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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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 Post subject: 1930s Style Sports Car
PostPosted: November 14, 2014, 1:58 pm 
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I figure it’s about time to start a build log for my second build. Not because I have all kinds of progress to document, just the opposite. I have a pile of parts and need to get focused on moving forward. It seems to be traditional to introduce yourself in build log post #1, so here goes.

I am a mechanical engineer. Make that a soon to retire mechanical engineer. I’ve always been an engineer. Any of you that have seen Dilbert in The Knack know what I mean. My build will have none of that engineering stuff. No FEA, no suspension design programs and no CAD unless you mean Cardboard Aided Design. Goat topics will be tolerated but if it gets out of hand I will say the “B” word to you.

I don’t like reading build logs that don’t have pictures so I will post pictures after I type awhile. Think of it like commercials. This is me taking my granddaughter for a ride.

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My first memory of racing was 1965, listening to something called the Indy 500 on the radio. There was this guy named Jim Clark who was a Scot in the race. My grandmother’s family was from there so I decided that he was my guy. I was happy when he won and concluded that Lotuses must be the best cars around. My heroes became Clark, Bruce McLaren (he built his own cars so he must be cool) and Gus from the Model Garage. As I grew up I read racing books and racing magazines. My family moved to a town just south of Watkins Glen so it wasn’t long before I pestered my way into a trip to the Can Am- 6 Hours weekend in 1970. I had all of the cars and all of the drivers memorized. There were Ferrari 512s, Porsche 917s, McLarens and Jim Hall had the vacuum cleaner car. This is a picture I took of the old pits. They built the new pits the following winter.

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Soon there was a driver’s license. The day after I got it I drove in an SCCA TDS rally. Since I wasn’t 18 I couldn’t autocross, race or work most jobs at the track but I could do Timing & Scoring. From ’72 until the final GP in ’80 I could usually be found in the Timing Tower or roaming the track. I bought a used Formula Vee in ’78 which helped me find out that even though I was a way better driver than everyone on the road there were people on the track that had real talent. I also learned that even the cheap classes are expensive.

After that life happened. Wife, kids, job, house, all of the usual things that take time and money. I still managed to have interesting cars, MGB, MGA, 2 RX7s, a Miata, Beetles and a Mini, but except for the ’79 RX7 none got autocrossed because there was too much to do. When my son turned 16 I decided that Kart racing would be a good father-son thing to do. We did one season together then part way through the second season he decided that working part time to make money was better than racing so I was on my own.

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After nine seasons of Karting with four track championships it was time to make a decision. My engine builder was pestering me to go national saying I’d done everything at the two local tracks and it was time to move up. I was too much of a casual racer to go national since I’d raced a number of national drivers at my track and knew I didn’t have the killer instinct. Plus I didn’t want to spent the big dollars those guys did. I was also getting too old to do long distance running and Karting both. The beating I took in the kart would force me to miss a few days of training after each race. The kart stuff was sold and I concentrated on beating the old guys at running instead.

I still had a couple of items that needed to be checked off the list. I always wanted to build a car. Sure, I taken cars completely apart and put them back together but never started with an empty spot on the floor and started building. Also I watched The Prisoner as a teen and saw Lotus 7s at the Glen. I had to have one of those. I bought The Book and Keith Tanner’s book and joined LocostNA. Now I’ve checked that off the list, what to do next? You saw the title so you already know I have an idea.

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PostPosted: November 14, 2014, 2:11 pm 
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What a great build log first post and intro!

I love the picture of your granddaughter. She looks happy and excited, I'm sure the drives with you in that car are a unique and lifelong experience for her.

Looking forward to your efforts here, I think it's a good idea. Do you feel a need to go authenticate enough to have a beam front axle or will this be more modern with 30's inspired bodywork?

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PostPosted: November 14, 2014, 2:28 pm 
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I'll post more when I get a chance to elaborate on my idea. I have a pile of Miata parts so the 1930s thing will be more style than authenticity.

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PostPosted: November 14, 2014, 2:42 pm 
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I see long distance running and a handle of Run87k. Do you do ultra marathons?

I ran Chicago Marathon in 2006... never want to run that far in one day again

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PostPosted: November 14, 2014, 2:44 pm 
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Hey Run87- good to have your passion and experience here...


First off- congratulations on your impending retirement-- woo hoo!! :cheers:

What also jumped out of your intro for me was the distance running (and of course your name run87k- you're not one of those nutty ultra guys are you :lol: ).. I'm approaching 50 and am finding fewer and fewer 'old guys' in my age category- I think many of them switch to bicycling.. Are you still running? I'm finding it's getting harder each year, and my body gets downright pissed at me if I go over 30 miles a week- and as you stated, the recovery takes longer...

Again, nice to have you here :wink:


-ccrunner

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PostPosted: November 14, 2014, 3:02 pm 
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Awesome!

Were you thinking of a 30's inspired Morganish body draped on a tube frame chassis with Miata bits and bobs?

I personally went with Miata parts as well due to the large number of pre-existing examples. My only complaint with my Miata front spindles is that the outboard LCA pickup point is rather high.

I'm trying to use your same philosophy in building my car, and not get hung up on over thinking design aspects which in turn impedes progress. But beware your engineering training may unconsciously seep in!

