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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:50 am 
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Location: Westfield, NJ
Hello all;

After years of contemplating building a Lotus 7 Series 2 replica I have decided to go down this slippery slope as many of you have. But here is my quandry, I am 6'0" and about 200 lbs. I have sat in original Lotus 7's and found them to be tight with insufficent leg room. Now I have driven many a Formula Ford and have lived with it, but don't want to spend all the time and money on something that I can't live with and not want to drive. So it looks like a +4 or a 442 would be the way to go. But, I really like the proportions of the original car and fear that the +4 0or 442 may detract from the look. So the question is, what would be the best compromise that will still embody the look of the original while gaining some space. Best way to describe this would be the Mini Cooper and the new Clubman, while both have the same lines, the larger size really makes the car lose all of it's charm and appeal. Pictures and thoughts welcome. Thanks.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:20 am 
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There is a HUGE difference between an original series 2 and a "book" Locost. Almost as much difference as there is between a book chassis and a +442. I'd suggest you try to find a local builder and try fitting into oine of them. Then you will have a feel for comfort. I sat in a Birkin before I built mine and swore that I would never build one. It was just that tight. For me, I have a "book frame" and it is very comfortable to me 5'8" and ~185#. A friend an I took a 600 mile (one way) trip last year. He is 6' and considerably over that magical 200#. Yeah, he was snug, but not uncomfortable.

The best "look" is a personal choice. Each step up in size adds incremental bit of "oddness". Best shown when several different sizes are parked next to a real Series 2. The Midwest Gathering in Minnesota would be an ideal place to test out the different sizes. Bear in mind that the type of seat selected will have a lot to do with how well one fits into a particular size chassis too.

It might help to find volunteers willing to let you come and sit in their car. It would be easier if you mentioned your location in your personal info. If you, or anybody else for that matter, are in the Chicago area, feel free to contact me for a trial fitting.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 10:37 am 
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Gearbox, if you are in the Midwest we have several examples in the Kansas City area you can try out. Russ

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:19 am 
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Gearbox,

I'm a 5'9", 160 lb guy building a +401. "So what" you may say, but the picture below is my 6'2" nephew in the cockpit the day we installed the steering column support. At first glance it looks OK until you notice the absence of pedals. Now, I'm using a Birkin seat, which eats a lot of room. David might fit, pedals included, if I used a book-style split bench and a seat back cushion hard against the rear bulkhead.

My friend's S2 Birkin has a much tighter fitting cockpit, even for me.

The big difference esthetically between the book design or variants thereof and the S2 is scuttle position. If you moved the scuttle aft a bit (viewtopic.php?f=23&t=11473) you would get a more Lotus-like appearance, at the expense of a more NASCAR-like steering-wheel-at-your-chest driving position. Was Nuvolari one of Colin Chapman's idols?

I'd say you'd benefit from +4 in length ... If you grow some of the other directions too, and play with scuttle position you may be able to maintain the proportions you like. Based on my friend's experience with the Birkin, it will also widen your engine selection. The only reason I'm using an SR20DE plus 6-speed is that my Birkin-building friend discovered there was just no way it was ever going to fit in his S2 without structural mods that he wasn't prepared to do.


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David in Locost.jpg
David in Locost.jpg [ 68.86 KiB | Viewed 1511 times ]

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Isuzu Pickup/SR20DE, +401 COLD frame
Build Log: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=11601
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:25 am 
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Location: Westfield, NJ
Thanks for the offers, I'm located in Westfield NJ and currently working overseas. I will be in Vegas for a trade show end of Feb beginning of March, and won't be back home until June. I plan on starting the project then. I tried looking for a 442 or +4 for sale in my area but never came accross any. I know what I am asking is a perspective question which has no right nor wrong answers. What I really would like to build is that L7 S2 in that classic BRG with polished sides and bonnet with a alloy scuttle and clam shell fenders. Skinny tires and all. Now with that being said, if I put clam shells on a 442 would it look silly and out of place. If it would fit at all. If so, how about a book chassis which I understand has a bit more room. And can I squeeze myself into a book chassis and still be able to drive without skining my knees on the dash everytime I clutched. I've googled all the pictures I can find on the larger chassis, and was not able to find one that followed the classic theme of the original. Most of the cars I found were modified in one form or another and some didn't even look like the L7. I know this is a tough question but I have to believe someone has gone through this thought process before me. Thanks again for the responses and offer and if anyone has a Locost in NJ I would love to see it, Allan


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:25 am 
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Warren, thank you, a picture is worth a thousand words. Seems like you were posting the same time I was. A +401? I assume it would be 4" longer, 0" wider, and 1" taller. I have a 32" inseam and I see your Nephew is hard against the firewall even without the pedals. Adding for pedals and pedal travel it looks like he will be bending his knees into the dash. So definetly I will need a +4 if not longer. Yes? I plan on using a split bench seat to gain a bit more room. Many of the Formula fords I drove I had to remove the seat completely and throw in a bunch of foam. I also like the curved tubing around the rear wheels, something that many Locost chassis' I have seen were without. Which plans did you follow? Thanks again Allan


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:45 am 
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Allan, welcome to our forum!

