spear322 New Reader
12/7/18 6:27 a.m.

So, I have always wanted to build a car from scratch.  Well, after a hard couple months of medical crap, it is now or never.  I don't know if I will finish it, but what the hell its only moneydevil.  

Here is my current criteria/ideas:

-Will not be a race car, but a fun driver (I have never done an autocross, but would like to try)

- I am not too concerned with weight, but my design will most likely be between 1500 to 2000 lbs

- Would like it to have predictable handling, but does not need to be on rails (this has more to do with my design than anything else)

-Looking for between 250 to 300 HP with ability to modify

  • I have been thinking about 2 main ideas for the engine:  either a honda/acura V6 or a Ford 302/ LS
  • The horsepower levels should be adequate with either engine, I am leaning toward the V6, but love the sound of a V8

- Will most likely be a manual, as long as I am able to use the clutch (I read somewhere you can fit a T5 to the Honda V6)

I am having a hard time narrowing down a donor car for the uprights and various other bits.  I have been looking at Miatas, Corvettes, Mustangs,  BMWs, ETC

In order to finish the design and get moving on the build I will need to figure out the uprights in order to do the calculations for the front suspension.  I  plan to use an independent rear suspension as long as funds allow.  

So what are your thoughts and opinions?  I am open to any ideas. 

Thanks for the helpyes

jmc14 Reader
12/7/18 7:09 a.m.

Good luck with your design and build.  I had pretty much the same goals when I started my build 2 years ago.  I also have had, and continue to have health issues.  (Heart attacks, severe diabetes).  Take car of your health!

I built a space frame. C4 Corvette aluminum independent suspension bolts in.  The frame is set up for a SBC.  I sculpted a simple 2 piece body that covers the frame.  The final weight is around 1800lbs.  You can check out my build on the the Build and Project Cars forum here.  I had to have molds made for my body.  They are done and I just picked up 2 of them.  I also have jigs for the frame.  Next week I'm going to start assembling my car.  I want to be driving it this spring.

Have fun!


HFmaxi Reader
12/7/18 8:32 a.m.

Have a look through the locostusa.com forums if you are not there already. Mustang II front uprights are popular as as other circle track sourced parts. Do you plan on designing the car from scratch or working off something that someone else has designed?

Matt New Reader
12/7/18 8:58 a.m.

this is an interesting deal if you wanted a locost project. the owner, Gord, was a stand up guy, a real pillar in our community and he passed suddenly 2 years ago. his widow is selling off his lotus replica "locost" for 5K Canadian. you can take advantage of the low value CDN dollar.  this car was stolen and Gord got it back, they cut off the steering wheel and took the engine out with a sawzall, he never got around to fixing it, so you will have some work to do. Gord was a motor-head, loved Lotus', loved racing. he built this car and a couple more like it, but this was his personal car, this is a good deal. its in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.




SkinnyG UltraDork
12/7/18 9:45 a.m.

I found Gord's car in my own town here in BC maybe three or four years ago?.  Saw it, but didn't recognize it at first; knew I had seen it somewhere before, but couldn't put my finger on it.  I believe he was at the Canadian Nationals in 2003 when I was there. Stolen after the event, if I remember correctly.

I spoke to the fellow who had it, talked cars with him for a bit, he had got it on trade for some labour or something. It had the engine (bike engine) and everything (but no wings) when I saw it then. A year later a friend emailed me a pic of the car on the rollback deck of a towtruck and then it clicked - it was Gord's.  I contacted the RCMP, compiled all my evidence to try and prove that it WAS Gord's, got ahold of Gord through some connections, and he was able to get his car back.  Of all the ones he built, that was the one he loved the most. Then Gord passed away suddenly. Devastating. And so young, too.

Having said all that,

I got my Locost road legal in 2006.  To keep it cheap, you want a single donor vehicle as much as possible. If you want "the perfect combination of parts" it will take longer and cost more (but you get what you want).

