Saturday, September 15, 2007

Locost Personality

So the second order of business is to start to define what my car is and isn't. Here's a brief summary of what I view my locost to be:

It's a cliche to say that locosts are like bikes, but the analogy is perfect. They're light, fun, powerful and generally not used for any kind of serious daily use. I'll be a little more specific.

This is a BMW F800 ST, Bimmer's most "sporting" sport-tourer. It's a sport bike with a few concessions to long trips and the occasional slog through traffic. My car will share the same purpose and spirit.

First off, it means the car has to be as lean as possible. It's a Seven after all! In my case I'll certainly forgo a stereo, power steering and power brakes.

I expect my car to be a sunny-day only car. If it's going to rain, it's either in the garage or under a tarp. That allows me to ditch the roof and side curtains. Ditto the AC and heater (I'll drive faster or bundle up).

I want to be able to drive my car to work. The car will be street legal and registered in my home state. That means turn signals, headlights, a windshield, exhaust stuff and all that jazz. This requirement also calls for a radiator big enough to cool the engine when stopped, some kind of reverse gear (no motorcycle engines), springs soft enough to handle open road faults, and it has to have a pretty loud horn.

I want to be able to take the car on the annual long trip to somewhere. This means it'll have to have some storage space and a spare tire and jack (just say no to fix-a-flat). It'll be an interesting challenge to get both without losing too much sporting character. A glove box would be nice, too.

This car will definitely be autocrossed, but not raced wheel-to-wheel. This means adjustable camber and toe, but I'll only have a roll bar and not a full cage. I also intend to fit 4 point harnesses in both positions. As an added concession to my vanity, want a camera mount on the roll bar for the occasional race video. I'm still debating adjustable brake bias...

Anyway, this seems to be a good start. When you start making decisions like this, things seem to fall into place quickly.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

First things first...

So I find myself sitting here with a blank slate. My locost only exists in my head, and I'm finally ready to start the research, concepting and design process. It's only logical that I start with the most important details, namely, what colors to paint the car.

Sure, things like engine and suspension details are important. But this is what really matters. Casual onlookers, curious friends and ambivalent wives only care about how the car looks.

Lotus/Caterham Sevens often sport a "lipstick" and stripe paint scheme as shown on this Caterham Classic. I love this look, and I think that's the direction I'm going in. As far as the actual color scheme is concerned, I've got other ideas...

You can't swing your arms nowadays without hitting a Red Bull sponsored race car. They're everywhere. And as much as I'd rather drink gasoline than a Red Bull, I think that they're the coolest looking cars in the racing world.

I don't think it's the graphics so much as it is the basic color palette that makes the scheme work over a variety of cars. Doing some web research, I've found that the colors break down like this:

On a locost, he dark blue would make a great base color, the mustard-gold-yellow is a great stripe color, and that crimson red is perfect for accents or additional striping.

I don't know exactly how these translate into real colors, but for right now this seems like a pretty good plan of attack. Perhaps when I get better at Photoshop, I can do a cool rendering of the final product.