<< Dec 2002
Stage 1 - From plans to space frame
  March 2004 >>

  April 2004 >>
Stage 2 - getting things ‘rolling’
<< April 2004

Stage - 3 Up & running
Jan 2005 >>

Stage 4 - The home Straight

<< March 2005

<< QuickTime Movie 5M


Wakefield Park>>

July 2005>>



For some time now, in the shed at my place, I have been undertaking a slow but steady build of a ‘Locost’ or Lotus 7 replica. Recently, I paused to reflect on the process and what it could mean. Contained here are some reflections and a bit of media to help share my thoughts. The project has taken more than 2 years so far. BTW you won’t find detailed technical info here, there are plenty of other better sites for that.

What : Why : How

What is it – a quick intro?

For the novice

A two seater open top sports car. The design is a direct evolution of a car designed in 60’s, hence the retro kind of look. It is not a kit car rather it is home built. That is, it has been build from a set of plans [‘the book’] and re-used parts from ‘donor’ vehicles. A lot of the important ‘how to’ info came from the Locost Oz news group on Yahoo. Yes – the car will be road registered. This involves a series of inspections and reports from an engineer.

For the enthusiast

It is an ‘Aussie spec’ Locost, with a Nissan S13 Blacktop Turbo and 5 speed. The rest of it is mainly as per the book, ie TE Cortina brakes and live axle, Mk II Escort rack, etc. Some of the odd parts include:120Y fuel tank and Corrolla steering column.

‘Why am I doing it’ and other contemplations on 7s

From what I can remember of my thinking when I first contemplated the project, my motivations were something along these lines:

  • I’ve always liked small nimble cars that give a lot of driving ‘experience’.
  • I like building stuff.
  • I wanted an open top car. MGB’s are too rusty and slow and MX5 are too new.
  • I met someone who owned a Caterham and he couldn’t stop raving about how amazing it was to drive and how fast it was. All the usual stuff you read about 7s.

Now my goals are firmly finishing the car and using it on the road as much as I can. I’m cured of the making part and I also getting tired of saying I’m still working on it!

Building vs buying

If you are considering using 'the book’ and starting from scratch you need to be very clear and realistic in your own mind about what you are building and why. Once you start down the route of plans and home building then I think you move into a whole different mindset to commercial clubman kits. Granted, the final car may end up being almost identical but the route to getting there will be very different. I think it is the choice of route that really dictates your outcomes. Being almost at the end of a long slow build I think the journey is now at least as important as the product. Everyone knows the feeling of being able to say “I made it myself”. The process gives you a great understanding of every little detail and how it works.

Some thoughts on the style of 7

I’ve never believed that somehow I was building my own designer super car. On the style front these cars should be view as ‘functional’ rather than ‘beautiful’. The only exception is that V8 powered thingy designed by Holden for Elfin. A designer acquaintance describes this one as ‘pure sex on a stick’.

What I have come to realise is that act of building your own car makes the boldest possible statement about you and your personal tastes. In a sense, the actual appearance of the car you finally manage to drive out the shed is almost irrelevant. Most of my friends who see my almost completed car never notice all the style shortcomings. All they see is a car that someone they know has built by hand. In age where numerous people can’t even make their own dinner, constructing a whole car from a set of plans is an achievement that leaves the vast majority in awe.

I also like the highly distilled character of the car, it is very easy to see how every part of the car adds to the functions. All those stupid things, like cup holders, have not been included. You end up with a car that is pure “experience”. Or, if you work tourism marketing in New Zealand: “authentic”. I can’t think of any new cars that come anywhere close.

How – a build diary of sorts

My intention here is to give an idea of how the car is built and introduce the process involved. I’ve tried to pick images that show either a key aspect of the engineering or a major milestone in the process. The following images are in rough chronological order with some comments where relevant.

Stage 1 - from plans to space frame

Stage 2 - getting things 'rolling'

Stage 3 - up & running

Stage 4 - the home straight



Created : Andrew Remely: Created 4 July 2005, Updated 27 July 2005: Rights info : You are welcome to copy the images and text here for personal use. Where practical please acknowledge the sources. If you plan to use any content on this site for a commercial purpose please contact me first : Contact : a UNDERSCORE remely AT hotmail DOT com : Thank the SPAMers and the BOTs for this incomprehensible coded address.

This site is a member of WebRing.
To browse visit Here.