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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: January 15, 2017, 9:11 am 
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It's been a productive couple of weeks at the Scuderia Kouba Workshop. A few build sessions got Bill's ride into fully functional condition. Of course, this didn't happen until well after dark. Undeterred, we still made some very successful test passes out in front of the house. All the work which has gone into the conversion to pneumatic tires has been well worth it. It was damn near silent running.

Bill's ride with "seating" duct taped in:
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Not the greatest pic (sorry), but very happy at the conclusion of the initial testing:
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Additional work sessions have been fruitful, installing permanent seating and flooring on Bill's chassis. When we tested earlier, it was also without brakes on Bill's chassis. We remedied that during the same session by fabbing up a caliper mount for his rear rotor. With a proper seat built up and with functional steering and brakes, it was time to really give Bill's ride a go. Hauled them out behind the workshop and launched down the street.

Side by side, loaded up. Driving gloves courtesy of our local feed store:
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(BTW, it's about 22°F in this picture.)

Starting a quick roll down the hill:
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Heading toward steeper pastures:
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Here's the onboard video from the first run:

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipP ... VWQ3UxMDdR

It's awesome when you're doing something which just makes you spontaneously start laughing. We did 33mph, and looking at the photos I can't stop thinking that those mirrors need to be re-located behind something or replaced altogether with something smaller.

In addition, we've been talking about how to facilitate self-supported days in the hills- because let's face it, not many people probably want to go out schlep their friends' gravity cars up the hill all day. We decided we needed a motorized conveyance which will fit into the truck in addition to the 2 racers. The solution? This little piece of madness:

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It's an electric bike which another friend had started converting to gas power, and now we get to finish it. Upon hearing its intended use, he donated the whole project to the cause. What a guy- THANKS DAVE!! It needed motor mounts constructed and a little frame reinforcement (we're beyond the design envelope's weight max) which have been addressed. Now I need to get the motor running and rig up a throttle and a kill switch.

All in all, it's been a productive couple of weeks through the holidays. Looking forward to testing when I don't risk getting frostbite or freezer burn!

Chris


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PostPosted: May 8, 2017, 4:04 am 
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Time to catch this up a little bit...

Made some bodywork, starting with a bedsheet and added some resin:
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Then I put some real glass cloth on the form and faired it all together:
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Then did a little (incredibly basic) metal-shaping for the nose and then some rattle canning:
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Then I slapped some sides on and made some interlocking panels for the stern (not too happy with all the exposed fasteners but am committed at this point):
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Then I did some MORE rattle canning and let my old man take it for a spin:
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Also rebuilt the "steering wheel" with some bike parts:
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Mix in some sunshine, spring fever, dry roads, and gravity... and voila:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QB9eAiE1aRs

(as you can see, while not exactly finished, we've made good progress on Bill's car too)

Fun onboard footage:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95HQL0QwKoc

These runs were low- to mid-40's for top speed. Later that day we went futher up another road and found the mid-50's. HOLY CRAP is it FUN!!!


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PostPosted: May 8, 2017, 7:52 am 
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I know a road up in Lutsen, MN that you would love to take these rigs on. We would take out tintop from a dead stop to over 70mph in the 5 mile curvy down hill. It was fantastic. Great looking car. Russ

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PostPosted: May 8, 2017, 8:40 am 
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Location: Cornholio OR "Where the magic happens"
I like the tilting concept.
It solves some problems, and creates others

I'd like to see front brakes as well, just a rear brake is sort of Flintstone-ish!

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PostPosted: May 9, 2017, 5:10 am 
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Bent Wrench wrote:
...just a rear brake is sort of Flintstone-ish!


It does get the job done and is perfectly appropriate within the context of the actual soapbox derby in August. Bombing down tight and twisty mountain roads is a different story and one could quite quickly exceed the thermal capacity of the single rear rotor. Ask me how I know... So yeah, we're looking into it.

Subsequent to the testing runs linked above, we headed further out into the boonies to a road I had scouted on the internet. Drove to the top of it despite encountering several "down" sections while still driving "up" the course. Discussing it amongst the gang, we decided to press on to the pass if nothing more than to scout the road in person. Upon reaching the top, we unloaded and headed down, thinking we'd just get a push/tow on the uphills as needed. Turns out that was crazy talk, as we made it down without issue, clearing all uphill sections and coasting to a halt on the outskirts of town OVER 14 MILES LATER!!! What an awesome find! Along the way down, I was into the 50's- topping out first at 52, then 54 on another pitch, then maxing the run at 56.6 on the last steep pitch. The car was remarkably stable throughout the entire speed range with the only issue being the rear tire is clearly out of balance. It still rode remarkably smoothly though well into the 40's.

