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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 1:04 am 
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Am I permitted to enter a build log now that I am finished? I have been hesitant to upload anything until I was sure I could finish the project. Short Background: Retired educator, long-time gear head and recovering car restorer. After I retired, I got a copy of Ron Champion's book, memorized Jim McSorley's website, and started looking to a donor. At my age, my goals were to build a small, nimble sports car that was reliable and inexpensive. So I chose to use the 82-82 Toyota Corolla with a 3TC engine as the donor. When I announced my plans to my brother, he suggested we build two at the same time. It's worked out well and we are still friends.
First I spent two days building a level, square worktable with the plans drawn out full size. Then I tacked up both frames. The stick welder in the background was for building the table. I purchased a MIG to build the frame.


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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 9:23 am 
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Next, I built jigs to align the A-frame brackets. I made all the mounting brackets for the suspension at the same time (44 total!) and tacked them in place.


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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 10:27 am 
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Location: Holden, Alberta, Canada
Morning Tom

If you built it, post the build in my opinion. You will inspire others who are building or who are thinking of building a 7 using a Corolla donor.

Looking forward to reading your build (along with lots of pics :D )

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Perry

2 down, 2 to go, no 3 to go

'If man built it, man can fix it'

"No one ever told me I couldn't do it."

http://www.locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=12234

http://www.locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=35&t=14030


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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 8:27 pm 
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Thanks, Perry. After I tack welded both frames, I eased the 3TC engine and transmission into place to check the fitting, then had one of my former students, a certified welder, to finish weld both frames. Building the frame was probably the most enjoyable part of the process. We got the frames up and rolling to see how it all fit together.
We chose to go with the steel floor, and about that time I realized that we needed to quickly seal the tubing and sheet metal from rust, so we stripped the frames and I built a rotisserie (spelling?) from two engine stands. We applied a chemical rust treatment to the bare steel, then painted the frames first with rustoleum primer, then with aluminum paint.


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PaintedFrame 002.jpg
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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 9:10 pm 
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Next, we purchased our fiberglass fenders and nose from CMC in Madison, AL, who are now out of business. Once when I was there (this was 8 or 9 years ago) picking up parts, I spotted a courtly bearded gentleman from Oregon who was at CMC to pick up a large order of frames. Later I realized that it must have been (I think) our esteemed moderator. I have since followed his career on the Internet.
We ordered 5 sheets of aluminum (for both cars) and I started cutting paper patterns and transferring the pattern to the aluminum sheet. I temporarily fastened the fiberglass fenders to see how it would all fit together.
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Then I started cutting and forming the aluminum. I mostly used a rubber hammer to form the aluminum around the tubing.
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Luggage Area.jpg
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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 10:39 pm 
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We continued to form the aluminum panels.
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LotusFactory2.jpg
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Trying to stay with the concept of a single donor, we used the Toyota engines, 5-speed transmission, differential, and brakes. We did substitute a VW Jetta rack&pinon and a Toyota Tercel radiator (it fits the nose cone perfectly). But the original cars furnished the windshield wiper system, the emergency brake system, and we shortened the original driveshaft.
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PostPosted: Sun May 12, 2013 11:20 pm 
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I am still finding earlier pictures of the build. I spent a lot of time (but well spent) making paper and wooden mockups. I used brown wrapping paper, poster paper, and plywood to make the templates.
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Or any color paper I could find in larger sizes
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PostPosted: Mon May 13, 2013 1:51 am 
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Location: British Columbia, Canada
Hi Tom,

Thanks for sharing your build. It's nice to see another 3TC Corolla donor build, like mine. Here is a link to my online photo gallery of my build:

https://picasaweb.google.com/marktsui1975/MarkSLocost#

Mark

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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 12:17 am 
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Mark,
Enjoyed seeing the pictures of your build especially the ones on the road and at the meet. I agree with you that the 3TC Corolla makes an ideal donor car. I'm looking forward to the Toyota reliability.

Tom


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 10:05 am 
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TomCBartlett wrote:
We did substitute a VW Jetta rack&pinon and a Toyota Tercel radiator (it fits the nose cone perfectly).


More info on the radiator please!!

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For instance, a whole beer bottle isn't half the weapon that half a beer bottle is ..." Randall Garrett


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 9:13 pm 
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Oldejack,
I measured our radiators and they are 14.5" wide x 17" tall (the core with tanks) and I thought they were from 1982 Toyota Tercels, but I went on line and one supplier listed the dimensions as 13 X 17 (16.95) inches. The same supplier listed the 1986 Tercel radiator as being 14 X 19. I'm not really sure what portions they are measuring. The bottom hose outlet, however, exits from the passenger side of the radiator, while the 3TC engine inlet is on the opposite side. I made up an adapter from two hose elbows and one piece of metal tubing to cross over. Since we had removed the fan blades and converted to an electric fan, we had plenty of room to run the crossover pipe.
Tom


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PostPosted: Tue May 14, 2013 9:27 pm 
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Next, we began to fit the purchased fiberglass parts to the rolling newly painted chassis.
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Firewall1.jpg
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 11:07 pm 
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Cleaning and painting all the components was not my idea of fun, since I am not really a painter. I invariably ruin at least one good pair of shop shoes (with paint) before I am finished. But, the table covered with parts sure looks nice in restrospect.
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And when you are painting parts for two cars they really begin to stack up.
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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 11:21 pm 
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Building the windsheld frame was tedious, time-consuming, and maddening at times, but I finally massaged the aluminum C-channel into shape. I made a bending/rolling tool as described in Ron Champion's book, and it worked as described, but left small wrinkles in the bend area. So I practiced some more, added a little heat from my MAP torch, then gently tapped the wrinkles with a body hammer, and finished the final bend with a file.
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JerrysWindshield.jpg
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Then I made a plexiglass pattern and the local glass shop cut two safety glass inserts.
Attachment:
Lotus Windshield 006.jpg
Lotus Windshield 006.jpg [ 333.09 KiB | Viewed 1256 times ]


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PostPosted: Wed May 15, 2013 11:31 pm 
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Great looking double build - nice work. :cheers:

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