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    1. #1
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      Locost 7 Build Thread

      So, a couple of years ago I sold my air-cooled 911 SC and decided to pick up something cheaper and more extreme for track days and just occasionally scaring myself on the street.

      I wanted something in the under-$10k range, I wanted it to be really impractical, and I wanted it to be something I could mod and hack any way I wanted without ever thinking about originality or resale.

      A Locost 7 seemed like exactly the right amount of stupid.

      However, working 70 hours a week and being married with 3 kids meant I knew that I'd never get it done if I started from scratch.

      I needed a mostly complete project. Not finished....I couldn't really afford that, and not just a bare frame. I found the perfect candidate after a couple months of looking, and it was only about 3 hours away.

      I loaded up the twins and we headed out. The car was pretty much what I wanted. Bob had built dirt-track race cars for 30 years with his kids, and decided he wanted a sports car. Unfortunately his health started declining before he could finish, and he just wasn't up it. He'd built it like a dirt-track car...good chassis work, all racing suspension parts, simple 2.3 OHC Ford Lima motor, and, well.... crude bodywork. But it started, and was loud enough to terrify my kids.


      SOLD.
      Quote Originally Posted by sosumi on the B6 S4 V8
      It sounds like a giant shotgun and then like a bunch of ground up Yugo's in a cement mixer followed by weeks of silence interspersed by wails from the owner.

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    3. #2
      OP, that is awesome! Looks like fun. Well, at least it looks fun...until you start the find the things the previous owner did that you wouldn't do.

      Good luck with the build! Get the kids involved and enjoy the time together.

    4. #3
      Member Jetta03's Avatar
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      Old mid 80's mustang wheels, nice

    5. #4
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      In for this!

    6. #5
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      Nice, this is awesome

    7. #6
      Those wheels make the build. Tuned in
      Quote Originally Posted by QUIRKiT View Post
      I spent my entire season budget during the off-season on go fast parts, so now I'm wishing I hadn't and had saved a little so I could buy a sim rig.

    8. #7
      Member Rob Cote's Avatar
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      Those wheels are ****ing terrible. I'll watch.
      Quote Originally Posted by Hudsone View Post
      No one knows what and where I have to go to them?

    9. #8
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      So, let's do a bit of inventory on the issues that I started with.

      I'm glad you're all enjoying the wheels - more on that later. But a serious question - who builds a sports car with no tach? I seriously didn't even notice this until I got it home.

      Next question, even when using a 4-cylinder Fox body Mustang as a donor, who could in good conscience keep that horrible steering wheel and column?




      Now let's be honest. This car is not safe. Nothing about it is safe. I see it as a very slight upgrade in safety from a motorcycle, and that's how I justify it as a dad, but this roll hoop was too far even for me. It was 2" below my head (and I'm only 5'10"), and clearly neither bent well nor triangulated in any useful way to keep from collapsing if I did manage to roll it at the track.



      Bob hadn't gotten as far as seats yet, but he had bought some fiberglass low-back buckets. I wasn't going to do track days in those, so I picked up the widest Kirkey seat that would fit. This is a McSorley 442 chassis, so it's wider, taller, and longer than a "book" chassis car based on Ron Champion's original plans. But still, with a driveshaft tunnel, the widest seats I could get in were the 15" wide variety. This will force me to keep weight off - with a 33" waist I JUST fit.

      My son wasn't too impressed.


      This was just the beginning of the seat saga - it was a lot of work to make the seat, slider, and seat belts fit. But it sat in place without attachments pretty nicely.



      A tree had fallen on one of the rear fenders during a brief period of outdoor storage at Bob's house:
      Quote Originally Posted by sosumi on the B6 S4 V8
      It sounds like a giant shotgun and then like a bunch of ground up Yugo's in a cement mixer followed by weeks of silence interspersed by wails from the owner.

    10. #9
      Member Grecco's Avatar
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      Locost 7 Build Thread

      Quote Originally Posted by ArmenB View Post
      So, let's do a bit of inventory on the issues that I started with.

