Lead Forensics

How 3D Scanning & Reverse Engineering supports Classic Motorsport

Jul 12, 2018 | 3D Scanning, Automotive, Classic Cars, Design, Innovation, Performance, Reverse Engineering

Classic motorsport has never been in better health. Fans love to see reminders of bygone historic racing duels whilst the drivers test their skills in often priceless cars around some of the world’s most famous race tracks.

As this weekend’s Classic Le Mans event at the famous La Sarthe circuit drew to a close it was the latest in a packed summer of classic motorsport events. And with the Silverstone Classic, Goodwood Revival, Historic Grand Prix Zandvoort and Spa Six Hours meetings coming up there are opportunities for all to indulge their passion.

It is challenging enough for owners of classic cars to maintain them for road use, in terms of bodywork and mechanical components, but adding the stresses and strains of motorsport adds a completely new dimension.

This is where modern engineering technologies, such as 3D scanning & reverse engineering can help ensure that these classic vehicles can enjoy a long future automotive life.

Replacement Parts

It is important that owners find precision engineered, high quality, replacement spare parts for their classic. The difficulty of this task increases exponentially for older and rarer vehicles, especially where the original manufacturer may not still exist, and / or there are no surviving drawings for the part.

However modern technologies and engineering techniques can combine with classic engineering principles to resolve any such challenge. The key to the accurate reproduction of parts is through reverse engineering. This is the process of reproducing the geometry of an existing part and using it to create a 3D CAD model from which new parts can be re-manufactured.

Where accuracy and tolerances are not crucial the parts can easily be manually measured and then the part built as a 3D model in CAD. This is not possible if the part has crucial internal features and the part cannot be dismantled to expose these features. In these cases, further reverse engineering technologies such as 3D scanning and industrial CT scanning can be applied.

Replacing worn parts

Most parts in cars of these ages are worn to some extent. Where these parts are interacting with other original parts it is important that the ‘new’ worn part can be modelled, manufactured and assembled back into the original system, allowing it to fit and work perfectly.

One of the key benefits for reverse engineering from CAD and digitised data is that you can manipulate or change the data once it has been captured to assure the new part provides a perfect fit.

Replacing body panels

It is the reality of classic motorsport that the chances of damaging body panels are increased in comparison to road-going classics.

In a similar way to replacing mechanical parts, 3D scanning & reverse engineering can be used to enable accurate replacement body panels to be produced. By scanning the car, a digital record of all panels is maintained, enabling 2D drawings to be worked on by expert coachwork staff.

New panels can be produced to replace those damaged or in some cases it may be decided that the original panels are replicated with replacements. These can then be used during racing, allowing the original panels to remain safe and pristine in storage.

Optimising or Enhancing original classic parts

Once you have the data in a digital format you can choose to optimise the performance of any part using modern technologies. This can be for several reasons, including:
• Improved durability and sustainability
• Increased performance
• Better reliability
• Insurance; when using the part outside of its intended performance envelope

Data Archiving details of my classic vehicle

Once the data from your vehicle has been captured it can be stored indefinitely in a data archive until required. This ensures that details of your classic and its constituent parts will always be available, to preserve the detail and design of a vehicle from body panels to engine components.

Such archiving provides several advantages including
• original technical drawings remain in mint condition.
• Changes to the CAD model and designs are updated automatically; much faster than compared to 2D.
• The data can be used to manufacture multiple runs of particularly hard to source part as part of a classic car group.
• Using the data to restore a vehicle after a racing accident etc. E.g. Body work can be accurately reproduced by a professional fabricator if they have the drawings produced from the digital data.
• If you have a failure whilst on tour or due to attend a classic race meeting. The data can be used to have a new part manufactured immediately, therefore speeding up the process.
• Insurance of having a digital archive of your classic vehicle

Reverse engineering offers opportunities in the continued support of classic motorsport to ensure this precious heritage is preserved and maintained.

Please view the services we can deliver and if you would like to discuss your particular project or wish to understand how we can offer you a solution for your classic then please contact us for a chat or drop us an e-mail with your enquiry.

About The Blog

The PES Performance blog provides information and news on the performance engineered services we offer. The blog also includes views from our team and information about projects we’ve been working on.


Contact Us

AMP Technology Centre
Advanced Manufacturing Park
Brunel Way
S60 5WG

+44 (0) 114 321 6375


Contact Us

AMP Technology Centre
Advanced Manufacturing Park
Brunel Way
S60 5WG

+44 (0) 114 321 6375