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Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/23/20 10:26 a.m.
nocones said:
Keith Tanner said:

It's funny how the US market views cars like this. In the UK, the Exocet was a cute way to use a basically free MOT failure MX-5 as an elemental sports car that looked a bit like an Atom. Then a race series popped up, which happens with surprising regularity in the UK. When it came to the US, it was viewed as a balls-out performance car and they started getting fat tires, special suspension tuning and a turbo four is usually considered the absolute minimum required power level. I can see the same viewpoint on this car here as well in comments. Instead of it being a way to have a lookalike of one of the most successful GP cars without spending several million dollars, it's about hundreds of horsepowers and Hoosier slicks and fake exhaust pipes. Different world.

I think that's because the typical american doesn't have any idea what a 1300-1500 ln car with 100/125/150 hp feels like.  Other then Miatas everything MOST people have experience with is either a 2500lb FWD with 100-120 hp that feels slow, or a 3000-3500 lb car that doesnt feel sporting unless it has 250+ HP.  They assume that the HP is what makes the speed.  

People don't have access to light moderate HP cars in America.   All the 1950's - 1980 British classics with 60-70 HP and 1500lbs are classics and most people will never drive one.  Those cars were amazing and coming from a stock MG midget at 55 screening HP in 1600lbs I knew what to expect out of the rotary MG at 170whp 1600lbs.   

Comming from my frame of reference I would not want to own this with more then 150-170 nice smooth HP, and would likely be more then satisfied with a stock Miata drivetrain.  That would be a good amount to have a sporty feeling in the straights but not so much that the car can't be driven in the corners.  

 

 

But the Exocet grew out of the Miata world, so you'd expect them to understand power/weight at least a little bit. It was just that the market latched on to the track potential of the car - perhaps the Miata has a higher profile as a track car in the US than the UK, I don't know. It's not just horsepower, US builders are strapping on 15x9 wheels while the frame was designed to accommodate the original 14x5.5s.

I think a slightly modified Miata engine - a little more cam, maybe some throttle bodies - would suit this car pretty well. It would be fast enough to be very entertaining on those tires (5.50x16 from what I can make out) but would not be completely evil. Gotta say a smooth BMW six sounds pretty good too, and then you'd only have two fake pipes :)

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/23/20 10:27 a.m.

Why wouldnt this be legal in SCCA autox Dmod/Emod? May not be immediately competitive, but it hits the displacements and weight targets pretty well. 

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/23/20 10:30 a.m.
rob_lewis said:

I guess I'm in the more UK based mindset.  Low horsepower, skinny tires, classic lines, more fun per dollar.  At 1300 lbs, a turbo'd or straight six would be well beyond my driving skills and if I wanted that, the Exocet would fill that bill.

Just thinking beyond this kit a bit, from what I can tell, the chassis is pretty simple and if you look at race cars of that era, they all had the same basic design.  Wonder if you could do your own body (out of aluminum or fiberglass) to match a different car? 

A Cooper T20

 

Or a Ferrari 166 F2

Maybe a Kurtis Kraft 500A

Ooooh, a Talbot Lago 126 C is beautiful

No offense intended to Ant's original design and inspiration intended. 

-Rob

To everyone who wants to join the challenge subclass - pick one!

nocones
nocones UberDork
12/23/20 10:35 a.m.

The UK is easier to register a "Custom" unique designed vehicle then the US.  Being 1 country they have consistent laws that allow an individual, or small company to fabricate a unique vehicle that can be registered for street use.  Most of this comes from the state by state nature of the laws.  There are some states where you cannot in any way register a Custom build such as this (replicas only and some states are making that harder).  Some states (California for 1) make the process incredibly easy to register a Custom car, it's the same process as a replica.   I think that plus the earlier discussion about US vehicle preferences are the reasons why companies just can't do stuff like the BAC mono here in the states.

In Illinois this would be very dificult to register if not impossible.  

It's not a replica of something that was street legal (Cobra, Beck 904/550, type route).  A replica takes the legal items required from the year being replicated. 

It would have to be registered the way a Atom/Exocet gets registered which is a 2020 assigned VIN.  This requires DOT rules from 2020 be followed.  It's not impossible, but it would be quite difficult.

jr02518
jr02518 HalfDork
12/23/20 10:38 a.m.

