FWD "Mid-engine" Locost....?
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Author:  RoHorn [ April 19, 2023, 12:08 am ]
Post subject:  FWD "Mid-engine" Locost....?

Have been wondering recently how well an FWD build with the transaxle ahead of the engine, sort of like a chopped & channeled mini-Cord 810/812, would work and look. I'm guessing one of those Subaru engine/transaxle swap kits intended for VW rear engine conversions, but used at the front of the car, would work rather well. Yes, it would take a fair amount of re-design, which could be fun...

Part of the motivation: There are a LOT more Imprezas out there than the traditional donors - I'm a few decades too late for a traditional build.

I'm also wondering if this has been done before. I vaguely remember reading something somewhere ("Lotus Seven & The Independents" book? No longer have my copy...) about a 7 spinning the front tires after a surprise snowstorm at some 7 gathering.

Mid-engine RWD with a Subaru engine/transaxle already done (Factory 5 "818") - might scale up the Terrapin Mk5 plans to make my own...

Author:  Miatav8,MstrASE,A&P,F [ April 19, 2023, 10:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: FWD "Mid-engine" Locost....?

I don't see any net gain/advantage to doing this. A fwd ifs donor can be repowered with a diff and a bike motor for less effort.

Custom gear sets for flipping a transaxle around the other way are very expensive and may not be available for future replacement.

If you wan to have fwd with the transaxle in front of the engine, take a vw bug type transaxle and build with it at the front with custom uprights or appropriate to the cv joint early vw fwd uprights.

The factory five came from a guy who built a one-off called the Blast. Only downside imho is the transmission sticks out past the rear wheels.

Author:  RoHorn [ April 19, 2023, 7:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: FWD "Mid-engine" Locost....?

Good points - thanks.

Initially thought about it after seeing a cheap Vanagon come up for sale not too far away - and wondering what could be done with it. Then I found out that replacing the entire drivetrain with Subaru hardware is common enough to support an aftermarket. But the VW drivetrain is still an option, even if I'm trying to get away from older hardware.

That - and wondering what the vehicle dynamics of an FWD car with far lower and centralized mass than normal might be like - and liking the idea of a front engine sports car without the transmission and driveshaft taking up cockpit space.

Author:  Miatav8,MstrASE,A&P,F [ April 20, 2023, 6:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: FWD "Mid-engine" Locost....?

I recall the subbie custom ring and pinion comes from Australia but I've not been following that very much. VW busses are in high demand by folks world wide with lots of cash so it might make sense for them.

The original vw transaxles for busses are strong but don't have many options for final gearing and only 4 speeds without overdrive. Original gearing is "farm tractor" low due to the power to weight of the busses. I had a '70s one.

Chris in PA can answer what that would be like. He used a vw engine up front with a torque tube (less interior space lost than using a driveshaft) and a porsche transaxle at the rear: viewtopic.php?f=35&t=13200

Author:  RoHorn [ April 23, 2023, 7:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: FWD "Mid-engine" Locost....?

Will have to study the VW possibilities some more - thanks for that link. The Subaru option has far more potential, but it would also cost an awful lot more. I don't want to fall into the "For $X000.00 more" trap - finished is always faster/more fun than unfinished.

Had a VW Thing as a daily driver back when they were dirt cheap - almost 40 years ago. Just started searching for Super Beetles, which used to be cheap and unloved - even those are getting more expensive. I didn't know I was that old...

Author:  Sam_68 [ April 28, 2023, 11:01 am ]
Post subject:  Re: FWD "Mid-engine" Locost....?

RoHorn wrote:
Have been wondering recently how well an FWD build with the transaxle ahead of the engine, sort of like a chopped & channeled mini-Cord 810/812, would work and look.

It's been done at least twice that I can recall off the top of my head, here in the UK (I'm sure there are other examples that I can't bring to mind at present).

One was a car called the Brooke 245, which was a tandem 2-seater:



The other was a one-off special called the JNS, styled to look like an old Alfa Romeo Alfetta 159:



Both are based on old Renaut 5 components; both worked well (the Brooke 245 was sold in kit form and was reviewed favourably by the UK kit car press), and both obviously used the Renault drivetrain to take advantage of the fact that you could achieve a 'front mid-engined' layout without the need for a propshaft, so you could have a centrally seated driver sitting down low.

The Brooke was also offered as a 3-wheeler (and there were several other 3-wheelers - the Kindred Spirit and DRK come to mind - that used the same drivetrain)

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