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guestbook

Have any comments? Questions? Suggestions? Just want to say hi or to point out your own interesting project? Click here. I'd love to hear from you.
-Keith

I want one

Too fast old , too late smart. I'm wishing I could turn back time. Maybe if I could build a real sharp seven I could go fast enough to get back to, oh I don't know maybe 1959 and get in at the very start of this thing. Thanks
cheapsportscar.net
Don, December 20, 2015

Wiring harness

Hey mate I'm currently building a seven with a miata motor and am trying to figure out the wiring and was wondering if you had a diagram for the harness you made
Phill, November 28, 2015
Keith: It's simply the Miata wiring diagram with all the non-essential parts removed.

Hi!

Hi! Yet another guy doing homework to build a Locost someday...need to get myself a garage to work in first, but until then I'm learning all I can. Thanks for being such a help & inspiration!
The Veg, October 22, 2015

Hi from Rossia

Hi, I have just read your build diary, from start to finish, on my lunch breaks over the last few days. It is the most interesting & entertaining read I have had in a long time. I promise to buy your book soon. I have included a link to a news story you may find interesting. Keep up the good work.
http://www.blog.servitutis.ru
Evgeny, January 6, 2012

Great site. $863.47 book?

Hi Keith, I am really enjoying reading your build diary but I was wondering if you are aware that amazon, show's your book as costing $863.47 new. I am sure its a great book, but for that price it should have free shipping! Keep up the good work.
Lee in Az, December 18, 2011
Keith: I'm pretty sure Amazon will give you free shipping in that case! The problem is that the book is now out of print, so new copies are getting hard to find. The Amazon prices are obviously sheer fiction, though.

Great Job, any updates?

Keith, Amazing job, I want to also build a car but the wireing looks soooo hard. Has anyone simply tried cutting all and only adding back what they need instead of only taking away what they don't? Almost seems like it'd be easier. Any updates? Last entry is a few years ago. Hope all is well. P.S. I wonder how expensive it would be to subcontract various work out thats over a persons head example(farming out frame reinforcement, wireing mess, tuning ecu etc but doing everything else yourself) I don't know how to weld and I'm not an engineer and I'm not an electrician. I know you're not either but you have access to many things most of us don't.
Ben S, September 28, 2011
Keith: You can go either way - build up from scratch or remove what you don't need. I actually did the former for the Seven and I've done the latter for a few others. Honestly, it's about the same amount of work either way. It's not exciting work but it needs to be done. This car was built without access to special tools. Seriously. Nobody believes me, just it's true. Sure, I used a dyno and some cornerweighting scales to do the fine-tuning and to push a few boundaries, but other than a $400 Home Depot welder it was all just the tools from my tool box. Don't use the "I don't have access to these sorts of tools!" excuse, you'd be amazed what you can really do. The same goes for skill. If you don't know how to wire a car or how to weld, this is a perfect opportunity to learn. The car's just been sitting since the last update. I've built another couple of fairly significant cars such as the Targa Miata (and then rebuilt it with a V8) and the V8 MGB GT. The Seven is coming up for some work soon, though. I need to get the engine sorted out and then apply what I learned on the other cars to this one.

cool site

Hi, just wanted to say what a great site this is and that it is highly appreciated. There's nothing cooler than cars like these.
http://www.footballexperts.net/
arne, July 8, 2011

Enjoying the book

Hi Keith, I'm 3/4 way through the book and just wanted to commend you on it, and the great result of your adventure. Hope to do a similar thing one day (year)!
Paul, July 7, 2011
Keith: I hope you do! Good luck.

one of a kind

Hello, my father built his seven, back around 2001, using a mgbgt donor car. He knew Ron Champion quite well, and I got to meet him as well. He sat at my kitchen table and signed my copy for me. My father passed away shortly after completing the car, so I have it know, there are pictures of the car during the build, in the second edition, along with a mention of him from ron. have a good one.
saxecolburg@metreocast.net
Ken Walton, April 14, 2011

Good Read!

Hey Keith, Just finished the build diary and it was a great read. When is the 2nd edition of the book coming out? updated with all the knowledge you've gained running the car since the book was published? Though I'm sure you have enough on your plate as far as projects go! Now I'm off to read the FM Westfield build log! Cheers, Tom.
Tom Wainright, December 14, 2010
Keith: Unfortunately, there's no second edition planned - and the book has just gone out of print. There may be an ebook version coming out eventually, but this website is as good as it gets right now.

Great Site/Book!

Hey Keith! I have your book and I've just about finish reading your build log. Great info, Thanks! I hope to make a book 7 with a 1.8 Miata donor so this has been great reading your progress over the years. The idea of building my own 7 was pretty daunting before I started reading your build log. Now only the wiring scares me!! LOL Oh I'm at the part where you are trying to bend your second hood. Well I found this video on youtube about the Donkervoort and at 4:20, or there about, it shows how they bend their hoods!! They make it look so easy! Check it out! Looks easier than rolling on the lawn! LOL Thanks again for the great site and book! Cheers.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcU4jKuMbFc
Tom Wainright, December 9, 2010
Keith: You have to admit that rolling around on the lawn adds a certain amount of entertainment value, though...

Gotta frame

Been thru the book several times that I have dog eared a lot of pages. Thinking of a build using a Coveland frame, but can't find one. Understand they are not building any longer. Know of any other options besides learning how to weld.
Hal Wenk, December 1, 2010
Keith: The availability of frames comes and goes. Coveland seems to have stopped delivering. Kinetic Vehicles might be able to help out, but I don't know offhand of any frames available. That doesn't mean there aren't any, only that I don't know of them! Another option would be to find someone who's building their own frame, and ask them to build two. The extra work for the second frame isn't all that big and it'll help offset the price of their own build. I know this has been done a number of times.

Way cool

I think that this is SO cool! I'm only 16, can't afford much of anything, so I'm easing my jealousy by hacking a nitro rc car apart, and building a 7 that way, with my own chassis, and sheet metal. Hey, at-least mine revs higher! Good luck wt. your exploits, someday I'll build a real one too!
iantgrinde@gmail.com
Ian Grinde, September 12, 2010

A Hawaiian locost build using Toyota parts

Thirty five years ago, my father had a Series III Lotus 7a. I got to drive that car twice before it was sold. I'd like very much to have a car like that again, so I'm building one probably using the abundant and cheap Toyota donors available here on Maui. I'm hoping your book I've just ordered will fill in the gaps left by the Gibbs book. I'm wondering how much difference an IRS rear end will make in the handling vs. the live rear axle I have in my current donor. I don't want to race, or rally, just want a quick nimble car to drive on the very twisty roads we have here so I can enjoy the almost unlimited beautiful weather and scenery.
isights at me dot com
Ian Sights, May 3, 2010
Keith: Ian - the IRS will make the biggest difference on rough roads, helping to keep the tires actually in contact with the pavement. The ride should be better as well. In terms of handling, you can make a live axle car work pretty well and it's a bit easier to set up. There are more ways to get an IRS wrong, but when they're good they're very good.

Great build diary

Hey Keith, My name is clint, and I just wanted to thank you for a great build, or several builds actually, I started with the Targa car, then the Mini, and most recently read the Locost. I always enjoy reading down to earth straight shooting builders that have a honest and sincere love for the hobby. I recently went to my first autocross event here in San Diego, and am so hooked. I have been into offroad, forever, and am now ready to change over to street/track. The rock crawler and offroad racer are soon up for sale, and a Miata is going to find it's way into the garage. It will be so nice to be able to use a toy and not have to make a weekend trip out of it. I noticed your build diary ended almost a year ago. I hope it is just a case of other things taking priority, and not that you have gotten rid of the seven. Please take care, and give my best to your wife. I feel as though I almost know her from your kind words. It is great that you show her your appreciation in this forum. I have a supportive wife, but don't think quite that supportive. Clint clint23@me.com
Clint, March 12, 2010
Keith: Glad to hear you enjoyed them, Clint! I write these diaries as much for myself as anyone else, they make a great reminder. I still have the Seven, it's just gathering dust until I get the chance to sort out what's going on in the engine. In the meantime, I've been working on the MG. The Seven will get some attention eventually. Right now, I'm trying to get my hands on a certain engine...

Home made 7

Hiiam bilding my7 Imake the frame I used 1inch squar is that ok I am from barbados I would love use bike part
roger_skillman@yahoo.com
Roger oo7, March 10, 2010
Keith: 1" square should be fine.

CMC-7 kit

Hi Keith, I've read both your book and your build log. Thanks for the great insight. I have the opportunity to pick up an unbuilt CMC-7 Miata frame along with some of the body parts. In your opinion and experience, is this a good frame to use, or should I walk away? Randall
Randall, December 14, 2009
Keith: I can't believe there are still some out there! If the frame and body are in good shape, go for it. The end result works pretty well. You'll need to take care of a couple of weak points such as the diff mounting and it wouldn't hurt to rework the front control arms a bit, but overall it's a good start. It all depends on how you feel about the price of the parts you're looking at.

Enjoyed your book but having you hand a pair of Atoms their asses was better yet. Getting ready to fire off a Rover aluminum V8 version Based on a Tiger Avon chassis (Smitty's Lightweight V8 on the website). When I get it sorted out I'll come gunning for you. Smitty
Mike Smith, December 12, 2009
Keith: Sounds like a plan, Mike! I might have to install that stroked engine I've been eyeing...

Maybe my next project

Hi Keith. Funny thing. I saw the previews for the new AMC series the Prisoner, then started watching the original Prisoner series. I saw that cool looking car Patrick McGoohan drove and said what is that? Google up the Locust 7. A bit more research led to the Locost 7 and your book. A quick order to Amazon and I have the book! I'm checking all the recommended sites to see if I can actually pull this off. Your books seems like a great starting point. We'll see how it goes
Rick Hodgson, December 11, 2009
Keith: Good old KAR 120C :) Glad to hear the Prisioner's car is still bringing interested people into the 7 fold.

Thanks

Just bought from Steve's the Grassroots Magazine build car. One of the first things I had done was buy and read your book and many other's after it.Your's is still the best. Look forward to reassembling this car and putting it back on the track and street. Steve highly recommended your mod's also.
Ingmar Lauringson, October 5, 2009
Keith: I'm guessing this must be the car that was built at the Mitty in 2004. The car built for and by Grassroots Motorsports is a track car in California now. I'm glad to hear it's going to be resurrected.

Great stuff Keith!

