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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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 Post subject: SamM's Seven Build Log
PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 11:30 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:16 am
Posts: 198
Location: West Virginia
Hello Locosters!

The basis for my build will be a 2008 Callahan frame built by James Callahan in Louisville, Kentucky. The frame is a McSorley book frame with a few improvements thrown in. The rollbar plate is made from 2" material instead of 1". This piece is supported by round tubing rather than 1" square as many others have done. I'm very pleased with the frame, as James did a great job on it. He saved me a great deal of time and effort and I'm happy that I contacted him.

My build isn't going to be finished a year down the road or anything that. I'd like to have it done tomorrow, so I can drive it but that's not going to happen either. Most likely it will take longer, much longer. I don't care how much time it takes. The finished product is what I'm after. I want a car that I will be proud of. It must be personal and it must be a keepsake. Something that I will pass on, rather than sell. The car will not have a budget either. Keeping the costs low will be important but I will not sacrifice the end result over a little money. I always have something else to sell to generate funds. The big obstacle to getting started is my workspace. My garage is not finished and I really need to get that done first and get all my tools in one place. First things, first. The garage needs to be finished before much will be started on the car.

When I jumped into this I wasn't really sure which way to go. Many suggested a Miata donor but these are scarce in my neck of the woods. After spending some time here my thought process did a total 180 degree turn. The Lotus Seven has always been my favorite car of all time. A dream car to me. I had seen a few kits on the market but didn't really know that these cars were being built from scratch. I read a piece in the Mother Earth News about Jack McCornack's X-Prize car and called him with questions. Jack answered all my questions and spent way too much time on the phone with me. His website led me here and the rest is as they say, history! I had to have one of these cars. My wife and most of my friends think that I have completely lost it. Who builds their own car these days? My very first thought after reading about Jack's car was to go GREEN. BioDiesel or Electric power would be awesome and save me money at the pump. The downside to this is the higher cost of components and researching the technology needed. One thing I may consider is a conversion to Ethanol at a later date.

At this time, I need to give some thanks to a few guys. Of course, Jack at Kinetic for all the info and some parts that I recently ordered. Raceral for all the part numbers from his build. Imitation is the best form of flattery. My car will be very similar to his. Same front suspension, same wheels, and basically the same rear suspension. A big thanks to A. Moore and his mad fab skills. If you can engineer and then fab your own front uprights then you can do just about anything. To Chet a fellow West Virginian, for the great site and inspiration from reading his build thread. And finally to everyone else here for knowledge and help to tackle a project of this magnitude. Building a car is hard work and a huge undertaking. You guys are all VERY helpful and forthright with your information and lessons learned. I wouldn't have been able to fab a proper build table without making the classic mistakes if it weren't for you guys doing it first and pointing out the not so obvious things to avoid. Help like that ensures success for the next guy!

If my car weighs in the 1700 to 2000lb range I'd be happy. I don't expect it to weigh that much but you never know. The car will use frontend parts from Speedway Motors which include: Moog screw-in ball joints, upper circletrack A-arms, Mustang II spindles, Wilwood rotors and calipers. Most of the frontend parts have already been purchased.

Sorry for the long post!

EDIT: My Lotus Seven replica build project has taken much, much longer than I first thought. My donor has changed and I will now be using a crashed 1992 Mazda Miata MX-5 donor. The Thunderbird donor had to go away. The previous owner was a young man that I had worked with. He died tragically and I was no longer able to look at the car, much less use it as my donor. I feel very badly for his family. Imageshack has apparently released all my pictures, so I will edit this post again and add them.

SamM


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1964 Lotus Seven Replica


Last edited by SamM on Thu Jul 03, 2014 12:47 pm, edited 19 times in total.
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 1:19 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:37 pm
Posts: 189
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Sam,

You're off to a great start. The Donor, Build Table, and those new wheels are a great foundation. If I recall correctly, Dave Hempy had to build (finish) his garage before he started his car too. I look forward to seeing how you progress through your build, and I'm sure we can exchange technical notes, since we're using the same donor.

Glad to see your build log has begun !

-Indy "waves the green flag, go Sam go!" Joe

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Build Log Started: http://www.locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=4914


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 9:56 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:42 pm
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Location: michigan
i like the wheels, i gotta get me some of those!


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 11:05 pm 
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Location: Charleston, WV
Looks nice. What's the bolt pattern on those wheels? You better double check they will fit the thunderchicken bits, I've heard they are a unique pattern.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 1:31 am 
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Joined: Wed Aug 29, 2007 1:27 am
Posts: 91
Location: New Zealand
those wheels look really good, and you are off to a real good start with that frame, it saves alot of hassle. it's good to hear that you are setting realistic time goals, i know when i started i thought it would be done in no time - was i in for a shock.

but good luck for the build, and keep us updated :)


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2008 5:44 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:16 am
Posts: 198
Location: West Virginia
Thanks guys! The frame built by James Callahan really does save me a great deal of time and work. If you knew what I paid for it you'd really understand why I went that way. As I said in my first post, I'm really interested more in the end result, than anything else. James TIG welded my frame together and his welds look great. He did the grinding in the key places for the bodywork to fit properly too. Since I'm supposed to avoid welding for health reasons, his frame seemed like the better choice for me. He built the frame the same way I would have done it so it's all good.

