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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: April 30, 2017, 7:38 pm 
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Joined: January 5, 2017, 11:36 am
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So I am contemplating tearing into an old project/ potential donor car.... But also am having some second thoughts about extensive hand formed sheet metal + rust repairs... what to do with the old non engine performance parts should I save it or find a cleaner donor or try and fix it now that I could, and is this car too uncommon to use as a donor...?

While I am waxing and waning on what I want to do, I am curious how everyone else decides.

What does everyone look for, or rationalize the push to tear down the unicorn car x ?


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PostPosted: April 30, 2017, 9:52 pm 
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Joined: January 27, 2010, 1:11 pm
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Location: Cuba, MO
Unless it is a rare car, it depends on which is a higher priority the build of new or rebuild. I tore apart two very usable na miatas one was even an m edition. To me they were worth more as donors than I could sell then for and my price was right.

What is the car in question? Is there any emotional attachment to the car? Like was it your first car or you grandfather's car?

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Build: NA Miata based +221 Se7en


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PostPosted: May 1, 2017, 4:53 pm 
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Joined: July 4, 2006, 5:40 pm
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Location: Novato, CA
I tore apart a 1972 MGB in running condition. I based the decision on wanting a Lotus 7-type car more than an MGB. The body and chassis did need a lot of rust repair, but I've seen worse. OTOH MGBs aren't all that rare. The Locost turned out far better than I even imagined, way more fun than 10 MGBs.


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PostPosted: May 1, 2017, 11:24 pm 
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FieroReinke wrote:
Unless it is a rare car, it depends on which is a higher priority the build of new or rebuild. I tore apart two very usable na miatas one was even an m edition. To me they were worth more as donors than I could sell then for and my price was right.

What is the car in question? Is there any emotional attachment to the car? Like was it your first car or you grandfather's car?



The car I am thinking about is a 91 Nissan nx2000 hardtop, (the hardtops are much less common over the t tops). I have only seen one other hardtop in person that I can remember
It's not a car in high demand so monetary value will never be a much of a factor.( I saw another nx driving around today oddly enough but haven't seen others for years). I have had some fun times in it and it is the first car I really worked on. Its a compact car with lots of compromise in it's design, so it's a constant battle with a flimsy chassis, too much weight, wrong wheel drive... So it would be nice to stop fighting what was never meant to be but that also means way more work and money too

https://www.carthrottle.com/post/top-10 ... -compacts/


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PostPosted: May 1, 2017, 11:27 pm 
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nick47 wrote:
I tore apart a 1972 MGB in running condition. I based the decision on wanting a Lotus 7-type car more than an MGB. The body and chassis did need a lot of rust repair, but I've seen worse. OTOH MGBs aren't all that rare. The Locost turned out far better than I even imagined, way more fun than 10 MGBs.



I like that logic :cheers:


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PostPosted: May 2, 2017, 7:56 pm 
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Joined: June 5, 2016, 7:03 am
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Location: ontario
jere wrote:
So I am contemplating tearing into an old project/ potential donor car.... But also am having some second thoughts about extensive hand formed sheet metal + rust repairs... what to do with the old non engine performance parts should I save it or find a cleaner donor or try and fix it now that I could, and is this car too uncommon to use as a donor...?

While I am waxing and waning on what I want to do, I am curious how everyone else decides.

What does everyone look for, or rationalize the push to tear down the unicorn car x ?



I never found myself in the situation that you describe, which sounds a bit like `Building a seven is the plan B'. I believe that many seven builders dream of building their own lotus clone and THEN look for a donor. In that scenario the main factor is: how good condition are the mechanical parts needed to build a seven. Nothing else matters. However looking at the broad picture as you do, I think it makes little sense to tear down a perfectly good car to build a seven. The smart way to go about it would be to sell thesaid car and use the money to rebuild the mechanical components of a not so good donor. Rebuilding mechanical components is what I have done with both my builds. That is the best way to make sure that the end product will be perfect.


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PostPosted: May 2, 2017, 10:05 pm 
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Joined: February 8, 2014, 10:47 pm
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Location: Cornholio OR "Where the magic happens"
I don't buy into the "donor" car bit.
Too many compromises get made in an effort to utilize less than ideal components.

I would not sacrifice a desirable donor with out first attempting to convert it to legal tender.
I would not use donor parts that don't fit the Seven theme/image especially suspension components.

If you are intending to build a 7ish machine you should follow in that performance vein, light weight and optimal geometry. (starting with wheelbase, width. and a 4 banger)

If you are just building a convertible jalopy, bust out the torch and have at it.

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PostPosted: May 2, 2017, 11:29 pm 
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Joined: July 17, 2008, 9:11 am
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Bent Wrench wrote:
I don't buy into the "donor" car bit.
Too many compromises get made in an effort to utilize less than ideal components.......


That is fine. Everyone has their own driving goals. I would offer that unless one is an experienced car designer, the quest to find the "ideal" set of components will rarely be met. I have an alternative view. If you start with a well handling car as a donor, many of the parts are already "optimized" to work together to some degree. Probably much better that I would have done if I chose a Ford this, a Chevy this, and an Alfa that to optimize the parts. My professional experience is that trying to find an ideal solution can create analysis paralysis and prevents forward motion. Given a single donor build, it is a simpler matter of connecting the pieces you already have in the best way possible.

The donor car method can get you into the build for less $$ which is the mantra that Ron Champion and I both followed. At the final tally, I wasn't as successful as he was. Running out of $$ mid-build and waiting several years to get more play money is a road to failure in most cases. Look at all the unfinished builds that come up for sale now and then.

Do what makes you happy and one that will keep you working on the build to completion. If the goal is to beat the fastest guy on the track, then definitely spend time in selecting the lightest part that will do the job for the period of time and plan on a lot of maintenance. (Colin Chapman style) Otherwise a single donor can get your build going quicker.

I can say that several of the potential buyers for my car were glad to see that I had used many of the components from the RX-7 single donor. For them, since they already knew RX's, it reduced some of the "unknown" aspects of the build. Fortunately, the eventual buyer had already owned a BEC Locost and an RX-7. Not to say that resale value should be the decision maker.

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“Any suspension will work if you don’t let it.” - Colin Chapman

My RX7 powered Locost is now for sale http://www.locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=40&t=18460

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PostPosted: May 5, 2017, 12:05 pm 
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Joined: January 5, 2017, 11:36 am
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Lots of elaborate rationale from you guys thanks! I do see how my priorities aren't exactly on track with the [average] ( if there is such a thing :wink: ) locost builder.

I think I am back on track now and nostalgia is out of the way of my priorities.
Ive always wanted to build a performance car, not restore cars.
This car isn't worth the repair time it would take to fix it.
And it might even help fund the build by selling it's parts I can't reuse.


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