Hey mate, just finished reading the build diary for the se7en! and I gotta say, man im impressed. I stumbled across the site a couple of weeks back and have been hooked ever since. Often sneaking a read during work just to find out how the next track day went or how you could improve the little beast. Now my copy of "how to build a sports car: on a budget" is on its way so I can start reading up for my future honda S2000 based se7en build. Being in Australia, I may have to look at a few things differently but I will always be coming back to your site for tips along the way. IM HOOKED! Cheers Keith! Lachlan
Lachlan Ruthven, August 24, 2009
Keith: Thanks for the compliments, Lachlan! If you're building in Oz, you'll need to take the ADRs into account. There's a document running around showing the chassis reinforcements required, often called the "aussie mods". Good luck with it!

Wow, What a build, and story

I used to frequent miata.net as Miata8psi, and we have spoken on the phone a few times. I have since sold the miata to purchase a baby box for our new daughter. Litterally a box. Scion XB. This build makes me very sad I had to sell the miata, as it was paid for and the body was done, it would have made a perfect donor. And, with the supercharged 1.8 spittin out somewhere around 145hp Im sure it would go very well. Great build, Thanks for shareing.
Logan, August 18, 2009
Keith: Glad you enjoyed it, Logan. It's not too late, there are more Miatas out there...

Hello

Keith, Just wanted to say "Hi" and tell you I enjoyed the book. Lots of good stuff when you need answers. Don Gray a.k.a. N. Versailles Cobra on the Locost site
Don Gray, August 10, 2009
Keith: Glad to hear it was useful, Don.

WOW....

Keith, After spending the last 3 days reading all 1434 entries, all I can say is WOW!! I have been slowly gathering steam on what will be a frame up build of a VW powered Locost. Your journal has re-lit the fire and as soon as I can sell my other toy (84 VW Jetta GLi with MSEFI and waiting turbo... any takers?) I'll be diving in head long. You have given me some amazing in sight to some of the burning questions and HUGE ideas for improvements before I even start building! Despite the detractors, I bought your book as soon as I got to the page announcing it's arrival as I can imagine no better reference for the future. I have even unknowingly been talking to you about a Pallet Donor! (Yeah, I'm the lug that wants everything but the engine!!) Sorry to hear about you losing the record, but congrats on building what has to be the funnest car to drive ever built.. and I'm only reading about it!! If you ever get to PIR, look me up.. Hopefully I'll have a car by then and we'll try the ocean roads! Cheers! Ken
bluewaterdiver@hotmail.com
Ken Stevens, May 20, 2009
Keith: Glad to hear you enjoyed the site, Ken. Good luck with the build!

Great Info

Great site. Some friends and I are building 4 locosts in my garage. 2 of the cars will have miata drivetrains, one with a rotory, and one with a bike engine. Its been pretty interesting so far. I had a question though. Why place the engine back so far and not up closer to the front suspension. If I kept the engine closer to the front , then I could use the drive shaft, without any modifications. What do you think? I have a book chassis, fyi. Thanks Ronnie
nvmycivic2@yahoo.com
Ronnie Plaisted, May 11, 2009
Keith: The further back the engine sits, the better your weight distribution and polar moment. This means better handling. I'm not sure you could actually get a Miata engine under the hood if you pushed it forward by another foot. You'd also find the shift lever would be much too far forward to reach. Shortening the driveshaft isn't a difficult thing to do, and it helps with the rest of the packaging.

where to begin!

first off... GREAT site and book! I've read them both multiple times. happy to say I've started a similar build, similar in concept only though... light weight and loads of power! I'm located just east of Nashville TN, and can't wait to get this beast on the road. the frame is my own design, as is pretty much everything else aside from the powertrain of course! thanks again for keeping everyone updated on your progress through the site, it's been a large motivating factor in my build.
david williams, May 6, 2009
Keith: Glad to hear it was useful! Good luck with your build.

COOL WEBSITE

KEITH, WAY COOL WEBSITE HERE DUDE. MAN, I'M IMPRESSED. WAS JUST WATCHING SOME OF THE VIDEOS AND WANTED TO SAY HI. AFTER I GET THE LS3-MX5 SORTED OUT, MAYBE THEN I CAN TURN MY ATTENTION TO A 7. I REALLY ENJOYED THE ARTICLE ABOUT YOUR 7 AND THE ATOM! THAT ARTICLE SOUNDED LIKE HIGH PRAISE (OR HIGH ENVY) TO ME. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK. CYA, ROBERT
rlsr@bellsouth.net
ROBERT LABORDE, April 10, 2009
Keith: Thanks Robert!

for the billionth time (probably)

Apologies for re-asking a question you've probablyheard over and aover. I'm 6'5 (and thin) and I want to build a 7. Can the frame be lengthened so I can fit? I don't mind small and tight within reason.
John Nachtrieb, March 19, 2009
Keith: It certainly can, altougth you might be surprised by the amount of legroom in the stock frame. Footroom is more likely to be a problem though.

Thanks

Thanks for the most interesting read in quite some time. The writing and photos were superb.
Bob Johnson, February 23, 2009
Keith: Glad you enjoyed it, Bob.

Thank You

Thanks for the book, and for the website. I have just recently started to learn about "Locosts", and have been reading voraciously. Your book has had the best blend of entertainment and information by far of those I have read, and in fact I have spent the entire day reading your site from where the book left off until the end just now. I will be sure to re-read both many times as I begin to gather parts and inspiration for my build.
DP, January 18, 2009
Keith: Thanks for the kind words, DP! And good luck with the build. I think building the car is as much fun as driving it, especially if you like solving puzzles.

Ready to build

Keith Thank you for the website and all of the wonderful information. I ve been wanting to build a Seven for years. When I discovered your site and some of the other wonderful sites it inspired me. Unfortunately at the moment I don t have a place to build in. Maybe after some of the racecar projects get cleared out. In the meantime I am building the car from scratch in 1/4 scale. I got the idea from you with the tamiya model. Couldn t locate one so found the plans for the frame and I am building it using brass tubing. Using a build board etc the way it talks about it in the champion book. The point is that I will have basically built the frame once in miniature and will have already seen some of the issues and its giving me a chance to test some ideas. Just wanted to say thank you. My garage is taken up at the moment with an MSM MX5 and the shop has 2 Sports 2000s in it.
w5jwd@yahoo.com
Swiftracing, January 1, 2009
Keith: I like the quarter-scale build idea, that's pretty cool. Good luck!

Building the frame

Would it be practical to build the frame prior to selecting a donor car? I'm looking for a wreaked RX7 or Toyota for this role. Are there particular frame dimension differences?
Simon , November 21, 2008
Keith: There will be a few differences depending on the dimensions of your engine, transmission and rear axle. You can certainly get started on the basic frame, but things like the transmission tunnel may need to be reworked. Both of the donors you're looking at are fairly commonly used and don't have particularly odd characteristics, so I don't see why you couldn't get going before the car appears. At the worst, you might have to make some slight adjustments.

Thanks!

Thank you for your exhaustive work on your websites! It has been inspiring to follow. I definitely have the Miata bug something fierce, now I just have to go out and buy one.
Alex Moerlein, November 15, 2008

tire upgrade

For what it's worth, Good-win Racing sells a 15x7 wheel made by Einki that weighs only 9.8 pounds. As for the tire test, I couldn't find it. It was an old test, when 205/50x15's were the latest thing. Did I just date myself? By the way, congratulations on your success at the Targa Newfoundland. For a first-time entrant, your results were FANTASTIC!
Jerel Walker, November 11, 2008
Keith: Perhaps someday I'll mount my 205/50-15 RA-1s on 8.8 lb SSR Competitions (from the Targa car) on the Seven and see how it compares with the current 205/55-14 setup. I think there's more to be gained from playing with the suspension first though. The Targa was fun, thanks for the support!

Chris Fiacciones's old car

Hi Keith, I notice from your 7 diary that your colleague Brandon bought CHris's old blade engined car & is tracking it fairly regularly. You may (or may not!) know that the suspension on his car has ancestry in the suspension on mine (essentially the wishbone design & geometry), so basically I would be very interested to hear his impressions & any suggestions for improvements! Maybe you could drop me a line on bob.carter@virgin.net Thanks. By the way keep up the good work writing about cars - I enjoy reading about your exploits & projects! Bob C
freespace.virgin.net/bob.carter
Bob Carter, October 30, 2008
Keith: Brandon's still sorting out a number of bugs in the car, so it hasn't actually seen all that much track time yet. So far, though, the rear suspension has been about the least troublesome part of the car! He's going to put together a site for it so you can follow along on the exploits of that car as well. I expect my lap record to fall quite soon...

tire upgrade

I've been following your autocross success and noticed the increased competition! It looks like you're still using the original miata wheels. Is that true? If it is, the easiest improvement you could make would be to go +2 on your rim diameter, if your favorite tire is available in that size. If you can't, go +1. I remember a tire test years ago that was done by one of the major sports car magazines. They tested about 6 different tires, each in three different aspect ratios - 18 in all. There was a definite increase in grip from one wheel size to the next. In fact, the best tire in one size was markedly WORSE than the worst tire on the larger rim. It's worth a try!
Jerel Walker, October 27, 2008
Keith: All of us are running basically the same tire. It would be easy to get into an expensive tire war between friends, but we'd all lose. As for the tire sizing - the weight of wheels and tires is far more important on a lightweight car than it is on something bigger and heavier. Think of them as a percentage of the total weight. If I were autocrossing at the nationals, I'd probably be running a 13" wheel instead of the 14" I use now. I do have a set of the same Toyo RA1s in a 205/50-15 that I could compare with my current 205/55-14 set, maybe I'll give that shot someday. In that case, the very light 15" wheels I've used would be lighter than the 14" Miata wheels I have now. I've not seen a tire test myself that has shown such a dramatic improvement in performance from going +1/+2, it would be interesting to hunt down that article.

Hi from Cornwall England

Got the book ages ago and only just found this site, in a word it's brilliant. The site like the book is going to be a great help with my build which is a Haynes Roadster so I'm up to my neck in bits of box section at the moment and having nightmares about engines. Cheers Rich
Richard, September 11, 2008
Keith: Glad to hear it Richard! Good luck with the Roadster, the engine will sort itself out just fine.

Amazing!! Thank you!

Thank you for documenting such a thorough build from day 1! Simpy amazing!
Steve, September 10, 2008
Keith: Thanks Steve.

got your book

I have your book, also have Ron Champions book. I am using a Miata for the donor car. It would be a great thing if you put drawings of your front and rear suspension parts (the ones you built) on the web. (You may already have for all i know but the web is so large...) I know they won't fit anything but the identical items you used but they would be a start. in my case they would be something to tack up and hold in place and say "ok, got to change this, this, and this... but a start.)
mike walker, July 7, 2008
Keith: I don't have any suspension parts on my car that are worth copying, honestly. I haven't built the ones the car needs yet.

