND TIRE WIDTH

The Dragon can use large width rims and tires without modification. We have used a 17 by 9 _ inch wheel with a 275 by 17inch tire in the front and a 17 by 11inch rim with a 335 by 17inch tire in the rear. A wide variety of wheels are available in the General Motors 5 lug by 4 3/4inch spacing. Customers have told us that they have used wider wheels and tires, but we can not vouch for this.

When buying wheels it is important to realize that the Firebird/Camaro rear end is about 2inches wider than the Corvette. So, the rear end you use will determine the offset of the rim you will need. In either case, a 335 tire, with the correct wheel offset, will clear.

We designed the ride height and the suspension geometry around a tire height of 25.7 inches. Keep this in mind when choosing your wheel/tire combination.





EASY TO BUILD AND WORK ON

One of beauties of the Dragon is that it is so simple to work on. The aluminum panels take some time to install, but it is a simple procedure. The suspension and steering just bolt in. The engine and transmission can be installed as a unit. The Firebird/Camaro fuel tank, or an after market aluminum fuel cell bolts right in. The headers and side pipes bolt up in minutes. Proper radiator mounts are provided to install an aluminum race quality radiator. And, the dash wiring can be done on a bench!!

Here is a list of the features that we provide for unparalleled access. The hood pivots forward and can be removed completely in minutes. The windshield comes off by the removal of 4 bolts. The dash and switch panels are removable. The top of the transmission tunnel comes off so that you can work on the drive shaft, transmission, shifter, clutch and transmission. The transmission can be removed through the top, meaning that you donít have to get under the car to work on it. The foot box covers can be hinged giving complete access to the brake and throttle pedals. It really doesnít get any easier!!

We recommend that you assemble the car, install the body and trim it out. Then, simply take the body off and have it painted. One of the best features of our car is the quality of the fiberglass parts. You or your body shop may have your own ideas on how to prep and paint the body, but this is the process that we use. First, wash and degrease it. Use a flat file to remove any flashing and to knock down any seams. Scuff the body. Then us a light-weight body filler to smooth out any imperfections. Feather the repair and finish by sanding smooth. Spray the fiberglass parts with several coats of high build epoxy primer. Block-sand the body, remove all dust and then paint. We typically use a two- part urethane base/clear coat system. It takes a typical body shop two to three days to prep and paint the body. The cost to do the red car by a professional body/paint shop was $2,500.

OUR FACILITY

For Paul and me, Dragon is supposed to be a fun business. We built the car for ourselves. We only decided to sell the parts that we designed after people had started asking to buy them from us. All of the parts and the initial kits were built in my seven-car garage or farmed out to professionals. Because sales have steadily increased, and our desire to offer the highest quality parts possible, we have contracted with a recognized leader in the industry. Rich Anderson, the owner of the Shell Valley and Mid States kit car companyís, manufacturers our frame and bodies in their state-of-the-art facility. In business since 1971, these Nebraska based companies have produced thousands of cars and have a deserved reputation for service and quality. We are fortunate to have been able to "partner" up with Rich and Shell Valley. Arrangements can be made if you wish to visit the manufacturing facilities.

Paul and I have our offices in Grantham, New Hampshire. We have finished cars there ready for inspection and to give test rides. You are welcome to come and check us out. But, please make an appointment so that we make sure that we are in.

As I said earlier, we are a small company. We own other successful businesses that provide us with our living. Paulís family business began in 1960. I began a business in 1987 that continues to thrive. I tell you this so that you know that we do not need to make a sale to eat!! Of course, we want you to buy and build a Dragon, but we wonít resort to lies, high-pressure sales tactics, or ask for large sums of money up front.

WHAT PARTS COME WITH THE DRAGON KIT?

THE FRAME: You get our unique and high quality perimeter space frame. The frame has a full width 2inch in diameter roll bar, fuel tank mounts, radiator mounts, seat belt tabs, and side pipe mounts. It comes with the front suspension points for the 1988-1996 Corvette parts, and your choice of rear suspension points for 1984-1996 Corvette independent rear or a Satchell link four point rear mount and the conversion brackets for a live axle.

