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adoyle88 New Reader
2/6/15 4:30 p.m.

In reply to java230:

Sorry it isn't working. I'll look into it tonight. It might just take a little while to go live.

In reply to bgkast:

We haven't changed it on this car, but we have started redesigning the suspension in SolidWorks. We are going to be using ball joints out at the steering knuckle and the upper arm will be considerably shorter to increase camber gain. Here is a look at what we have so far:

New front suspension

We've also moved the shock further out and stood it up more to make the damping force more effective.

As far as bump steer on the current design, we were able to adjust steering arm height to prevent bump steer through the travel of the suspension. We just kept adjusting it and moving the suspension up and down until it no longer steered.

fujioko HalfDork
2/6/15 5:00 p.m.

This thing came out great! As strange as it may sound, I actually like the fact that it is an automatic.

bgkast UltraDork
2/6/15 5:02 p.m.

The website is working for me.

4Msfam Reader
2/7/15 12:38 a.m.

I really like your website... my birthday is in May... hmmm. :)

The_Jed UberDork
2/7/15 3:41 a.m.

Purely amazing. I am at once awestruck and envious.

What you and your father (and whomever else worked on helping to build all of this) have accomplished is breathtaking! This is what I dream about at work when I'm cutting a big gear on the hob (TONS of cycle time), milling, turning or grinding some mundane parts that don't have close tolerances, have lots of cut time or are otherwise boring. Literally every time this happens I grab some scratch paper and map it out; I would start this business, selling this widget for this market at this price and....

But then, morning comes, reality sets in and I punch out then take my place next to everyone else on the hamster wheel of life.

I'm not selling short what you or anyone else's contribution to this enterprise has been but, what your father has done is nothing short of incredible. He started his own, obviously very successful machine shop and now has built his own kit car and will be selling them. I wish I could follow in his foot steps.

Once again, not discounting anyone else's efforts but, he has built a spectacular legacy!

edwardh80 Reader
2/7/15 12:42 p.m.

I like your website! Simple, straight-forward. Well done.

I'm curious about the track version. Given it has a cage in addition to everything else the road version has, I assume it's register-able as well? Maybe I'm asking too many questions, but is the cage designed to meet certain cage specs? As in, I thought they have to have a diagonal piece behind the seats - is this the case? Please enlighten me, as I honestly have no insight into roll cages. My engineer intuition tells me a diagonal bar would be prudent.

adoyle88 New Reader
2/7/15 7:34 p.m.
fujioko wrote: I actually like the fact that it is an automatic.

The automatic has surprised us. Maybe they aren't as bad as everyone thinks or maybe its because we have a transmission programmed for a 3000 pound car in a car half that weight, but it seems rather sporty, especially in L or I (Low or Intermediate), where it lets the RPMs go higher and shifts harder.

edwardh80 wrote: As in, I thought they have to have a diagonal piece behind the seats - is this the case?

The frame hasn't been finalized yet but all versions (even the Naked and City Goblins) will have a diagonal from the top of the hoop down to the frame. The Track version will also have cross bars in this area to make mounting seats and harnesses easier.

I'm glad that you guys like the site and find it easy to navigate. I've made a couple of websites before but this one is really testing my skills. Did the customizer ever start working for you Java230?

Currently I'm working on making it possible to order a kit through the site. The ordering process will break down like this:

  1. Customize your kit the way you want. There will also be a 'Notes' section for any specific instructions you want to include with your order.

  2. Fill out your contact and shipping info. We will be providing a Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin on delivery so we will need the information you want on that document.

  3. Confirm your order and pay a $500 deposit.

  4. We are offering a plan called the Garage Saver Program that allows you pay for and receive the kit in stages to keep your garage/shop from getting cluttered. To get the first delivery, you will need to pay $2,000 on top of the original deposit. The next stage will ship after you've paid another $2,500 and then finally your last payment will cover the options you've selected.

That might sound confusing so here it is simplified:

  • $500 - starts your order
  • $2,000 (+$400 for track frame) - you receive the frame, fuel tank and enough accessories to install your engine and fire it up
  • $2,500 - suspension, brakes and everything else to complete a Naked Goblin
  • $variable - body panels, lights, spoiler or any other options you ordered

How does this sound to everyone? We are hoping this will make it easier to store, build and afford.

bgkast UltraDork
2/7/15 11:32 p.m.