Excellent Book

Hi There Keith Just finishing off a 10 year !! build on my 7 - it's from the book chassis (Ron Champions) running a Alfa twin cam 2 litre motor, live axle with LS diff - really looking forward to running it - really related to the content of your book !
Owen Neveling, May 25, 2008
Keith: Wow, that sounds pretty fun. A 2 litre Alfa engine should really make the car move!

New Hope!

Keith, Excellent site! I love the book, and I even bought a second copy for a friend of mine who originally tuned me on to classic Leyland cars. Can't wait until I get the time and money to get one of these for myself, but right now I'm working on a Miata! You're an excellent lecturer on technical topics, even with no immediate plans to build such a car I learned a great deal of general design knowledge. Perhaps one day you could put together a book of such topics as hydraulics, brake bias, and other similar general principles! I would buy it. Best wishes, and you should do a tour of the country with the car! That would be neat!
Philip, May 16, 2008
Keith: Good to hear from you, and thanks so much for the kind comments! Make sure to check out the correction to the brake sizing article on this site - I made a little mistake. As for a tour of the country, I've had it out to both California and Texas in the past. There aren't any plans to head further north at this point, but you never know...

Grrrrr, and thanks

Just got your book on the Seven yesterday from Amazon. I am going through a rough time right now, and the book has helped keep my mind off the fact that I have to hit the dating scene again. The Grrrr is because I cannot put the book down. Reminds me of spending almost 2 straight days going over a certian build diary...
Jason (call me treadhead1944), May 7, 2008
Keith: If it makes you feel any better, the right girl will help you paint the frame!

Good site


counterstr, April 18, 2008

Pictures

Hey Keith, I have been through the site a couple of times and I feel that there is definately something missing... I truely think you should add a picture gallery of all your favorite photos of the seven in various posses, racing shots, or moments that make it look cool. Hope to make my "seven" eventually
Roger, March 28, 2008
Keith: Not a bad idea, Roger. Good luck with your own car!

revising suspension?

Just finished reading your diary. Very impressive! I'm going to build one myself one day; probably Miata powered. This site is going to save me a LOT of trouble/ developement time. If you're going to revise the suspension, you might want to check out the camber compensating system DAX uses on some of their cars. It holds the tires perpendicular to the road in roll, bump or droop (but no two at the same time).If you do a search for DAX at locostbuilders.co.uk, someone has an excel spreadsheet to locate all the linkage points. The system will work for any A-arm suspension that has no more than 1/2 degree of camber for every degree of body roll. It also greatly reduces body roll, so you can ditch the sway bars. Bump steer might be a problem, though. That can be solved by putting the steering rack on the same plane as the inner pickups of the lower control arms and repositioning the place where the tie rod connects to the spindle (How, I don't know) so the tie rod is parallel to the lower control arm. Also, the inboard pivots on the tie rods have to line up with the inboard pickups of the lower control arms. All this to gaurantee that the tie rods and lower control arms will swing in the same arc. Sounds like a lot, but I only suggest it because you're talking about revising the suspension anyway. Keep those posts coming!
Jerel Walker, March 26, 2008
Keith: Thanks for the suggestion, Jerel. I've seen the Dax suspension before. There's some interesting analysis of it out there, once you get past the gushing magazine articles. It's often described as a very complex beam axle.

GRRR!

I hate you! You've started a Seven obsession going in my head! must...build...car...site...so...cool! hahahaa I love this site man , keep up the good work!!!!
FRitz STOOLHARDER, March 17, 2008

no need to apologize

Those were two of the best days I had in months. I am re-reading slower now.
Jason, March 11, 2008

Been a great couple of days

OK, I got led here by a twisting path, but it has been worth it. Starting from the sidebar in Road & Track about the FM Westfield, to the FM Westfield site, to the Targa Miata, to Basil, to the Caddies (too bad about the first one) to the Seven. To blast through about 1400 entries in two days, and keep forgetting the time... Can I borrow about 27k? I need a Westie (with the stroker motor, and a good clutch, and the fancy ECU). I promise I will pay you back, and you can drive it anytime you are in Florida. Thanks for the fun, and I now have some great new bookmarks/
Jason, March 7, 2008
Keith: Sorry about those two days, Jason!

Hi from Ireland

Hi, I have just read your build diary, from start to finish, on my lunch breaks over the last few days. It is the most interesting & entertaining read I have had in a long time. I promise to buy your book soon. I have included a link to a news story you may find interesting. Keep up the good work. Kind Regards, Brian. P.S. I mucked up my first message, so apologies if this appears twice.
http://www.pistonheads.com/news/default.asp?storyId=17661
Brian, February 27, 2008
Keith: Good to hear from you, Brian! I actually had the chance to work on an RST-engined Caterham a few years back, but it wasn't anywhere near as crazy as that supercharged one.

Stalker

I enjoyed your book and also the web-page but I am partial to North American iron. Thus, I acquired a Brunton Stalker to finish. Somehow it is taking me a looooong time to create the car.
Gary Porter, January 20, 2008
Keith: It'll be worth it in the end, keep plugging away!

Thanks!

Keith, luckily, I had my car built by the real pros at RMSC, Inc. But by reading your book, I feel like I have lived through some of the excitement. You have inspired me so much that maybe next time.... Thanks for a great read!
Taber, December 15, 2007
Keith: I'll bet the RMSCI guys did a great job too. Thanks for the comment!

Thanks for keeping us updated

Hi Keith, I love the car, and love coming to this site. I've your book for a few months now and can't wait to build a clubman someday (wife is restricting me to one car for now, R32 Skyline GTR). Please, more vids, especially drives on sunny days with snow capped mountains in the background, what great scenery! If your ever in Sydney Australia and need a place to stay let me know! Regards, Rohin
Rohin Bhimjiani, November 26, 2007
Keith: Thanks for the note, Rohin. I know there are a lot of people in the US who would be jealous of your Skyline! The video camera is currently not working so I can't take much video at the moment, but I'm hoping to fix that soon. We have the snow now, so it's time to get those shots you want!

Nissan donor

Hi Keith: just found your site after looking for your book. What a welcome thing! One question. I have an 88 Nissan maxi, five speed, etc. How can I determine if this would make a donor for a repro 7? Thanks Doug in Kanab,Ut
mddewitz@kanab.net
Doug Dewitz, November 5, 2007
Keith: It seems that people have used just about every kind of car as a donor at some point - or at least considered it. You'll want a RWD car unless you're looking to depart from the Lotus 7 design fairly radically, and the engine should be small enough to fit under the hood. Strut-based front suspensions are a bit more work to adapt to double-wishbone - but really, just about everything can be adapted to work.

GSM Article

Hi Keith: I just got through reading the GSM article .. which featured your car compared to an Atom. Great show! Now I'm reading your diary just to glean ideas .. maybe learn something when working on my Rotus 7. Rob in Atlanta ..
Rob Mitchell, October 4, 2007
Keith: Good luck with the Rotus. Drop me a line if there's anything I can do to help.

Hi from the UK again

Hi Keith, My car goes for the SVA test next week. she's not actually turned a wheel in anger but a deadline is a marvellous thing on a project. Still enjoy your site and updates. Keep up the good work I've included a picture All the best Aiden
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1346/1463995291_fe306f6e3c.jpg
Aiden McHaffie, October 1, 2007
Keith: Great looking paint scheme! Good luck with the SVA, that's a huge step.

Shock suppliers

Hey Keith, Do you know of a supplier of the gaz shocks? I noticed Deman has them. Are there other suppliers? PS, I have your book and it is excellent! Thanks, Doug
Doug Hills, September 12, 2007
Keith: You can get them through various UK suppliers. Coveland also offers them, but it can be a bit slow dealing with them.

my problem

hi i am 15 years old and having built a motorcyle from scratch already i have stepped up my game and decided to built a fiat 500 frame and i want to mount a hayabusa engine into the rear wheel drive shaft have u any suggestions or pictures u can email me on scotty_robinson_125@hotmail.com i have look almost all over the web for some one with the capableness of wht u have and there is no one i have found yet to match it im hoping u can help me as my project has come to a total standstill thanx scott robinson. any one elses's suggestions plz email me on scotty_robinson_125@hotmail.com
faibussa, September 10, 2007
Keith: A common way of mounting a bike engine to a rear axle is to use a chain. Hey, it works for the bike! If you have a driveshaft, just turn the motor 90 degrees and bolt the driveshaft to where the sprocket would go.

Hi from Barbados

Hi Keith, you are my hero. I have a dream to build my own low budget supercar someday. However, I have a few little problems. First, I'm an idiot at machanics and I live in a country where it hard to get anything bring in from abroad. What I have going for me, is that I have a passion for everything that is car and more so for supercars. To date I've had four cars and i've managed to crash all of them, some twice, but, it's great fun. My mission now is ot go over two-hundred miles in a car that I'm driving, since I can't afford to but one I might as well build one. ANyway, sorry to bore you so much. Please keep doing what you are doing, you are my inspiration. Nuff respect, Andre
andre-leonard@excite.com
Andre Leonard, August 31, 2007
Keith: You don't have to bring anything in from abroad to build your own Seven - that's one of the best things about it. 200 mph, now that's a little more difficult...

Motorcycle muffler

I can tell that the other Miata is your major project at the moment. If you are still interested in a motorcycle muffler for your Seven, the new Kawasaki Concours 14 has a real bazooka. It's breathing enough air for 150 horsepower and has the nice lobed shape that's in style. Given that it's a touring bike, and low production volume, they might not show up on eBay at the same rate as sport bike mufflers, but worth watching for. I moved to an apartment and had to give up my own Seven project for the time being. But I suspect the hobby will still be there once I'm ready to build again.
Dan Miller, August 18, 2007
Keith: The hobby sure isn't going anywhere! I have both the 'Busa and the ZX-10 mufflers sitting on the shelf, it's about time to pull them off and see how that works. Thanks for the tip on the Concours 14.

