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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: October 24, 2008, 4:40 pm 
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Joined: October 24, 2008, 4:06 pm
Posts: 7
Location: Medina, Ohio
Hello everybody,
I am new hear and am asking the question that everybody else is, but I am hoping that you guys can help answer this question for me.

I currently have a 9 second dodge colt that I build from the ground up. But I have found it is not enough speed for me and in the process of going fast I have lost a lot of the streetability of the car. Not to mention I want to go fast around turns also.

I stumbled across the caterham/ locost (low-cost) stuff last year and it sparked some interest. Then I read the review of the 500 superlight in the Top Gear magazine a few months ago. To say the least I am floored.

I have been racing 800+ hp mitsubishi 4 cylinders for six or seven years now and recently found a transmission bell housing combination to make a great RWD set-up.

Winter is about to set in and I need something to do, or build.

Can the locost frame handle 400-500hp, can it handle the extra weight of a cast iron block and manifold/turbo set-up.

I am sure you get questions like this all the time, and probably never hear from the individual again. I am very single minded and once I decide to build something it will get done.

I throw in a few shots of my recent project to assure you I am up for the task.

Image

Image

Image

Image

This was last winters project, I bought it in November 07 and raced in may 08.

So I really don't know what I am asking, but do you guys that have done this project think this might be right for me?

I know if I decide o do this I have a lot of learning/reading ahead of me.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.
Craig Miller


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PostPosted: October 24, 2008, 5:17 pm 
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Yeah it will take the extra weight. There are a few people on here with V8s in their locosts. But 500hp is quite a bit for a car in this weight range. I dont even know if anyone has that much power in their locost lol. I image you will have a hard time getting traction with that. These things move pretty good with 100 horses lol.

Good luck!

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PostPosted: October 24, 2008, 5:33 pm 
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Joined: October 20, 2008, 5:26 am
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Location: Maine
500HP sounds like a deathwish, a spectacular one at that.


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PostPosted: October 24, 2008, 6:11 pm 
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wow... a transverse RWD?

running a quarter in 9s is fast, really really fast. Making a car run a quarter under 10 and turn well would be quite a feat. I don't have doubts about your ability in the fabrication, but I don't even want to think about the design costs and time that go into making a locost with that kind of power deliver it to the pavement.

Megabusas are running mid 11s it would seem. and if you are throwing 500hp around wouldn't you need a really strong live axle rear end? Like a Ford 8 or 9", and those things are heavy!

People are running that sort of weight, so the frame can take it, you should likely put more support in it but I am speaking out of my ass here because I've never built one.

Chapman speaks of "adding lightness" to the Lotus, this is an idea that is directly against you when you go to large power plants, large HP, and large rear ends. Its a classic pick two triangle, cheap, light, ridiculously fast. Pick two.

Actually, don't listen to anything I have to say, I want to see a 500hp Locost! :D

Edit: afterthought: Buy a fancy ford 9" rear end, spend a bunch of money on coilovers. Then build an alcohol fuled turbo 4cyl engine. That may keep you "sort of light".


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PostPosted: October 24, 2008, 6:28 pm 
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Location: Charleston, WV
Very nice build. :thmbsup:

Did you answer the 7 questions? (from sticky at the top of this forum)
Quote:
Before you decide to try and build one of these, do yourself a favor and...
Answer the Seven Questions below

I've been working on a set of "Seven Questions" for new, would be builders based on my experience building one of these cars and reading this site for three years. (I've seen a lot of folks come and go in that time)

Ask these questions of yourself: (and be honest with your answers, the truth can hurt)

1. Do you enjoy metal fabrication, problem solving, and general dirty, greasy, sharp metal shavings strewn in all directions type hard work?

Yes- Continue to question 2.
No- Stop now. Buy a completed Caterham, Birkin, Westfield etc.

2. Do you have a place to do aforementioned work, without offending the people who allow you to work there?

Yes- Continue to question 3.
No- Sorry but now is not the time. Wait until you are older and own your own home, have a more understanding wife, or have access to a better working environment.

3. Do you have the space to dismantle and store parts from a donor car? (backyard only counts if you live in the southern US ) j/k Make sure it's your property you are junking up, your parents or wife may not be as tolerant of the mess. You will have lots of car parts to clean, degrease, paint and drag in and out periodically to test fit as you fabricate.
Yes- Continue to question 4.
No- Sorry but now is not the time. Wait until you are older and own your own home or have access to space to do with what you please.