Seems like a good idea. Some kit aircraft can be purchased similarly.

I would urge you guys to finalize all of the changes, built a few beta cars and get some miles on them to find any bugs before you start offering kits for sale.

Take a look at the exocet thread to see how even a well planned, staffed and funded kit car business can have hiccups due to revisions.

java230 New Reader
2/9/15 10:37 a.m.

Site works on IE, not chrome it seems though.

And if you want beta builders I would be interested.... Im on the other side of the country though

adoyle88 New Reader
2/9/15 4:51 p.m.

In reply to java230:

A caching service I was using was set to 'aggressive'. I've backed it down to basic caching. Hopefully that fixes the problem for you in chrome.

After considering the advice from bgkast and java's offer to be a beta builder, we are making beta kits available. Here's what that equates to:

We looked at other kit deposit prices and determined that our initial deposit should be $1,000. However, for the beta program, we are going to keep the $500 deposit I mentioned earlier. So $500 will get you on the list of beta builders and put you in line for a beta kit.

We plan to deliver beta kits with the Garage Saver Program structure: you'll pay for and receive the kit in 2 - 3 stages depending on your options. However, instead of you paying for all three shipments, for the beta program you only have to pay freight for the first shipment and we will cover the freight costs for the second (and third if applicable). Also, if any pieces change, we'll cover the cost of the pieces and shipping.

To show our thanks, every beta tester will get the option to have their name and car featured on our site on a Beta Tester Showcase page. There is likely to be some DF Goblin shirts, hats and underwear sent your way as well.

Finally, as a tester, you'll be able to chime in and help us design future versions of the car.

We plan to have the first stage of the beta kits produced and ready to ship by June 1.

The site has already been updated and is ready for beta testers to place an order.

AngryCorvair UltimaDork
2/9/15 6:17 p.m.

i heart the GRM community!

Cool_Hand_Luke Reader
2/9/15 7:14 p.m.

This is Grassroots Motorsports at its finest

2/9/15 10:15 p.m.

Great build thread! I am from Houston, but I will try to come up to DFW just to check out this car in the autorama this weekend.

Could you elaborate on the registration process you went through? Did you have to go to a theft prevention task force for full vehicle inspection before you could take it to get ASE safety inspected?

adoyle88 New Reader
2/10/15 9:05 a.m.

In reply to Austin296:

You should definitely come up. We are looking forward to meeting a few GRM members at the Autorama. There is also a guy on locostusa.com that is driving over from Ft. Worth. We got some shirts screen printed and plan to give some of them away to people from the forums who come by our booth.

Shirt example

To register the vehicle, we first had to tow the car out to the Tri-County Auto Theft Task Force about 30 minutes away. We parked in the parking lot of an abandoned office building. There were several other people there with trailers hauling cars in various states.

When it was our turn, the officer admitted she wasn't sure how to handle a car like ours so she requested guidance from a second officer. We explained that the car is home made and that we got the powertrain from a salvage Cobalt. Since we had the salvage title, they compared it to the partial VIN on the engine block, determined it wasn't stolen and decided our car would be registered with the original Cobalt VIN. We are applying to the state to be a kit car manufacturer and will supply a Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin with a VIN that you will use instead of the engine VIN. The officers filled out a form for us to show that nothing was stolen.

Next we got it inspected by an ASE Master Tech. The state has allowed us to register the car as a modern replica of a 1958 Lotus 7, so the inspection process only checked for basic safety equipment:

  • Horn
  • Mirror
  • Steering
  • Seat belts
  • Brakes (parking brake not required)
  • Beam indicator
  • Tail Lamps
  • Stop Lamps
  • Rear red reflector
  • Wheels
  • Exhaust system
  • License Plate Lamp
  • Tires
  • Turn signal lamps
  • Head lamps
  • Motor, serial or vehicle ID number

Next we took the car to a QT gas station to get a certified weight (1480 pounds now that we have fenders and everything else on the car).