Hy from the other ocean side

Hy! I just received your book yesterday and spent most of the night reading it! That's great! I also got the english haynes book since one week (I ordered both on the net last week!). So, they are complementary, having a view for Mazda powerplant in yours, and how to build the frame in the other, even if few mods will be needed, as your frame is not really the same. But, I won't go to far in this project right now, I am already restoring a '71 vw-beettle, and I got an airplane restoration project too in a hangar...but as I may sold the plane, I probably will start an homebuilt car! Just say that before I 'd like to check how it will be possible to put it on the road, as I am in France, and rules and laws are quite hard and will be much harder to get a car complying with them. But still hopes it's possible! If I go farther one day, I will advice here on this marvelous site how I did! Thus I will be very happy to share the road with other "roadster" of the "seven" look! very nice from you to maintain this site, and nice book! All great! Thx, Airy -Eure-et-loir - France
Airy, August 14, 2007
Keith: Good to hear from you! I can't help with registration in France at all, but good luck.

Hi from Michigan.

I'm in the early planning stages of a Miata powered Locost. I was wondering what mods you have carried out on the motor to get 170BHP. What class does the se7en run in autocross?
Dave, August 9, 2007
Keith: The motor has 11:1 compression, a 1mm overbore, some mild headwork. Webcam 505 cams, a fairly unusual header design with 1.5" primaries that are 800mm long, valve springs and a Link ECU. It'll make 148 hp at the rear wheels, which comes to a conservative 170hp at the flywheel. As for the autocross class, I don't run in SCCA classes so I've never tried to figure out. We use NASA TT classes locally and I'm in TTU there.

Future Hopes

Hey to everybody out there! Reading through an issue of car and driver i found the new love of my life. Since then i have read everything i could about these little bundles of joy but save one thing, I am currently having trouble finding out about state laws concerning these types of vehicles and any help would be appreciated. I have just completed my frame and am very exited at the prospect!
David, August 7, 2007
Keith: The best way to find out the state laws for your particular state is to call the DMV and ask about "homebuilt" cars. Every state has a process to go through, and they range from very easy to long-winded.

Hi from the UK

I've just spent 5 solid hours reading through your site. I have never done that on any site ever. I'm from England and building a Hayes Roadster (the new book) with a Fireblade motor. I love how you have carried on with all the things I'm going to experience once my car is on the road.I can't wait!!! TOP STUFF
Aiden McHaffie, June 23, 2007
Keith: Good to hear from you, Aiden! I'm glad you enjoyed the site. Drop me a line if you have any questions, and good luck with the Haynes.

An honest man, at last

Congrats to you both! May you find unsuspected delight in sharing your lives.
Lanny Chambers, June 6, 2007
Keith: Thanks!

Congrats!

Congratulations on your marriage! Good show!
www.gwellwood.com
G Wellwood, June 6, 2007
Keith: Thanks!

Seven sighted . . . . .

I live in Grand Junction Coloard and as I was taking a buddy of mine around I spoted one of the cars that you have came to calling the seven. And was from the "Flying Miata" company sitting before an alpine bank. I was realy at shock from seeing it, and at first thouhgt it was a buggy body sitting on a VW bug frame That is untill I got a look at the frount of this wonderful little car. Its very very nice and I love to get one, but bills have me by the throat and I'd be unable to even try something like this for now. But I hope to reamber this for when I can get one. Tseter
Tseter, June 5, 2007
Keith: That was my car you saw. I work at Flyin' Miata so that's why it has an FM sticker on the side.

The inverted shocks are great idea

I love your site! The inverted shocks are great idea. Will you be running brake shields? If not, any chance you could oil your front brake if a shock seal let go? I was also suprised to see square bar used on the cmc frame instead of tube. Any reason. Would tubing be stronger than bar? Good luck!
www.onlinebiznes.com/bpo/index.html
Cme, May 24, 2007
Keith: I'm not running brake sheilds, but there's quite a distance between the shocks and brakes. The square channel on the frame is actually fairly common on "sevenesque" frames - it's a lot easier to construct and is easier to hang body panels on.

Thank you so much

Greetings, I've bought and read your book. I too am uilding my suspension around the miata and have found your site and book a constant source of inspiration.
Mrl3000gt, May 24, 2007
Keith: Glad to hear it!

Kit info

Hi Keith, A long while ago I read a "shoot out" article about Lotus Seven style car kits. There must have been 10 of them with a myrid of options and degrees of completeness. One stood out in my memory and it was powered by a Acura engine (V6?). What made that kit so different was that it was wider and longer than the "standard" size Seven. Do you know the article in Kit car I am refering to? The kit mfr? Thanks John
John Grabe, May 7, 2007
Keith: Sorry John, I don't read Kit Car on a regular basis so I can't help out. You might have been thinking of a Stalker with the Chevy V6 though.

Hi Keith - TSV.GR

Hi Keith, I am a locost builder from greece. Congratulations for your project. Really good job and nice site.
www.tsv.gr
Theodore Savvidis, March 7, 2007
Keith: Thanks! Good luck with your car.

The good and bad

Hi Keith, I'm a former customer. I have a different track car now. A friend has a Berkin and gave me a ride. WOW!!! If anyone has any doubts about how much fun these 7 rep. are. Don't worry build one and you will have a ball. The bad: Even though I don't have a Miata any more I still like to look at your site and remember the fun I had.
Bill Browning, February 9, 2007

New Web Site Code

Would you consider releasing your code for others to use?
Carl Maniscalco, February 8, 2007
Keith: Sure, just email me to ask for the code you want.

Great Read

Very inspirational! Your experiences got me so hyped, I'm taking a welding course at the community college. Nice job.
Brian Fong, February 7, 2007

Cheers for an excellent, informative read!

With the imminent release of a new, updated locost 'howto' book in the UK, I have been planning/dreaming of building one myself. I have to say your diary has been both inspiring and entertaining in equal measure. Your inspiration has pushed me into finally turning off the damn TV getting on with it, whilst due to the entertainment aspect (whispers) I bet my work has lost a day's productivity entirely due to you :-) Keep the shiny side up! Cheers, Chris
Chris Stoddart, February 5, 2007

inspired

Keith, your build diary is inspiring to say the least. Those seven spoke alloys, from a stock '90-'93 Miata if memory serves, make me weak in the knees. I'm 19 and this summer a '97 Miata is going on the chopping block, only to metamorphose into a Locost, hopefully by summer of '08. Keep posting! Kudos
Ben McAllister, January 13, 2007

Excellent Site!

Hi Keith,
Been reading your site regularly for about half a year now, Really well designed! The Seven is awesome too! Just a quick question, would it be possible for you to host a higher resolution picture of the following image : It's in the link tab, Your entry number 1261, It's one of the shot's from the Car and Driver article.
Thanks Keith!
http://www.cheapsportscar.net/diary.php?UID=1261
Sylvester Jakubowski, January 2, 2007
Keith: I love that picture as well. Here's a big version.

about your site

Hi!
Nice info, big thx.
NickySS, December 24, 2006

nice site

Just read pretty much the whole archive in a post-turkey stupor. I REALLY need to build one of these things.
Dan, November 24, 2006

Hook sunk

Hello Keith My name is Ivan and I am from Houston, Texas. I built and fly an experimental airplane. It took me 18 years to scratch build it. Although it has been flying for 3 1/2 years, it is an on going project. The fuselage is made from chrome moly, the cowling is fiberglass and the wings aluminum. I can gas weld, fabricate aluminum and can do composite work....see where this is taking me. To add to the hook...I have had Fiat spiders since 1974...just sold my 1980 2000 Spider to a friend...owned that car 21 years. Got sad of seeing it rust in my driveway. My 2 car garage is my well equiped shop and also where I keep my airplane (I plan to move my airplane to a friend's hanger next year) Have lots of experience working on Fiats (Still have my Fiat 2000cc Hi Perf long block with all parts ready to assemble...with carb and electronic ignition (no computer or FI needed)easy 150 HP (175 HP with a European 16 valve head)/ 170 LBS torque.....the 132 Fiat trans is strong enough and bolts right up....all that I don't know is steering and suspension. My experience, as noted, should give me a jump in the building process. Much of my airplane was self designed or I changed from original design plans....as you well know from your experience, changes cause a domino effect and time lost. The idea of the Miata rear and front suspension is very interesting to me. Question..if I am not trying to build an all out race car, can I just copy all the Miata's suspension geometry (from adonor Miata)and make a reasonable light and well handling car?...and save my self tons of R&D (and falling dominoes) Use all Miata front & rear springs, rear differential assembly, spindles brakes, sway bars, steering...etc? Your input would be much appreciated. I was going to build another airplane...but I miss my Fiat Spider...and the hook is set thanks to your Internet site...thanks in advance....Ivan
Ivan Martinez, November 15, 2006
Keith: Good to hear from you.
A few people have wondered about using the Miata suspension geometry and even the parts. In the rear, that's been done a number of times. In the front, there's a problem with the width of the frame. The Miata has a much wider front end underneath those fenders, so you'd have to make the nose of the car much wider to match. Nothing that can't be done, of course, but then you'll have to make your own nose and it's not going to look like other Sevens. I think you'll upset fewer dominoes by going with a proven suspension design.

got the bug ....Got the book

Thanks for all the info I am a LandRover Fan with 2 series IIA's as daily drivers, The LRO list led me to flying miata's site and after looking for a miata as a summer car (it is pretty much summer 10 mos of the year here in NC) I found a RX7 powered 1600lb MGB. So much fun I wanted more. My neighbor has been planning his locost for years so I have bought a RX7 donor and here i go I am enjoying your book and build diary
I depowered my RX7 Steering rack, where can I get new gaiters ?
Thanks
http://www.chipmunklane.com
Justin, November 11, 2006
Keith: Wow, that's quite a journey! The best source for factory Mazda parts is Trussville Mazda.

thanks

g'day keith. just wanted to say thanks for the book, the site, all the pics and vids, and such. it's been good fuel for the fire of my seven plans. i hope to make good use of the experiences you had/have and make only a few of my own new and creative mistakes! again, thank you.
Godspeed,
dennis
dennis, November 9, 2006

Coda

Great resource not only for the flooring industry, but everyone...
Kitta, November 6, 2006
Keith: Yes, it's spam. But it was so funny I had to leave it in the guestbook.

Gives me even more ideas :D

Went through all the blogs in one sitting... my eyes hurt e_e
I wonder how an electric version of the car would look and run...
Maga Pi (not really, but I hate my real name <_<), November 4, 2006

Thanks for the awesome site!