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PostPosted: November 14, 2014, 5:48 pm 
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Congratulations on your impending retirement. Sounds like you'll have many extra hours to spend in the garage. I'm also a retired mechanical engineer who retired about 10 years ago. I've never heard anyone say, "Oh, I've think I retired too soon!"

Keep us posted on your next project.

Roy

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PostPosted: November 14, 2014, 6:45 pm 
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RoyzMG wrote:
I've never heard anyone say, "Oh, I've think I retired too soon!"



Roy


Hmmmm, virtually everyone I know who is retired regrets it. They all say if I'd have only known or thought it through I'd have realized I would be bored &/or out of money if I wasn't bored.

So far I haven't had the desire to retire cause there ain't enough money in the world to keep me occupied if I had that much time on my hands. I've got automotive ADD which is one of those rare, expensive and incurable diseases. I have to work to keep my mind occupied.

Now if I had a 27 year old girl friend that would keep me occupied part of the time, but I don't think my wife would go for it yet. Maybe in a few years.

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PostPosted: November 14, 2014, 8:21 pm 
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Goat topics will be tolerated but if it gets out of hand I will say the “B” word to you.

Geeze, I ain't even got here yet and I'm being threatened... Tough crowd... :rofl:

Love the pic with the grand-daughter, that had to be fun ride for both of ya!
Also love the pic in the pits at Watkins... A matched set of McLarens! Those were the days!

Yes, a build log needs pictures! That way Bubba don't strain his eyesight (or his brain) with too much readin'!!!

And please don't forget to drop in over at the Slotus build again... We need all the help we can get!

Looking forward to your build, Sir!
:cheers:
JDK

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JD, father of Quinn, Son of a... Build Log
Quinn the Slotus:Ford 302 Powered, Mallock-Inspired, Tube Frame, Hillclimb Special
"Gonzo and friends: Last night must have been quite a night. Camelot moments, mechanical marvels, Rustoleum launches, flying squirrels, fru-fru tea cuppers, V8 envy, Ensure catch cans -- and it wasn't even a full moon." -- SeattleTom


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PostPosted: November 14, 2014, 9:08 pm 
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ccrunner wrote:
you're not one of those nutty ultra guys are you


Guilty as charged! I couldn't be an antique British car guy or a street rod guy I had to join the Lunatic Fringe and build a Lotus from junk. We the same thing applied to my running. 5k is a race, a marathon is an experience and an ultra is an adventure. This is me at the JFK 50 Miler.

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Didn't get any on ya, didja?

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I don't run any more. I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or some such craziness. The doctors tell me I'm in perfect health which is nice to know, that way I'll have plenty of time to finish this build. Unfortunately my nonexistant disease (excuse me, syndrome) limits how much I can do in a day. I can't complain (but sometimes I still do) I ran for 40 years. I did 360 races, 19 marathons and 17 ultras. My longest run was 100 miles in 24 hours and 12 minutes. The most fun was the people, they were all running nuts like me. Everyone I met was like I'd always known them.

As far as retirement goes, my friends and coworkers have gone two ways. I had two retire this past January and they both passed away. I have others that look happier and healthier than when I worked with them. Five days a week what little energy I have goes to my job. I get a little bit done on weekends. I think I will be able to spend more time in the garage building.

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PostPosted: November 14, 2014, 9:17 pm 
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GonzoRacer wrote:
And please don't forget to drop in over at the Slotus build again... We need all the help we can get!


I got tired of waiting for the movie to come out so I went and read the whole thing. I think I'm over the Lets-Paint-Everything-Green thing now. My next car will be blue. :P

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PostPosted: November 15, 2014, 12:54 am 
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We are Slotus!
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I ran for 40 years. I did 360 races, 19 marathons and 17 ultras. My longest run was 100 miles in 24 hours and 12 minutes.
Dude! I'm pretty sure that if God had meant for man to run that far, He wouldn't have given us Henry Ford... :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: November 15, 2014, 8:14 am 
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I've been retired ten years and am damned happy about that. Wish I could have retired sooner. I've found that the only guys that regret retirement are the type that have no interest outside of work and television. As my Grandson says "Boring!!"

Bill


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PostPosted: November 15, 2014, 12:20 pm 
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i reach 65 in a couple of months, but have been unemployed for about 3 years, apart from the lack of green stuff, i have plenty to do, infact i don't know how i ever found time to go to work!

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PostPosted: November 15, 2014, 12:34 pm 
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STYLE

Today’s word is style. What will this car look like. I have this picture in my head and it has been there ever since I was little. I think it came from the old cartoons from the 30s and 40’s. A fast car had a long narrow hood, teardrop fenders, two doors, split windshield and a sloping rear deck. Something like the Talbot Lagos or Delahayes. The first picture is Boyd’s Whatthehaye which is the street rod interpretation of a Delahaye. The car is way too big but the general shape is there.

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Another street rod that is similar but once again too big is the Black Pearl.

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A Talbot Lago

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And a Delahaye

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1936 Delahaye 135.jpg
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This is the general style that I’m going for but more like Locost size. I will add a little to the wheelbase and there will be more overhang out back. But closer to Locost size that street rod size.

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