The wheel and tire combination is going to have a profound impact on the driving experience that this car is going to offer.  The skinny rims, tall side walls and narrow contact patch will reinforce a driving style that many people no longer experience.  If you do not drive it like a Miata, you will be rewarded with all kinds of positive driving experiences.

Watching the clips of these cars racing in the day, you car see them power sliding in the corners.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
12/23/20 10:38 a.m.

I think a stock-ish miata drivetrain would be more than adequate for this car.  A VVT + bolt onts motor is going to be <10lbs per hp.  How much faster do you want to drive a coffin?

I don't dig the wire wheels, but I'm sure suitable 4x100s could be found.  I would still want access to modern street tires if possible, so likely end up with a 15" wheel.

I don't dig the fake exhaust pipes.  A 4 pipe header would be just fine.  No need to pretend it is something else.

 

This may have been covered but... what happens with fenders?  Aren't those required on the street in most states?

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/23/20 10:39 a.m.

It is a replica, though. Does the original have to be street legal?

The big problem the Atom faces is that it only comes as a turn-key. Constructed kits are a very different matter in most states from "new" vehicles like Atoms. Exocets are not too much trouble to register in most states, you just need lights, fenders and usually a windshield.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) UberDork
12/23/20 10:39 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

It's not really any easier in the UK, I don't think. It's that people in the US seem to spend more time talking about how hard it is :) The SB100 exemption in CA is an example. Based on talking to people who have done it, it's not really that difficult. But the legends around it, good lord. We've managed to get a supercharged V8 Exocet through registration in Massachusetts 100% legally. You just have to read the regs.

SB100 used to be much harder before they adjusted the laws so that the Boyd Coddingtons of the world weren't using up the entire year's allotment on January 2nd for building hot rods.  Also, officially SB100 is only supposed to apply to cars that are replicas of pre-1966 cars.  Obviously that would apply to this car but technically it shouldn't on the Exocet.  Nobody ever actually enforces that, though (I guess you could just argue that the Exocet is a really bad replica of a Lotus 7...)

As for autocross competitiveness, in principle I don't see any reason why it couldn't work for D Mod.  I think the SCCA classing that people are talking about is for road racing though, not autox.

As for US vs UK expectations... Americans have always craved horsepower more than Brits have. :)

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/23/20 10:43 a.m.
ProDarwin said:

I don't dig the wire wheels, but I'm sure suitable 4x100s could be found.  I would still want access to modern street tires if possible, so likely end up with a 15" wheel.

Note that the 5.50x16 tires on this car are 27" tall. A set of Miata-size 24" tires are going to look a little weird.

nocones
nocones UberDork
12/23/20 10:46 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Keith your preaching to the choir here.  I want my next (next after the LMP360) track day car to be light, lower hp, super easy on consumables, and running on a tire that is around 320 TW levels of grip but can survive track use.   

But that car would be a rolling chicane at most trackdays which is frustrating.   

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/23/20 10:46 a.m.
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:
Keith Tanner said:

It's not really any easier in the UK, I don't think. It's that people in the US seem to spend more time talking about how hard it is :) The SB100 exemption in CA is an example. Based on talking to people who have done it, it's not really that difficult. But the legends around it, good lord. We've managed to get a supercharged V8 Exocet through registration in Massachusetts 100% legally. You just have to read the regs.

SB100 used to be much harder before they adjusted the laws so that the Boyd Coddingtons of the world weren't using up the entire year's allotment on January 2nd for building hot rods.  Also, officially SB100 is only supposed to apply to cars that are replicas of pre-1966 cars.  Obviously that would apply to this car but technically it shouldn't on the Exocet.  Nobody ever actually enforces that, though (I guess you could just argue that the Exocet is a really bad replica of a Lotus 7...)

As for autocross competitiveness, in principle I don't see any reason why it couldn't work for D Mod.  I think the SCCA classing that people are talking about is for road racing though, not autox.

As for US vs UK expectations... Americans have always craved horsepower more than Brits have. :)

 

Even in the early days, I only ever spoke to one person who tried to get one and failed. Everyone else succeeded.