Keith, Thanks for the terrific website. I check it on a weekly basis just to see how much fun a locost can be. I'm slowly amassing parts for my own miata-based locost (coil-overs, nose cone etc.) I'm working on a chassis model in Catia and when I'm finished I intend to compare the stiffness with a 'book' chassis via ABACUS. I'm a year or two out from making sparks fly, but with your lessons learned and a good set of solid models going in, I think I'll finish a lot faster! (In the mean time I have a 54 Ford F-100 to finish so I can tow my Locost to the new Miller Motorsports park outside of SLC.) Thanks again.
PS Please do a blow-by-blow diary of the build up of the next miata based 7 you have in the works. <N>
Nick, October 27, 2006
Keith: I'm not shy. You'll be able to read about the next build on the FM Westfield site! Keep me up to date on what you find out in your chassis models, there's always a lot of interest in properly designed frames.

Hi, I have just found your site.

I live in Scotland and have built a locost to my own spec. It has a Ford Pinto engine with a rally cam and twin Webber carbs.It has a 5 speed manual gearbox. The body is double skinned and this allows the hot air from the engine to pass down the sides of the body. A friend has documented the build which can be seen on the link.
Regards,
Dave
http://dspace.dial.pipex.com/town/pipexdsl/q/aqsa05/locost/
David Wilson, October 9, 2006
Keith: Thanks for the note! Your car is a good example of personalisation of the Locost concept. There's a lot of work in that body, too.

Supercars & superbikes

You built a very nice car. Ill soon start a similar project :)
http://sportiva.t35.com
SPORTIVA, September 26, 2006

Thanks

Hey Keith, I appreciate you letting me stop by the shop and check the car out. Can't wait to get started on the frame for mine. I won't say you inspired me so you won't be responsible for any failed marriages. More, you got me more excited to know what the end product will be. And that's for the quick rip around the block. Something I won't soon forget.
Lee, August 18, 2006

Westfield

I'm going to follow the progress of this adventure. This sounds like a great one and I wish you the best of luck!
Stephen
2001SE, MP62, A/A IC, 187whp
P.S. Let me know when you want a 2001 donor car....:)
Stephen Gartner, August 17, 2006

A Race Car is Born

It's called "A *Racing* Car is Born" :-P 2.5gb isn't that bad...downloading it right now...and the TopGear Caterham challenge was overly scripted and planed like most of TopGears recent stunts. I don't think the presenters actually did any of the real work at all. I still love the show though. Check out Finalgear.com for all your TopGear/FifthGear needs.
A 7 builder in training, Michael Neisius
Michael Neisius, August 13, 2006

re July 24, 2006 entry

What a great read again! This is my second post here in the guestbook, and reading that entry in the diary sure gets me excited... I hope that I can finish my build sometime this year!
And yes, we can all see that grin inside the helmet! :)
Alfred Racho, July 25, 2006

Re: The July 24th Track day.

Awesome! Sounds like that thing is a blast to drive. I am going to have to take a long hard look at yours when I am in town. Might have a question or two hundred for you too! LOL.
John Hunter, July 25, 2006

Hi

Enjoyed your "build a cheap sports car" book. As a curmudgeonly old professor, I can't resist remarking that it needs a good editor. Too much passive voice which forces unnecessary wordiness. But the content is great!
David Knisley, July 19, 2006
Keith: The irony here is that my teachers in school complained that my essays were too brief. "There's a fine line between succinct and lazy" was one memorable comment. Apparently I have that licked.

I'm Hooked

Keith,
I've been thinking about building a locost for years. After I read the C&D article I bought your book the same day. After reading through your book (I'm on the second time through now), I'm hooked. I want to go with a s2000 as a donor... actively poking around Ontario for one. Thanks for the inspiration!
Jim, July 8, 2006
Keith: Now this is the sort of thing I like to hear. Good luck with your project!

nice car

I read the article in car and diver about the car that is how I learned about this site and the only problem I have with it is that you call the car the seven which would imply that the car you have is the (ex-Lotus) Caterham 7 kit and I say kit because that is the only it is sold in the U.S. but infact what you have is know as a locost not a seven but I have to say it is a awesome car and I am thinking of building one in the future
Ethan, July 6, 2006
Keith: I addressed the Locost/Seven terminology on this page: What is the Seven? If it was a Cobra replica, nobody would complain about it being called a Cobra!

New Fan

Keith, I actually saw a Lotus Seven pull into the parking lot of my work (credit union) about two weeks ago. I had seen a couple of C&D articles about Caterhams over the years and thought at first the car was a Caterham and not an original Lotus. I started doing some research and reading around the internet, and low and behold another article in C&D with your car. I was hooked after reading about your car and the others tested in August 2006 C&D. Your site will be a much visited place once I start my own project. Keep up the good work!
Aaron
Ogden, Utah
Aaron, July 3, 2006

Thanks

Hi keith:
Thanks for doing a clarification write-up. I felt the comment about how much tighter you car felt in the C&D article slighted us other builders. Really, your chassis and mine are 99% the same. Mine does have 1/4 the spring rate as yours, so perhaps that's what was meant. One way or the other, though, the Se7en Fesitval and the C&D experience was great fun. I am proud I was part of it.
--Be well, Chris
http://www.fiaccone.com
Chris Fiaccone, June 30, 2006
Keith: It was a good weekend for sure. I really enjoyed seeing your car and of course meeting you and Mark in person finally!

Great site!

Hi guys, great website, a Locost is my next project so this is superb. I've ordered the book from Amazon so will be some good reading along with Ron Champion's book. Keep it up chaps, Rob
Rob Tolley, June 29, 2006

Cool! I made it to the Build Diary!

Really enjoying the book. It's my favorite book in the, uh, crapper. LOL! Hey, that's where the best books are (though the Carroll Smith are just too content-heavy for that kind of reading -- I really should write a review of those books. Actually, most of the books you recommend are already in my library).
Great book, great site.
You think a Toyota 3SGE would fit in a "book" chassis? Or maybe the McSorley +442 would be better... You do have the "book" dimensions, yes?
Anyway, right now going with a 4AGE 20V with a W55 tranny (can't locate a T50, and Miata parts are waaaay too high priced in my country).
Again, keep up the good work!
Alfred Racho, May 19, 2006
Keith: I can't comment on the Toyota engine at all (and I'm not sure I want to comment on your favourite reading location). My own car is essentially the "book" dimensions with a wider track from what I understand.

Amazon.ca

Hey Keith. In reference to your May 18th entry, Amazon.ca has 1 review. The good news is that it's another 5 star rating sir. And NO I didn't rate it (in fact, wasn't I supposed to be getting one at one point).
Doccomoli, May 19, 2006

Well Done!

Hey Keith - Have just recently discovered the site, I hope you're proud of your accomplishment.... Car and Driver?!? That's awesome, I'll be watching for the issue with the Sevens in it.
As somebody who has very average mechanical skills, this is something I could never do myself. I respect the knowledge, skill, planning, design and tenacity you showed over the 2+ years that you've logged. I'll probably buy your book, as I learned some things just reading your entries.
I'll look forward to seeing the Seven in person at the FM open house. Till then, enjoy!
Dan Cumberland, May 2, 2006

You're An Inspiration!

Excellent job on your build up! I can honestly say t made my day go by a lot quicker reading your production write up & enjoying your pictures. I even sent this to my Father in Jamaica, so he can get crackin' on his own project down there. You'll probably be hearing from me when I return from my deployment to the desert in about 5 months...I plan on building a twin turbo'd Miata from the ground up. Til then, CHEERS!
Phil B., April 18, 2006

nice book and website

I am enjoying your book very much. The website is a great help also. I am a TVR guy (3 of them) who loves the locost concept. I hope to build one myself -- I'm a retired teacher and have a good garage to work in and lots of tools. Expecially helpful is the focus on the Miata as a donor car. It seems the perfect car to use -- although an old RX7 might be even better. I have autocrossed a Hayabusa motored westfield and your comments were exactly right. It is quite difficult to get moving ("revit to 11,000 and dump the clutch!", I was told by the owner). I think it would be undrivable on the street.
Keep up the great website and have fun with your car!
http://roweba.com
barry rowe, April 17, 2006

You are a BEAST

holly shit, that was incredible today. beating the lap record by 2.2 seconds. im glad i didnt catch a ride that last time and slow you down. later, conner
conner, April 9, 2006

Thanks for mentioning our site!!

Hi there from the UK!! Just been looking at my referrals to our site, and yours came up! Thanks for looking around. Hope you like what you see - have a look in the tech section, may be some relevant stuff there. The illustrations you link to I cannot take credit for - beatiful aren't they, but I do do the cartoons that are on the site. Still have not finished the models though. If you have time there is loads of stuff on travel with our car, and lots of circuit stuff, Nurbergring etc. I know its a long way for you guys....
Now, as a special preview that isn't on our site yet (loads to update!!) have a look at the thread here: http://www.blatchat.com/t.asp?Id=103384 and you will see that we are rebuilding our car. There are loads of pictures, and a short video which you may like. Incidently, if you don't already know about it, blatchat.com is a great site - particulary the tech section. You have to be a member to post, but it is free to read and you can still use the search facility. Cheers - hope I have not clogged your guest book!
http://www.mycaterham.com
angus, April 7, 2006

Thanks

Keith, thanks for taking the time to stop by and looking at the pics of my potential Miata donor. Love the book too. Keep up the good work!
http://locostusa.com
Chet, April 4, 2006

Garage

Love the cardboard on the floor. Must be where the Land Rover sleeps. :)
Lester, March 16, 2006
Keith: It's sad but true.

Here we go... again! :-)

Hey Keith! After watching you going through that project my appetite for a 7 has grown considerably.. I might be going in that route pretty soon. I\'m thinking about a non-turbo 13B and in general either a 1st or a 2nd gen RX7 as a donor vehicle, any input that you might have will be highly appreciated! Great Book!!
Moti Almagor, March 6, 2006

Glad to see you're still having fun!

Ol' blue is still with me, not too neglected, but not developed at all in the last 3 years - still goes to work 3 or 4x a week. Maybe if I get a garage, I can start a marathon project like this - funny it's called lo-cost when you use hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of facilities and machinery to build it - but that's what makes it fun.
Take Care,

http://mangocats.com/miata
Mike Inman, January 15, 2006
Keith: Well, I don't know about hundreds of thousands worth of machinery. A ten of thousands of other people's machinery, perhaps. At least until I start having people make CNC suspension rockers anyhow!

Enjoyed the book, like the website too!

