From Locost to Lemon

How nice it would be to have all the time in the world to be able to pursue all of the projects and attend all the events that I would like to do! Well, I headed out to check out some friends who were in the midst of their own projects. I’d say these are inspirational experiences really because I would very much like to pursue some of these possibilities in the future.

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Locosts

John Grimberg has been telling be about this car he wants to build, this has been an ongoing conversation actually. He brings this up periodically and then convinces himself that he is perfectly satisfied with his track ready Miata. It turns out that there was a meeting of Lotus Sevens at a friend of John’s house. The meeting was during the day and I had to work, but I was able to get over to see the final cars before they left.

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John’s friend Skip owns the blue Caterham. His has a Miata motor and is running around 300hp at the wheels. That doesn’t sound like a lot, however you have to keep in mind that these cars weigh no more than about 1400lbs. That is pretty much half the weight of a current sports car. So this car needs much less power to be able to accelerate like a current sports car! Skip’s car is capable of about 0-60 in 3.5-3.7 seconds and 0-100 in only 7 seconds! It is brutally fast at only 300hp! He took me for a spin to see what it was like.

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Now, I feel like I should explain a bit. Lotus introduced the seven in 1957 and designed it by their company philosophy of performance through weight savings. When they stopped producing the car in 1972 a company called Caterham licensed the design and has produced them ever since. Kits have been developed and there seem to be a lot of different variations on the design at this point. There are now blueprints available that allow home builders to create their own car. When people do this they need to modify the design to accommodate their engine and transmission, however the design is pretty all inclusive so it makes this a reasonable vehicle to build if you decide that you want to build a car. These home built cars are referred to as Locost’s (said Low-cost) and there is quite a following including a build forum as well as books and variants.

So after checking this thing out all I could think is “I could do that!” So I have been talking to John and reading other peoples build logs and trying to figure out how I could justify this to myself. How do you justify spending a year to build your own car!? We will see, I now have a lot of ideas and I would love to build one, but I need to make sure I sort out the budget and the plan first so I don’t end up with a pile of steel in my garage that isn’t able to go anywhere!

Lemons
Today I stopped the Ghetto Motorsports complex. Jeff, Ian, Alan and Kirk were there and they were working on their 1980 Mazda. They bought the car for $100 and have been racing it in LeMons races. These races are a play off the 24 hours of Le mans. The goal of the racing is to race a car that is purchased for less than $500. Safety equipment can be added but you have to be ready to either have your car destroyed by vote or purchased for $500 at the end of the race. Often these cars have themes and the racing is filled with repairs and contact. This car has gone through several motors and trackside repairs are typically pretty involved when they happen. This is racing that is affordable and it is racing that is open to anyone who has a place to hide a crappy beater car from their neighbors when they aren’t racing it. Turns out these guys have that. They are racing this weekend down in Pueblo with 5 drivers and two 7 hour races. To be honest it is pretty impressive to think that this car can run for 7 hours straight!

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So now of course I think to myself, “well, I have $100 dollars…maybe I should consider something like this!” Of course, time is the problem on this one. Just like everything all these events are on the weekend and of course…guess who works on the weekends currently… Hopefully I can figure something out, because that looks like a lot of fun.

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