1 2
kreb
kreb SuperDork
3/19/13 8:43 a.m.

It's a boutique car - i.e. for someone who'd otherwise be buying something like a Cayman, but who wants to be different. Nothing wrong with that, but it makes it unobtanium to most of us. If they just sold bodys it would "cheapen the brand". Not to mention the liability.

Robin_Admin
Robin_Admin New Reader
3/19/13 8:48 a.m.

Hi, Haven't had a chance to look at the "locost" frames yet but will do so soon. You are right in that steel is cheap and given that this is the first prototype chassis, I did make changes as they were needed to find good solutions to problems that arose. Steel is cheap to cut out replace etc. and a space frame gives a lot of flexibility; so, for a first article, it is the easiest and cheapest to modify. Is that "lowcost"? Perhaps so, but then so is the Noble GT, 250 GTO, and a host of other expensive exotics.

alfadriver
alfadriver PowerDork
3/19/13 9:06 a.m.

In reply to Robin_Admin:

Locost is a term that basically is a replica of a 7 chassis for a DIYer. It started with a book, has it's own race series, and a lot of info after that. Just like the Lotus 7, it's a simple space frame made of steel. It's also a very easy to make covering.

Theoretically, you can compare your car to a Noble or a Ferrari in terms of being a space frame, but when I look at your pictures, what you get over a basic space frame is a glass body. Nice glass body, for sure.

But the interior can be bought on e-bay. Whereas the Noble has a full done interior that's actually designed instead of put on in a straight line.

And the whole powertrain can be bought from cars that have competed (and won) Lemons races. While I know the 116/119 cars are good, they are not a Ferrari V12.

What I'm trying to point out is that your car isn't a Noble or GTO, but just a body that can be fitted over a version of a Locost frame and filled with stuff one can get anywhere.

So, outside of the body, many on this board can, and have, fabricated the same car.

And I think the same of the TZ kit that my friend makes. I would love to get a body, and make a Locost to go under it. Having driven one of the TZ replicas at a convention a decade ago, it can be better.

You need to have more than that to really compare with Noble....

SlickDizzy
SlickDizzy UberDork
3/19/13 9:19 a.m.

Here's an example of a self-built Locost frame like alfadriver is talking about.

kreb
kreb SuperDork
3/19/13 10:10 a.m.

A friend modeled a lister-esque body for a Locost. We may still make it, or something close to it, but I doubt that we'd ever sell the bodys. Given the speed potential of these cars, stability becomes really important. If someone balls up his car at 150 MPH, his widow might be looking for people to point fingers at, and aerodynamic lift is an easy target. Never mind that the chasis builder may be a lousy welder with faulty geometry to boot.

http://www471.pair.com/stalkerv/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=2580

Robin_Admin
Robin_Admin New Reader
3/20/13 8:37 a.m.

-for a prototype frame a steel tube space frame is the easiest and cheapest to make. Also, it's easy to make changes and this being a prototype, changes were made. Getting around the transaxle and making a mount for the watts linkeage is not easy and I doubt there is another frame like this available anywhere. There are things I would change if I build another one that will make it better including going to a fully adjustable irs front and back. Not sure what you mean by 'screams locost', but there are some very expensive cars built not long ago that have steel tube frames....what are the alternatives? Aluminum tubing/monocoque, and carbon fiber. Maybe later.

Robin_Admin
Robin_Admin New Reader
3/20/13 8:57 a.m.

Thanks for the photos and explanation of what 'locost' means. Maybe I need to think about labor costs in SA or Mexico. Labor is of course the big expense. As you point out the Noble GT has more stuff- a roof, glass, doors, interior, much of which I don't have, so that's not a good comparison. Nothing comes to mind that is quite like the Leela. Maybe Chuck Beck's 904 replica. That's $65,000.- without the motor and trans. In this country it's hard to do anything for much less and make a living.

SlickDizzy
SlickDizzy UberDork
3/20/13 3:14 p.m.

Yeah, the 904 replica is also a very nice piece of kit. I'm a big fan of the Leela and very interested in what the final product will look like, but it will probably be out of my price range. If you make it something truly special though I'm sure the buyers will come.

carguy123
carguy123 UltimaDork
3/20/13 4:41 p.m.

I've spent some quality time with a Beck 904 and from what I've seen the Leela isn't in the same category.

I understand not wanting to sell bodies as then people who have "the real thing" could be cheapened by what someone else does, but truly your chassis IS a variation of a Locost chassis.