The wheels will not fit the Thunderbird parts. But, I don't plan to use those anyway. The car will use Mustang II spindles and the 8.8 rear end will be converted to the correct 5-lug pattern with Ranger axle shafts. The bolt pattern is 5x4.5 same as the Mustang II and Jeep parts that I will be using.

SamM

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1964 Lotus Seven Replica


Last edited by SamM on Thu Jul 03, 2014 4:18 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 6:30 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:16 am
Posts: 198
Location: West Virginia
There is not really much to report on the car. The garage isn't finished, still no concrete on the floor. The car and the garage have taken a backseat to other projects. I'm rebuilding my '08 KLR650 to be more off-road capable. The bike seems to be taking up a lot of my time, as it is my daily driver.

Anyway, the point to this little update is to post some information about my front suspension. I started to mockup some suspension points using brackets from Kinetic. Not much progress but progress none the less. I also bought 2 new Dunlop Direzza R1 Sport Star Spec tires.

SamM


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1964 Lotus Seven Replica


Last edited by SamM on Thu Jul 03, 2014 12:31 pm, edited 8 times in total.
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 13, 2009 8:30 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 20, 2008 10:20 am
Posts: 1025
Location: Subs of Detroit, MI
Looks like a nice trial bike for LONG rides. Can't miss those oversized tanks. With the way I ride and have gone down I'd be scared to have my tank outside my frame. That's also because I did more MX then trail. I just sold my 06 crf250F when I moved back to michigan from AZ. I miss it! Good progress on the car though.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:41 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:16 am
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Location: West Virginia
My new donor is a 1992 Mazda Miata with just over 100k miles on it. The car cost me $400. I will only be using the engine, transmission, wiring, ECU and possibly the dash. I have also purchased a small garage to use for the build. I'm waiting for the garage to be delivered. More pictures once things get moving. Here are a few pictures of the new donor. The last is of my new tilt car trailer. The Jeep and trailer easily handled the weight.

It's been a long time since I posted. Life mostly got in the way of my build. I recently talked to Jack at Kinetic Vehicles and ordered the rest of my parts from him. Can't wait to get started. Again! lol

SamM


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1964 Lotus Seven Replica


Last edited by SamM on Wed Jun 25, 2014 11:41 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2014 11:47 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 2:13 pm
Posts: 2151
Location: Carlsbad, California, USA
It's definitely going to a better place, Sam. :mrgreen:

Welcome back.

Cheers,

Lonnie

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Damn! That front slip angle is way too large and the Ackerman is just a muddle.

Build Log: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=5886


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:19 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:16 am
Posts: 198
Location: West Virginia
Thanks Lonnie. It's great being back.

Here's the new garage. Actually, mine is a little different. The door and window are on the other side and the roof is green on my garage. It's 12'x20' and very well build by some Amish and Mennonite men in Maryland. Should be here in a couple of weeks, hopefully. I also recently purchased my first tractor. A new Kubota BX25DRB-L. I'll be using it to disassemble the Miata MX-5 donor and remove the engine and trans.

SamM


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1964 Lotus Seven Replica


Last edited by SamM on Tue Jul 01, 2014 10:54 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 7:31 am 
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Location: Tallahassee, FL (The Center of the Known Universe)
Yo, Sam!
Well, looky what the cat dragged in!!! :mrgreen: Ooops... :oops:

Actually, what I meant to say was "Welcome back!" (Sorry, sometimes I can't help myself...) The donor's lined up and the garage is on its way to you... Sounds like progress. That's a good thing. Keep us posted!

:cheers:
JDK

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:47 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 04, 2006 5:40 pm
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Location: Novato, CA
Yes, welcome back. I wasn't around when you first bought your frame, or actually I was but at the time I was on my own Locost hiatus. Since then I built a car, and I'm looking forward to watching you build yours.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 10:49 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 12:16 am
Posts: 198
Location: West Virginia
Thanks guys! Life sort of got in the way of my Locost plans. Last year, I had a terrible motorcycle accident and was almost killed. The doctors, my wife, daughter and mother have pretty much banned me from riding them anymore. I still have a couple though. lol

Last year, I was at the point that I just decided that I needed something for me to have a little fun in. Just after my accident, I hit 50 years old. I was off from work for 8 months and had a lot of time on my hands. Not a good combination. To make a long story short. The Lotus replica is my number one project. I have a lot of motorcycles and parts to get rid of. My first plan, after I sold the original Thunderbird donor was to install a Yamaha R1 engine into my car. Once I found the $400 Miata donor that all changed again. Many of the Miata parts will not be used. These will be sold off to help finance the build.

My hope is that I can steadily make progress and that you guys can tell me exactly what I am doing wrong as we go forward. I've called Jack and everything from him will be coming shortly. I bought it all! Once the building has arrived, I'll post pictures of the frame and parts.

EDIT: Pictured below is my 50th birthday present. A 2013 Jeep MOAB. I live on a dirt road, so driving the car up here is not going to happen. The Jeep will allow me to tow the car in and out. The Aluma aluminum trailer shown above with my tractor on it was specifically purchased to haul my Locost car in and out from where I live.

SamM


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:50 pm 
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My new building arrived this morning. The driver did a decent job of leveling it. I'll need to level it again soon enough, after it settles. My Locost frame, car parts and tools will be transferred in later today and tomorrow. Now, I hope to have some progress on the car to post.

SamM


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