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Old 7 Nov 2001, 11:17 (Ref:171335)   #1
MichaelC
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Build your own sportscar

Whilst reading around the website of forum member SimonPullan, I happened across a gentleman by the name of Ron Champion. Ron has a book named "Build your own Sportscar for £250...and race it", which is exactly what he's done. It seems to revolve around recycling a Mk2 Ford Escort, and bending a few sheets of metal around it to create an alarmingly good copy of a Caterham / Lotus 7. He calls the results a "LoCost". Not only that, the 750 Motor Club has a whole series for these things, which people actually seem to race.

Unfortunately for me, I know nothing about cars - I can only distinguish one end from the other by turning the lights on - but I know that most of you do! I don't think I'd want to drive a car that was built for £250, and I don't think it could really be done, but I'm quite prepared to spend a bit more than than on one. I know someone who'll do the work for me, but my actual question about all this is do you, the smart people, actually think it's a viable proposition. Can you recycle an Escort into a Caterham? You can find out more about how this Ron bloke does it at http://www.ronchampion.com/

Any opinions you have would be much appreciated - cheers.
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Old 7 Nov 2001, 11:57 (Ref:171353)   #2
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Airhead should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridAirhead should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
Thanks Michael!

In Australia a Lotus 7 copy cost $40,000 for a turn key example with a modern 2 litre engine.

Kits from $10,000 up. I have a hinkering to do this despite the cost/lack of experience scenario.

Surely the closest thing to a 4 wheeled motorcycle.
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Old 7 Nov 2001, 12:20 (Ref:171365)   #3
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Ah, Locosts. As in "a plague of..."

There were loads of the little buggers when we raced with the 750s at Oulton Park earlier in the year. They seemed pretty substantial in a Caterhamesque sort of way. Whether you can actually build one for £250 would depend on getting the materials cheaply enough, and your skill at metalwork
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Old 7 Nov 2001, 12:20 (Ref:171366)   #4
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"Build your own Sportscar for £250" ?
then why do they sell second hand ones for £6000+ ?
you can spend over £250 just on the tyres, where do they get £250 from.
(ive seen the book, but not read it)

Woody.
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Old 7 Nov 2001, 12:21 (Ref:171367)   #5
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ahh Maisie, your post just sneaked in there before mine

Last edited by woodyracing; 7 Nov 2001 at 12:24.
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Old 7 Nov 2001, 12:26 (Ref:171370)   #6
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Buy dead Escort for £50, remove bodywork, buy £200 of metal, bend into Locost shape, add to Escort?
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Old 7 Nov 2001, 13:28 (Ref:171398)   #7
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The goal is certainly ambitious, and no doubt difficult to achieve unless bits and pieces come staggeringly cheaply....

But... it could no doubt be done... I would say that tyre costs were not factored in at all, however.

These cars are just so simple... shame to waste them on Ford componentry.
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Old 8 Nov 2001, 10:26 (Ref:171823)   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Maisie
Ah, Locosts. As in "a plague of..."

There were loads of the little buggers when we raced with the 750s at Oulton Park earlier in the year. They seemed pretty substantial in a Caterhamesque sort of way. Whether you can actually build one for £250 would depend on getting the materials cheaply enough, and your skill at metalwork
Yes Locusts is what came into my head first! I really don't think one could be build for £250, but even if it cost me four times that, it's got to be better value than buying even a used Caterham.

Investigations into this will continue...
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Old 8 Nov 2001, 11:58 (Ref:171850)   #9
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Truckosaurus should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTruckosaurus should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTruckosaurus should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridTruckosaurus should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
I've got a copy of the 2nd edition of this book, it's an entertaining read. The £250 part uses the assumption that you can get the MkII Escort for free (and that everything is usable), the cost of the metal is also very low as it's just a few steel rods and offcuts of aluminium. I'll have a look tonight to see how he works the costings.

The updates to the 2nd edition mentions that since the book was first published the demand for old Escorts has soared and therefore you now have to start paying proper money for them.
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Old 8 Nov 2001, 21:57 (Ref:172192)   #10
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This book caused quite a stir in the kit car world, especially among manufacturers of similar cars- the book suggested the fiberglass bits, nose, wings etc could be bought from companies such as Caterham. When asked, Caterham said words like "no."
It is posible to build a locost for a very small sum of money if you're cofident with things like welding and getting hold of dead Escorts (Sparky could probably build one for £250 if he was so inclined!) the fiberglass bits are now available from Locost, as are chassis and all the other bits.
I'm a bit of a fan of simple 'no nonsense' cars, being a Dutton owner, and as such I think the Locost gave a kick up the botty to a market that was beginning to stagnate.
I think kit cars should be affordable and fun. so there.
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Old 9 Nov 2001, 12:56 (Ref:172445)   #11
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I dug the book out last night, in the building the original '£250' car, Ron Champion visited a scrapyard and bought the rear section of a Luton van for a tenner, this gave him enough aluminium for the bodywork. He got a load of bits from the Beaulieu autojumble, including the most expensive parts which were adjustable coil-over shocks for 60 quid. He also bought 'damaged but repairable' plastic nosecone and wings/mudguards for £25.

As Bluebottle says, these days you can buy as many of the parts as you want off the shelf, so the amount of homebuilding is up to you...
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Old 7 Dec 2001, 00:02 (Ref:183150)   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by AMoffat
Thanks Michael!

