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hotrodfatboy
hotrodfatboy New Reader
12/24/09 1:05 a.m.

To all,

I am interested in learning more about these cars, as I think they are exactly what I am looking for. I want to build an inexpensive solid performing Locost, but I am unsure where to start?

I have read of the Miata based cars, but are there others out there? Ford based?

Are there any chassis manufacturers out there similar to Factory Five for Cobras? Help me get started, are there any good websites to check out or books to read?

Thanks to all,

hotrodfatboy

Salanis
Salanis SuperDork
12/24/09 1:14 a.m.

There are forums dedicated specifically to Locosts.

There are kit manufacturers such as Westfield, that does kits based on Miata donors (you can buy that kit from Flyin' Miata), or the Brunton Stalker, which I believe uses a V6 light pickup (Dodge or Chevy, I forget) as the donor.

I know there are also companies that just manufacture the frames and sell a few of the difficult-to-fab fiberglass pieces (nose and fenders), but who don't go so far as to have complete kits.

Pretty much any older/small Front Engine/RWD car can be made to work. Miatas are popular for obvious reasons. But Corollas and Supras get used regularly too. I haven't heard about too many Nissan (240sx or Z-car) or BMW based Locosts, although I don't see why either of those wouldn't work.

ddavidv
ddavidv SuperDork
12/24/09 5:18 a.m.

Drivetrain packaging is part of the problem as the engine height can really be an issue. I think sticking with a known/common choice is really wise to get your project finished.

Best starting point IMO is to drop by here and buy the book: Tanner's Locost book

John Brown
John Brown SuperDork
12/24/09 6:24 a.m.

Depending on your skill set and space available it does not look terribly hard building the frame and body if you are buying the body bits (cowl, nose cone) and using the suspension parts and OE geometry from a Miata.

Grtechguy
Grtechguy SuperDork
12/24/09 7:20 a.m.

www.locostusa.com

and

http://www.locostbuilders.co.uk/

nough said

kb58
kb58 Reader
12/24/09 9:44 a.m.

Depending on your timeframe, and if you want to use a FWD drivetrain mounted mid-engine, check out Midlana

John Brown
John Brown SuperDork
12/24/09 9:58 a.m.

My dream is still a cammed up twin turbo DOHC alloy Mark VIII engine with a six speed and a 3.55:1 geared 8.8 diff in a 2XL Locost with 275/40r17 and 335/35r17s

Strike_Zero
Strike_Zero Reader
12/26/09 3:41 a.m.
John Brown wrote: My dream is still a cammed up twin turbo DOHC alloy Mark VIII engine with a six speed and a 3.55:1 geared 8.8 diff in a 2XL Locost with 275/40r17 and 335/35r17s

That sounds just about right. . . .

John Brown
John Brown SuperDork
12/26/09 9:48 a.m.

Figure 125% scare on everything and my fat ass would be comfy and the car would look correct.

z31maniac
z31maniac Dork
12/26/09 9:53 a.m.

JB, I would think the frame would be the HARDEST part to build just because the need to have everything perfectly square and lined up.

I'm starting to really think I'm going to build one of these instead of building another E30 next year. The girlfriend even liked the Brunton Super Stalker, and I really like it too. As I love the 3.8 in my Z34 Monte Carlo, but an all iron V6 seems like a crappy engine choice to me, just based on weight.

JoeyM
JoeyM Reader
12/26/09 10:28 a.m.
hotrodfatboy wrote: I am interested in learning more about these cars, as I think they are exactly what I am looking for. I want to build an inexpensive solid performing Locost, but I am unsure where to start?

I'll summarize last month's thread on the topic:

locost usa

http://www.flyinmiata.com/westfield/

The McSorely Plans

keith's book

Staniforth's Book

GRM user Skinny G's locost

http://www.locostbuilders.co.uk/

http://www.cheapsportscar.net/

http://www.locostbuilders.co.uk/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Locost_North_America

http://www.amazon.com/Build-Your-Own-Sports-Car/dp/1844253910

.....Oh, and I plugged my own site, even though I haven't finished my car: http://pennyanteracing.com/links.php

wayslow
wayslow New Reader
12/26/09 12:08 p.m.

I've built or been involved in the building of four Locosts. The frame is the easiest part of the project. None of our frames ended up being more than an 1/8" out of square.

The bonus of building the whole thing is people's faces when you tell them it started as a pile of tubes on your garage floor.

z31maniac
z31maniac Dork
12/26/09 1:04 p.m.

Really? Guess I need to learn to weld.

What would you say is the most difficult part of building a Locost? Mocking up the suspension mounts/arms?

The main thing that bugs about many kit cars is the use of a solid axle our back instead of IRS. I'm guessing since Keiths book is based on a Miata it uses an independent rear. I know I need to just go buy it.

I guess the next most intimidating part is the bodywork!

