VSCCA - VIR - 2009VRG - NJMP - 20091500cc SAAB/Ford V4Vapaa Vintage Racing
VSCCA - VIR - 2009

VSCCA - VIR - 2009

George Vapaa, Lotus 7 CC leading

VRG - NJMP - 2009

VRG - NJMP - 2009

Stefan Vapaa, SAAB Sonett

1500cc SAAB/Ford V4

1500cc SAAB/Ford V4

built with a great deal of help From Jack Lawrence

Vapaa Vintage Racing

Vapaa Vintage Racing

Formula S, foreground - Sonett, background


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Home Turn-In (project scrapbooks) 1959 Quantum Two Scrapbook Blog

1959 Quantum Two

Solex 40AI modification

Written by Stefan Thursday, 24 July 2014 14:19

At this year's Vintage Motorsports Festival at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park I had an issue with the carburetor on the Quantum 2.

photo credit Chris Raia

Me in the Quantum 2 chasing Dad in the Quantum 1 (Photo credit: Chris Raia)

This is nothing new for me. I seem to have a particular problem with Solex carburetors and the Solex 40AI was acting very similarly to the Solex P11's that I have on the Formula S and the Sonett. In hard right turns, the engine stumbles and won't pull. It is made worse the harder I corner, which is obviously not optimal.

While I haven't yet come to a conclusion on the P11 carbs, the issue with the 40AI seems to be related to the atmospheric pressure vent on the top cover of the carb.

Carb diagram

It is fortunate that on the Quantum 2, I can see the carburetor from the driver's seat. As a result, I had a clear view of what was going on when I entered the right-hand corners. Fuel was POURING out of someplace on the carburetor! It was like a waterfall of fuel!

Looking at the carburetor, there is only one place that this waterfall could be coming from. There is a vent on the top, near the left-front corner. That vent provides atmospheric pressure to the float bowl. Naturally, entering a right turn under braking the fuel in the float bowl sloshes to the left-front corner. In this case, right up and out of the vent!

This does three things:

  1. It reduces the amount of fuel in the float chamber. This is bad because the float on this carb is very large in relation to the volume of the float chamber. In a racing situation it is possible to run the float chamber dry of fuel if there isn't enough in there and the fuel pump can't deliver it fast enough.
  2. The sloshing fuel moves away from the pickup ports, which are located at the two bottom-back corners of the float chamber.
  3. The sloshing fuel exiting the atmospheric pressure vent blocks air (atmospheric pressure) from being able to enter the float chamber. If the atmospheric pressure is not correct in the float chamber, the fuel will not flow to the jets properly and the engine will be starved for fuel.

I talked to some friends online and the general consensus was that a modification of the vent was the solution. Their instructions were to extend the vent with a fitting and hose to a filter. However, I saw a problem with that. Sure, it will prevent the fuel from pouring out of the carb but no matter how far I extend the vent it will still be blocked by fuel once it sloshes over the hole inside the float chamber. It won't allow atmospheric pressure into the chamber. So I took a close look at the carb cover and formulated a plan.

Un-modified carb cover

Un-modified carb cover

It appears that the cover was designed so that the fuel input could be either at the side (as it is in my case) or at the front simply by drilling and threading the appropriate cast port. I figured I could thread the un-used port and drill a hole from the inside of the cover into that port. This would give me a second atmospheric pressure vent at the opposite side from the stock vent. So even if the fuel sloshed up and blocked one vent, the other would still be open!

I put together a few pieces of brass plumbing from the local hardware store in order to fabricate a filter housing. I soldered on a mounting bracket. Inside the drilled cylinder is a piece of filter mesh stolen from a fuel filter.

modified carb cover

The hole drilled next to the float valve is the new second atmospheric pressure vent.

modified cover

Here are the two new ports. I would later cut them shorter.

installed showing bracket

Installed, showing the bracket


Installed and ready to race again (link to gallery)

Since this modification was made, I have raced the car at the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix and I experienced no problems at all with the engine cutting out in right turns!

Last Updated ( Thursday, 05 February 2015 19:13 )

10-31-2011 Care package from Bruce Welch

Written by Stefan Thursday, 10 November 2011 17:14

A mysterious package arrived the other day. I looked at it and saw it was from my new friend Bruce Welch.  Lovingly packaged and coming with a nice letter from Bruce, here was the contents...

Steering rack boots and a throttle bellows
Steering rack boots and a throttle bellows

Kikkimora interested
My cat Kikkimora was curious, but not overly so

Steering rack boots and a throttle bellows
The steering rack boots are probably NOS, while the throttle bellows appears lightly used at most.

These pieces are for the new-to-me 1959 Quantum II, which badly needs them.

Thank you very much Bruce!


