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mainlandboy Reader
10/2/14 12:47 a.m.

For a Miata based project this obscure, GRM is likely the most fitting place on the web to share my build log. Here is a link to my online build photo gallery:


I’ll be adding photos to it continuously as progress is made.

Background: Since a very young age, I’ve always been crazy about cars. I’ve always wanted to build my own car and in 2004, I started fulfilling that dream by kicking off my Locost project. After working on it regularly for 3 years, it was finally on the road in 2007:


I got a lot of enjoyment from driving a sports car that I made from scratch. It was great taking it to car shows and sharing my build with others, and meeting some fellow builders as well! As the years passed by, I found that I was getting the itch to build another car. Additionally, I found that I wasn’t driving the Locost as much. With no doors, roof or heater, I would only drive it for a few months in the summer and with the addition of our 2 kids since the build started, weekends were typically reserved for family outings. Driving the Locost started to feel a bit like going to Disneyland by yourself: fun to go on rides, but a shame not to share the experience with the family.

With that in mind, I started planning the next build. For the body style, I really liked the look of the early 30’s 2-door sedans, but it was hard to find a donor body. Even if I did, it was either far away, in rough shape or crazy expensive. The decision was made to make it from scratch with the following criteria: seating for 4, to take the family along, more weather protection (enclosed with doors, glass and a roof) and simple/cheap construction (modest engine, no compound curve body panels, flat glass).

The body will be constructed by making a steel tube skeleton and skinning it with sheet metal, much like the methods shown in this scratch built hot rod:


After selling my Locost to free up the funds, I’ve been able to officially kick off this new project. I fully realize that because I am building the body from scratch, it might not turn out that pretty, but I hope you at least enjoy watching my journey along the way.

RossD PowerDork
10/2/14 7:20 a.m.

Very cool! Good Luck with the build. If I'd build a similar vehicle, I'd start with a 4 cylinder too!

Graefin10 SuperDork
10/2/14 8:15 a.m.

Great looking car! I really enjoyed the way you've got the pictures presented. I'm sure you are very proud of it. Thanks for taking time to share it with us!

So is a scratch built hot rod in the works?

nderwater PowerDork
10/2/14 8:33 a.m.

Exciting. Reminds me of the rat rod miata that showed up here a few years back: http://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/i-think-i-may-have-spoiled-miatas-for-myself/24256/page2/

2002maniac HalfDork
10/2/14 11:01 a.m.

Sweet! Be sure to keep us updated.

mainlandboy New Reader
10/2/14 2:47 p.m.

Thanks all for the comments.

Graefin10 wrote: Great looking car! I really enjoyed the way you've got the pictures presented. I'm sure you are very proud of it. Thanks for taking time to share it with us! So is a scratch built hot rod in the works?

Yes, this thread will cover the build of the new Miata based street rod (first link in the original post). The link to my Locost build gallery was just for a bit of background on the previous project.

jmc14 Reader
10/2/14 5:09 p.m.

Good luck with the project. I'll be following the build.

mainlandboy New Reader
10/11/14 11:16 a.m.

Got a bit more work done. The motor mount and air flow meter brackets came back from the powder coater. I installed the crush tubes in the front subframe and fabricated the front upper shock mounts and tacked them in place. I've added some pictures:


bgkast GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/11/14 11:20 a.m.

Are you using the Miata suspension uprights with custom A arms?

mainlandboy New Reader
10/11/14 12:10 p.m.
bgkast wrote: Are you using the Miata suspension uprights with custom A arms?

Yes, I'll be making my own control arms. The lower control arms will allow the OEM Miata lower ball joint to bolt to them, and the upper control arm will be similar to a Locost one, which uses a Moog ES2074R tie rod end (which fits in the upper taper of the Miata spindle). Camber will be adjusted by how far the ES2074R is threaded into the upper control arm.

bgkast GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/11/14 1:23 p.m.

Cool, sounds just like the setup im using in my build. Good luck, I will be following with interest.

mainlandboy Reader
11/21/14 2:01 a.m.

Got a bit more done on the car. Made brackets to mount the steering rack, headlights and turn signal lights. Pictures added to the gallery:


chandlerGTi SuperDork
11/21/14 10:51 a.m.

Funny, I've been looking on and off for a model a pickup to drop my MB 2.3 16v/getrag setup into for awhile. Your building the same idea! Power to weight ratio should be fun.

jsquared Reader
11/21/14 11:26 a.m.

Very cool!

mainlandboy Reader
12/23/14 1:01 a.m.

Got a bit more done on the front suspension. Photos uploaded to my gallery:


Adrian_Thompson PowerDork
12/23/14 7:41 a.m.

So impressed by the speed and workmanship. Keep it up.

bgkast GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
12/23/14 6:49 p.m.

Looking good...I'm enjoying following along

mainlandboy Reader
2/1/15 6:47 p.m.

A bit of an update. I finished the rear shock mounts and welded in the brackets that support the gas tank and battery. Pictures uploaded to the album:


mainlandboy Reader
3/10/15 11:40 p.m.

Work is progressing on the car, but I'm too lazy to keep two build threads going for the same project on two different forums. If you're interested in following along, here is the thread that I'll make regular updates to:


NOHOME UltraDork
3/11/15 7:13 a.m.

I do realize that I am working with the benefit of hindsight, but looking at what you have built for the rear clip and the fabrication of a gas tank and associated plumbing, would it not have made sense to harvest the rear clip out of the Miata?

It is easy enough to tie the Miata clip into the front frame structure that you are building. Do a side mount and then use the two Miata frame rails for additional structure. Doing so this way brings the sheetmetal work along at the same time.


Now I see why you moved the fuel tank Needed a seat there. I might borrow some of the tank build with Miata pump design since I will be moving mine back also.

Are you going to harvest the Miata gearbox tunnel or just bend up a new one?

mainlandboy Reader
3/11/15 2:38 p.m.


I am planning on bending up a new transmission/driveshaft tunnel, as I think that it won't be any more time consuming than hacking up the donor one and getting it to fit.

84FSP Reader
3/11/15 6:19 p.m.

Nice work - looking forward to how the body comes together!

mainlandboy Reader
7/12/15 11:02 a.m.

A bit more progress to report. Here are some pictures:

physician New Reader
7/12/15 5:17 p.m.

Really nice build. I'll keep that idea for a familly approved toys. Seems to come along nicely.

What is the anticipated final weight?

mainlandboy Reader
7/12/15 10:35 p.m.
physician wrote: Really nice build. I'll keep that idea for a familly approved toys. Seems to come along nicely. What is the anticipated final weight?

Thanks! It's a bit tough to know what the weight will be this early in the build, but I'm guessing that it will probably be somewhere around 2000 lbs, give or take a few hundred.

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