I'm working on a full body for the Locost. After I gave up on Lola Mk1, I still needed a body for my 100mpg concept, and to do that much tooling for a one-off is daunting, so I'm looking for feedback on what might appeal to the full bodied Locost market. If there is one.
In exchange, I'll document the full process of body design and tooling, using the 2k7 as an example. It'll be somewhat slow going. it's a fairly long process and I can't do it full time at present, but so it goes.
For starters, one needs to decide what one is going to build. Here are my parameters for this body (please feel free to comment and advise):
1) Low cost
a) Inexpensive to build
b) Inexpensive to buy
c) Inexpensive to ship
2) Retrofittable to an existant Locost.
a) book frame
b) McSorley and Kinetic chassi (chassises?)
c) other frames in that ballpark
3) Effective at:
a) reducing drag
b) creating downforce
(and here comes the tough one)
4) Suitable styling
a) Still look like a Seven
b) Neoclassic--a blend of late '50s and modern concepts
5) Easily recognizable
6) Suitable for customizing
#1 has a clear enough solution-- small amounts of fiberglass for compound curves and large amounts of sheet (aluminum most likely) bought locally for the single curves. Any components that can't be easily fabricated by the builder (fenders, for example) must be either small enough to ship FedEx/UPS (the rear fenders) or disassemblable into small enough sub-components (the front fender will be two piece; the main fender and the tail)
#2 is...well, all I have to do is do it, though it was tempting to make a body that only fits the quirks of my chassis. But a retrofittable kit seems smarter; heck, I might even be able to sell some parts and/or plans.
#3 is interesting, as the two goals contradict each other, but I think I can make some smallish differences that'll produce biggish differences in behavior. The "Slick Brick" will come first, followed by the Stick Brick.
#4b is really really tough, but basically, that's what a Locost is (or a Caterham or a Dax or an Ultralight etc); a blend of old and new. But it's hard not to look just plain stupid when you do blends over the decades, so I've been pulling hairs over #4.
#5 took care of itself when the other requirements were met, and #6 as well.
The basic plan is, new front and rear fenders, with 9" wide by 13" high aluminum sheet pontoons joining them (or wider/taller for those with non-book frames). A single curve sheet of aluminum joining the rear fenders together, curved on the horizontal axis (fuel tank relocated to the offside pontoon and the upper rear 3/4" hoop removed from the chassis so the stern can drop down). Front fenders tapering back all the way to the middle of the car (junctions of the J tubes and N tubes in the upper frame rails), a la lots of classic racers of The Day and 3/4 of the LMP1 cars this century. A flat sheet of aluminum between the inside of the rear-of-wheel section of each front fender and the J tube (and the bonnet, which rests on the J tubes). And finally, single curved sheets of aluminum between the forward-of-wheel portion of the front fenders and the nose.
The four fenders, flanges to fit the sheetmetal to the sides of the nose, and internal ductwork will be made from composite; fiberglass for the most part but I'll include some carbon fiber fabrication techniques if desired. I'll show how we formed the bulkheads for the pontoons and how to form a smooth 3/4 radius bend in sheet steel and/or aluminum, and that'll about do it for the Slick Brick. I'm hoping it will look like a race car that could have been built circa 1960, but wasn't, and I'm hoping (expecting, actually) the drag reduction will significantly improve top speed and fuel economy.
The Sticky Brick (the downforce package) is going to be more complex, with diffusors front and rear, reshaped body forward of the front axles, and a wing in back. Appearence-wise it'll be LMP but with a taste of Seven (front engine, radiator intake, and relative simplicity). But that's another story--the first goal is a practical 100mpg freeway cruiser and backroad hooligan.
These drawings were done on a demo version of Rhino, so I only had 25 saves to work with. Ignore the nose for now; the standard nose already exisits so it wasn't (and still isn't, even though I loved the demo so much I sprung for the full Rhino) worth wasting saves by modelling it...the nose is part of the Stick Brick sub-program. But first things first.
2k7Preview.jpg [ 37.59 KiB | Viewed 30912 times ]
Locost builder and adventurer, and owner/operator of http://www.kineticvehicles.com
Last edited by JackMcCornack on Thu Mar 15, 2007 1:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.