Keith,
Really enjoyed hearing about your exploits on the grassroots motorsports message board, and receiving your book as a Christmas gift.
Your book is an excellent reference for building a Miata based Locost with one caveat - there are no plans for the frame! Do you plan to include the plans in a future book edition, or host them on your site?
Iain Cameron, January 9, 2006
Keith: The book wasn't intended to be a cookbook on how to build a particular car. It was intended to answer the questions that come up once the frame is built. It's the opposite of Ron Champion's book in that way. If you're looking for plans for a Miata-based Locost in particular, I don't know of any that are currently available. Jim McSorley has some good plans for other donors over at McSorley.net and I think he'll have a Miata-specific one available before too long. When he does, I'll certainly make a fuss about it!

The Locost7 in Ontario

Your book and your web site, Keith, are a great contribution to the creative expression of the most lively and positive community I know... the Locost7 Fraternity ...which amazes me more every day. I find your book a real inspiration, well illustrated, balanced. Thank you for all that. In Ontario, builders may want to participate in the Yahoogroups list called OHCV (Ontario Hand crafted Vehicles) forum. They will find there many answers to their questions, in particular how to make sure that the car they build will be street registrer-able by the Ministry of Transportation of this Province. Take care.
Philippe Clément, January 6, 2006

Good book and Website

Ive just finished reading your book cover to cover it was a great read, with loads of very good information and pictures. You Website is also very well done. Thanks for producing such good resources
Jared, December 31, 2005

Great Site

Great job Keith. You have inspired me to actually start on my project 7 based on a miata. Its ready to finally emerging from my brain into reality. Shall be ordering the book on Amazon tomorrow.
Abid, December 26, 2005

Nice Job

Well, I just spent an entire evening looking at each of your 788 pictures, and reading all the text. You took a ton of photos, and that makes me wish I had done a better job of documenting my work. You can see some of my photos at http://www.agencybusinesssystems.com/L7/projectpictures.htm Or you can email me at Homer at agencybusys.com (obviously reformat that address). The web page is way out of date. I have a bunch of photos of more progress, but just haven't taken the time to put them on the web. My Chassis has been completely striped and has been painted. I am now in the process of putting sheet aluminum on. That takes time since I'm cutting each piece to fit. Unlike you, I can't blame Steve if my drive line tunnel looks bad. BTW, if you get to my photos, you will see the picture of a front clamshell wing I bought from Steve -- didn't fit. I'll probably do some glass work, and widen them.
I was sorry to see CMC go under. I liked dealing with Steve -- seemed like a nice guy. Someone told me he still dabbles in Sevens out of his house, but I haven't taken the time to track him down to see if that is correct.
I'll stop rambling an go, but you\'ll be getting an order for your book very soon. I've almost worn the pages out in Ron's book. I need something new to read on those cold rainy nights.
http://www.agencybusinesssystems.com/L7/projectpictures.htm
Homer Jones, December 22, 2005

We're Building a Busa Seven

Look, I'm too old for this. ... My kids are driving me crazy with this "I want to autocross stuff!" ... One kid is a mad welder and the other is a real piston head. ... They're both nuts and want to race! ... So what is a guy to do? ... All I could say was ... "Well, if you are going to race you might as well WIN!" That's when I started to spin ancient Colin Chapman tales of "7" glory and asked them to consider building their own car, ... a Deman Motorsport SR7 ... powered by the truly awesome 1300 cc Suzuki Hayabusa powerplant. They became more and more excited as I explained the benefits of power to weight, especially when they considered that the weight is 985 lbs. and the power is 180 H.P. ... Let's see now, that's ... 0 to 60 in 3.42 secs ... Hmmm! ... It really is the most fun a man can have with his trousers on!
Here's where we are at now! ... See our build progress in our Picture Album.
Jim Gould, December 20, 2005
Keith: I wish my dad was the kind who wanted to help build a car in the garage. Then again, it's probably just as well that he wasn't when you think about what might have happened. Have fun with the build!

Got the book

Got your book, read it cover to cover even though I just had my '61 Lotus 7 restified (already spun two rod bearings to make a winter project!)but the tech sections on set up are great and will be used in the spring! Thanks, John
John Gault, December 9, 2005

sweet

Hey, been building my locost from rons book for a while, I just got yours in the mail today. looks good, and lots of pictures too. here's a pic of mine earlier this summer, been a few changes since it was taken, but pretty similar. Using an rx7 engine, with s10 running gear, and bike suspension, home made frame etc...
http://www.locostusa.com/forums/viewtopic.php?p=1759#1759
fred, December 8, 2005

MX-5 or Kit Car

Hi Keith,
been following the saga on the 7 a little, and what else can I say but congrats! Driving a MX-5 at the moment, but for sale due to immigration to New Zealand mid-december 2005 (yep, just a few days away). Was thinking of getting a 5 again in NZ, but seeing this project I might get a 5 as donor car and build the kit as yours... Cannot wait to get the book on the 7, your MX-5 book (with my oily/greasy fingers on it) has a special place on the bookshelf at home (not to the liking of the girlfriend)...
Cheers Keith, and fellow MX-5ers, drive on :-) WiM
http://www.cardomain.com/memberpage/312875
WiM Van Sande, November 30, 2005

Many thanks for the inspiration, and the immense site!

I've had the "Seven" project in my head for a while now. The music video put me over the edge. I giggled like a girl when I saw that late one night, and I haven't been right since. My once daily driven 230rwhp Miata engine will find a home in a Seven in the near future. Insanity won't come too soon.
Thanks Keith!
Oh yeah, I got the book 2 days ago, and almost I'm halfway through already. So far, it's an excellent read, and I've been taking notes. Awesome Job!
Mark Rivera, November 20, 2005

Great site and can't wait for book

Keith, I really like your site. I ordered the book and can't wait to read it. Thanks for the inspiration.
Rob Clarke, November 20, 2005

One book coming!

For support and finding ideas :)
http://russmarshall.com/v/cars/cmc7/
Heikki Rinta-Koski, November 16, 2005

Your Land Rover needs some web attention!

It's been a year since Basil received any type of update on the website. I think you should give some sort of update for the Land Rover enthusiasts among us!
Your chronicles of your Seven project has been a wonderful read.
Thanks,
Paul Schultz, November 16, 2005
Keith: Guilty. Basil has been sitting idle for the past year. He's parked in my back yard making me feel bad. I need to dust him off, fix a leaky oil pan and take him out for some exercise. Hmm, he's got a good heater. Maybe this winter then.

Thanks

Thanks for your help Keith.
Derek, November 12, 2005

How did you register it to drive on the streets?

Hello what did you have to do to make it street legal??
Derek, November 8, 2005
Keith: The regulations for street use vary from state to state. It's best to check to see what's required in your area. Homebuilt cars usually only need minimal items such as lights, a windshield, a horn, etc. If I lived in Denver, I would have had to deal with emissions and that would be a challenge.

Aero Turbine exhaust

Keith, Check out their website and listen to the sound file for Honda Civic to see if that is the sound your after. I\'ve got an old school Thrush glass pack on mine and I think it is going to be too loud. I was going to add the Supertrap as well as I have always loved the look but I don\'t know if it will make enough of a diff to bother.
John Murphy, October 6, 2005

Music Video is inspiring

Even if the mtv generation editing didn\'t move you. The in car action is HOT....was that drifting there at the end? Thank you keith.
Jerad Slates, September 24, 2005

Great site

I have been looking through your build diary and i think i looked at everyone of those photos very nice.
thanks
Micael
Micael Urstad (Sweden), July 30, 2005

Sway bars

I installed a set of stock bars on my Locost, it's good to hear it maybe the way to go. Stock bar in front, lengthened the stock rear bar for the rear. Shortened some stock links for now.
http://apexautoeng.com
Les, June 12, 2005

PPF

Hi, The PPF I made for my car is not going to fit with your driveshaft since your U-joints are bigger. The solution offered by CMC was straight 2" x 2" x 1/8" angle which was supposed to be bolted to differential with two bolts and to frame, close to transmission with one bolt. Something like that might work without harming the handbrake if that bar is only on bottom of the transmission tunnel abd is bend few times to miss the vertical tubes of the tunnel. Those bolts are getting lot of stretch in CMC solution when front of the diff is held only from below.
http://www.russmarshall.com/cmc7
Heikki, May 20, 2005

Nice Job on your "7" !!!!

I just found your site and wish that I had found it about a year ago as I am just finishing the build of my "7" and see that you have done a nice job. I used an MGB for my donner car as that is what I had and know. My next choice would have been a Miata if I did not have the MGB as a donner. Again very nice job and good luck with your book. I will be looking for it.
Martin Keller, May 13, 2005

suggestion

Hello. Great site! I would make one request if I could. Please convert the website into a PDF file, or make the entire site available for download. It takes a fair amount of time to navigate the site, and having it as a local file on a home machine would make it more "user friendly".
Oh, and more videos please!
Chris ;^)
Chris Cardinal, March 1, 2005
Keith: I've had requests similar to this in the past. The problem is that the site is generated dynamically from a few text files. I did this to make it quick and easy to update and it works beautifully for that. It also means that the web pages you're looking at don't exist until the server assembles them - something a home machine can't do. I am turning the bulk of the site into a book that will be both entertaining (hopefully) and a good reference. It should be available in November. I'll have more videos from the track in a bit over a week!

Chassis size

I've been following your site with great interest. I'm going down the same road, but plan on building my chassis from scratch. Is the CMC Miata chassis the same size as the 'book' (aside from the IRS bits of course)? Just want to be sure that their fiberglass parts will fit. Thx.
Don Liedke, January 25, 2005
Keith: I believe the Miata chassis is simply the "book" frame modified for an independant rear. CMC doesn't list a different set of parts for the fibreglass and they're certainly designed for use with "book" frames.

Oil Consumption

With the forged pistons on street driven engines, don't they have a lot more clearance to begin with (when cold) and therefore higher consumption? I autocrossed a Miata this year with forged pisons and the consumption was rather high, yet all else was perfect. Just a thought...
Zak Gutmann, January 22, 2005
Keith: Yes, you do need slightly larger clearange on forged pistons. Not as much as you might think and it shouldn't have a big effect on oil consumption - none at all when they're warm. Sometimes they'll rattle a bit when cold and that's what I thought I was hearing when my pistons were tapping the head. I was using a lot more oil than is normal.

Tires

Exactly same wheel/tire combination which I retired from my street Miata for 7. Mine are well scrubbed in and year and half old though.
http://www.russmarshall.com/cmc7
Heikki, January 12, 2005

Just looking

I've heard you speak of your seven, often and thought I'd take a look, really vary informative Keith, good stuff. I've been interested in building a seven myself and your site has helped a lot.
Bob Sleeper, December 27, 2004

Those videos!

