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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: February 28, 2015, 2:35 am 
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Joined: February 8, 2007, 4:20 am
Posts: 252
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Background: Since a very young age, I’ve always been crazy about cars. I’ve always wanted to build my own car and in 2004, I started fulfilling that dream by kicking off my Locost project. After working on it regularly for 3 years, it was finally on the road in 2007:

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

I got a lot of enjoyment from driving a sports car that I made from scratch. It was great taking it to car shows and sharing my build with others, and meeting some fellow builders as well! As the years passed by, I found that I was getting the itch to build another car. Additionally, I found that I wasn’t driving the Locost as much. With no doors, roof or heater, I would only drive it for a few months in the summer and with the addition of our 2 kids since the build started, weekends were typically reserved for family outings. Driving the Locost started to feel a bit like going to Disneyland by yourself: fun to go on rides, but a shame not to share the experience with the family.

With that in mind, I started planning the next build. For the body style, I really liked the look of the early 30’s 2-door sedans, but it was hard to find a donor body. Even if I did, it was either far away, in rough shape or crazy expensive. The decision was made to make it from scratch with the following criteria: seating for 4, to take the family along, more weather protection (enclosed with doors, glass and a roof) and simple/cheap construction (modest engine, no compound curve body panels, flat glass).

Here is a rough sketch of what I am aiming for:

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The body will be constructed by making a steel tube skeleton and skinning it with sheet metal, much like the methods shown in this scratch built hot rod:

http://www.hotrodders.com/scratch-built/Cover

After selling my Locost to free up the funds, I’ve been able to officially kick off this new project. I fully realize that because I am building the body from scratch, it might not turn out that pretty, but I hope you at least enjoy watching my journey along the way.

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Photo gallery of my completed Locost:
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PostPosted: February 28, 2015, 2:41 am 
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Location: British Columbia, Canada
Here is the donor car I purchased for this project, a 1991 Mazda Miata. I will be using the drivetrain, wiring harness, instrument cluster and seats.

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My donor was equipped with manual steering. I actually prefer this for this project, as I expect that the engine bay in the car I am building will be tight, so not having to fit a power steering pump, reservoir and power steering lines will make packaging easier.

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PostPosted: February 28, 2015, 2:43 am 
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Joined: February 8, 2007, 4:20 am
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Location: British Columbia, Canada
The gutted interior. Notice the bulk of the wiring harness sitting in the car.

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Removed the access panel above the fuel tank to disconnect the fuel lines from the tank.

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Photo gallery of my completed Locost:
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PostPosted: February 28, 2015, 2:44 am 
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The complete wiring harness from the donor Miata.

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What's left of the donor body shell. I was hoping to sell the windshield, but it cracked while I pulled the shell out of the barn.

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PostPosted: February 28, 2015, 2:46 am 
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Location: British Columbia, Canada
The drivetrain from the donor Miata, with the body shell now removed.

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I used some wood blocks to set the engine height to achieve the desired oil pan ground clearance of 5.5 inches.

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PostPosted: February 28, 2015, 2:48 am 
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Location: British Columbia, Canada
This is a steel reproduction 1932 Ford grill shell that I will be using on the front of my car. I bought it from Amazon.

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The radiator from the donor Miata is too wide to fit behind the reproduction 1932 Ford grill shell. This is an aftermarket aluminum one for a Honda Civic that is much narrower than the Miata radiator. I bought this from Amazon for $80, including the low profile electric fan.

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PostPosted: February 28, 2015, 2:50 am 
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Location: British Columbia, Canada
The shape and size of the donor Miata fuel tank will be too difficult to package in the car I am building, so I will be making my own fuel tank. I will reuse the fuel pump and level sender assembly (shown removed) from the donor Miata fuel tank.

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I transferred the components from the donor Miata gas tank to my home made gas tank.

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PostPosted: February 28, 2015, 2:55 am 
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Here is my CAD model of the front of the chassis. I decided that I could not use the Miata donor front subframe as-is, so I will be making my own that will bolt to the main frame rails.

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Here are the details of the front subframe.

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PostPosted: February 28, 2015, 2:56 am 
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Here is the start of the front subframe with the lower tubes set up in the jig, ready for welding.

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Here is the vertical portion of the front subframe, set up in the welding jig.

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PostPosted: February 28, 2015, 2:58 am 
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Front subframe, approximate placement with respect to the engine. My daughter supervising in the background!

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Since the location of the air flow meter in the Miata would likely stick out the side of my car, I made some brackets to mount the air flow meter as shown. I also replaced the Miata factory air filter box with a cone type filter.

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PostPosted: February 28, 2015, 3:00 am 
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Left side engine mount. I will add an additional gusset between the right angle pieces, for added strength.

Image

Wheels arrived! They are XXR model 537. 16X8 with a +20mm offset for the front and 16X8 with a 0 offset for the rear.

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PostPosted: February 28, 2015, 3:02 am 
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Here is the crush tube ready to be welded into one of the front subframe mounting holes. This will prevent the rectangle section from squishing together when the assembly bolts are tightened.

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Motor mounts and air flow meter mounting brackets back from the powder coater.

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Air flow meter mounted.

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PostPosted: February 28, 2015, 3:04 am 
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These are the coilover shocks I will be using for the front suspension. They are QA1, model number DS402 which I purchased from Summit Racing for $160 a piece. They have a single adjustment knob that adjusts compression and rebound damping simultaneously. I will wait to buy the springs until the car is closer to completion, so that I will have a better idea of the weight of the car, to select the right spring rate.

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Here you can see how the upper end of the shock attaches to the front subframe. The lower end of the shock will bolt to the lower control arm.

Image

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Photo gallery of my completed Locost:
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PostPosted: February 28, 2015, 3:06 am 
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Here is the radiator resting in position on the mounting brackets. The bottom of the radiator has 2 pins that fit into the holes on my mounting brackets.

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Here is the steering rack mounted to the front subframe.

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PostPosted: February 28, 2015, 3:08 am 
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Location: British Columbia, Canada
Here are the front lower wishbone mounting brackets, ready to be welded to the front subframe. They are made from 2"X2"X1/8" wall steel square tubing.

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Here are the headlights I am using. They are from Speedway Motors, part number 911-01008.

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