I first got interested in the Locost project in January 2002 when we donated the Saab for taxes but I've already told that story.
I discovered the book around March and ordered it straight away. I read through it several times and started finding web sites and doing other research through March and April. Some time in May I had some time off and spent several days cutting and welding up the frame with the help of my buddy Kurt and his metal shop. We had fun doing it.
I stopped at the transmission tunnel because I didn't have the engine or transmission yet. I ran across the Street Rodder articles on the Quad 4 and started looking for a good one, an A type. I found about a dozen Quads but only two A types. One had the timing cover pulled already and the other had a large crack in the oil pan. It's always chancey buying an engine in the pick-a-part. The one with the cracked pan was whole and I thought the crack had happened in the yard so I went after it the next day. It was already gone when we got there. Damn. So we went after the other one. It took Kurt and I two days to pull the engine. I've never pulled an engine before. Hot nasty work at best and you never seem to have enough tools.
On other trips during June, July, and August I pulled a rear end from a 79 Supra. It's pretty heavy but will take the 200HP and it has disks and limited slip. I found a steering column from an MGB which later turned out to be bad( a rusted bearing I can't replace). I decided to go with Chevette spindles and pulled a pair of those and got new balljoints for them. I had converters made to match the lug pattern to the Supra wheels. I found a brand new starter right under the tube type intake manifold I was looking for and later found a brand new alternator. I think I will go with a Chevette steering rack as I've heard they will work. I'll buy that new. I'd rather have that nice and tight. I acquired a Camaro T5 trany during this time too. So the summer was spent hunting and gathering.
The fall has passed and money has been short but I have taken the whole engine apart and done a complete rebuild, repainting and cleaning everything as I went. I will say here that for over 100,000 miles the engine was in remarkably good shape. The number one cylinder had the rings all gunked up and I'm sure it was loosing compression but all other things showed little wear. It seems to be a very strong engine. After I got it home I discovered that the clutch was out. That and terminal rust ,I suppose ,are what landed it in the bone yard. The car had not been wrecked.
The block has been sand blasted clean, boiled out and painted. Then it was bored and decked, and the lower end was all balanced. I ported and polished the head then had a valve job done. The flywheel was lightned some and balanced as well. With reprogramming the computer and opening up the exhaust and air intake I think we will gain about 50 HP over the 180 stock.
This is where I am now. the engine has just been put back together. It really looks great, new even. I'm trying to come up with the $425 for the bell housing but Christmas has rolled around so it will be later for that. Then I'll install the drive train and finish the transmission tunnel and the back of the chassis (I haven't done any of the bent tubes yet.) and move on to the suspension. I hope to start gathering some speed soon as the engine rebuild seemed to take a long time. Vacations and money had something to do with that.
I should have just over $2000 in the engine, bell housing, and transmission when I'm through.
Look for an update soon. Wayne
Well, I guess it's about time for that update.
December had work related problems that caused a funding shortage so I spent most of the month setting up this web site.
January got all the work I was supposed to do in December so not much got done on the car.
February got taken up largely by extended family matters.
It has now been a year since I got the book.
March started off well though. I ordered and received the bellhousing, a big step. I thought I would get the engine installed and move on to other things but a couple problems came up. Although not entirely unexpected, I had sort of talked myself into believing it would all work out OK.
On the good side the engine fits into the chassis really easily. The exhaust header comes out right where you would want and the intake manifold also,
lots of room all around. As I had suspected thought, the timing cover is too tall to fit under the bonnet without a scoop. Only a small problem and I don't mind.
The larger problem is that with the bellhousing attached, the T5 tranny is really wide. The tranny tunnel will have to be a few inches wider. This, combined with the offset for the input shaft on the rear end caused two problems. The foot/pedal space gets too tight to live with and the passenger seat ends up about 15 inches wide instead of the required 17 inches.
As I haven't found a smaller tranny to go with this engine, I'm looking at making the chassis bigger. I've been talking to Jim McSorley and doing some Auto Cad drawings and I think I will make the chassis 2" wider to accept the T5,
2" longer for more pedal room and so my 6'3" son might be able to drive it also, and 1" taller in the engine area so the hood scoop can be an acceptable size.