SB100 defaults to 1960 if it's not a replica of a specific car. https://www.bar.ca.gov/Consumer/Referee_Program/Specially_Constructed_Vehicles.aspx

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
12/23/20 10:47 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:
ProDarwin said:

I don't dig the wire wheels, but I'm sure suitable 4x100s could be found.  I would still want access to modern street tires if possible, so likely end up with a 15" wheel.

Note that the 5.50x16 tires on this car are 27" tall. A set of Miata-size 24" tires are going to look a little weird.

Yeah, if you want grippy tires, you are likely running 23" tires.

A 205/70 R15 seems to be an availble size.  26" so it might not look that goofy.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/23/20 10:48 a.m.
nocones said:

In reply to Keith Tanner :

Keith your preaching to the choir here.  I want my next (next after the LMP360) track day car to be light, lower hp, super easy on consumables, and running on a tire that is around 320 TW levels of grip but can survive track use.   

But that car would be a rolling chicane at most trackdays which is frustrating.   

Well, it'll have a similar power/weight as my Locost did which was never a rolling chicane. It won't have the tires that car had but I did only run 205s. So yeah, it'll have trouble on the long straights but it will probably have a better power/weight than an Exocet. And I suspect better aero too, as exposed tubes are really ugly aerodynamically.

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
12/23/20 10:51 a.m.
ProDarwin said:
Keith Tanner said:
ProDarwin said:

I don't dig the wire wheels, but I'm sure suitable 4x100s could be found.  I would still want access to modern street tires if possible, so likely end up with a 15" wheel.

Note that the 5.50x16 tires on this car are 27" tall. A set of Miata-size 24" tires are going to look a little weird.

Yeah, if you want grippy tires, you are likely running 23" tires.

A 205/70 R15 seems to be an availble size.  26" so it might not look that goofy.

255/40/17 is 25.3" tall. I mean, its not like you got fenders to clearance or anything.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) UberDork
12/23/20 10:52 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Even in the early days, I only ever spoke to one person who tried to get one and failed. Everyone else succeeded.

SB100 defaults to 1960 if it's not a replica of a specific car. https://www.bar.ca.gov/Consumer/Referee_Program/Specially_Constructed_Vehicles.aspx

I've spoken to people who had to wait a couple years before getting the certification number.  I dunno if that counts as "hard", but certainly it's inconvenient. :)

Huh, I hadn't seen the 1960 default before, I wonder if that's new?  My interest was always in Locosts though, so it's possible that I've just skipped over it because it didn't apply.

 

nocones
nocones UberDork
12/23/20 11:07 a.m.

My understanding (in illinois) is that the vehicle being replicated does have to have been street legal.   You are replicating a vehicle that was previously offered as a registerable/titled motor vehicle. 

I can't build a replica lotus 49 and title it as a lotus 49.  Those didn't get titles so the DMV doesn't have records of them (unless I can in which case I have some cars and unfinished projects for sale while I shift gears).

I could be wrong about this.  The Willys pickup I own is officially per the illinois government an assigned VIN with a 1954 build date (this is a sort of combined specialty constructed class for replicas that aren't kits so there is no MSO for the frame) .  I briefly thought about trying to register the LMP360 as a replica but I think it will differ to much from the original design and it won't have DOT glass.  

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/23/20 11:13 a.m.

In reply to nocones :

What prevents you from just saying you have an alternate body on a miata frame? and register and title the original miata? I would think this would be common with older pickup trucks. 

You are allowed to modify your car, right?

Edit, I guess maybe it seems like a ridiculous question, but I dont know where the LAW draws the line between 'modified car' and 'brand new vehicle'.

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) UberDork
12/23/20 11:17 a.m.
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:

Edit, I guess maybe it seems like a ridiculous question, but I dont know where the LAW draws the line between 'modified car' and 'brand new vehicle'.

I think the thing with the VIN tag on it is the part that's the "car".  In the case of the Miata (and most modern cars) that's the unibody.

 

Driven5
Driven5 UltraDork
12/23/20 11:25 a.m.

In reply to nocones :

While technically you may be correct about the intent, but I don't see how it could be enforceable. Is there anything stating that it had to have been street legal specifically in the US There are many niche cars never offered for sale in the US, that the DMV would have no record of, but could be entirely legal due to age. If you show evidence of it being 'produced', they would they be able to prove that it wasn't legal for road use anywhere else?

