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Pinewood Derby Car Specifications

The following rules on dimensions govern all Pinewood Derby Races as stated in the Official Grand Prix Pinewood Derby Kit and as shown in the figure below:


Official BSA Rules


The length of the car shall not exceed 7"


Overall width including accessories shall not exceed 2 3/4"


The overall height of the car shall not exceed 3"


The bottom clearance of the car shall be no less than 3/8"


The inside wheel width (distance between left front and right front wheels and distance between left rear and right rear wheels) shall be no less than 1 ¾" and no more than 2 ¾"


Weight shall not exceed 5 ounces

In addition, the following specifications must be followed:

Wheel bearings, washers, and bushings are prohibited.


The car shall not ride on springs.


Only official Cub Scout Grand Prix Pinewood Derby wheels and axles are permitted


Only dry lubricant is permitted


Accessories and details, such as steering wheel and driver are permissible as long as these details do not exceed the maximum length, width, and weight specifications.


The car must be free-wheeling, with no starting devices.


Each car must pass inspection by the official inspection committee before it may compete. If, at registration, a car does not pass inspection, the owner will be informed of the reason for failure, and will be given time within the official weigh-in time period to make the adjustment. After approval, cars will not be re-inspected unless the car is damaged in handling or in a race.

bullet All body parts, weights and accessories must be securely fastened.

Local Rules

In addition to the general rules, each local pack or den may have additional rules for their races that may preclude the use of some of the tips in this manual.  One must verify with the cub master all of the local rules that are to be used for building your car.  Often, there are rules for wheel grooving, lathing, extended wheel design or other that, should you not make yourself aware, will get your son's car disqualified from the race.  In the first pack meeting discussing the pinewood derby races, one must define all local rules made in addition to the general rules stated above.  Ignorance is not an excuse and the description of any speed tip in this manual should not serve as permission to not go by such rules.  These tips are assembled to make sure you have the resources, knowledge and instruction to use these tips within the framework of the general and local rules. 

Then Again…

In  some Pinewood Derby races, there is interest in a so called open or unlimited race where the restriction on local rules is lifted to some degree.  This is the testosterone overload portion of the program and can be quite enjoyable to compete in and to watch.  The more inventive speed tips come into play in full bloom!


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