SOLIDWORKS CAD Brings RSL's Maserati Reverse Engineering Project To Life

RSL Maserati Talbot Car

Redesign Sport Limited (RSL)

RSL is a small independent car restoration outfit based near St Albans. Its founder Dafyd Richards has spent more than 20 years in the automobile industry working for Porsche and later specialising in motorsport for Porsche and Ferrari at national and international levels. Since 2006 the company has focused on motorsport and the restoration of historic vehicles.

The Challenge: Reverse Engineering a vintage racing car 

RSL was approached to recreate a complete 1957 Talbot Maserati from a few original parts including an incomplete original 250f Maserati grand prix engine, parts of the tubular chassis and four brake drums. 
Only two cars of this type were ever made in 1956 - to race at the famous Le Mans 24hr endurance event in France by driver Jean Behra. Although the car ran competitively, it failed to finish the race due to mechanical issues. For a second assault on the great race in 1957, both cars were re-bodied to a very different shape so there was not even a physical example of the original body left. 

For Dafyd Richards this was the ultimate car restoration challenge. 

The Solution

SOLIDWORKS offered Dafyd an affordable CAD system, with a user-friendly interface that had all the functionality of the high-end CAD systems. He started off using SOLIDWORKS to design simple things such as gaskets, nuts, bolts and fixtures but soon realised he could assemble two components together, or change the design with all drawings updating automatically which was a huge boost and meant more companies were willing to get involved with small volume projects like this as he could deliver accurate, up-to-date drawings with all the correct information.

Dafyd had been using SOLIDWORKS for 9 months when the Talbot Maserati project came in. RSL had only 14 photographic images including a profile image of the vehicle from 1955. After putting the original photograph into SOLIDWORKS, RSL scaled the car using dimensions from certain key components including the original wheelbase and the wheel diameter. Then the modelling process began.

The challenge was how to translate the surface modelling and solid modelling ideas and get them onto the same screen. Dafyd needed to be able to understand lines, form and function as he wanted it to look right from every single angle, not just the angle from which the photograph was taken. 
After scrutinising every picture of the car to create the desired shapes, Dafyd turned to SOLIDWORKS Surface Modelling to finalise the body design.

Scanning Parts Into SOLIDWORKS

RSL scanned the old and broken Talbot parts using a Rotary FARO focus 3D scanner but needed a way to get the 3D scan data into SOLIDWORKS to remodel the components. Although SOLIDWORKS has a SCAN-to-CAD feature which is great for flat, square pieces of metal he needed something that would handle curvy body shapes and found Geomagic Design X was the perfect tool as it allows items to be modelled in unison with the scan data and then be transferred as native CAD data into SOLIDWORKS using the LIVE Transfer command. "This was my lightbulb moment when I realised that with Geomagic and SOLIDWORKS, I would be able to recreate the parts that were missing" Dafyd explained.

The Results

Within months, RSL reverse engineered and delivered a perfect, road-worthy replica of the 1957 Talbot Maserati. Using SOLIDWORKS Professional RSL achieved:
  • Improved design and workflows
  • Assemblies fit together right first time
  • 100 per cent accurate product manufacturing information
  • Improved Time To Market
Since the Talbot Maserati project, RSL has been using both SOLIDWORKS and Geomagic Design X in real world projects.

"Fundamentally every bit of this car was designed by us in SOLIDWORKS. It means as a business we can now breathe life back into these historic vehicles that would otherwise have been left in collections or museums, unused."

About NT

"NT CADCAM is the most informative and straightforward reseller to deal with. It was there when I needed help and dealt with my questions and concerns quickly. I have gone through a lot of training courses within the CAD world and have found NT CADCAM's courses to be the best.
"For new customers coming into a CAD environment or an established company with a designated drawing office, I would say that NT CADCAM can provide you with the solutions, training and support to maintain and improve your current level of Knowledge."

Dafyd Richards
Founder/Director Redesign Sport Ltd

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