      I'm glad you're all enjoying the wheels - more on that later....


      LOL
      Nice build!! Following…

    11. #10
      Geriatric Member ValveCoverGasket's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by PoorHouse View Post
      In for this!
      yup!


    12. #11
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      Awesome starting point you have there!

      I've wanted to build one of these forever figured I would keep it for a bit one day take an offer some random person offers me and that would go fund a cobra kit build.

      But I get stopped every time I put the 120bucks or so worth of books in my amazon cart and realize if I don't want to spend that I won't finish the car

      Books are back in my cart though... and I'm going to check the forums for rough estimate on tubing quantities and get the jeep shop next to my shop to get me a quote from their supplier.

    13. #12
      Member 2 doors's Avatar
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      I dig it. As a dad in a similar situation, I'm following along to see how this goes.

      One question - Why bother with sliders on the seats? I found my track car build that they were too much trouble.

    14. #13
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      Quote Originally Posted by 2 doors View Post

      One question - Why bother with sliders on the seats? I found my track car build that they were too much trouble.
      Good question. 2 reasons:

      1 - I'm a nice guy and want to let friends who are a different size drive it once in a while. Spoiler alert - it turns out that the friends who are slightly wider than me don't fit in the seats regardless of height. Oh, well.

      2 - Because of the pedal/wheel/seat relationship, when I'm in a comfortable driving position, I literally cannot get out of the car, because my knees are too close/under the scuttle/wheel/column. I have to be able to slide the seat back or remove the steering wheel, or (preferably) both.
      Quote Originally Posted by sosumi on the B6 S4 V8
      It sounds like a giant shotgun and then like a bunch of ground up Yugo's in a cement mixer followed by weeks of silence interspersed by wails from the owner.

    15. #14
      Member 2 doors's Avatar
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      Sounds good. Glad to see you did something about that roll bar.

      Waiting to see what’s next!

    16. #15
      Member G0to60's Avatar
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      Love it! Looking forward to seeing this come along.

    17. #16
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      As mentioned, I knew that I needed sliders on the driver's seat, and the real challenge with the seats/seat belts in this car is width. There's plenty of depth to make legroom in this version of the chassis, and there's obviously plenty of height, but you're fighting for every fraction of an inch of width.

      I ended up with some generic sliders from Speedway motors (right here in town - being able to pick things up from the customer counter is fantastic.) and Kirkey mounting brackets to allow for some adjustability. I drilled holes in the seat shells and picked something moderate for the angle. So far it seems pretty "comfortable", but I can pull the seat out and change the angle if desired for fine-tuning.





      I don't have a good picture to illustrate it, but the unfortunate trade-off of having a slider is a bit of extra height. Especially with my desire to have a bit of recline in the angle for comfort, the lowest point of the seat is as close the mounting rail as I can get it, but it still means that the driver sits up an inch or so higher than the sliderless passenger seat. This has a big impact on the roll bar and the windshield.



      Here's a terrible picture of the right-side brackets for the slider rail in the chassis. I punched out 1" holes in the aluminum sheet that makes up the bottom of the car for access to the nuts that fasten the seat rail down. Removing the driver's seat is a 10-minute job now, which is good, because I had to do it about 40 more times during the seat belt work.
      Quote Originally Posted by sosumi on the B6 S4 V8
      It sounds like a giant shotgun and then like a bunch of ground up Yugo's in a cement mixer followed by weeks of silence interspersed by wails from the owner.

    18. #17
      Geriatric Member Air and water do mix's Avatar
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      I missed this on the first go-around. I'm really looking forward to the build.

      Are you thinking about any engine mods? These cars scream for dual side draft Webers, a cam and a header, but I doubt you'd want anything more than that unless you're tracking it exclusively. It's light enough that the bottom end suffering from the Webers would be okay (assuming the gearing is where you want it, of course).
      Quote Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
      Proletariat, Bourgeoise - Everybody smellin' my potpourri...