Finally, we took the auto theft form, ASE inspection form, certified weight slip, application for Texas title, three photos of the car, one photo of a 1958 Lotus 7 and copies of receipts for materials bought for the car to the tax office. We also had to show that we had an up to date insurance policy (for any of our cars, not for the Goblin).

The guy at the tax office had recently filed another custom vehicle so the process wasn't too challenging. In the end, our car was titled and registered as a 2015 ASVE (this means assembled vehicle) Replica.

It all went way smoother than we had expected.

To insure the car, we first went to State Farm (our normal insurance provider). They couldn't insure the car. We contacted an insurance specialist and he got us insured through Progressive for $300 a year.

Austin296 New Reader
2/10/15 9:31 a.m.

Thanks for the info, I hadn't thought about registering as a lotus replica, that gets around a lot of the titling hurdles I was worried about.

That's a great insurance rate! I'm surprised state farm wouldn't insure you. I spoke to Chris Mallet who runs a state farm in Katy, outside of Houston, about this when I was last in the office and he assured me that if it could be licensed and inspected and was not solely for track use that it could be insured.

If I can get away I should be able to come up Saturday.

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA Dork
2/10/15 9:47 a.m.

The insurance rate most likely does not cover collision and may only be the minimum liability coverage required by TX law.

java230 New Reader
2/10/15 10:45 a.m.

In reply to adoyle88:

Very cool! Im not sure I can finance a beta build right now, but id sure love too!

Website works on Chrome now!

adoyle88 New Reader
2/11/15 3:41 p.m.

You guys have all seen the process of assembling the car, but if you want a refresher, I made a video for newcomers to watch that gives a quick look at how it is assembled: DF Goblin Prototype 1: Build Process

Tonight we will be loading the car and all of our booth equipment on the trailer to tow it to Dallas Market Hall in the morning. We get to setup our Autorama booth tomorrow. We've done a few expos similar to this (2011 and 2012 SAE World Congresses and the 2013 Engine Expo in Detroit) but this one is definitely the most exciting.

adoyle88 New Reader
2/17/15 5:19 p.m.

The three days of Autorama flew by. We want to thank Austin296 for driving all the way up from Houston to see the car. Carguy123 from the locostusa.com forums also visited from Ft Worth. They actually showed up at the same time and got to meet each other.

We received some really good feedback from the Autorama attendees. It seemed everyone was impressed with the looks, build quality and price of the car. We've already got one local that is in the process of buying a donor Cobalt to get started on stripping it. A few other locals have been emailing us with more questions.

We've started work on building a CNC bender. Prices for benders are kind of steep and most are overkill for what we need so we figured we'd build one that fits our needs perfectly. I've already ordered stepper motors, drivers and controllers and we've modeled the actual structure. Tonight we are going to start machining out the framework.

Here are a few photos to show how the next iteration of the frame is turning out:

rear view

side view

beans Dork
2/17/15 9:41 p.m.

Wow, this is turning out GREAT.

Too bad I can't use a certain Honda chassis/powertrain as a donor.

vwcorvette Dork
2/17/15 10:10 p.m.

Nice website.

Hasbro SuperDork
2/18/15 8:22 a.m.

Been thinking this the whole time.

beans wrote: Wow, this is turning out GREAT. Too bad I can't use a certain Honda chassis/powertrain as a donor.
jimbob_racing Dork
2/18/15 8:49 a.m.
Hasbro wrote: Been thinking this the whole time.
beans wrote: Wow, this is turning out GREAT. Too bad I can't use a certain Honda chassis/powertrain as a donor.

Agreed. I'd be very interested if it used Honda power.

adoyle88 New Reader
2/18/15 10:43 a.m.

I don't have much experience with Hondas. Can you explain your preference for them over the Cobalt?

Keep in mind that bang for the buck was a huge factor when we started with the idea to build a few cars for ourselves and now trying to sell entry-level kits, it is even more important to have a low priced donor. A quick KBB valuation shows that we likely would have spent $1000 to $2000 more on a Honda. That isn't acceptable with our budget.

I did notice that all three of you guys have owned or still own Hondas. We own three Cobalts so it wasn't a stretch for us to pick that as our donor.

Cool_Hand_Luke Reader
3/19/15 10:46 p.m.

What's the latest with this venture? I hope all is going well

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