Quantum II, How She Ended Up With Me

Written by Administrator Tuesday, 08 November 2011 18:22

On the night of July 13th, I was out in my garage working to get ready for the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix. It was coming up in a little over a week and as usual, I was using the late night hours after Annalisa had gone to bed to get my garage work done. Around 11:00, just before turning off the lights and shutting down the AC, I checked my email.  This is what I found.

"Quantum enthusiasts,

Sadly, I recently learned of the passing of Richard Blank from whom I acquired "Quantum #2" a few years ago.  You may recall that he gave it to me because he didn't have any storage space, but he was always interested in it because it was built by his father. Unfortunately, I'm not real long on storage space myself, and also not really that interested in the car, so I would like to have it move on to someone who appreciates it more than I and will perhaps do more with it than just keep it safe and warm as I have done.  In the spirit of Richard and his daughter Kathleen (who named it "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"), I will send it to a good home for $1 which is what the bill of sale says I paid Richard for it, although the payment may have been in the form of beer.

The engine is a near-new 750 cc which runs perfectly (it's pickled at the moment, was last driven in 2006 - photo attached) and the car has all new brakes.  It needs a battery, a fuel pump, and an exhaust (OK, perhaps a little work on the shift linkage).

If one of you is interested, let me know, otherwise I might have to leave it on Bruce Welch's lawn in the middle of the night :-)

Gary Stottler"

I looked at the list of people the email was sent to. There were four of us "Quantum enthusiasts" in the To: list. 15 minutes later, I replied with the following.

I am saddened to hear of Richard's passing but thanks for letting us know about it. I would be more than happy to give #2 a home alongside #1. #1 is sitting behind me as I type this (yes, I have a computer in the garage) and I've been working to get it ready to race. Right now I am chasing what I think is an ignition issue, but I'm confident I'll figure it out soon!

Honestly, the idea of reuniting the two cars is very exciting. It would be educational to compare them side by side as well.

If you drink it, I'd be happy to add some local brews to sweeten the deal in the spirit of the transaction!"

I then went in the house and tried to get some sleep.  I could not, so I got up and did a little iRacing until I was so tired I kept crashing.  Then I went to sleep.

The next day, I get this:

I'll be away this weekend (Road America vintage races), but I'll get back with you next week.   I'll bet we can work something out!  I agree, it would be cool to have the 2 cars together!   And I certainly want her to be appreciated as a Quantum, not parts for somebody's 93 project!

I do think that if I get time this winter I'll write up a little blurb (maybe for Ray for VV) with what I know about the history and the pictures I have from the last 40 years of her life.

OK, I think. It isn't exactly crystal clear confirmation, but it sounds like I "won".
I reply immediately with:

"That's fine Gary. I am away this weekend as well (my cousin's wedding) and next weekend (Pittsburg Vintage Grand Prix) but of course I can always be reached... I'm as "connected" as anyone these days. I can get email on my phone and here's my cell number for you: 302-nnn-nnnn.

Brevity of message due to typing on a phone"

After which, I hear nothing...
So, nervous, I send another email:

"Hello Gary,
I just wanted to let you know that I am leaving for the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix in a few hours. I'll have occasional opportunities to check my email on my phone.

Its going to be HOT this weekend.  I'm a little worried about the Formula S's ability to manage that heat.  Oh well, it is what it is and we'll deal with it as best we can.

Talk to you soon!"

A few days later (July 24th) I hear back from Gary:


Hope you had fun in Pittsburgh, sorry for my slow reply.   I also got a reply from Dave Hosmer about the Quantum #2 (I assume you know Dave?).  You were the first to reply to the original message, so it seems that you have "right of first refusal", but just to let you know that there are other qualified caretakers waiting in the wings if needed!   That said, I'll let Dave know that you and I are working on it, and if it make sense at any point for the two of you to talk, that'd be great.

Any thoughts on arrangements for moving "her"?  I will be away the next 2 weekends, then home August 13-14, then at SOC.  
From my perspective, Labor Day or early Sept would be fine - at that point the summer craziness will be over and my son will be off to college (I guess there will be fall craziness, but I don't know what it is yet...)

Talk to you soon,


Now, I think that seals it!

I forgot to mention that until the 7th of September, I still hadn't told The Lovely Annalisa that I was getting this car.  I was being superstitious. I felt like if I mentioned it to anyone, something would go wrong.  Apart from checking with my friend Sam about possible storage arrangements, I hadn't told anyone.

Gary told some folks though.
I went to the National SAAB Owner's Convention on August 20th. I rolled in and almost immediately found folks congratulating me on my new "acquisition".  I took this as a good sign.

So back to our story.
On the morning of the 17th, at 6am, I hit the road with mom's 9-3 SC Aero and an empty trailer.

I95 north
Blue Route
PA Turnpike
Southern Tier Expressway west
Rt 15 north
into the Village of Honeoye Falls.

Yes, "village". I saw two traffic lights. After a little trouble finding Gary's driveway (it was hidden by a truck doing landscape work on his front lawn) we connected and I parked the trailer back by his garage.  He opened the garage door, and there at the back under a pile of blankets is the Quantum II.  It looks exactly as I expected, which is to say, rough.  Even on its best day, it was never pretty.