    19. #18
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      Quote Originally Posted by Air and water do mix View Post
      I missed this on the first go-around. I'm really looking forward to the build.

      Are you thinking about any engine mods? These cars scream for dual side draft Webers, a cam and a header, but I doubt you'd want anything more than that unless you're tracking it exclusively. It's light enough that the bottom end suffering from the Webers would be okay (assuming the gearing is where you want it, of course).
      Heh... maybe I am...

      When I purchased it, he had outfitted the car with a pretty standard dirt-track race car setup. A mostly stock 2.3 8v Lima motor with a 4412 Holley race carb, an MSD 6T ignition box, a custom header, and a billet Speedway distributor. It actually revved really well, sounded really good (though painfully loud) and even the 100-ish HP was far more than the tires could put down on the pavement.



      I guess this video also gives away that I couldn't stand the wheels, so I did what any rational person would do. Replaced them with minilites.



      Rota 15x7 wheels set up for the 4x108 Ford hubs. I debated quite a bit about re-hubbing the car to a 5x4.75 bolt pattern so that I could share wheels/tires/race tires between this and the Corvair, but ultimately decided to limit the project scope for now.

      So far we're up to about March of 2016 in terms of my progress. I haven't made a lot of progress in the last couple of years due to an around-the-clock job, but there is currently some engine-related work going on that I'll get to.
      Quote Originally Posted by sosumi on the B6 S4 V8
      It sounds like a giant shotgun and then like a bunch of ground up Yugo's in a cement mixer followed by weeks of silence interspersed by wails from the owner.

    20. #19
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      So let's figure out the roll bar. Now that I had the seat height determined, I could work on the roll bar height. I really wanted to confidently pass the 'broom stick test' with a helmet on, so that I wouldn't have any trouble with the various clubs I occasionally run with at the road course.

      I started by mocking up a hoop and even a front hoop using PVC to help me visualize it. A lot of these cars end up with really funky-looking cages or hoops, because the bodywork is all so low that it's hard to get any structure up over your head without looking bizzare. My first mockup helped visualize how terrible it would look to get all of the bars really comfortably high for ingress/egress and rollover clearance. The passenger seat in this pic is lower than it can actually be mounted, and also lower than my driver's seat ended up. So it's not a great example, but this hoop is also a couple of inches higher than it needs to be.



      It was also clear from this that I wasn't going to be able to easily put a front hoop into my chassis due to the complex curves required to match the windshield angle, the dogleg under the dash, and coming straight down into the chassis at a relatively strong point. So I dumped the front hoop idea.

      I also started measuring up for the windshield. I wanted to drive this on the street, and I wanted to be looking through the windshield when in a comfortable driving position, so it was going to end up being quite large compared to some of these cars.



      Bob had given me a couple of scrap pieces of windshield channel, and some end plates that he had gotten from a guy who swore they were 'real Lotus parts'. I'm a bit skeptical, but they do sort of look the part. I was pretty proud of my use of wood dowels and tape to mock up the position so that I could sit and look through it.

      After getting these measured out and planned, I found Jack McCormick at http://kineticvehicles.com/ - and he was a HUGE help. He also doesn't charge nearly enough for his stuff, and I got a custom-made 5-tube roll hoop kit for under $200, and I think the custom-bent windshield channel and gasket was under $50.


      You can see I was also starting to strip back more of the bodywork to get the seat mounts sorted out and do the fender repairs.


      I'm not a great welder, but this kind of stuff is pretty easy.





      The proportions are definitely a bit awkward, but I feel really good about the "safety" in the event of a rollover and even have room for a 6' or 6'2" person to drive it.


      ...and the plus to a homebuilt car is that if I eventually decide I just can't stand the height of the bar, I can just cut it off, section it down a bit, and weld it all back up. NBD.
      Quote Originally Posted by sosumi on the B6 S4 V8
      It sounds like a giant shotgun and then like a bunch of ground up Yugo's in a cement mixer followed by weeks of silence interspersed by wails from the owner.

