Tuesday, February 12, 2008

An essential addition to your library

Getting your locost library started is pretty easy. There are only three or four books necessary to a basic reference library. But which book should you get next? Without a doubt, you should get Kimini: How to design and build a mid-engine sports car - from scratch by Kurt Bilinski. In fact, I'm starting to think you should get it first.

At first, the Kimini doesn't seem at all like a locost. But despite it's more passive-aggressive styling, the car was designed, built and refined in the same manner as any other serious homebuilt. Kurt is fond of saying that this book is not a "cookie-cutter" set of plans on how to build, but instead is a detailed account of the process of building a car at home.

When I started looking into building a locost I was initially attracted to the "baseline" design. Heck, the car was done as far as I was concerned. As I've read more, I've found that the art and science of building a car at home is less about black magic and voodoo and more about carefully and purposefully thinking things through.

Reading about the Kimini build, I'm emboldened even more to research, analyze and detail every aspect of the car (within some kind of reason). After finishing the book, I started pouring through the standard locost books looking for the same level of engineering and design methodology as Kurt had put into his project. I didn't find it, and now I feel that there may be more left to improve in the design than I'd first thought.

Don't get me wrong. The Kimini book outlines years of research, development and building. Locost books make construction look easy enough to do. The Kimini book is much more realistic and transparent. If you still want to build a car after reading about Kurt's 10 year build, this is the hobby for you!

So I intend to roughly follow the design sequence Kurt laid out early on in his book. You can get a rough sense of the process from the table of contents. I'm sure there will be tons of references to his work in this blog in the years to come.

Buy this book. It's a good deal at twice the price.

And if you just want to cheat and skip the whole process, Kurt's Kimini is for sale...

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