An M.G. Locost Build
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December 19, 2012
Lighting

We've been extremely busy this past week with just about everything except the Locost. First of all, the world hasn't ended yet, which means we haven't gotten out of doing anything. Although the year's not over, so maybe. Still, lots of holiday activities combined with a track weekend and family coming to town didn't leave us with much garage time. And the roll bar is once again not yet on the premises.

We did have one breakthrough moment. We actually started on the lighting systems. Out of 17 major steps in our Locost build, lighting is the 15th. Which means we have only two steps left to go, installing the windshield and final painting. Of course we've only completely finished four of the 17 steps, so you could look at it that way, but that's a personal choice and we choose not to.

  As featured on real Caterham 7s
click to enlarge

You might wonder what we could possibly do on the lighting front with nothing but a bare metal chassis to work with. Two things, actually. First, we got an early Christmas present, a pair of brand new Britax taillights, as used on real Caterhams, or so they tell us. They include not just taillights, but also brake lights and turn signals, so that's three big steps in the lighting process out of the way. Of course we haven't actually installed them yet because they need to be attached to the rear fenders, and we don't have any rear fenders. But we've got taillights, so that's a start.

Secondly, if you look closely at our build plan, you'll notice that the first task in the lighting step is to build a headlight bar. We've long known that our headlight bar would bolt to our upper shock mounts, but that's about as far as we ever got on the design. Until now. Last week we actually built one. A headlight bar. It's a classic Locost design, with headlight mounts gracefully rising up from the bar on slanted support beams. This is a highly-visible styling element on a Locost, so you know we had to make it look good.

Heavier version of standard Locost headlight bat  
click to enlarge

Our bar might be a little heavier than your average Locost headlight bar. We went with 1/4" thick steel, which might be overkill for some people, but not us. The bar reinforces our cantilevered shock absorber mounts, helping them resist the twisting moment on the long J-tubes imparted by the weight of the car, and we estimated this would work better if the bar wouldn't easily bend. Or ever bend. Also, we thought it would be a good idea if the headlights didn't wobble around as we motored down the street. Ours won't. Quarter-inch steel.

Not that we ever expect to drive the Locost at night. But you never know when you might get caught in a solar eclipse. So we're happy with the strength of the bar, although of course we're not done with it. We budgeted 26 hours for the bar and we've only spent eight on it, so there must be more stuff to do. Some grinding at least. A lot of Locosts have the turn signals mounted from the bar below the headlights, so maybe we'll do something like that. Although we have a separate time budget for turn signals, so I'm not sure what we'll do there.

The only other lights we're planning to install on the Locost are license plate lights and back-up lights. We're pretty sure we don't actually need back-up lights, but we have the switch on the transmission and the wires in the harness, so we feel obligated to use them. For some reason we didn't save any light fixtures from the donor. Maybe they were rusty. It's okay, though, because they probably wouldn't have fit anyway, and besides, Moss Motors has new ones pretty cheap.

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