4. Are you the type of person that obsesses about things, but abruptly looses interest and moves on to something else new and fascinating? (girls count too)
Yes- Maybe this project is not for you. It will take years of your life and must be regarded as a huge committment due to the cost and time involved. If this is what you want to do with all of your spare time and money for the next several years then go for it, but otherwise consider another hobby. Building one of these things requires altering your lifestyle. (for most folks)
No- If you are a cold calculated, singleminded determined SOB then continue to question 5.

5. Do you have the disposable income to pull this off? The most frugal of builders will spend at least $3-$5k on this project. If you have the time and brains to plan your build well the cost can come down some, but you will need to be very smart when choosing a donor. Buy something that will allow you to sell anything you won't use. It means a bigger buy in up front, but it also allows you to recoup most of the cost if you are a good Ebayer/Seller. Another thing of note, if you live in a densly populated area it will be easier to sell parts. Shipping a $75 Miata door across the country doesn't make sense to many people. If you live in the boonies, consider it a disadvantage when it comes to selling the larger heavier parts of your donor.

Yes- continue to question 6.
No- Wait until you are more financially stable.

6. Are you married to or do you have a low maintanance, understanding girlfriend?
Yes- Good, you are a lucky man, treat her nice and move on to question 7.
No- You need to decide which is more important to you, staying together or building a car. There will be friction at times. Time you used to spend with them will be spent in the garage making sparks fly.

7. Do you have, or are you willing to aquire the tools, skills, and knowledge needed to pull this off?[/b] You need to know or be willing to learn how to weld. (Mig at least) You need to cut, miter, and fit together steel. You need to cut, bend and fit Aluminium. You need to lots of expensive tools or access to them. (Make sure to budget at least $1500 for tools if you're already got basic hand tools, and maybe $2000+ if you're starting from scratch. These tools last a lifetime, so they don't count in the cost of the car.) You also need to have a basic understanding of, or be willing to learn how the different systems of a car work. Brakes, fuel, cooling, electrical, you will need to do it all.

Yes- Congratulations, you just might be driving a car you built from scratch one day.
No- Sorry but this task may be a bit more than you can handle. Many more Locosts are started than are ever finished. Consider yourself luckier than the poor SOB who poured every spare minute and dollar into one of these projects only to have to sell it off before completion.

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PostPosted: October 24, 2008, 6:39 pm 
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If you want to have fun going fast and like the idea of a Locost, then consider going road racing. Look into classes and events at your local tracks. Just deciding to jump in might not get you the most fun. Five hundred horsepower also might not be the most fun.

Drag racing is pretty safe, but it doesn't last very long. Road racing lasts longer, but has more to do with how well you drive then 500 HP. It's more like trying to thread needle with you car and body at more then 100 MPH. Build a light car and learn how to make it handle, then work on upping the power.

The only people running light race cars with the power your talking about are Indy car types. That's not the best way to start out. Among other things it would just be embarrassing. Someone was just relating to me how they had to pull a seven type car off the track during open practice because he was over whelmed by the car.

Don't give up though!

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PostPosted: October 24, 2008, 6:53 pm 
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milo wrote:
wow... a transverse RWD?

I think he meant that he knows of a bellhousing so that he can take the engine he's familiar with, turn it 90 degrees, and drive the rear wheels - it's still at the front.

As for a transverse RWD, several of us have done it, including me with the Mini in my avatar. The story's in the sig.

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PostPosted: October 24, 2008, 6:57 pm 
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Joined: April 23, 2006, 8:26 pm
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horizenjob wrote:
If you want to have fun going fast and like the idea of a Locost, then consider going road racing. Look into classes and events at your local tracks. Just deciding to jump in might not get you the most fun. Five hundred horsepower also might not be the most fun.

Drag racing is pretty safe, but it doesn't last very long. Road racing lasts longer, but has more to do with how well you drive then 500 HP. It's more like trying to thread needle with you car and body at more then 100 MPH. Build a light car and learn how to make it handle, then work on upping the power.

The only people running light race cars with the power your talking about are Indy car types. That's not the best way to start out. Among other things it would just be embarrassing. Someone was just relating to me how they had to pull a seven type car off the track during open practice because he was over whelmed by the car.

Don't give up though!