In Australia a Lotus 7 copy cost $40,000 for a turn key example with a modern 2 litre engine.

Kits from $10,000 up. I have a hinkering to do this despite the cost/lack of experience scenario.

Surely the closest thing to a 4 wheeled motorcycle.
Nah

This is the closest thing to a four wheeled motorbike
http://www.arielmotor.co.uk/

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Old 7 Dec 2001, 09:37 (Ref:183208)   #13
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Yes Peter.

Agreed, absolutely fantastic, but how much landed in Australia.
More achievable if indeed less pure is this...

www.oztrikes.com.au

OK - it only has three wheels and in 1910cc mildly worked VW form costs $32,000 AUS. About the cost of a Fat Boy on the road.
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Old 7 Dec 2001, 19:19 (Ref:183424)   #14
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Wow! Someone went to my website, I'm stunned.

Ron built his very first locost for £250. You could never do it for that much now. It was also a road going car. The chassis cost about £40 for the steel, he got the escort free or for £20, I can't quite remember. Basically he is a fantastic engineer and did most bits himself. Anyone could build one but it'll probably cost you £2500 or more. Ron was a teacher at my school and we built 5 at school and they cost about £4000 each I think. People are spending much, much more now because they are trying to squeeze every last drop of performance out of the stringent engine rules.

Just remembered, this is a roadcar forum. It would be a fantastic road car if you put in the hours, but it is a lot of work. The thing that makes a locost different to any other kit car is that each one is unique. Because they are completely home built, people make little alterations as they are building or source different parts, which is nice.

Anyway, that's my little ramble. Any questions on the locost either direct them at me or I think there is a Locost club website which is probably more up to date than Ron's.
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Old 16 Dec 2001, 02:04 (Ref:186386)   #15
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Heh, I'll get back to you on the subject when I finish designing my sportscar... I finished part of the design, but am still dwelling upon decisions re. suspension and stuff (whether to go as unconventional as I'd want to, or to do exactly the opposite), but hope to finish the design by late spring and get to work. Might not be as stripped-off like Ariel, butit'll sure look prettier.
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Old 17 Dec 2001, 04:06 (Ref:186771)   #16
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Heh... you'll be upgrading to at least three cylinders with this one, mate?
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Old 17 Dec 2001, 12:42 (Ref:186867)   #17
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Ray, it'll be a sports car- I'm thinking of putting even four in there...
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Old 18 Dec 2001, 00:34 (Ref:187131)   #18
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And over 500cc?

Good for you, I can see some fast laps of that pre-war circuit coming up... send me a copy of your plans if you like...
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Old 30 Aug 2002, 22:32 (Ref:369526)   #19
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Originally posted by Bluebottle
Sparky could probably build one for £250 if he was so inclined!
Well, I've finally done it. I always, always wanted a Caterham, but knew I could never afford one, so I've done the next best thing and plumped for a Locost. It's going to be a fair bit more than £250, but not ridiculously so.

I have decided for reasons of time and space to buy a chassis and fibreglass set, but the rest will either be made or adapted from one of the RWD Fords. I have plumped for the IRS option, using tubular wishbones and a Sierra diff. The chassis is being made by a company that builds them for the championship, so there might even be an element of racing pedigree to it!

I have the 2 litre Pinto and five speed from my old spaceframed Escort (now sadly sold ) along with wheels, tyres and a few other bits, all I need to source are some Cortina hubs, an Escort Mk2 steering rack and a dead Sierra for a lot of the rest.

I'm off to pay the 50% deposit tomorrow, and I take delivery in October.

Just in time to spend winter in the garage!
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Old 31 Aug 2002, 11:52 (Ref:369766)   #20
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Hey Sparky, good to hear from you again. A friend of mine here in Australia, who is a mad Escort nut, finally sold all his Escorts and bought a Westfield kit. (Westfield is an Australian company that sells Lotus 7/Catherham type kits). He put a 2 litre injected Zetec in his and it flies.
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Old 31 Aug 2002, 18:36 (Ref:370042)   #21
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Westfield is actually an English company buts sells throughout the world. Their head offices are in Kings Winford near Birmingham. Very nice people and couldnt do enough for me when i was looking at which kit to buy.
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Old 31 Aug 2002, 19:13 (Ref:370053)   #22
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Shame about the spaceframe Escort, but I hope the 'LSIS" ("Lotus Seven Inspired Sportscar") brings you much fun! I look forward to seeing the finished car, and reading more of the build-up!
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Old 31 Aug 2002, 19:15 (Ref:370056)   #23
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(P.S. the D.O.C. website may well have some useful bits in the For Sale section- it's at www.duttonownersclub.co.uk)
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Old 31 Aug 2002, 22:03 (Ref:370138)   #24
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hi,
it will be interesting to see some pics when you've finished it Sparky.

oh and talking of duttons, whats the wildest engine which has been fitted to one ?? any V8's or Cosworth turbos ?
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Old 1 Sep 2002, 16:00 (Ref:370549)   #25
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There are many V8 Duttons and there is at least one V8 twin turbo- it's in the 'For Sale' section of the website at the moment. I'm fairly sure there has been one with a Cossie turbo and I know for sure of one with a Mk3 Escort RS Turbo motor. The biggest I know of is a 5.7l V8- road legal but mostly used on drag strips.
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