A Stalker V6 might be right up your alley, or making a clone of one of those (a clone of a clone?), they use all S10 parts pretty much. My locost was as much of a Corolla GTS as I could.  A Miata might be a better donor.

rdcyclist Reader
12/7/18 10:06 a.m.

This one might be a good start. You could get some ideas about suspension and so on from his build 'cuz it's not a regular Locost Seven.



rdcyclist Reader
12/7/18 10:08 a.m.

In reply to SkinnyG :

Great story and I'm happy to hear you were able to help get the car back home. Sounds like it was away for quite a while. What engine was in it?

NOHOME UltimaDork
12/7/18 10:33 a.m.

Especially if you are keeping the weight down and the power reasonable, I don't see how you can go wrong with Miata suspension at all 4 corners.


What is your experience building stuff from scratch?




fanfoy Dork
12/7/18 10:37 a.m.

It sounds like you want a simple built, so I would go with a Miata donor and use the adaptor to install a Honda V6 to the transmission. With that donor, the front suspension has been figured out and you can use the rear suspension as is. Stuff it into a 442 chassis and complete with bits from Kinetic.

Or the Stalker suggestion is good too but no IRS.

maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand Dork
12/7/18 10:46 a.m.

If you're looking at 250 to 300 hp V6 and V8, you should consider the Nissan VQ35. Unlike the Honda/Acura motor, it was designed for longitudinal layout with a manual, making the swap much easier. Cheap would mean finding a wrecked 350Z/G35, which is not hard to do.

Another cool one would be Saab B204/B234 with the vauxhall/Ford adapter bellhousing for using a T5 trans. 


NOHOME UltimaDork
12/7/18 10:49 a.m.

If you are like most people, the first time you do something you learn how to do it properly the next time. Because of this, a lot of first time builds end up as an assembly of components that you can do better next time.  The point at which that light bulb comes on, is usually the point at which the project stops.

So give careful thought to what you want to engineer on your own. Using someone else's design still teaches you how to do it right without having to go through the learning curve on your own.

Does the budget allow for an exocet chassis?



Apexcarver UltimaDork
12/7/18 10:58 a.m.

250HP in one of those is more than you think... I would suggest Honda k power. You can make the HP you want with light weight that way.

rdcyclist Reader
12/7/18 11:05 a.m.

In reply to Apexcarver :

Yes, 250 horses in a 2000 pound car can be quite a handful. Especially one you've engineered and built your self. I would suggest a Miata/K24 based chassis as a good starting point.

spear322 New Reader
12/7/18 11:28 a.m.

jmc14 - hope you are feeling better and get your car on the road soon!   I have MS and am loosing strength and feeling in my extremities, but I am not letting this stop me.


As to my experience, I have been working on cars my whole life, worked as a mechanic when I was 14 (after school and in the summers while in HS).  I have most of the tools necessary to make my life easier.  I currently work for myself making furniture and other items from wood, but prefer working with metal.  I do own a small mill and will be buying a lathe soon (once I find one not across the country, lol).  

Part of the fun for me is doing the engineering, I have about a dozen books on suspension design and have another dozen on engineering and material analysis.  

Funds are tight, but the wife is pushing me to do it, so who am I to argue.  How much would you pay for a donor vehicle?  I have been thinking about picking and choosing at the junkyard, but I think that is going to cost me an arm and a leg.  

I have been looking at copart and craigslist, not really finding anything that I think is feasible.  

I figured a total price of around $10K when done.  And rather unique...anybody know where I could find a Model A sedan?

spear322 New Reader
12/7/18 11:30 a.m.

Oh and I am not the thinnest of people so I plan on making it wider than most locosts

Matt New Reader
12/7/18 11:35 a.m.

In reply to SkinnyG :

that's awesome - thanks for sharing! Gary mentioned it was "a story in its own rights" and i'm quite glad that you shared. i'd love to see his car running again. The 900cc Honda bike motor it had  on N2O was a good time.

We all miss him dearly.

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