Quote:
If so, how about a book chassis which I understand has a bit more room.


There should be some comments in our FAQ somewhere about sizes. The "book" is several inches bigger then an L7 S2. The "442" is four inches longer and wider then the original book. I think the book build is about 4" wider then the S2, but may not remember that right. People put clamshells on book frames and they look fine. They probably need to be widened a bit to fit properly?

Warren, just for reference how long is the floor from the back of the foot bulkhead to the tube behind the seat? Phil was saying the cockpit needed to be 60" for him after he mocked it up and when he built it it came out right.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 1:07 pm 
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Quote:
They probably need to be widened a bit to fit properly?
I think most widen the clamshells due to today's wider tires. I have seen at least one car where the clamshell was spaced off the frame.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:48 pm 
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Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
Gearbox,

No, what I call a +401 is 4 inches wider than book, same length as book, and 1 inch deeper than book. So I suspect that David might fit in a +442.

Horizonjob,

I'm in the house, but someone asked me for that dimension before (by PM?) and I measured it and found it to be the book dimension. Both book and car are out in my workshop, which is separate from the house, and I can't remember what the actual measurement was (and am too cozy near the fireplace ....

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Isuzu Pickup/SR20DE, +401 COLD frame
Build Log: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=11601


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 2:56 pm 
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We are Slotus!
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Warren Nethercote wrote:
Horizonjob,
I'm in the house, but someone asked me for that dimension before (by PM?) and I measured it and found it to be the book dimension. Both book and car are out in my workshop, which is separate from the house, and I can't remember what the actual measurement was (and am too cozy near the fireplace ....


Yo, Marcus!
What Warren means is, "It's not a fit night out for man nor beast!"
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 9:26 pm 
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Location: Westfield, NJ
Anyone have pictures of a 442 with Clam shells? And could you let me know if the fenders were widened? Thanks Allan


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:48 am 
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This is all highly subjective, but anything bigger than a book frame looks too big to me. I'm 6'0, 220 lbs, and I fit comfortably in a book frame, with leg room to spare. But I'd recommend trying one out first. That's what I did.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 3:39 am 
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Im a really big guy - 5'11'' 302lbs (135kg) beast and had to choose a chassis carefully for me to fit in. Check this link where I am seated in car; http://www.lotus7.co.nz/forum/viewtopic ... 0&start=60 and enough leg space to work the floor mounted pedal box.

First of all, my discharge end does not fit into those silly rigid narrow bucket seats, so I decided on proper seats that are also fully adjustable and wide enough for my stern (530mm or 21" wide seats and narrow tunnel). Furthermore, since Im decided on a 3SGTE power unit, I also needed space upfront for that and yours truly despise any form of scoop or power bulge on a bonnet.

In the end I decided on the McSorly 442E chassis. As mentioned in the posts thus far is true that the 442 is 4" wider, 4" longer and 2" taller than the book chassis. That said, no one mentioned the fact that their are two versions of 442 and very different to each other.
The difference between the 442 and 442E are as follows over and above the book chassis ignoring the 4" width and 2" taller additions;

442 - The 4" length was added to the cockpit compartment of the chassis and the standard engine compartment length and nose width retained.
442E - The cockpit standard length to book one and the extra 4" length added to engine compartment and the nose made 3" wider which makes for a large engine compartment that will even take some V8's with ease :wink:

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 10:33 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 27, 2012 12:45 am
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Location: Westfield, NJ
Grumpy, thank you for the reply. Awesome build by the way, very clean and professionally assembled. While I would love the extra room, my challenge is to replicate the original flavor of the L7 S2. From your pictures I can tell right away that the 442 would not work for me.

Nick, I agree with you, I believe the book frame would be my only hope. You are about the same build that I am and I measured the distance from my heel to my back in a straight seated position (legs completely extended) and got 49". I also measured the book frame from the foot pedal wall to the wall in back of the seat at it's lowest point and get 53.5". So figure a split bench seat cushion at 2", that leaves me about 2.5" for the pedals and pedal travel. Not very much. I assume I can squeeze another 2-3" by bending my legs until it hits the dash. Do you think that is enough? I tried looking for a local book frame to test out, but have been unsuccessful so far. What distance do you have between your pedal and the bottom of your seat. Perhaps if you have some pictures of you in the frame would help. Thanks for the help and hope to get this project started soon, Allan


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2012 12:03 pm 
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Allan, When you get to the point of making the "final" decision on frames, Consider the case for moving the pedal wall forward. Easily enough, that sheet metal bulkhead could be placed on the engine side of the framework giving you another inch. Or you could move that entire frame section forward an inch or two. The amount of frame taper in that area might reduce the footwell width by about 1/8" per inch longitudinal movement. BUT be aware that anything larger than say size 10 driving shoes will be a tight fit. Depending on your drivetrain, you might be able to offset the entire engine/trans an inch or two to make more footwell room.

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“Any suspension will work if you don’t let it.” - Colin Chapman

Check out my rotary build log: click here


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