Hello All. My name is Chris, and I am here because I am addicted to Locosts.
I had been lurking on the sight for nearly four years before finally becoming member (I think for the ability to do searches). Even after joining I had not been actively posting. Because of this I have a lot bottled up inside so please bare with me, or hit the back button now.
I'd like to start by saying this is a fantastic forum. Hats off the those who do and those that have in the past run, and supported it.
So, the time has finally come where I can and should start a build log. I believe I have now met all of the written and unwritten prerequisites;
Books- bought them (Cheap sports car, Kimini, Gibbs book)
Plan- have one
donor- bought one
complete welding course- done
build table- done
steel purchased- check
build underway- Yes!
I happened on the scene back in the summer of 2006 after reading the C/D article. I had always wanted to build a ‘kit’ car (550 spyderish) but could not justify the initial cost. After reading the article I was hooked on the idea of spending as you go, also using a modern donor (ie Miata) was much more appealing than a bug based car.
I had been actively looking for a donor for the last two years. I had decided on a Miata for a donor. Unfortunately living here on the prairies of Manitoba there just aren’t a heck of a lot of donor class cars at donor class prices around. An example of what I'd been finding locally - ’90 Miata , lots of rust , engine has a cracked head 300k++km, $2000, really? Ugh!
Then one evening back in early September of 2010, after reading the latest in the forum, I did a country wide Kijiji search and found the car you see below. A 1990 Miata with only 115,000 km for $1500.
File comment: 1990 Miata
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File comment: 1990 Miata
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Sweet! Unfortunately it was located in New Hamburg Ontario, about 1.5 hrs SW of Toronto or 2147 km from Winnipeg.
File comment: Winnipeg to New Hamburg
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Ok, not ideal you say, but the car looked like the perfect candidate (good parts for me and good parts for resale). So, naturally, out of curiosity, I contacted the seller, and asked him what the story was behind the car. Terry (the seller, and his real name ) told me the car was in great shape aside from the pushed in nose. He had purchased the car the previous September and after driving it only 500 km, his girlfriend had unfortunately spun it in the rain. Had looked into transporting the car but that was over $1000 so not justifiable. I asked wishfully, if it drove straight and he said it did. All of the damage was forward of the suspension points. He had driven on a few occasions after the accident before being pulled over by the OPP and having them deem the car unfit and making him tow it home. I asked if he felt the car could be driven back to Winnipeg and he felt it could (wasn't like he was driving it, eh
). Wa’hell, that’s all I needed to hear.
Now, I’m not suggesting this is something to teach your kids, but after corresponding with Terry via email and phone on several occasions, I felt confident that the car was as described, and I could and would make it back to Winnipeg (Or if you ask my wife, once I get my mind on something I won’t let it go no matter how irrational it is). So I purchased the car for an agreed price of $1300, over the phone, sight unseen.
So, now I just needed to get the car insured in order to drive it back to Winnipeg. In Manitoba a vehicle needs to have a valid ‘safety’ certificate in order to be insured. When bringing in a vehicle from out of province, once you have the proper documentation, you can purchase temporary insurance (4 days IIRC) to drive the car form point A (out of province) to point B (home) before it is certified (yes, I’ve done this before).
Ah, but yes, that’s right, the car was deemed unfit in the province of Ontario. No matter according to MPI (Manitoba Public Insurance, the only game in town). Just hand over $30 and that is good enough for 4 days!! So after faxing over the required paper work for MPI, I had valid insurance to drive a car though a province that would not allow it on the road as it sat. Armed with the paper work I booked the next flight out to Toronto. In locost tradition I used air-miles to cover the cost of the flight. I have to add, at the time , my wife was not overly thrilled at the idea of me going on this little adventure as she was due to have our 1st child in 3 weeks and she did not want me getting stranded in the middle of now where (and there is a lot of that in northern Ontario). This turned out to be a reasonable concern as she gave birth the week after I got back.
So I arrived in New Hamburg, were the car and Terry were waiting for me. Damaged front end had pushed the rad back so the top hose was pinched a bit, and one of the A/C lines was just making contact with the crank pulley (mmn remembering Chet’s nightmare), Went for a short test drive, and aside fom thr passnger frnder rubbing the tire, all seamed ok. The car drove and stopped straight. Back at the house Terry cut the rad hose back to straighten it out in order to improve flow strapped the hood down so it would not flip up on me on the highway, loaded the car up with extra tires , spoilers, a header so I would not feel alone on the ride back.
Once on the road Miata did well. A bit of an issue with the temp going up when got on to the highway. Likely due to the lack of air across the rad, with the bottom lip of the bumper being pulled up by the hood pulling on the strap. Simply taped the hood down to keep the hood from puling on the bumper, and used the interior heater to act as a secondary rad. Problem solved. This was not an issue once the ambient temp went down in the evening.
Other wise a flawless 2147 km test drive. No issues with the OPP, aside from a speeding ticket, which the officer graciously dropped down so just fine with no points on my license (whew!). He did not even bat an eye at the Nascar tapped nose.
Thanks again Terry, for your help getting the car ready. You made the 'sight unseen purchase' more comfortable, and the long trip home more confidence inspiring than I could have hoped.
So that was the story of the donor purchase.
So once the car was home, our child was born (life is good
) and the donor collected dust.
Over the fall and early winter I had a few opportunities to clean up the garage to receive the donor for disassembly.
Started disassembly just after the new-year. This took about 2 month to complete. it was a great way to spend the cold winter months. Although I had to plan my work as with it being –15'C to 30'C it would take most of a day (or the previous night) to warm up the insulated garage to somewhere around freezing with a couple of 1500 watt heaters.
File comment: Clean engine bay
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File comment: This 1st cut was tough.
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File comment: Engine came out easy with front end cut out
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File comment: A beautiful night to pull an engine.
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File comment: Insipred by Dangerous Dave Hempy
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I am happy to say that the sale of parts has gone well and in just a few months I have recouped the cost of the car and then some. I even had a buyer for the shell.