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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: August 29, 2021, 10:04 pm 
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Mid-Engined Maniac

Joined: April 23, 2006, 8:26 pm
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Figured the title would get attention...

A buddy in the UK sent this to me after he got home from (what used to be) the largest kit car show in the UK:

Quote:
... Very disappointing would be the best description. A mere shadow of former shows, very few visitors or trade stands, some car club pitches totally empty, some with only 1 or 2 cars present.

... I understand the show was put together at very short notice, so that has to have affected turnout, as well as the fact it clashed with a few other car events so that won’t have helped either. Next year will be the true test I think. If it comes back closer to shows in the past, it’ll survive, but another one like this could be the last.

We have an added issue with kits etc brewing here. The impending ban on new ICE cars in 2030 leaves kits in limbo. Nobody knows what’s going to happen with kits. Will we still be able to register them for rod use? No doubt such a small market is not really on anyone's radar at the moment. As things stand now, we can’t do EV kits either, because the test we have to pass excludes anything over 48V unless it’s an OEM vehicle. (Personal imports have to pass the same test to be approved for road use as they won’t have UK type approval, hence the acceptance of an OEM full EV).


We in the US have our own issues making self-built cars less popular. Some factors that come to mind include:
- Emissions testing
- Engine electronics
- Peoples' changing interests
- OEM sports cars being much faster than they used to be
- People choosing to spend their free time watching TV or cruising the Web
- Increased traffic taking much of the fun out of driving any real sports car

And I'm sure there are a lot more.

It's not good or bad, it simply is.

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PostPosted: August 30, 2021, 12:12 am 
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Have to somewhat disagree.

- Emissions testing.
Only in some states and a prime reason why Old titles/chassis are in high demand.

- Engine electronics.
Only if you use a late model engine in the false belief that they are somehow cheaper, or simpler, than a classic engine.

- Peoples' changing interests.
What, MY interest have not changed! :wink:
I suspect expense has more effect than changing interest, hard to keep up enthusiasm when the hobby becomes a high five to low six figures a year to persue!

- OEM sports cars being much faster than they used to be.
What OEM Sports Cars? All I see are pretentious turbo gumdrop appliances or ultra expensive limited editions that are sold out as quickly as they are announced.
With all the big OEM rushing to embrace the "Green EV" fallacy making our own or buying a classic may soon be the only ways to get a fun to drive car.

- People choosing to spend their free time watching TV or cruising the Web.
TV? Is that like another new sexual orientation?
Cruising the 'Web will rapidly lose participation as Gov. Org. tightens control.

- Increased traffic taking much of the fun out of driving any real sports car.
Increased traffic? Actually traffic has been drastically reduced due to China-Virus and "Work from home" ending a lot of commuting.

Yes, there are special intere$t groups lobbying to destroy our country, economy, and traditional leisure activities.
But I am certain their intended timeline is not going to happen.
Hopefully by the time their deadlines prove impossible to meet rational people will have regained power and the lunatic fringe sent back to their rubber rooms.

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PostPosted: August 30, 2021, 10:28 am 
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Just based on my totally unscientific observation of young people where I live, I think youngsters interested in vehicles will go electric rather than internal combustion.

We may see things going 4-wheel drive too, as technology from the hybrid- and hyper-racecar classes (think WEC and Le Mans) trickle down to the general public.

That should eliminate the emissions problems we face now as constructors, especially in states like California and ones similarly disposed, which are most states now.

Cheers,

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Damn! That front slip angle is way too large and the Ackerman is just a muddle.

Build Log: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=5886


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PostPosted: August 30, 2021, 10:28 am 
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Just based on my totally unscientific observation of young people where I live, I think youngsters interested in vehicles will go electric rather than internal combustion.

We may see things going 4-wheel drive too, as technology from the hybrid- and hyper-racecar classes (think WEC and Le Mans) trickle down to the general public.

That should eliminate the emissions problems we face now as constructors, especially in states like California and ones similarly disposed, which are most states now.

Cheers,

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Damn! That front slip angle is way too large and the Ackerman is just a muddle.

Build Log: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=5886


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PostPosted: August 30, 2021, 12:28 pm 
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So far 2021 has been a great year for the racing clubs around here. Driver schools have been full and a few of the events I regularly attend either set or came close to setting records for number of entries. It would seem a lot of people took their spare time in 2020 to catch up on hobbies and fix cars that have been parked for a year or two. The interest is still there but home built cars are pretty much at the most niche end of the automotive enthusiast spectrum - I would never expect big numbers nor would I say a lack of big numbers means the interest is dead.

Now with that said I am ok if laws never allow the average builder to create a one off with a several hundred volt EV system. You are well into arc flash territory and making one safe is far more complex than just connecting a couple of wires.

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PostPosted: August 30, 2021, 1:29 pm 
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Mid-Engined Maniac

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I'm not claiming that it's ending tomorrow, but there are long term trends that are not conducive to its continuation. RichardSIA said that it doesn't affect him, but it's obviously not about us, those who've already proven that they can and have build a car... I'm speaking about everyone else. Younger people simply have different interests. "In general", building a Sevenish car is something that older people do, and as the baby boomers pass away, who's taking their place? The answer seems to be probably no one. Younger people have less time and different interests, and can just go buy something new or used that's nearly as good as a scratch-built car with zero hours spent. Sure, a Sevenish car does great at autocross, but that's an even smaller subgroup of a small subgroup.

