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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:53 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 4:04 pm
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Location: Victoria, BC
So here is my donor. A 1990 Miata with right front damage and only 127000 kms for $500. It's an auto but we can change that later.


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PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 10:55 pm 
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Location: Victoria, BC
Before building the car though, my build is focused on the workshop. 18 by 30 should give me enough room. I'll post some photos of the progress over the next few weeks.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 2:24 pm 
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Location: Victoria, BC
So, here it goes. Up here in Victoria British Coumbia we have a lot old British car enthusiats and a pretty good population of classic British cars. Havent seen many Lotus 7s though. Fortunately, a few months back I happened upon a fellow who had built a Locost with a Toyota motor and I was immediately hooked. So, after a lot of research (a lot is relative of course in this endeavour) i decided to push forward and look at starting a build. When I checked out everyone else's build logs there didnt seem to a logical spot when one starts to post so I thought earlier seems better than later.

My original goal was to build as close to the original 7 as possible but I have quiclky learned that there are many modern restrictions that make that very difficult. So, while that will still be my goal, I know that there will be many compromises along the way. I am going to use a 1990 Miata as a donor and I am wanting to keep the overall appearance as clean lined as possible. So from my end that means no hood bulge to speak of. I am partial to keeping the frame as small as possible but am not sure about which frame will best accomodate the Miata 1600 twin cam motor. My thought is a book frame will be too low for a non-bulge hood but the 442 frames appear large compared to the original Miata. Any thoughts that people have would be great.

Above, you can see the donor car I just purcahsed - a 1990 Miata with 127000 kilometers for $500. The only damage is to the front right fender, inner fender, hood, bumper and lower control arm. the rest of the car is immaculate. I am hoping that by selling off unneeded parts I can recoup the cost of the car. The one issue I will have is that the car is an automatic so I will be needing to find a manual transmission, clutch, flywheel, and hydraulics etc. Selling off the automatic and torque converter will hopefully ease the cost a bit. If anyone knows a good source north of the border let me know.

Of course, every good build needs a good home. So the first order of business is a new garage. This used to be a small carport but is now a 19 wide by 30 deep garage. There is also an adjoing workshop off the back that is another 150 sqft. This should give me all the room I need. I am hoping this will be completed by mid September.

Thanks to all the forum writers who have gone ahead. I am looking forward to learning from all of your experiences - the good and the bad. But most of all, I am just looking forward to having fun building a small light car that will the closest thing to riding a motorcycle with four wheels.

Marcel

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:25 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 04, 2006 5:40 pm
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Location: Novato, CA
Hey, Marcel, that workshop looks excellent. That's just a dream for some of us. It's your build of course, but I'm partial to smaller is better, and a Miata will fit in a book frame. It's hard to turn down a $500 donor, but I'm not sure in the end you won't spend that much again trying to convert it to a manual. Best of luck, though, and keep us posted.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 12:25 pm 
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Location: Connecticut
Welcome!
That is an excellent donor. Althought the manual swap will cost a few dollars, the hardtops are usually worth a good bit.
Nice place to build too. Just need to keep it from filling up with other crap (like mine is :( ).

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 2:52 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:56 am
Posts: 206
Location: Pemberton, BC
Hi Marcel,
nice garage and nice donor. I did never see anything good like yours, so I went a different route; Yamaha R1 BEC. Although, Victoria is so close as the crow flies, I'm still a good way away, but I'll follow your build closely. I'm particularly looking for some (virtual) company when it comes time to go through the whole registration/inspection process.
Stay in touch.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:41 pm 
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Location: Victoria, BC
Yes, I am a little worred about the tranny swap but I fgure I have to at least try. One friend suggested just build it as an automatic but somehow that just doesnt seem right. But then again I am slowly getting older.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 3:52 pm 
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Hi Martin. The registration process will be worrysome I am sure. Not looking forward to that but I see that others here in BC have done it so it should be possible. The fellow who wrecked my donor never made a claim through ICBC so theoretically I could rebuild and sell it without the salvage hassle. Though as it stands, it is registered as my car so I can show ownership of all the major parts.

Pemberton is not too far away. I get up to Whistler often as a good friend lives up there. I was actually suppose to ride through your town in Ironman last weekend but I injured myself and couldnt compete. Maybe next year.

Marcel

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 4:37 pm 
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Location: Vancouver, BC
Getting a Locost titled in BC isnt all that difficult, provided the inspection facility has someone on staff that knows what a Locost/Lotus 7 is. Just keep all your bills and keep a good record of everything. When it comes time to send all your paperwork in, have a chat with one of the British car shops in or around Victoria to get an idea which inspection place is preferred (if it were me i'd contact Mike at Owen Automotive in Sidney, as I used to deal with him on a daily basis in my previous career, or try Graham at Crystal Services as he's also or was building a Locost).


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:08 pm 
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Location: Victoria, BC
Thanks for the info Nick. If you or anyone knows of a pic of one in a book frame that would be greatly appreciated.

Shingles are going on the roof today. Yay, cuz its been raining.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:35 pm 
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cs3tcr wrote:
Getting a Locost titled in BC isnt all that difficult, provided the inspection facility has someone on staff that knows what a Locost/Lotus 7 is. Just keep all your bills and keep a good record of everything. When it comes time to send all your paperwork in, have a chat with one of the British car shops in or around Victoria to get an idea which inspection place is preferred (if it were me i'd contact Mike at Owen Automotive in Sidney, as I used to deal with him on a daily basis in my previous career, or try Graham at Crystal Services as he's also or was building a Locost).



Thanks for the info. Glad to know that its not too difficult.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 29, 2013 8:11 pm 
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cs3tcr wrote:
Getting a Locost titled in BC isnt all that difficult, provided the inspection facility has someone on staff that knows what a Locost/Lotus 7 is. Just keep all your bills and keep a good record of everything. When it comes time to send all your paperwork in, have a chat with one of the British car shops in or around Victoria to get an idea which inspection place is preferred (if it were me i'd contact Mike at Owen Automotive in Sidney, as I used to deal with him on a daily basis in my previous career, or try Graham at Crystal Services as he's also or was building a Locost).


I will second that, I thought it would be a big hurdle, in the end the it was pretty straight forward and ICBC was actually very helpful.
In the end it was no where as difficult as I thought it would be.

Al

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 1:43 am 
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Location: Victoria, BC
Garage is done!! Check!! Now to the fun stuff


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:40 pm 
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Location: Sarasota
The hard top alone is worth $800-$1000 and people will pay it because if you ever want to take a Miata on the track the only practical way to do it is with the hard top. I would probably look at getting a complete manual engine, around here (Florida) you could easily get the 1.8 with tranny for about $500 dollars. So sell the hard top buy the engine with tranny and so far the build cost is Zero, with lots of parts to sell.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 31, 2013 10:47 pm 
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Location: British Columbia, Canada
Hi Marcel,

That looks like a good donor. $500 is a fantastic price, since the hardtop alone is worth more than that. I live in on the mainland in Surrey and completed my Locost in 2007 (shameless plug: it is currently for sale).

Working with ICBC was smoother than expected, and they were very helpful. Mine is titled as a Ubilt (category for home built vehicles). ICBC supplied a BC assigned VIN tag to the inspection shop I took my Locost to (South Delta Motors in Tsawwassen) and they riveted it to the car once it passed inspection. I also had to get the car weighed (free at the truck weigh scales) and get a structural inspection. At that point, I was able to put insurance on it.

My in-laws live in Victoria and Sidney, so I am over there several times a year. Let me know if you have any questions about the inspection and registration process.

Mark

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