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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: February 24, 2020, 5:52 pm 
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Joined: February 16, 2020, 11:03 pm
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As I muddle through finishing up the CAD drawing on my frame, I’m starting to source a donor vehicle. Current ideas include a Miata, the Subaru BRZ, using a Honda k motor and Miata trans and rear axle behind it, or what?

With a fresh piece of paper and a reasonable budget, what would you put in your car?


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PostPosted: February 25, 2020, 8:48 am 
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The most common power trans for Locost builds seem to be the Miata's and Ford 2.0 - 2.5's. The Subie flat four is possible, but it would be a lot more difficult to package in the engine bay. If you are not married to a brand, I would go with the best deal. I strongly suggest that you get the complete vehicle, Vs a part at a time. In the long run it will probably reduce the cost by 40-50% and time to build by 30-40%. I'm sure others will comment :) davew


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PostPosted: February 25, 2020, 9:39 am 
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Location: West Chicago,IL
It is kind of hard to ignore the Miata as a donor. They are plentiful and well supported for parts that you miss getting off the donor. I do believe that those who do use the Miata, cannot fit it under the bonnet of a book chassis. A higher bonnet/chassis may be required. If that lower stance is important to you, then you might want to find a different donor, maybe with a 4-cyl OHC engine.

My feeling is that getting any donor in full, is the least expensive and fastest way to completion. Least expensive is self explanatory. My reasoning for fast is that it is easier and quicker to use what you have and find a way to implement it, than to search out the optimum "widget", which of course is just your version of optimum. There is no "best". Everything is a compromise. Using donor parts will also save both research time, shipping time, shipping and sales tax. Those last two can easily add 20% to your component costs.

"The book" has a list of the most basic components that should be kept from any donor. I seem to recall it may be on this site somewhere.

The old saying of "Fast, good or cheap. Pick two." really applies here, except that if you chose fast and cheap, you can still make a good Locost.

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“Any suspension will work if you don’t let it.” - Colin Chapman

Visit my ongoing MGB Rustoration log: over HERE

Or my Wankel powered Locost log : over HERE


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PostPosted: February 25, 2020, 10:52 am 
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Location: Duxbury, MA USA
Having built a hodgepodge of Toyota, Alfa, Lotus, Honda, Mazda parts....as well as a bunch of parts from our friends at Jegs and Summit... I can certainly confirm that a single source donor is MUCH easier as so much effort went into the work of making all of those disparage parts play nice with each other.
Paul

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PostPosted: February 25, 2020, 2:48 pm 
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Sounds like the Miata really is the best choice. Is there a generational advantage?


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PostPosted: February 25, 2020, 4:25 pm 
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I'm a fan of the NB platform, with 99-00 non VVT engines as my favorite.

The NB has slightly improved geometry in the front suspension.
The rear suspension is EASY to use as a whole subframe bolt in. Works great if you don't feel like building control arms that no one is going to see anyway.

Front suspension goes together easily using one of Jack's kits.

There are several metric tons of people playing with Miatas making a huge market for the bits you pull off that you don't need. Fenders, doors, hoods, lights, mirrors, you name it, someone wants it.

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PostPosted: February 25, 2020, 5:51 pm 
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Joined: December 17, 2010, 1:24 pm
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Another vote for Miata! I'm going to use the '99 NB platform mentioned by TooBusy. I will be using a 2-2-1 (Haynes) frame, so hopefully won't run into the bonnet clearance problems that he addressed. Haven't started construction yet. I've got my donor car, got my steel tube, I've collected some of the fiberglass body bits. Still collecting needed tools. Hopefully, construction will begin in the very near future.

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PostPosted: February 25, 2020, 6:16 pm 
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I decided to go with an MGB as my doner. However, the motor/trans (complete) were given to me. Complete MGBs with rusted out bodies are available and and running for not very expensive costs. THe suspension, brakes, motor.trans, rear end, and even the electrical are easily adaptable to the Locost. Take a look at Nick47's build.

Even then, I could have purchased a complete Miata motor/trans/ecu from one of the JDM importers on a local craigslist for less than it would have cost me by the time I have the motor rebuilt, new clutch and upgraded fuel system and I will still not have the power of the Miata.

Also remember, the motor in the Land Rover Evoque is a Ford 4 cyl turbo as well.

I had the pleasure of seeing JPS Europa's car, that's a screamer! It uses a 20 valve Toyota 4 cyl with a rear drive config. I have seen these configs come across on the JDM listings as well. Usually they are out of a Japanese Soarer. And the package is very compact.

Good luck!

Thom


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PostPosted: February 26, 2020, 10:59 am 
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Joined: April 1, 2010, 10:26 am
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NA/NB Miata is probably the best option, later the better. I think you will only have bonnet clearance if you use the very late 1.8 VVT engine, because the VVT controller sticks directly upwards just behind the inlet cam.

Graham

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PostPosted: November 3, 2020, 5:38 pm 
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Something that I am considering is a driveline swap from a Saturn Sky or Pontiac Solstice. Its a Front engine Rwd setup. Engine is a Ecotec and manuals are common. Ive found several wrecks on FB Marketplace.


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PostPosted: November 4, 2020, 8:49 pm 
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Joined: December 1, 2013, 10:48 pm
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Location: Atlanta GA
Burto17 wrote:
Something that I am considering is a driveline swap from a Saturn Sky or Pontiac Solstice. Its a Front engine Rwd setup. Engine is a Ecotec and manuals are common. Ive found several wrecks on FB Marketplace.


I like this. I was never a fan of the miata when building mine. Just didn’t make the power I wanted. Now I’m in an upgrade game.


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PostPosted: February 23, 2021, 2:19 am 
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You guys say that Miatas are plentiful, but I don't see to many and even those are pretty expensive $5-6k.


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PostPosted: February 23, 2021, 10:09 am 
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Apparently the prices on Miatas have been going up lately. A lot depends on location, too! Old, worn out roadsters will demand higher prices in the sun belt than they will in West Hope ND! I found mine about ten years ago for the Princely sum of $1500 for a '99 with an extra engine & trans, but it was in Lawrence, KS, and it had been in a wreck, But nothing that I needed was damaged!

Good Luck!

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PostPosted: February 23, 2021, 10:10 am 
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Not sure what happened here!

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Last edited by ngpmike on February 24, 2021, 11:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: February 23, 2021, 12:23 pm 
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So where are you located? What do you expect to pay, and what condition are you searching for? It all has to do with availability, condition and price. Some here have access to insurance auctions.

https://www.copart.com/lotSearchResults ... da%20miata

The ones linked below have buy it now prices. ( I don't know anything about buying from auctions)

https://www.copart.com/lotSearchResults ... 22:true%7D

Others have paid higher prices and sold off parts for more than they paid for the vehicle.

If you are looking for a running <100,000 mile car, running and drivable, and in impeccable shape for < $2,000 then you will be looking for many years I think. If you can pick up an older model with ~ 100,000 miles from a private party that was wrecked, you could certainly pay a lot less.

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Chuck.

“Any suspension will work if you don’t let it.” - Colin Chapman

Visit my ongoing MGB Rustoration log: over HERE

Or my Wankel powered Locost log : over HERE


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