All true. Show up at a trackday event with 500hp and guaranteed, someone with 200hp and experience will beat you. It's a very humbling lesson; skill really does matter and using raw power to cover up for it doesn't guarantee anything.

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Both available from https://www.lulu.com/


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PostPosted: October 24, 2008, 8:25 pm 
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Location: Los Angeles, CA
KB58 wrote:
milo wrote:
wow... a transverse RWD?

I think he meant that he knows of a bellhousing so that he can take the engine he's familiar with, turn it 90 degrees, and drive the rear wheels - it's still at the front.

As for a transverse RWD, several of us have done it, including me with the Mini in my avatar. The story's in the sig.


Yeah, I realize that my statement made little sense, for some reason I thought the picture in his first post was of a Cavalier, which surprised me with a transverse mounted engine and a drive shaft tunnel.

I didn't know that anyone did it, cool.


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PostPosted: October 24, 2008, 8:37 pm 
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There's an 800HP car in Medina and I didn't know about it?!?

Yeah, I'm close 8)

Good luck on your build, I'm still fighting a losing battle with finding a Miata donor.

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PostPosted: October 24, 2008, 8:53 pm 
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Medina eh? I lived there for a few months....nice little town.

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PostPosted: October 24, 2008, 11:06 pm 
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Cataplt Craig, looks like you did a good job on your cage. What did you do to fish mouth your tubing, did you use one of those simple jigs or by hand or something fancier. I am thinking of mocking up my cage and then building it and attaching the rest of the car to that...

Did they have specs for the tubing where you raced?

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SketchUp collection for LocostUSA: "Dream it, Build it, Drive it!"
Car9 Roadster information - models, drawings, resources etc.


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PostPosted: October 25, 2008, 1:49 am 
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Boink wrote:
500HP sounds like a deathwish, a spectacular one at that.



eh, I have mid 400's in mine, and it's not that bad. Remember he already has an 8 second car... I doubt he'll be that scared of a high 9 - low 10 second car.

Unless you run slicks, you won't be able to put it all down this side of 70 MPH, so you might as well think about how you want to use the car before setting that target. Just my .02.


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PostPosted: October 26, 2008, 6:08 pm 
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Here is your car. Question is do you have 100,000 GBP (157,199.19 US) laying around. :shock:

http://www.evo.co.uk/carreviews/evocarr ... vante.html


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PostPosted: October 27, 2008, 6:50 am 
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Location: Medina, Ohio
WOW! Love the responses.

Sorry for me being so slow, I was a at a Halloween party last night and I am still recovering.

I wasn't trying to put up pictures of my junk to show it off or anything, I just wanted to show that I am serios and have the ability. I want to build this because "that" didn't work.

Mabye 500hp is to much, but that is even better news as anything under that is junkyard motor numbers. I made 458whp on a 180K junkyard mitsu motor. I can leave the stock turbo on it or something slightly larger and have full boost at 2500. LOL, I have not seen full boost under 4500 in years.

As for fish mouthing the tubes, I assume you mean what I would call notching. cutting the tube to meet another. I used the JD squared tuning notcher witch worked great.

As for the engine I meant mounting it lenght wise like a standard RWD car. My car above is AWD.
We found a bellhousing adapter to go from 4G mitsu to Ford to use the TKO dog box and I was planning on using a Ford 8.8 as it is just about the most efficient live axle out there.

As for traction in the car with 400+ that was one of my concerns. I do not have any real intentions of building this for any particular purpose other then to have a lot of fun.

The link to the levante is exactly what I am after minus the price tag of course. That is amazing.

slngsht.. is that your liscense plate? I tried to regester that, but could not get it. So I settled on CATAPLT. Mid 400's, thats what I want to hear. So? how is it? The great thing about turbo cars is that if it does scare me or it is too much to handle I can just turn down the boost till I get used to it.

Monkeynuts, Yeah I am not sure if it at 800hp or not, but I am sure it is close. Trapped 142.42 on low boost with no timing and rich on the fuel. As for trying to find a miata shell local, Call Eric over at Backstreet performance. I am sure he will have something or at least know where to get it.
Do you have a locost? I would love to see one in person.

I did read the questions on the top and answered them all with ease. It was just after reading those I made the post.

So, I think I am convinced. I spoke with my wife about it yesterday again and she said to build it. (she will let me build anything as long as I don't get a bike, she knows how much I want a turbo busa)

All the sudden I feel so overwhelmed.


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