5 Pinewood Derby Car Designs

If you are interested in various pinewood derby car designs to help you come up with the perfect entry for your next pinewood derby, then you may be interested in some of the basic designs used to design the Cub Scout created cars. Pinewood derby cars must all be made in accordance with the strict design guidelines imposed by the Cub Scout Association in your area.

For instance, most Cub Scout groups require that a pinewood derby car be no longer than 7 inches in length, no wider than 2 3/4 inches, have 1 3/4 inches of clearance between the wheels, have 3/8 inch clearance underneath the body of the car, and to not exceed a weight of 5 ounces. While there are many restrictions, there are also many different design variations that meet the requirements. Here are some of the most popular types of pinewood derby car designs.

The Wedge Design

The "Wedge" is perhaps one of the most commonly used design types in pinewood derby racing. This is because the design is easy to achieve and implement and also results in a derby car that is very aerodynamic. As the name implies, the wedge looks very similar to a door stop or wooden wedge piece. The low front end and heavier raised rear of the car results in a stream lined racer that quickly zooms from the top of the track to the finish line.

The Pinewood Wing Design

The Pinewood "Wing" is perhaps the simplest, yet also oddest looking, design available for a pinewood derby racing car. In general, the design is simply a thin piece of wood that is about 3/8 to 1/2 inch thick across the entire body of the design. Although the design does not follow the popular "heavier is better" school of thought in pinewood car design, the shape of the vehicle makes in undoubtedly one of the most aerodynamic designs used in derbies. Many cars that use this type of design use heavier axle and wheel designs to make up for the lack of weight in the wooden body. When done properly, the 'Wing' design is a force to be reckoned with.

The Accelerator

The "Accelerator" is a spin-off of the classic Wing design. Like the Wing design, the Accelerator uses a thinness across the entire surface of the wood, which results in a very aerodynamic design. However, the Accelerator is even lighter in weight than the Wing because the sides of its body have been carved away so that the top view of the vehicle resembles a thin profile hour glass. This design has won countless pinewood derby championships. However, carving the hour glass shape into the wood does require a bit of skill.

The Rail

The "Rail" is also another popular design that has seen its share of Derby trophies. The Rail looks similar to a judge's gavel, as it is thin and pointed in the front and rear body wheel area is shaped like a hammer or gavel. The design is very aerodynamic because of the low wind resistance in the front of the car, and the added weight in the rear helps to make it a winner.

The Rocket Ship

Although all of the designs mentioned in this article are streamlined and aerodynamically efficient, none of the others come close to the"Rocket" when comes to cutting through the air with a minimal resistance. The rocket is a thin tube of wood with a point in the front of the vehicle. Thus, the name 'Rocket'. The only drawback is that the design results in a very light car, but heavy wheels and axles can fix that.