Another possibility might be finding the road legal car that it looks most like, even if that's not what it overall looks most like...Unless the they state how accurate of a replica it has to be. You could just be not that good at replicating, or it could be a 'customized' replica like some of the stylized hotrod 'replicas' out there.

BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter)
BoxheadTim (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/23/20 11:26 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

But the Exocet grew out of the Miata world, so you'd expect them to understand power/weight at least a little bit. It was just that the market latched on to the track potential of the car - perhaps the Miata has a higher profile as a track car in the US than the UK, I don't know. It's not just horsepower, US builders are strapping on 15x9 wheels while the frame was designed to accommodate the original 14x5.5s.

Miatas are - or at least were, when I lived there - a fairly popular track car in the UK. That said, there tends to be a lot more choice when it comes to track cars in the UK, as you have a nice selection of hot hatches, reasonably affordable stuff like S1 Elises, various kit cars, the usual Japanese stuff, plus of course Caterfields etc. I've also never encountered someone complaining to the organisers of a track day that the other participants are getting in the way of their 500bhp Camero and thus should go back where they came from and stop bothering "intermediate group" drivers.

Not to mention that very few tracks in the UK are of the type where big HP is a massive advantage, with the possible exceptions of Snetterton and Silverstone.

Plus of course there is the bit about them racing pretty much anything vaguely motorised and equipped with wheels.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/23/20 11:28 a.m.
codrus (Forum Supporter) said:
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:

Edit, I guess maybe it seems like a ridiculous question, but I dont know where the LAW draws the line between 'modified car' and 'brand new vehicle'.

I think the thing with the VIN tag on it is the part that's the "car".  In the case of the Miata (and most modern cars) that's the unibody.

 

IIRC back in the day in the UK you had to retain two of the three: engine, rear axle, frame. Change two of them and it becomes a new car.

That's obviously a pretty dated method but I always liked how it worked.

jimbob_racing
jimbob_racing Dork
12/23/20 11:28 a.m.
bobzilla said:

so what inline 6 is available? A car like this is screaming for something more sonorous than a 4 cyl miata engine

Datsun L series. 2.4, 2.6 and 2.8

They'd sound perfect.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
12/23/20 11:40 a.m.
Robbie (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to nocones :

What prevents you from just saying you have an alternate body on a miata frame? and register and title the original miata? I would think this would be common with older pickup trucks. 

You are allowed to modify your car, right?

Fenders & safety items I would imagine.

In most states you are not allowed to remove the fenders from your car.  You also can't remove the airbag.

All of the safety an emissions items present on the miata donor would need to be kept.

Driven5
Driven5 UltraDork
12/23/20 11:41 a.m.

If what's shown the red body and frame pic is everything included for your $10k, I think this is going to be substantially more expensive and/or time consuming to build than many people expect. I would love to be completely wrong on that once all of the build details are available.

I think the sound is the most obvious shortcoming. An I6 based powertrain donor would be a significant improvement, and perhaps some type of bike engine would be even better... But I wonder if splitting the exhaust from each cylinder into one short and one long tube could be enough to at least make the sound sufficiently 'interesting' while using all 8 pipes.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
12/23/20 11:57 a.m.
Driven5 said:

If what's shown the red body and frame pic is everything included for your $10k, I think this is going to be substantially more expensive and/or time consuming to build than many people expect. I would love to be completely wrong on that once all of the build details are available.

I think the sound is the most obvious shortcoming. An I6 based powertrain donor would be a significant improvement, and perhaps some type of bike engine would be even better... But I wonder if splitting the exhaust from each cylinder into one short and one long tube could be enough to at least make the sound sufficiently 'interesting' while using all 8 pipes.

The body/frame pic is indeed the $10k kit. Basically like an Exocet.

I've seen pics of the rest and it's really nice. Pricing has not yet been set, but I suspect you're looking at $25k or so to finish one before you start going crazy with custom straight 8s made out of motorcycle engines.

Ah, the sub kit pictures are online now. I believe each of these are one "kit", so you can get the cooling kit, the fuel kit, the wheel/tyre kit, etc. They've been cropped to show off nicely on the site so some are a little incomplete - the cooling kit includes an expansion tank, for example. There will be more details and info forthcoming, Ant didn't realize there would be as much interest in these sub kits so quickly.

 

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