Now the paint, what is left of it, is peeling.  But there are still clear signs of former race glory. It says "HMOD" on the side, has "57" on the back, and "Quantum SAAB" on both rear fenders, all clearly hand painted. The metal is dented, battered and bent, but all there.  The windscreen, looking very very wrong, is mounted.  The tires all still have air in them.

We drag the car out into the daylight for the first time since 2006.  We take some pictures and begin to fettle. 

Quantum II at Gary Stottler's place

Quantum II at Gary Stottler's place

Quantum II at Gary Stottler's place

Quantum II at Gary Stottler's place

Quantum II at Gary Stottler's place

Quantum II at Gary Stottler's place

Quantum II at Gary Stottler's place

Quantum II at Gary Stottler's place


After installing a battery and checking the coolant level, we turn on the fuel pump (loud at first, then nicely quiets down) and reach into the engine bay to push the starter (it doesn't have a solenoid, just a lever).  On 6 year old gas, the nicely "pickled" engine spins and starts almost immediately.  The choke isn't connected, so I manage it manually by alternately covering and uncovering the carburetor with my hand.  After a short while, I find a balance where I leave my hand on it with about 80% of the choke covered.  Eventually, it finds it’s idle. 

Smoke is everywhere.  With so much "pickling juice" in the engine, it has a lot to clear out.  It smells, well, pretty bad. 

But it sounds great!  A little throttle blip has neighbors peeking their heads out of doors and the landscape contractors jogging down the driveway to see what's up.

The brakes are not entirely right as they don't seem to want to release all the way, so I decide not to drive it.  We turn off the little stink-maker/smokescreen generator/mosquito repel-er and grin like happy fools at it.

Quantum II at Gary Stottler's place

Gary has a lot of nice cars.  I took some pictures that show them.  This was a mistake, or, at least sharing them with my wife was a mistake.  She is angry that I came home with what I did, instead of what I didn't.  Of course, the catch is that nothing else was available!

Quantum II at Gary Stottler's place

Quantum II at Gary Stottler's place

Quantum II at Gary Stottler's place

Quantum II at Gary Stottler's place

Gary has two pristine 99s.  One is a '78 Turbo while the other is a '77 EMS.  He also has a lovely model 96 GT850, from which we borrowed the battery to start the Quantum II.  We went to lunch (I bought) and to visit a local microbrewery (http://www.custombrewcrafters.com/homepage2.html) in the 99 Turbo.  What a great car!  I found one beer I liked particularly well, the "Caged Alpha Money IPA".  Gary gave me an empty growler and I made sure some Caged Alpha Monkey IPA went in it to bring home to share with The Lovely Annalisa.

Now, back at the garage, it was time to load the Quantum II.  I started her up and drove her onto the trailer. Easy as can be!  Once tied down Gary explains that I can't leave without at least trying to load Mom's "Little Red Wagon" with a full set of Saab Special Tool toolboards.  These are steel, with pictograms of all the special tools, metal pegs and cups and stuff.  They're 4' x 4' and there's a pile of them.  They actually fit in the car very well.  Better in fact, according to Gary, than in the Tahoe that they arrived in.  Gary’s friend Bräd ran home to grab the last two boards to finish the set and a couple of brand new but unneeded sway bar links for Mom’s Little Red Wagon. Now we're loaded down and I gotta hit the road, but there's one more thing we had to do.

Quantum II at Gary Stottler's place

We decided that a Bill of Sale would be a good idea, so Gary printed one out on his computer. I signed it, Gary signed it, and his SAAB friend Bräd signed it as witness.  Currency accounted for = $1.

That done, I handed over the item I personally considered as the proper payment... To seal the deal, I gave Gary a case of hand selected Delaware craft beers.  Dogfish Head 60 Min IPA, Dominion Oak Barrel Stout, EVO Lucky 7 Porter, and Fordham Copperhead Ale.  I didn't know what he preferred, so I picked 4 different styles figuring I'd get at least one right.

As I pulled out of his driveway, waved and gave a brief honk of the horn, the last thing I heard was of Gary saying to Bräd "How about we go try some of our new Delaware craft brews..."

Quantum II on the trailer home

Quantum II on the trailer home

Quantum II on the trailer home

Quantum II on the trailer home

The next chapter is beginning.  I need to decide what sort of restoration I will do.  The car is solid, but the body is badly dented and the paint is flaking off very fast. As much as I’d like to maintain its “as last raced” patina, that is going to be a real challenge.

Between Dad and I we now own 3 of the 5 models attributed to Walter Kern’s "Quantum" family. Through that, I've sort of become the un-official historian for the "marque".  Appropriately, I've just registered a new domain... http://www.quantumsaab.com/

Last Updated ( Friday, 18 November 2011 13:58 )