    21. #20
      Global Moderator EPilot's Avatar
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      I'm curious why you wouldn't go for a set up like this?


      Or this since it has some type of side impact protection.

    22. #21
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      So let's get into the windshield a little. Most of the time when people mount these, it's just drilling and tapping the aluminum channel and putting some short 1/4" bolts in from the stanchions on the outside.


      Such as it is, it seems to work OK, but I wasn't crazy about the fact that the whole windshield was just going to be supported by nutserts in a thin fiberglass scuttle.


      So I made little steel reinforcement plates that catches the back of the stanchion bolts and also bolts down to the frame under the scuttle.



      Quote Originally Posted by sosumi on the B6 S4 V8
      It sounds like a giant shotgun and then like a bunch of ground up Yugo's in a cement mixer followed by weeks of silence interspersed by wails from the owner.

    23. #22
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      Quote Originally Posted by EPilot View Post
      I'm curious why you wouldn't go for a set up like this?


      Or this since it has some type of side impact protection.
      Expense and complexity, basically. My car doesn't share dimensions with an actual Caterham/Westfield car, so it would all have to be scratch fabricated by a shop that knows what they are doing with a tube bender. That would cost a significant fraction of what I paid for the whole car. I also don't do any wheel-to-wheel racing against other 7's like those cages were intended to support, and let's be honest here - if I get T-boned by an SUV, that side bar is not going to help anything. I'm still going to be killed by the bumper bar hitting me in the shoulder.
      Quote Originally Posted by sosumi on the B6 S4 V8
      It sounds like a giant shotgun and then like a bunch of ground up Yugo's in a cement mixer followed by weeks of silence interspersed by wails from the owner.

    24. #23
      Global Moderator EPilot's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by ArmenB View Post
      I also don't do any wheel-to-wheel racing against other 7's like those cages were intended to support, and let's be honest here - if I get T-boned by an SUV, that side bar is not going to help anything. I'm still going to be killed by the bumper bar hitting me in the shoulder.
      Got it. I think I'd still create some type of hoop that integrates with the windscreen and connected to the roll hoop to give a little bit more rollover protection.
      But that's just me. Cool car and good luck with the build.

    25. #24
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      Quote Originally Posted by EPilot View Post
      Got it. I think I'd still create some type of hoop that integrates with the windscreen and connected to the roll hoop to give a little bit more rollover protection.
      But that's just me. Cool car and good luck with the build.
      Yep, I agree that being able to 'triangulate' more of a structure including a front hoop would be much better rollover protection than just the rear hoop. It's all a gamble! I'm hoping that if the worst happens, the fact that the car doesn't weigh much of anything (aiming for <1400 lbs) will help too.
      Quote Originally Posted by sosumi on the B6 S4 V8
      It sounds like a giant shotgun and then like a bunch of ground up Yugo's in a cement mixer followed by weeks of silence interspersed by wails from the owner.

    26. #25
      I'm in. My buddy built one about a decade ago, he used a Corolla rear axle, custom propshaft, and a Yamaha R1 engine and gearbox. He used simple welded pieces to control the shifter mounted to the steering column, and just welded plates to the throttle and clutch levers, mounted them to the frame tubes on the floor. I only got to ride in it a couple of times for very short jaunts around the paddock, because it was a book sized frame, and I could only sit on the floorpan on the passenger side....Which was on the left. He made it RHD, because he was used to racing British cars. I'm 6'0, and around 230 at the time, he's about 5'6 and skinny. I tried to sit in his Kirkey once....My fat ass did not even come close to fitting in the seat, and he had it permanently mounted in his uber short driving position. Two short blasts at everyone's knee level is intoxicating and addictive, though.

      As for Lima 2.3 tuning, some euro "Pinto" motor pieces work, and that engine has a long and storied past in the SCCA and single seater duty, as well as a ton of Formula Ford cars.
      DCIVW
      CE.

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