I've done elevation drawings and it still looks good as the changes are not too large. I guess Jim would call it a 2+2+1
I've just started laying out the new chassis now. Only a small setback.
I'll be posting some pictures as I go.
Check back soon.
It's August 2003 now and I'm a little more than a year into the project. I won't say I'm moving along very fast but I do keep moving along, all be it, at a snails pace.
I've now got the engine and transimission mounted. I have finished mounting the rear end. That was awfully slow because of having to order a lot of small parts and then get them all assembled into the trailing arms. I went way out on a limb here and designed a mumford link instead of the normal panard rod. I got some measured drawings from a guy in England who wishes to remain nameless here and studied the pictures from the Superformance S1 and Jeff Underwoods site.
Jeff has been very helpfull too. I did some other research and did a drawing on Autocad. I hope this works, as I still don't think I know much about it.
I think it looks good though.
I've been working out the problems with the Chevette uprights for some time. After going back and forth for a while I've finely decided on a solution that works for me and I think looks really good too. I had to redesign the a-arms a little from the book so it would work with the Chevette uprights and the Jim McSorley designed front end. I have the arms welded up now and I'm ready to weld on the brackets when I get back from a business trip to Seattle. A number of trips this summer have slowed me down too. I'll order the shocks soon and will then be finished wih the suspension.
It has proved to be a lot of work. Probably because I really haven't a clue.
I might not be the guy to follow here.
It's November now and I've been working on the steering system.
I have already used the Chevette spindles so I decided to get a Chevette rack, as well, so the tie rod ends would match the holes in the spindles.
Not a big deal but still simpeler than something else maybe. The mounting brackets have been discontinued by GM so I went to a salvage yard looking for the mounting parts. I finely found a car with manual steering after looking for several days. I noticed the steering column looked to be pretty nice, simple, not much stuff attached so I pulled that too.
The rack would almost work but the body is too long so it had to be cut down. I have pictures on the steering page. Now the tie rods are too short so I'll have extenders machined .
I now have the extentions made and in place all I have to do now is weld up the mounting bracket and attach the rack to the car.
I'm not too sure anyone ever looks at this page but I'll continue anyway.
It is now Easter Sunday 2004 and I'm two years into the build.
The steering has all been completed, just this afternoon. I can now turn the steering wheel and the wheels turn too. Wow!
I have acquired a tubing bender and completed the bent parts on the rear of the chassis. Now it is starting to look like the whole car.
The progress on this project could be a lot faster but I'm stretched a little thin at the present. I'm finishing up several remodeling projects on our house at the same time trying to totally rearrange the space in my cabinet shop so I might be able to work a little easier. It seem the walls have moved in some over the last 20 years. Of about 1000 sq ft I think I have about 200 useable.
Of course I'm still trying to earn some kind of living too and that keep getting in the way of my fun. Even think you might call me simiretired, my wife does.
I try to get something done on the car on a weekly basis. You really don't want to stop completely as all momentum will be lost. No matter how busy you are.
I'm hoping another year will see me at least nearly complete.
Update, Jan 1 2008
Well, that didn't work out as I had planed. another year has passed with no progress. The remodeling projects have been completed. That is good as Gale has been transferred to Denver. We got moved into the new house in Longmont Co a small town 35 miles north of Denver in August of 2007.
I insisted on two things during the house hunt , I had to have a basement for my wood shop and a three car garage so we could keep both my truck and Gale's new Subie in out of the snow and still have room for the "project".
Here's the new house.
We still own our house in Houston as we intend to go back when Gale retires from Anadarko Petroleum.
Yes, that's snow in the yard but it's about 55 degrees today and pretty nice outside. I've just insulated the garage and am looking for a good heater.
I hope to get the seven finished in the coming year so I can play with it in the mountains before we end up going back to Houston.
I have just received my master cylinders and ordered a cool oval gas tank and "finally" ordered my shocks and springs. Should have all this next week, second week of Jan, 2008.