I have just watched the videos;I think you are driving a little too fast. Those roads have far too many curves and you seem to be having too much fun. (When do I get a chance to drive it?)
Mom, December 19, 2004

Noise Level

I don't know if you have changed the tip for noise, but I've had great results with this product on two cars and one motorcycle now. They are designed to be installed immediately after the header (or just after the cat if equipped) so they will take some work to install. No I don't work for them.
Thank you for such comprehenive notes, this is beginning to be infectious. If you're ever out in Cali, look up our group at solo2.com. It'd be great to have you at an event.
http://carchemistry.com/
Zak Gutmann, December 17, 2004

Wish I hadn't seen this

I already have too many projects, but this looks like something I could ready get into. Having watched this thing from the beginning it doesn't seem like it is that difficult as long as you take it one step at a time. Great job with the SEVEN, it looks awesome and the rewards of the hard work definitely seem worth the effort. I want to see some more videos.
http://tinyurl.com/3scro
Jeff Dooley, December 16, 2004
Keith: More video is coming - my employer insists I spend my daylight hours inside during the week though...

Stripping wheels

I strip and refinish wheels on the side. The spray on stripper you are using is ok but the solvent evaperates too fast and the paint re-adheres. Try the thick brush on aircraft stripper and you will get better results. Brush it on thick and let it sit for a good long time and you will be happy.
Richard Norman, December 11, 2004
Keith: This tip is what made all the difference. Thank you!

Wheels

You wont have to polish the lip much on the wheels once you strip the paint off. You'll find they are machined to a pretty smooth, shiny finish under all that paint.
Richard Norman, December 8, 2004

When do you sleep

This is a great site for anyone even thinking of building their own car. What I want to know Keith with all your intrests and projects when do you sleep?
Ken Turnbull, December 8, 2004
Keith: I still sleep, I just don't have much of a social life. How sad is that? Actually, I tend to work out a lot of problems when I'm lying in bed. Nothing like jumping (or crawling) out of bed in the morning with the solution to something that's been bothering you.

who, where, what, and when?

I like something out of the ordinary and would consider buying one of your products, I would like it to be unique, safe for road use, have the ability to be licensed in the state of Colorado, fun and affordable. I would like to hear from you.
gordon, November 1, 2004
Keith: I'm not sure what that product might be. I don't sell products - unless you're looking for a book about Miata modification and maintenance!

CMC

Hey cool site, re CMc, I ordered a kit from CMC about months ago still haven't got it, I hear Steve is working on it. I know it's hard to start a business but I believe he should have been more up front about the wait and comunicate more often, I haven't spoken to him in months.
Rod Lingren, October 20, 2004

Thanks for the "build book"

Man, what a great site! And what a great service to the Miata7 kit community. I've learned more from your diary than I did during my two hands-on builds with CMC (the Grassroots in January and the Walter Mitty in May). BTW, I've got a bunch of CMC7 kits in stock, though I assure you I won't be ordering any more kits from them (I'll update my web site when I think of a polite way to phrase this).
http://www.kineticvehicles.com
Jack McCornack, October 17, 2004

Shameless plug

Hi,
I am finally getting started. -96 Miata is donor and CMC delivers pretty much rest of the package. The car will be built for NASA series.
Thanks for bandwith
http://russmarshall.com/cmc7
Heikki Rinta-Koski, August 23, 2004

Exhaust tip

The comment about needing to do something with the exhaust tip is a valid one. My friend had a similar arrangement on his Seven-style car, and complained about overheating the rear tire within couple of laps on the track.
http://www.cheapsportscar.net/flip.php?x=449
Ander Tenno, August 17, 2004

Congratulations!

Keith, thanks for taking the time to document your beta-testing of CMC's Miata "kit". The orange/black scheme looks great. Of all your "finished" pics, I think #441 shows off your 7 best. I hope you're able to get some video of it in action at next week's Open House.
BTW, what you have gone through had the completely unexpected result of curing me completely of Seven-Lust. ;-)
Stu A., August 16, 2004

Windshield?

No windshield Keith? What are the final weights on the car now it's all together?
Lester Seal, August 10, 2004
Keith: Nope, no windshield at the moment. I might try a wind deflector. But no windshield means that I don't need wipers or squirters to make the car road-legal. I'll weigh the car next time it comes in to the shop, hopefully later this week.

Hi

Your Dad just told me the 7 was "on the road" and had to check it out - good job! When are you going to bring it "home" - that would make another adventure like Basil, but with a whole new twist.
Take care and good luck
Uncle Rob and Aunt Brenda (the roads in Muskoka are made for 7s........)
Uncle Rob, August 10, 2004

Seven AV?

Any chance that fancy little digital camera of yours can take movies with sound? I'd love to see it move and hear it's sound... <sarcasm>Because your website sucks so much, and has so little content...</sarcasm> Try as you'd like Keith, you can just never make people happy! ;)
http://totdots.com/lotus/
Jamie Ruderman, August 3, 2004

Amazing

What a great write-up. I have been following your build day to day. I look forward to your final cost and tally.
Really great car!
Dave Geissler, August 2, 2004

Aesthetic suggestion

For aesthetics consider a natural leather strap to appear to secure the "bonnet" (you should should have used leather straps like the ones on "Coach" braded belts insead of the ones pictured-not practial but would be cool lookin'). Will buy the book when you get to it and stand it next to my 7 model and my copy of "ROADSTER How (and Especialy Why) a Mechanical Novice Bult a Sports Car from a Kit" by Chris Goodrich in the living room.
Larry, July 31, 2004
Keith: Interesting you should mention a book. I have a Miata book published already and my editor is interested in a "Locost" style book with a design for a car that uses more modern mechanicals that are easy to find in North America. I'm considering it - it would be a completely different setup than the one I just finished building as it would probably use FWD mechanicals in a mid-engined configuration. As for the strap, it's been mentioned by a couple of people. It's not really a Seven thing - that's more appropriate to 30's cars in my mind. It's something to think about though.

Thanks for the entertainment !

I don't have much to add - just wanted to thank you for providing some daily entertainment. I check this website every night to see how the build went.
It just dawned on me a few days ago that you will actually be DONE with this in the near future. Then I'll have no website to check. I think you should start work on a kit-Cobra :)
Great job Keith !!!
Jon Tallon, July 30, 2004

This takes me back ..

40 years and more to the time when my father & I built and raced specials in the U.K. In the early 50s, when I was too young, one of my father's fierce competitors was Colin Chapman! One of his lifetime friends was Arthur Mallock of U2 fame, and I actually helped for a day or two on the build of the first U2.
Great job, Keith, and superbly written and explained.
Roger French, July 9, 2004

What's it worth?

I know it's the last thing in the world you'd do, but I'm curious as to what you estimate you car will be worth when completed? Versus how much you had to lay out. You see I'm hoping that the finished value is going to far exceed the money invested. This is the important kind of information I need to be armed with if I'm ever going to convince The Missus... by the way have you been keeping track of the number of hours spent?
And congratulations on the inagural run! I too was suprised at it's size next to your Miata... Is the wheelbase actually longer?
Anyway - thanks for sharing. :)
Jamie Ruderman, July 4, 2004
Keith: Since much of my "work time" is spent puttering, any time estimate would be on the long side. I honestly don't even think I could give an estimate. eBay is a good source for an idea of the value of the cars when they're done and I'm sure the UK folks have a better idea of Locost value. The quality of the work makes a big difference but it's always going to be about half of a Caterham. Some sell for as little as $5000. I know that GRM was hoping to build a $20,000 car but I don't think that's realistic at all. One thing I have realised is that it would probably cost about the same to take a decent Miata and make a Seven like mine, or to take the same decent Miata and put on an FM II. You would be able to sell off some of the good Miata parts that were not available to me to make life even better. I'll sum up the financial aspect once I'm done, including what I expect it would cost to build something a little less exotic than mine.
Yes, the wheelbase is about 2" longer on the Seven with a similar track as the Miata.

Nice

Hope you found the pictures usefull on my site. Looks like a lot of work is going into your machine! Did you know caterham have an "outlet" in the US now?
http://www.knowley.com
knowley, July 3, 2004
Keith: Good to hear from you! Yes, your photos are quite helpful and entertaining to boot. I've actually been to visit one of the Caterham dealers for a bit of a poke around - Rocky Mountain Sports Cars and Caterham USA are in Denver.

seats!

those are some GREAT looking seats! where would someone get a pair like those?
dp
Dan Pedroza, June 25, 2004
Keith: Just find a 1999-00 Miata parked with the top down and make sure you have a 14mm wrench handy. That's what I did to your car!

Throttle cable bracket

Keith, Could you not just unbolt the throttle cable bracket and flip it over to move the mount closer? After a quick glance at my 1.8l Miata it seems like it could work on it, but I don't have a 1.6l to compare.
As for color, I have to say Daytona Blue with black fenders.
Jonathan Crawford, June 22, 2004
Keith: Flipping the bracket over was my first thought as well. It would also end up outside the hood! I've got enough parts around here to put something together.

Beat you to test drive!

Hi, Yesterday Steve from CMC came with their car built in Walter Mitty weekend to NASA Race and HPDE event in Road Atlanta. I had a chance to take it out for few laps in fastest groups. I did not push it too hard, just wanted to get some feel at speed on track. Handling was good, car was very easy to control even with crappy street tires, suspension was a bit on soft side, car was very prdictable everywher else but in high speed righthander turn 12 there was some wandering in front end. Might be alignment or the fact that front end of the car was about 1" higher than rear to give more ground clearance for oil pan. Driving position was great, more room than in Westfield, brake pedal was hard and did not inspire too much confidence. Engine performance on this car was also pretty modest. Overall very nice solid platform to start tweaking to each own taste.
Heikki Rinta-Koski, June 21, 2004

Color

I vote you paint your car Miata red. Nothing can beat it. Westfield's "Crimson Red" was a pretty close match, so that's what my Seven has. I put in a link to a recent pic. Good luck with your build!
http://www.kallerman.com/westfield/040620/images/picture%20015.jpg
Mikael Kallerman, June 21, 2004

PPF decision

Great site Keith - I am following the build with enthusiasm and envy! Can't wait to see how the rest of the story unfolds!
I wondered if you had made a decision to do the PPF mod to the frame like Lester, especially if you are planning on boosting that Baby at some point?
Good luck with the rest of the project, Dave!
Dave Knight, June 10, 2004
Keith: While it would be best to move the diff up and back and modify the PPF at this point, I've decided to carry on as is. My diff has larger bolts going through the diff than CMC has used as well as stiffer bushings. The nose is firmly mounted to the frame. We'll see if this works or not. At this point, it'll be just as easy for me to modify the car later as it will be to change it now.