There's no one chassis for a Locost and from what I can see yours could easily be one of them.

fanfoy
fanfoy Reader
3/20/13 4:43 p.m.
Robin_Admin wrote: Thanks for the photos and explanation of what 'locost' means. Maybe I need to think about labor costs in SA or Mexico. Labor is of course the big expense. As you point out the Noble GT has more stuff- a roof, glass, doors, interior, much of which I don't have, so that's not a good comparison. Nothing comes to mind that is quite like the Leela. Maybe Chuck Beck's 904 replica. That's $65,000.- without the motor and trans. In this country it's hard to do anything for much less and make a living.

I will start by saying that I love the look of the car. And being an ex Milano owner, I like your choice of drivetrain.

I also think it's a good idea that you don't propose a body only, since this is a new body design and you don't want to have the shape you created associated with a crappy chassis.

But, I think you are in a bad place right now in the market place. You are much too expensive for basic car guys like the ones on this forum. If you want to appeal to this crowd, I would at least suggest that you move your operation outside of California, because it is one of the states with the highest cost of living (46th if I remember correctly). So you are starting with two strikes against you. Factory Five proposes a few kits for $14K-20K that are easily recognizable and that you can finish to your liking.

And you are too cheap for the "boutique" crowd, which won't accept a car with a 25 year old drivetrain (even if completely rebuilt), a basic interior, and no commodities.

I could be really wrong and I do hope you have success in your project.

kreb
kreb SuperDork
3/20/13 5:11 p.m.

The California location can work just fine. I once tried to purchase a company that made Speedster replicas. They did very well as long as their administration and sales were in San Diego county, and their production was in Mexico. If the owners hadn't started inhaling their profits up their noses, the company would have been very healthy. I dropped out of the bidding for two reasons - one was that I didn't have the balls to take on that big a commitment. The second was that there were rumors of some very unhappy component vendors over the border, and I like my kneecaps the way they are.

I hope that the Leela folks don't feel ambushed, but most of what's been said here is correct. Kit cars are a bitch. It seems that the folks who are successful doing the higher end kits have to take every opportunity to wring profit. That means doing excellent PR, coddling your buyers, offering them all sorts of cool upgrades (Think carbon fiber and billet) et cetera. And if that isn't enough to make would-be specialty manufacturers hide under their beds, it's easier than ever to make pretty bodys with modern technology, so the competition is ramping up as well (Catfish, anyone?)

It's a beautiful car. I wish you all the best.

Robin_Admin
Robin_Admin New Reader
3/22/13 9:30 a.m.

-I very much appreciate all your thoughts on the car, the market, and pricing. There is no way I can compete with a shop like Factory 5 at this point, and I really don't want to get in that segment of the market. If I made a budget racer I'd use completely different, readily available, modern components. That could be fun too, but the Leela is more anachronistic and mechanically complex for (probably older) people who like that kind of stuff and for whom price and speed isn't everything. Agreed this is not a Noble GT, at least not yet. But I am not finished with it yet either. I do have an idea for a car that would use Alfa running gear and qualify for Vintage racing which could be made inexpensively. ie. kits for under $20,000. One of the problems with the Leela is what to run it in... maybe I could pursuade vintage groups to let me run it as a '87 Alfa special??? Will find out soon.

Thanks for your wishes and look forward to your future thoughts.

carguy123
carguy123 UltimaDork
3/22/13 10:10 a.m.

The only thing I see wrong with your concept as a viable commercial product is the choice of running gear and I'm one of those older people.

The look is good, very cool actually, but even tho many of us like the older vehicles don't want the problems associated with them and the increasing difficulty getting parts &/or mechanics to work on them.

A modern drivetrain gives you a trouble free driving experience while letting you flaunt your individuality.

I think you built the car you want, but I don't think it will be the car a lot of people want. Just look at how many "can I buy the body comments" on the is one little thread. They like the body, but aren't in love with the underpinnings.

That's just my .02¢.

kreb
kreb SuperDork
3/22/13 10:40 a.m.
They like the body, but are too poor to buy the underpinnings

Fixed that for you. I'd love to have a rip-roaring Alfa V6 under the hood of a car like that.

wspohn
wspohn Reader
3/22/13 12:39 p.m.

Looks like a fun car!

The body looks good to me except for the front view. I wouldn't want to see that coming up in my rear view mirror - it looks like it wants to give you a nasty suck! I think something closer to an Alfa TZ nose appearance would have worked much better aesthetically

Robin_Admin
Robin_Admin New Reader
3/22/13 5:20 p.m.

I've had this engine and trans in the chassis first for several years and with a body for many more, and all I have done to the car is change the battery and spark plugs. It starts all the time, runs great, and on the track take it over 6000 all the time. It's an old engine for sure but it really does the trick. But your right, a Honda S2000 motor would beat the 2.5 easily. But I love the V6 sound!

1 2
Our Preferred Partners
vfn67O13NpO0EobxWubtZztaPgqHJN3fls7JWi8Z2BETngz8w7O9oQ1ZBKDA8kNf