The wildest thing was unloading at home and noticing the splattered bugs on the roll bar:

Image


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PostPosted: May 9, 2017, 5:08 pm 
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Those wheels/tires assemblies are so lite it's hard to think they would be that much out of balance. I would check the rear wheel run-out in the vertical plane while you at it. On M/Cs we would true the wheels to .010" but we where going just a little faster. Dave W


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PostPosted: August 30, 2017, 2:10 am 
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A long overdue update... Scuderia Kouba had a very successful competitive debut- we won the whole event! This post is plagiarized from another forum on which I play. You might not recognize names, but the overall theme is pretty obvious.

WE WON!!!!

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At the finish line with my VERY supportive wife:
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An earlier heat:
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My gang of friends was there with a three car effort- the blue car which someone else (Dennis) built last year plus the two Scuderia Kouba cars I had built for this year. All three cars did extremely well, all earning spots in the elimination brackets (top 27 of 48 entries). Dennis won his first round final's heat but had an off in the semi's. For my semi-final heat, I was lined up with two random others, one of which blew a tire while just sitting on the start line. They then pulled my other team car up to replace that entry, so one of the Scuderia cars wasn't going to advance that round... I grabbed victory in that round and waited for the final to see who showed up, while the team put the other car back on the trailer.

MkI (mine) & MkII (driven by Jenny Burns), killing it in the semi's. Unfortunately only one of us advanced...:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKHqBQGSvW0;t=2m34s

Jenny and me in the semi's, setting up for the Learning Curve:
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It was Louis in that gorgeous canoe car, and the third place winner from last year. This was going to be interesting.

With the performance of all three cars, I figured whoever lead into the first corner was going to have a massive advantage, and whoever lead into the Learning Curve (tight sweeping turn at bottom of the course) was going to take the race. For this, I owe it to my pusher, Michael Davis, who gave me fantastic starts all day. What did he look like in action? Check out an earlier heat from the push cam (didn't capture the final heat):

https://youtu.be/bGjzLavia7o

For the final heat, Michael got me out ahead of the others with a fantastic start.

Michael (who's not visible) getting me out ahead of Louis in the canoe car:
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I was first to get to turn one, a mild left hander, but Louis made up a little ground going into the right. I saw his nose move up along side of me, but I stretched it out into the next left hander with a shorter line to the apex. This got me far enough ahead to drift out onto the main straight in front of him and hope that I had built enough of a lead to hold him down the straight.

Exiting the S turns at the top and moving onto the straight, Louis just barely behind me:
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Video shot from about halfway down the straight. I pulled out marginal distance on Louis:
https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipN ... l6TjBZRjN3

Louis is no rookie and did his best to get a tow down the straight. He was able to close that ground I had made at the top of the straight and it was EXTREMELY close heading into that final turn. Someone else sent me this slow-mo video of our two cars nearing the turn in for the Learning Curve:

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipMmQoS2Edqg9air4DT0jtmhP-nl39Ylmj40rOMOe2yzSdsUgzPp9ZCkJhMsITB5zA/photo/AF1QipOdYszWV65q5-QzEB8snboEY6xjEGjcIwNa0kt9?key=S0F4SFhienl3X2YwLWNqeE9XSGpiR0ZDLVlBZ1Jn

In the first 4 seconds of the video, you can see the nose of the canoe car within ~18" of the tail of the car- about halfway up the pushing tower we added for the start. We were that close(!), BUT I WAS IN THE LEAD. Louis was going to have to drive around me, and would scrub off energy trying to do so...

At the finish line it looked like this:
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And in crappy resolution video, it looked like this:
https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipP ... RZREpuXzNR

The derby's official video with the Finals' start and finish:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw5UNBcWtaw&t=41s

In the end, it was their closest finish ever, and THE FIRST TIME A ROOKIE EVER WON THE EVENT! Don't me wrong, I wanted to win, and I was aiming to win, and made all my plans to win, but in no way did I ever actually imagine we would pull it off.

To top it off, although she didn't make the finals, Jenny was the fastest in the Formula 8 class and took home the trophy for that.

Jenny heading for Formula 8 glory:
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Check out the hardware!!!!:
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Jenny with the Formula 8 trophy, me with the Numero Uno and Best Rookie trophies

Both Scuderia entries on track together:
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Jenny in the Mk II, bearing down on the Learning Curve:
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Dennis in the 3rd team car, the Hawksbill Flyer:
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I would like to extend A MASSIVE THANK YOU to everyone who helped get me (and Jenny and Jeff and Dennis and Rico) up to the starting line and down to the finish this year. I can't tell you how much fun I had and what a blast it's been. I will also give a specific thanks to "Downhill" Bill Bostic for being the glue that held the team together. I can honestly say that without his time, effort, energy, and enthusiasm, I'm not sure we would have even gotten entered in the event. Next year, you need to RUN in the event!!!

I also want to specifically thank my wife Bethany for supporting the 12 year old within me, and allowing Bill and Dave to come over and play in the shop on Thursdays, and for all the evenings she got to spend without me while we played and tested.