Hearing some of the comments, we sound like a bunch of old grumpy people saying things like "I don't need no new fangled computers." Okay, but it's not about us.

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PostPosted: August 30, 2021, 1:32 pm 
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About the EV car and the voltage issue... yeah, I agree. I mean, if this can happen with a gas-powered car... how would it have gone with an EV and a 600V bus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RBRCaVjYrM

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Last edited by KB58 on August 30, 2021, 2:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: August 30, 2021, 1:44 pm 
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Have to say it.
I think the greatest enemy of "Go out and DO something" is legal dope making folk even lazier than ever before.

Second is the "Virtual" non-sense.

Third, "Is there an app for that?"

Schools have dropped the Trade classes, no Auto Shop, Metal Shop, Wood shop, etc.
The replacements for those will not get you a job or give you useful skills.
So fabrication type hobbies now have a steeper learning curve which discourages folk.

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PostPosted: August 30, 2021, 2:37 pm 
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A coworker, who is an excellent fabricator, brought his 15 year old son by to look over my car. His son was genuinely intrigued. It never occurred to him that a car could be built by a guy in a garage. He may never do anything with it, but I know that 30 minutes sparked his imagination and changed his perception for the better. I'm hopeful that our interaction with the younger generation will help keep the hobby alive, even if only in small numbers.

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PostPosted: August 30, 2021, 6:02 pm 
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Natural selection should always apply. Darwin awards will be given but I think the kids have more important things to worry about. It clear the kid with the melty miata has much bigger problems.

Speaking of wasted time (which I feel entitled to at my age :lol: ) I especially like Hank's reference to the rule book in this clip from Bridge of Spies:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6LDXOwA3XQ

Seems to be every person for themselves and damn the rule book. My trike required no inspections to determine anything yet I was still harassed for nothing. So much resistance to anything outside the main stream.

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PostPosted: August 31, 2021, 10:05 am 
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Our neighbor's grandson is ~14 yrs old. When visiting Grandma, he has watched my car building for years but has been hesitant to actually come over to see anything. That is until earlier this year. He came over and started asking car questions. His dad is not mechanically inclined so he has no one to teach him. We spent about 1-1/2 hrs going over some engine basics and then it was time for him to leave. He came over again and I was on my way out the door so couldn't spend any time with him. He has a standing offer, if the garage door is open he is welcome to come over and see "Waz up". I am confident he will take me up on it. While this is only one person, I'm certain there are more.

I have no problems with EV's just as I had no problems with ECU's. I was brought up with carbs and distributors. If I had a few more years to go on this side of the grass, undoubtedly I would be learning and repairing and possibly even building an EV. In the meantime, I will leave it to the next generation.

I think we, the USA, will have a hard time supporting the EV transition as the auto companies and the government are planning. The power grid is already at capacity. Our electric company even asks me to reduce my power usage on some high-demand days and gives me billing credits when I do. And every new power generation plant is strongly fought against (not in my back yard).

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PostPosted: August 31, 2021, 6:17 pm 
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I think that in the USA we'll still see access to ICE-powered homemade vehicles for some time to come. But yes, we are likely to become more marginalized. As I like to put it, we're all becoming "Harley-guy" which can be seen as pathetic or cool, depending on your view. (Sidebar: I just bought a 1966 motorcycle, so my position should be clear :D ).

What I expect to happen is that the government will try to manipulate the market via taxation. "You want to keep running your obsolete car? Fine, how does $15/gallon tax sound?". Don't believe me? Price out R-22 refrigerant some time.


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PostPosted: August 31, 2021, 8:00 pm 
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Mid-Engined Maniac

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Agree that it'll probably hit us here less than in the UK, but yeah, imagine in the future when half the cars are electric, will gas stations charge a lot more to keep making a profit. Huh.

Oh and I ran across a funny Jeremy Clarkson quip regardig American, "Why on earth do they call a liquid, 'gas?' "

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PostPosted: August 31, 2021, 8:54 pm 
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kreb wrote:
What I expect to happen is that the government will try to manipulate the market via taxation. "You want to keep running your obsolete car? Fine, how does $15/gallon tax sound?". Don't believe me? Price out R-22 refrigerant some time.


Possibly true, from my perspective flagrantly unconstitutional as well.
Not that Gov. Org. pays any real attention to that anymore.
All the Gov./Green demands in the world cannot change the laws of physics.
I am certain that at some point they are going to run into reality, there just is not enough electricity or Lithium available to meet their demands.
I also doubt the economy can be shifted that quickly, institutions have a lot of inertia.
Posturing, pontificating, and pandering will not change any of that.

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PostPosted: August 31, 2021, 9:14 pm 
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People assume that Lithium will be replaced before too long. A high performance, preferably lightweight battery made from common and cheap materials is the holy grail of industrial research. Around 10 years ago I spoke with a Toyota Engineer who said that their budget for battery research was close to a million dollars/day.


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