Our frame is fabricated on our precise jig to assure that each one meets exacting standards. Examine it and one of the first things that you will notice is that it uses a lot of pieces and looks difficult to build. You would be right in this assessment. In fact, the first reaction from potential fabricators was: "Oh my god!" You want me to build this?"

The Dragon frame is unique because the suspension loads are fed to the parallel perimeter tubes. Instead of the suspension trying to twist two narrowly spaced ladder style frame rails our design distributes them through out the entire chassis. In addition, the unique front X design would force the perimeter frame tubes away from the occupants in the event of a head on collision. If the hit were off center, the design would tend to deflect the impact away from the occupants.

WE HAVE NOT DONE ANY CRASH TESTING AND DO NOT MAKE ANY CLAIMS ABOUT THE SAFETY OF OUR FRAME. BUT, WE DID CONSIDER THESE AND OTHER SAFETY ISSUES WHEN BUILDING IT.

The frame is powder coated in a silver/gray color. This premium paint job is usually a hefty up charge from other manufacturers. The silver/gray color looks great with the aluminum panels and traditional racing cars use this color so that any fluid leaks are readily visible.

ALUMINUM PANELS: You will receive the approximately 30 pre-cut, pre-bent T-6061, aluminum panels necessary for the foot boxes, transmission tunnel, floors, and bulk heads. Made from 40 thousandths thick tempered aluminum, the panels attach with provided rivets. We even give you beautiful polished diamond plate pieces for the top of the drivers and passenger floors.


THE BODY: You will receive all of the fiberglass pieces to build the dragon. This includes the one-piece nose, body, trunk lid, dash, and windshield frame. The windshield frame comes assembled with steel support rods imbedded into the side posts. The nose comes with the rear wheel splashes and hood pivot support panels installed. The body comes with the rear wheel splashes and body support hanger installed.

OTHER PARTS: The kit comes with the steering shafts, bearings, supports, and quick release steering wheel hub, internal trunk hinges, a mini-bear claw hidden trunk latch, trunk latch release cable, and aluminum front hood pivot plates and hardware.


OPTIONS AVAILABLE FROM US:

In current development, these items will be available soon: Trunk mounted spoiler, classic head fairing, molded to fit seats, Can-Am style rear wing, roof system, LS1 motor mounts, custom headers and side pipes.

OTHER KITS OFFER ALL OF THE PARTS TO BUILD A CAR, WHY NOT DRAGON?

Initially, we attempted to offer a complete kit. But every customer wanted to change some or all of the parts. Because the Dragon is not a replica, everyone seems to have their own idea about how they want to detail the car. We were having too delete parts from every order and than figure how much credit to issue. We cannot buy parts any cheaper than you can. We can provide you with a list of the parts that we used and know will fit, and where we got them. You can then use that list and make changes that suit your taste.



WHAT DOES OUR COMPONENT PACKAGE COST?

The Basic SeriesII Kit price is $14,990.00 FOB Platte Center, Nebraska. This price is subject to change with out notice.

We recognize that our car is not cheap. However, we think that it represents an outstanding value for the superior engineering and the quality of parts that you receive. The reality is that the cost to develop a car from scratch is ten times that of copying one.

Our completed cars have the performance, look, and quality of cars that cost $75,000 or more. In fact, a customer recently sold his Dragon for $75,000. He loved the car so much that he ordered another to replace it.


HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO BUILD A COMPLETE CAR?

This is a difficult question to answer and depends on the components used and your abilities. Obviously, the more you farm out and the more new parts (engines, transmissionsÖ) you use, the higher the cost.

The red car pictured uses the engine, transmission, shortened drive-shaft, rear end, rear brakes, fuel tank, fuel lines, battery, and shifter from a 1996 Pontiac Trans-Am. Even with stock power this car flies, yet gets over 25mpg!

We paid $2,000 for the donor, $2500 for the body prep and paint, $950 for the interior, and $1200 for the wheels and tires. All of the other parts added up to $4200. The total to duplicate the red car, including the cost of a kit, is just under $26,000.

If you built the car with a Corvette rear and a new ZZ-4 355hp engine, and Tremec 5 speed transmission, you will spend about $33,000.

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO BUILD THE CAR?