Keith
Keith SuperDork
12/26/09 1:34 p.m.

The most difficult part is not getting bogged down in designing the perfect suspension Outside of that, wiring is the most tedious unless you're using one of those engines with a toilet tank full of fuel and a little whirry thing full of sparks.

If you want a preview of my book, hit up http://www.cheapsportscar.net. It's the story of the build. And yes, my car has IRS. A popular way to do an easy IRS is to simply bolt the entire Miata rear subframe into your car. I've got some diagrams on my site that show how it attaches.

Bodywork isn't that bad because there just isn't all that much of it. Get your hands on a nose cone, fenders and possibly a scuttle and everything else is just made from flat sheets.

JoeyM
JoeyM Reader
12/26/09 5:33 p.m.
z31maniac wrote: Really? Guess I need to learn to weld.

Do. It will definitely be useful. Keith started with a pre-built frame, and still had a fair bit of welding to do during the project.

z31maniac
z31maniac Dork
12/27/09 8:40 a.m.

From perusing around it looks as though "COLD" is the most reasonably priced, paritally pre-assembled kit.

Anybody have any experience with them?

wheelsmithy
wheelsmithy New Reader
12/27/09 9:29 a.m.

These guys ( http://www.coveland.com/motorsports/ )were the top runner when I was doing research. The Westfield's more comprehensive, but were I bucks up, I'd go for the Coveland superlite-composite aluminum monoque(sp?!!!) frame. Still, their base Miata kit looks very nice. Still buy all those books-they'll help tons.

SkinnyG
SkinnyG Reader
12/27/09 10:46 a.m.

Coveland hasn't been heard from in the Locost community in probably a year or more. This seems to be a recurring theme with Locost providers in the past.

I am told Deman (out of Ontario) has suffered a similar fate.

www.kineticvehicles.com is still playing the game though. Jack's a good guy, make sure you have KV in the subject to get past his spam filter.

Curtis Unlimited makes 'glass, but they have a more diversified portfolio than most Locost providers, so they will likely be around for a while. (They have been around for a long while already).

jamscal
jamscal HalfDork
12/27/09 11:20 a.m.

I build locost frames and have made maybe 8 so far.

Make sure you go to the forums at locostusa, that's where all the info is.

Many people there will say the frame is the easiest part. I won't disagree, but there is something to be said for having something tangible and locost-shaped sitting on the garage floor.

-James

Woody
Woody SuperDork
12/27/09 11:25 a.m.
Keith wrote: The most difficult part is not getting bogged down in designing the perfect suspension.

That nearly made me crazy.

Keith wrote: I've got some diagrams on my site that show how it attaches.

Looking at those diagrams makes me wonder what else we could do with Miata subframes.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker SuperDork
12/27/09 11:34 a.m.
z31maniac wrote: Really? Guess I need to learn to weld.

Absolutely. It is one of those things that once you know how to do - everything seems possible. I took a 54hr course at a local tech school and it changed everything about the scale of my projects and what sort of things I am willing to try.

A Locost is on the map for when my kids are a little older so they can learn something too.

PS... I didn't forget about the motor - I just need to get past xmas to be able to do math again

z31maniac
z31maniac Dork
12/27/09 11:41 a.m.

Yeah, welding is a must have skill if you want to be serious about cars. And building another E30 wouldn't be a challenge, and the less then ideal rear suspension, need to move on to something more challenging.

Oh and sorry about the motor, you missed out. Took a deposit on it a few days ago, for the whole shabang.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker SuperDork
12/27/09 12:03 p.m.
z31maniac wrote: Oh and sorry about the motor, you missed out. Took a deposit on it a few days ago, for the whole shabang.

That is excellent for you since you didn't have to part it out. Glad it worked out for you - I'll find what I need before spring.

Woody
Woody SuperDork
12/27/09 12:14 p.m.

Building a Locost is one of the best ways to learn to weld.

First, buy yourself some square tubing and build a solid, square table to work on.

As you begin to work on the chassis, just tack weld all the joints. By the time you're done with all the tack welds, you'll have a good feel for the welder. Then go back and finish the welds.

JoeyM
JoeyM Reader
12/27/09 1:07 p.m.
jamscal wrote: Make sure you go to the forums at locostusa, that's where all the info is.

Yes, and it has sections for people who want to start with a prebuilt frame and for people who want to build one from scratch. If you are building a frame, look at the McSorely+442 frame plans. They are VERY detailed, and I don't think you can go wrong with them.

I decided to build from scratch, but to design my own frame instead of using plans. (I sort of have an excuse, since I want my car too look more like a 1930's street rod than in a lotus seven, but it was still not wise. I spend a lot of time sitting and looking at it, saying, "Now what?") I think you're much better off having plans to work from.

+1,000,000 for the suggestion to tack everything together before finish welding it. That keeps the angles correct for each part and makes sure everything stays properly aligned while you weld.

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