How to build your own Locost in 15 easy steps

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By Guest Writer
Jun 13, 2022 | DIY, lotus 7, Shop Work, locost | Posted in Shop Work , Features | From the June 2007 issue | Never miss an article

Photography Credit: Keith Tanner

[Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the June 2007 issue of Grassroots Motorsports.]

By definition, a Locost is supposed to be a simple, lightweight, stripped-down, home-brewed sports car. Call it an individual interpretation of Colin Chapman’s original Lotus 7, a bare-bones sports car that has been inspiring enthusiasts for half a century.

But no one said that building a Locost is …

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FieroReinke
FieroReinke Reader
6/10/22 10:40 p.m.

thank you for pulling reposting this.   I wasn't part of GRM when the article appeared in the magazine.  anyone have an old copy of the this issue?  I think it would be cool to include it in my display at car shows to go with my Lego Seven, hotwheel Seven and pictures of my Locost build.   

Datsun310Guy
Datsun310Guy MegaDork
6/10/22 11:16 p.m.

In reply to FieroReinke :

Buy the book Keith Tanner wrote - I believe that's his car he built.

MyMiatas
MyMiatas New Reader
6/11/22 12:04 a.m.

Hey Keith was this at Flyin Miata before they moved to Colorado?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/11/22 8:14 a.m.

It's FM Summer Camp today, I'll check in later. I don't remember what's in this article but I suspect I wrote it :) 

That green car was photographed behind the FM shop location in Grand Junction before we moved down the road to Palisade. So it's Colorado, just a little more urban than outr current digs. 

FieroReinke
FieroReinke Reader
6/11/22 10:41 a.m.

In reply to Datsun310Guy :

I already have the book and it came in very handy during the build.

jaf
jaf New Reader
6/11/22 11:12 a.m.

Keith's book was a must read. The Haynes Roadster book is another good one. Related to the #7 Get Organized should be DOCUMENT. Create a build log, take pictures of everything, and write down all of your design parameters. As the designer/fabricator you are the also the repair manual. 

SkinnyG (Forum Supporter)
SkinnyG (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
6/11/22 11:18 a.m.

I recommend having ALL the parts BEFORE you begin.  Making changes part way through is annoying.

I used the original "The Book" (Ron Champion), but had to make a changes because of the parts I used, and then more changes to sort out the handling.

Fun, fun, fun little cars.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/11/22 9:37 p.m.

It's weird, something about the photography of the headline image makes the car look like it's a miniature model. 

BillKeksz
BillKeksz New Reader
6/13/22 3:41 p.m.

In reply to codrus (Forum Supporter) :

Probably shot in "portrait mode", blurring the background.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/13/22 5:00 p.m.
BillKeksz said:

In reply to codrus (Forum Supporter) :

Probably shot in "portrait mode", blurring the background.

No, it's from 2005. No cute smartphone filters. Someone at GRM did a tilt-shift fake, it's just a matter of blurring the image on a gradient everywhere outside a narrow vertical band. It's a fun trick that can be done in a lot of camera apps now but it's been possible in Photoshop forever if you know what you're doing. The range of focus makes it look like a model. Here's another from the same photoshoot.

Although when I think about it, it's POSSIBLE I had a DSLR that could do tilt-shift at the time. I don't think so...

 

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/13/22 5:11 p.m.
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:

It's weird, something about the photography of the headline image makes the car look like it's a miniature model. 

Was about to post the same comment.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/13/22 5:19 p.m.
SkinnyG (Forum Supporter) said:

I recommend having ALL the parts BEFORE you begin.  Making changes part way through is annoying.

I used the original "The Book" (Ron Champion), but had to make a changes because of the parts I used, and then more changes to sort out the handling.

Fun, fun, fun little cars.

Even if you don't have all the parts, knowing what parts you're going to use will let you plan accordingly. Changes will cause problems, and the bigger the change the bigger the problem!

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/13/22 6:06 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:
BillKeksz said:

In reply to codrus (Forum Supporter) :

Probably shot in "portrait mode", blurring the background.

No, it's from 2005. No cute smartphone filters. Someone at GRM did a tilt-shift fake, it's just a matter of blurring the image on a gradient everywhere outside a narrow vertical band. It's a fun trick that can be done in a lot of camera apps now but it's been possible in Photoshop forever if you know what you're doing. The range of focus makes it look like a model. Here's another from the same photoshoot.

Although when I think about it, it's POSSIBLE I had a DSLR that could do tilt-shift at the time. I don't think so...

Hm, yeah, I think it's the fake depth of field that's having that effect.  The blurred bushes wind up looking like the kind of green curly stuff (not sure what it is) that model makers use for vegetation.

As for your DSLR, tilt/shift is a feature of the lens, not the software.  Works with film too.

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/13/22 7:42 p.m.

That's why I initially said "tilt shift fake". In my DSLR with the kit lens, it's just software processing of the raw image.

I'll have to dig out that old camera (or the original image) and see if I did it "in camera" or if it was done later, but in both cases it's just a digital version. The color rendering and the depth of field makes it look like my mirrorless and its post work, but I know I didn't have that in 2005. I'm pretty sure someone at GRM was having fun with the image I provided them.

And yes, I really did go camping in Moab in my Locost.

MyMiatas
MyMiatas New Reader
6/16/22 11:28 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

It's FM Summer Camp today, I'll check in later. I don't remember what's in this article but I suspect I wrote it :) 

That green car was photographed behind the FM shop location in Grand Junction before we moved down the road to Palisade. So it's Colorado, just a little more urban than outr current digs. 

I will have to make a note to check out a FM Sumer Camp event. I heard about it too late. :0(

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