To install the aluminum panels. 24 hours
To clean and refurbish the suspension parts. 16 hours
To install the front and rear suspension parts. 2 hours
To install the assembled engine and transmission. 2 hours
To install the radiator and electric cooling fan. 1 hour
To install the drive shaft. 30 minutes
To install the fuel tank and fuel lines. 2 hours
To install brakeís, pedals, and throttle pedal. 8 hours
To install the headers and side pipes. 1 hour
To install the body and align it. 30 minutes
To install the nose and align it. 30 minutes
To install the trunk lid. 1 hour
To install the trunk latch and release cable. 1 hour
To install the windshield frame. 30 minutes
To install a single windshield wiper motor and blade. 1 hour
To install the gauges, switches, and wiring. 16 hours
To install the seat belts. 1 hour
To install the interior. 8 hours
To install the dash and switch plate cover. 30 minutes
To install the lights. 4 hours
To install mirrors and trim pieces. 4 hours
Body prep and paint. 24 hours (by professional)


Total time is about 157 hours. You will spend additional time researching and ordering parts, planning, waiting for parts, and another 100 hours trying to find the tools that you misplaced in your shop!!!!!

The Dragon is about the easiest car you could choose to build. It is supposed to be a fun project. So take your time, and donít build it under the constraints of an unreasonable dead line!! Trust us on this one, we know!!


WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO ORDER A KIT FROM US?

We believe in first come first serve. We require a deposit of 25% of your kit cost to secure your delivery date. Our goal is to ship your kit within 4-6 weeks. At the time of order, we will give you a ship date. When your kit is completed, you can arrange to have it shipped or schedule to pick it up. Prior to shipping or at the time of pick up, we require the balance to be paid by bank or certified check, cash, or money order. From the time of receipt of your Dragon Kit, you have 30 days to inspect the parts. If you decide that they are not what you expected, you can return them, freight pre-paid, for a refund less a 10% re-stocking fee. The parts must be returned in as-delivered condition.

The kit is shipped with the body mounted to the frame. We will install a removable rolling system, which allows the car to be rolled onto a truck or car carrier. We require a $350 deposit for the wheels and brackets. We will refund the $350 when they are returned in good condition for re-use.

We can give you a list of transport companies. We request that you make the shipping arrangements and deal directly with them.

REGISTERING YOUR DRAGON:

We are not attorneys, so we make no legal claims. This information is based upon our experience.

The fact is that it is getting easier to register our type of cars. Many states have adopted legislation developed by the Specialty Equipment Manufacturers Association. Basically, the legislation allows you to register the car as the year it most closely replicates. Our car usually is registered as a 1958 Lister replica. With this designation, the car easily passes inspection as it only has to meet 1958 standards.

Some states will register the car as new but only make the car meet the standards in place at the time that the engine was manufactured. Others will make it meet current emission standards. These standards can be met but may require that a late model engine and computer management system be used.

You need to check with your state before hand to determine what requirements you will have to meet. DO NOT TAKE THE FIRST PERSON YOU TALK TOíS WORD FOR IT!! Because our passion is only shared by a few, and does not constitute the normal vehicle registration, not every person working at the DMV knows the answers to your questions. Do not take no for an answer. NICELY, ask to talk to a supervisor if needed. As long as you keep every receipt, get copies of titles from the vehicles that you get used parts from and accurately report expenses you should get your Dragon through the process. Every state has provisions for registering a "specialty vehicle". Some times the process is frustrating but it can be overcome. Rich Anderson, whose company has sold thousands of kits, told me that every one was able to get registered.

INSURANCE:

We have found that most insurance companies will insure the car for an "agreed upon value". Rates, to us seem reasonable. There are several companies that specialize in insuring collector cars, hot rods, and kit cars. We can supply you with the names of some of these companies. Often you can find them advertised in popular car magazines.

Verifying that you can obtain insurance and what it will cost is something you should do before committing to build the car.


CONCLUSION:

I realize that I have given you a lot of information. I know that I am long winded. But Paul and I believe that you need to have as much information as possible to make a good decision. We know that building a component car is not only a dream, but also a significant financial investment. We are here to help answer any questions and to help you, not only now, but also during the build process. Contact us at any time, we love talking Dragons!!!!

Thank you for your time and consideration,



John Chesnut
Paul Carlson