THANK YOU B, BILL, and EVERYONE ELSE!!!! What a day and what a result!!

***THANKS!!!***

Chris

Image

More videos I found on the internet:

The MkII, I believe with Jenny at the helm:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=so6oOZBgPIw&t=4m30s

The Hawksbill Flyer, possibly with Rico at the helm (black shirt?):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqP4_HaEDaE&t=1m30s

Someone really liked us! All three NASTE cars in a row, with appearing Dennis first:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suN81UDbLXs&t=22s

Then Jenny appears next at 44s as well, then I appear after her at 1m03s.

Dennis, not sure what run:
https://youtu.be/2CKKWR7Ir_0

Me, first round of the finals:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzVgQX8GcFM&t=1m19s

Then Jenny and I appear at 3:11; then the final heat finish at 4:23


Last edited by ckouba on September 19, 2017, 3:30 am, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: August 30, 2017, 9:52 am 
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Great story!! A nail biter for sure.

Now in typical Locost fashion - "Whatcha going to do to it now so that you're faster next year?"

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PostPosted: August 30, 2017, 12:33 pm 
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"Whatcha going to do to it now so that you're faster next year?"


That's really great to see! You put a lot of effort into it. Finding a hill that gave you a 14 mile run and you survived it is amazing too!

Adding ballast would up your speed, but the corners and braking would become an issue pretty quickly, so proceed with care on that.

I can find an airfoil to fit your wheels and also frame. Something simple in the NACA "00" modified series would be fine. How wide is the fairing now over your front wheels? You can make a single side of a front fairing and taper it towards top and bottom and then just mold 4 pieces of a single layer or two of fiberglass cloth off that and make really nice fairings.

If you're going 50 MPH, you need to be really on top of safety things.

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PostPosted: August 30, 2017, 1:03 pm 
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horizenjob wrote:
You put a lot of effort into it.


I may have done the heavy lifting on the build side for the two cars, but there were about a dozen people who supported the effort, and specifically my Chief Acquisitions Officer and "Herder of Kittens", my friend Bill. He was the nut who was out at 5a on a cold spring morning to make sure we had an entry. I was the one riding down the hill but I wouldn't have been there without everyone else.

horizenjob wrote:
Finding a hill that gave you a 14 mile run and you survived it is amazing too!


I love the internet. You can find all sorts of awesome stuff on it, like this forum and a >14 mile consistent downhill road with perfect sweeping corners in the middle of nowhere. Survived it? We LOVE it(!!)- we've been back there twice!!!

horizenjob wrote:
Adding ballast would up your speed, but the corners and braking would become an issue pretty quickly, so proceed with care on that.


Yeah... ballast is fairly well out of the equation. There is minimal room to add it so odds are we won't. If we do, it will be minimal. There is no braking needed on the Mt Tabor course (at our current pace), and the car corners extremely well so it carried it all through The Big Turn at the End. Stopping after the finish has a massive runout which goes up hill, requiring minimal application of the brake. On the twisty test hills, we quickly run out of brake, so no weight there...

horizenjob wrote:
I can find an airfoil to fit your wheels and also frame. Something simple in the NACA "00" modified series would be fine. How wide is the fairing now over your front wheels? You can make a single side of a front fairing and taper it towards top and bottom and then just mold 4 pieces of a single layer or two of fiberglass cloth off that and make really nice fairings.


Hmmmmm.............. That sounds remotely like work? Are you thinking of and airfoil which encloses the chassis and wheels in the same shape? I can't see it working too well otherwise. I thought about moulding multiple separate pieces for the fairings and assembling, but wanted to TIG them to develop my poor skills.


horizenjob wrote:
If you're going 50 MPH, you need to be really on top of safety things.


On our big run, I have sustained 40's and 50's with bursts into the 60's according to my GPS. The car is remarkably stable and undramatic. I would call it crazy successful for a first build!


Chris


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PostPosted: August 31, 2017, 2:30 am 
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That sounds remotely like work? Are you thinking of and airfoil which encloses the chassis and wheels in the same shape?


No I wasn't thinking of big changes. Thought you could make nicer fairings for the front wheels, on a second go around. I was just going to look up the shape in a book, but you can find this stuff online nowadays. You guys have done a great job it looks nice.

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PostPosted: September 1, 2017, 1:35 pm 
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Not sure what I may or may not do for next year yet. Need to work on the Mk II as it had a tendency to slip the tail out through the learning curve, so we'll need to find some more rear grip for it. There are a number of possible tweaks, it's all about finding the time... I can't imagine I'll leave it alone but there are many other projects needing attention as well.

For your entertainment, the organizers put together a video each year. They just finished up this year's:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rw5UNBcWtaw



The 14 mile run prior to the camera calling it a day:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AO_-0yBZwU&t=43s

It's a bit dry and boring, but you can see how stable the car is at speed. The camera vibrates a bit but the ride in the cockpit is just fine.

Chris


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