Thursday, July 29, 2010

Need tiny seats? Look in a Midget!

I made a big step this week to increase the British content of my locost by purchasing a pair of 1972 MG Midget seats.

The previous owner had them leftover after restoring his Midget, which he graciously let me sit in.

These seats are small (about 17-18" across) and relatively light (24 lbs. each). Plus they will really make the interior look "period correct".

My plan is to recover them once the car is done in MG's Autumn Leaf vinyl. I figure with a matching tonnau cover, tranny tunnel cover and dashboard it'll really look awesome against my off-white and navy blue paint.

Putting them side by side in my garage at their approximate spacing really drives home how small the passenger compartment will be. Awesome!

Now that I have my seats, I have every critical piece I need to design the car. I've been waffling on doing a detailed design phase and I'm pretty sure it is going to be a go. It will keep me busy while I finish renovations to my garage (including building a garden shed to clear out all my lawn stuff) and prevent costly mistakes later.

So long, my muse!

I recently had to say goodbye to the car that started it all, my 1997 Mazda Miata.

This was the car that really showed me what a willing engine, rear wheel drive and a light weight body could do. It is 100% accurate to say that this was the spark that got me interested in making a locost. My Miata also cemented my belief that round headlights automatically make a car 100x cooler.

My Miata was the best car I've ever owned, but I need the room in the garage for the Spartan. My car did go to a good home, and I'm happy she'll see regular top-down use.

In its place, I purchased a 1999 Honda CR-V. I've been driving it for a year now and it is an absolutely wonderful daily driver (admittedly far better than the Miata).

In addition to carting my kids around its primary function is to serve as my official project support vehicle. The trunk area has already come in handy for hauling my new seats home.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Bought a radiator fan

If you're paying attention to my Spartan 7 specification sheet, you'll notice that I had both the radiator and radiator fan on my design-phase purchase list. The reason is that I've seen several builders struggle to package the radiator into the nose of their builds, and I wanted to avoid this entirely by designing the front of the frame in advace around stock components.

Since I have an aftermarket Honda Civic radiator, it makes sense to use the stock fan, motor and shroud assembly. After all, they were designed to fit together, designed to work together and the stock radiator fan assembly provides enough cooling for engines as powerful (or more so) than my Miata donor's.

I purchased this unit off EBay for $35 or so. I was looking for a used unit, but all the local yards had been picked clean and I suspect this is a part that has a limited service life. It was only $20 more to get a new one, so I took the plunge.

The overall unit is a little bulky, but I like how clean and "factory spec" the final result looks. As I get deeper into the design phase we'll see if I can wrap a front end and nose cone around the assembly.

Next time I go to a junkyard I'm going to snip off a stock Honda connector for my wiring harness. That way I can put in a drop in replacement should the part ever fail.