Saturday, 5 September 2009

Testing Trevor and Sam's Locost...... :o)

Smee again. Blimey, three times in, what a week or so? Wonders will never cease. :o)

Just got back from Westonzoyland airdrome, where Trevor, his son Sam and No-Problem-Pete are giving Trevor and Sam’s Locost Kit-Car it’s first outing on tarmac. There’s a bit of the old wartime airfield that is used for such things, for a suitable donation to the landowner, and it’s just what they needed to flag wilting spirits around the building of this car.

It’s quite an achievement, as Trevor and his young son Sam have been building this car from scratch in a tiny little scabby single garage, with no engineering facilities whatsoever. Trevor tells me it’s been three years in the gestation so far, but I can’t believe that time has goes so quickly……. Well, I can, but don’t want to actually acknowledge it.
It’s been built using the book “Build Your Own Sports Car for as Little as 250 Pounds: And Race it!” by Ron Champion.

If you’ve had anything at all to do with kit cars, you will have heard of his book. It’s quite an inspiring book, and such is the proof of that is Trevor and Sam’s effort that I drove on the airfield this morning. I’d say get this book, even just for the pleasure of dreaming of what could be. I guarantee that if you’re the sort of bloke……. Or a very, very rare Chick, …….. who likes to make things, you’ll love this book.

It gives you all you need to start from scratch with just a pile of tubing you’ve bought, and something like a knackered ford sierra as a donor vehicle to gather the engine, gearbox, wheels, brakes, hubs and stuff from…….. actually the book uses an old rear-wheel drive ford escort, but they’re like hens teeth to get now.

Not for these two valiant souls was this going to be a traditional kit-car supplied complete with ready-made chassis, body tub and panels cut to fit, seats, brackets and pretty much all you need to assemble into a complete car. Nope, Trevor and Sam, armed with only a book for guidance, went ahead and welded up the entire chassis, all the axle links, the front suspension wishbones, the lot. Pete with his expertise in building fibreglass boats, helped them make the lift-off bonnet, and to modify the rear fibreglass unit to fit their chassis, sourced from e-bay, and meant for an entirely different car.

In building that chassis, clever young Sam soon became something of an accomplished welder, and so for that matter did Trevor. Few boys these days get that sort of opportunity, and it’s something you just can’t put a price on at that age. Quite, quite priceless.

I’ve put my oar in from time to time, mainly in the way of encouragement, and often just by putting things in perspective when it’s all going wrong, and it all seems too much of an uphill struggle. When I point out how well they’ve done considering the garage is so small, and with so little by way of engineering equipment, it usually perks Trevor up.

Sam doesn’t need perking up……… he has the advantage of yoof on his side, and we all know how that flattens mountains, don’t we? :o)

Ok, the car shows it’s rough edges as a reflection of the VERY primitive environment it was built in, and that it was the first attempt Trevor and young Sam have ever made in building a kit car of any sort. Despite it’s home spun appearance, it drove ok, stopped when braked, and we had some fun sliding it about a good bit. It was actually a great success, although there were some fuelling problems with the engine that stopped play several times.

I took some photos, and will load them up on here when I get them sorted out.

These cars are soooooo much fun, some bastard little weenie will soon make it illegal for sure certain. With that in mind, I won’t elaborate greatly on just the sort of antics it encourages, but suffice to say, with your ass sat almost over the back axle and the centre of gravity so low, spending time creatively sliding around sideways is quite impossible to resist. Unless you’re a weenie, of course.

Trevor and Sam’s faces said it all after they got out from their first circuit of the small area of tarmac available to them. It was real good to see that all those, often despairing, hours spent in a freezing cold and tiny little garage were suddenly all worthwhile in just a few minutes on bit of old airdrome.

We are fast losing the last remnants of men (yes, and some women too, but traditionally it’s always been, and still is, mostly men) who traditionally built all sorts of wonderful stuff in sheds and workshops all over this country. The weenies that govern us have all but outlawed it, and hey won’t be happy until they have driven the final nails into boarding up the doors of our sheds and workshops.

It breaks my bloody heart, but a sight like this morning, of a Father and Son, bonded and forged in what they have created together in a poxy little garage gladdens my heart, and it displays to the world that you little weenie bastards out there haven’t beaten us yet.

K. :o)

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