Orange

I believe this is the color you are looking for: http://users.bigpond.com/demackie/images/prb87_01.JPG.
You going to paint it all orange? I personally don't like the look of the polished aluminum.
AJ, June 7, 2004
Keith: Nice! To me, Sevens need to have polished aluminum. It's just how I like them...

Color Vote

Daytona Blue. Yes that is my vote. Daytona Blue.
Mark Henley, June 6, 2004

Management

I know you all love the Link ecu and i think it is OK also, but i would love you to try somthing like a haltech, and see what you get, i get just under 450 BHP with a 1.8 GTX egnine with nothing but a port and polish and some 9:1 pistons and rods.
For the color British racing green.
Jason, June 6, 2004
Keith: For those who don't know, the GTX is turbocharged. It's not the engine management that's making 450 hp! I'm using a Link because I know it inside and out, it's well supported and I can deal with the person who wrote the operating software if I have any questions or I'm looking for something different. It's also cheaper to me because I work for a distributor. Besides, I think I'm breaking enough new ground without having to figure out a different ECU! I agree that BRG is a good looking colour for the Seven but it's not my favourite.

Color Vote

vote for the orange. I happen to like silver and orange together a lot, there is something kinda punk rock about it. Although if it were mine I think I would go for something a little less electric. I haven't seen the color in person, so it's kinda hard to judge, but if it was a bit darker and tad more muted I think it would take on a more vintage orange color. Inline more with the overall style of the car. Also, I personally feel that the fenders on the 7 are a visually sore spot, and would not try and call attention to them. Since they are required running gear I would paint them a neutral color like black... okay now I have to go make it, and see how it looks. Okay - see for yourself! I think it turned out awesome! Then just get some black team dynamics wheels and tires and you'll be set!!!! :)
Good luck!
http://totdots.com/lotus/orange7.jpg
Jamie Ruderman, June 4, 2004

Keep up the great job

I witnessed another CMC built in Walter Mitty race weekend. They started Friday morning and got to Autocross track Sunday afternoon. And they slept during nights and were away from their equipment!! That was pretty impressive. Naturally their level of detail cannot go into these depths, but it looked still ok. They used black vinyl glued to fibreglass on interior panels and it looked relly nice and seemed easy. I have lots of photos from the build if anybody is interested. Email me hrk2004-at-bellsouth.net
I should be within weeks from my own kit delivery date. I can hardly wait!
Keep it up Keith you are huge help to us followers.
Heikki Rinta-Koski, May 4, 2004

Differential Mounting

Keith, we can't explain the nature of the problem with the differential, but it seems to be very intolerant to deflections of the drive shaft. Our fix was to modify the forward mounting of the differential to force it to remain parallel with the drive shaft and this worked beautifully.
Since we didn't have any welding equipment at Walter Mitty, we couldn't make a permanent bracket (had to temporarily bolt the makeshift bracket to the frame). We will be making a more permanent solution and post pictures as well as send you a bracket to weld in.
Our temporary bracket did amazingly well for the first six hours of the drive home until one of the fixture bolts started working its way loose around Birmingham. While I wanted to say we made it all the way home, I wasn't too upset to call it quits and tow the last hour and a half home because by that time I needed to be thawed out.
CMC - Chase, May 4, 2004
Keith: CMC never did send me anything...

Search feature

Keith,
The car is looking awesome. Now that the completion (for now) is near, would it be possible to categorize, or have a search feature on the diary. I remember reading something but have a heck of a time finding it. Didn't you have a fiberglass hood? I know the Al hood will look nicer. Great idea on the truck bedliner for the fenders.
http://apexautoeng.com
Lester Seal, April 30, 2004
Keith: I have always planned on an aluminum hood. CMC sells a fibreglass one for the car but that just didn't seem right to me. If I manage to put this one together well then the price will also be much better! The search feature is a good idea. I've added one now!

CMC

Keith, glad to see you're making updates, even if CMC isn't. I'm a little dismayed to see them drop off the face of the earth even if Steve is working his ass off on the production line. It's very dismaying to a potential customer, let alone people who paid. I'm sure that it will all work out for you in the end, but the delay sucks. It makes me wonder how long it will actually take to get a kit once I order it...But it looks like you'll be on the road soon at this rate!
http://seven.slonie.com
Lee Slone, April 22, 2004

I bought a Caterham last month

I also live about two miles from the Westfield factory. The UK - great sports car heritage but awful weather. And lots of speed cameras. What size tyres are you thinking of putting on your Seven when its complete? 185 all round or 185 front/205 rear are popular with Caterham owners but seem skinny to me coming from five years with an MX-5. By the way, I think the rear lights from Caterham are off a caravan. That's why they're so cheap.
http://www.gmancuska.demon.co.uk/Seven/
Gary Mancuska, March 24, 2004
Keith: I'm using factory 14" Miata wheels. This means I'll be running anything from 185/60-14 to 205/50-14 depending on the tire availability. The Falken Azenis is looking good due to the ridiculously cheap price, and that means a 195/60-14. Of course I do have access to a wide variety of wheels and tires that will fit so there will be some experimentation.

Damn you...

I just had to stumble apon this on Flyin miata a few months back. It's all your falt. As soon as I get out of college I'll be spending all my time and money on my own 7...all because of you! :) Only I want to build one with a 350hp+ 1.3L Turbo Hayabusa bike engine. Gota love having that much power and still being able to pick it up with 2 hands! Picture I not stupid enough to ride a motorcycle but I sure love the engine :)
http://www.totalkaosperformance.com
Neisius, March 8, 2004

Nothing Special

Hey Keith. Just wanted to say this about that. So far so good sir. Keep that Prisoner car a comin' sir (yes, I know it's TECHNICALLY not the Prisoner car, but it's me right!?). We'll see you soon
Doccomoli, March 7, 2004

E-Brake?

I was wondering if you thought of not including the e-brake in your car? I hardly use it in my Miata... In a Seven it seems like nothing more than added weight. In an actual emergency, downshifting would seem to work just as well, and in parking, curb the wheels or put it in first... ? Maybe I'm missing something... just thought I'd ask.
Oh, and while I'm writing, is the kit you recieved from CMC is the $2K kit not the $9K... right?
Keep up the great work. Thanks for the inspiriation.
Jamie Ruderman, March 3, 2004
Keith: The car has to be road legal, and this means an emergency brake. Perhaps once my own braking system has been tested I'll remove it. There's very little weight involved. I don't use the emergency brake in my Miata at all either. The kit is the CMC "Miata" starter kit (retail is $3250) with a couple of extra options such as the aluminum floor and the roll bar. I also purchased the shocks from CMC. The $9950 Stage 2 kit uses a live rear and drum brakes.

Thanks for keeping these pages updated!

Hi, I just ordered my chassis last week and have my donor Miata disected. I will keep vlose eye on your build and probably use waiting time to clean parts, and maybe sorting wiring harness. Lester Seal, you got me worried about 4 months lead time...
Heikki Rinta-Koski, March 1, 2004

CMC

Probably not the place to discuss this. If anyone has questions about my experience with CMC they can call me (508) 229-0090. I will say I ordered my kit on 10/28/03. I'm still waiting, and Steve hasn't answered my calls for the last couple of days. Hopefully things will sort out. YMMV.
Lester Seal, March 1, 2004

Great site

I love your site! The inverted shocks are great idea. Will you be running brake shields? If not, any chance you could oil your front brake if a shock seal let go? I was also suprised to see square bar used on the cmc frame instead of tube. Any reason. Would tubing be stronger than bar? Good luck!
Dave Geissler, March 1, 2004
Keith: I was looking at some photos of a Caterham bike-engined car last night, and noticed that they had the front shocks inverted as well! You can see in photo 49 how much space is between the shock and the brake disk, but I really should check with GAZ about running the shocks inverted. Colin Chapman used bar instead of tubing in much of the original Seven - here's a 1966 Series 2.

Tail lights.

Just a thought on the taillight law you mentioned, you could stick them up on the rollbar for registration and inspection and move them back down for normal use. Glad to see things are coming along well.
James Hugh, February 29, 2004

Love all the gritty details

Terrific site, Keith, you've already touched on more issues than I could hope to think of. Not sure you are looking for a business enterprize, but I think a very successful cottage industry could be based on producing components for MX/7s and/or turnkey cars, for that matter. A whole lot more people would build one of these if they could source a plug-n-play wiring harness, for instance. Or have a one-stop source for all of the various needed after-market componentry.
Jim McBride, February 29, 2004
Keith: I am keeping this in mind. My header and the brake lines, for example, may become available either through myself or CMC. The wiring harness is a moot point as the car is intended to use the unmodified Miata one.

entertainment

I'm enjoying you sort out the preproduction issues :-) When the vehicle is nearer to completion I'll finagle a trip to Denver and come out to visit, I'd love to have a closer look!
Toby Weir-Jones, February 28, 2004

Living the dream

Keith, it's great to watch your build. I'm still waiting for my chassis from CMC, as of today it's been 4 months. :( So thanks for letting me watch over your shoulder while I sit and wait.........and wait! Hopefully I can start posting some stuff on my site about my build......someday. :) Keep up the great work. Les.
http://www.apexautoeng.com
Lester Seal, February 28, 2004

Thanks for Pioneering

Keith
Thanks for taking the plunge with this kit. Watching the process of working out the various problems that have popped up as been neat. I hope CMC takes this exposure and uses it to improve things with later kits. I will most likely be taking the plunge in the next year or two.
Richard Norman, February 28, 2004

One question

When you noticed the suspension arm differences you also measured the pick up points on each side of the chassis. I think you said the brackets were 5mm further forward (or backward) on one side. Is this something you can just compensate for with the thrust bushings?
Richard Norman, February 28, 2004
Keith: That's probably what I'll do. I'm not going to address the issue until I have the proper control arms from CMC.

Just Started

Picked up my Miata today. The car was front ended pretty bad and we had to use a Tiger Saw to remove part of the front end. However, the damage was limited from the fans forward except for the AC Compressor was hit by the sway bar and the air box mounts were broken. My chassis is due the end of May so I have some time. Thanks for your web site. It is an inspiration to us all.
Gary Brinton, February 28, 2004

Great job

I just wanted to let you know that I'm really enjoying your posts. I've been considering a Superformance S1 which would be a lot less work (and more expense). If you need some sort of custom stainless sheet metal cover/heat shield/or whatever let me know. Good luck, Bill
Bill Bowser, February 27, 2004