An M.G. Locost Build
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December 29, 2012
Wind Buffeting

The other day we were sitting around discussing wind buffeting in Locosts. This is a common complaint among new Locost owners. Why anyone with a new Locost would be complaining about anything is a mystery, but everything is relative, including wind noise. Fixes for the problem include clip-on side wings, moving the windshield back, and wearing a helmet. We're all for the first two, but we're not so sure about the helmet. We don't want to look like we're racing around on the street in a race car.

What we're doing to make sure our Locost won't look like a race car: 1) Spare tire. Very few race cars these days carry a spare tire. Except maybe in those weird foreign races in foreign countries that no one's ever heard of. 2) Number two. Okay, we're still working on number two, but we won't have sponsor stickers or racing numbers, and that in combination with our spare tire and funky windshield, I just don't think anyone's going to mistake our Locost for a race car. Wear a helmet, though, and all bets are off.

  Clip-on side wings on an MGA. Not racy.
click to enlarge

Any convertible is going to be windy in the cockpit. That's just how wind works. You push it out of the way with a windshield, it's going to push back. Since you're moving, it'll take a few feet before it pushes back, but definitely within three feet you've got wind in the cockpit, probably somewhere around your head. In something like a Miata, three feet is behind the seats, so you don't get pushed around a lot. In a Locost, three feet is pretty much right where your face is, especially if you built one of those giant McSorley-type Locosts with their giant frames.

We don't have one of those giant McSorley Locosts, and we'll be able to install our windshield about 30" in front of our face. So we expect the whole buffeting discussion to be a non-issue. But we do have our eye on a nice set of clip-on side wings. Whether or not they help with the buffeting, they add a nice decorative touch, and you'll never see anything like them on a race car.

Really nice Locost by LocostUSA's Ol' Rowdy  
click to enlarge

That's pretty much our report for this week. Sharp-eyed readers may notice that we didn't seem to get a lot done on the Locost. That's because we didn't actually work on it. In our defense we were out of town a lot. We spent a little bit of time thinking about the Locost, but not so much that we figured anything out. Still, we thought we'd put a couple of internet photos on this page to add some color, including a nice one of Ol' Rowdy's Locouki, a bike-engined Locost with a giant hood scoop similar to what we're going to use.

The good news is, as of today we're back to working full-time on the car, and by full time of course we mean 20 hours a week, which isn't a lot but should be plenty to get this baby done before summer is out. Our carefully-constructed but shamelessly inaccurate build plan has us finishing in the November/December timeframe, but we think that's wrong. According to the plan we still have almost 1000 hours left in the build. We think that's wrong, too. We estimate more like 750.

We've actually completed a lot of steps that still show as incomplete on the plan, with hours remaining. We didn't close out these tasks in case we found out later we did something wrong, and had to fix it. We're almost past that point now, although not quite, and as soon as we start marking these tasks complete, the overall hours for the project should drop below 2200, with a mid-September completion date. We're not really sure how that happened.

We think part of the reason may be that we spent a lot of time early on doing little things that we thought would make the later steps easier. Incredibly, that seemed to work, case in point being the wiring and plumbing. We had no idea how difficult these jobs would be, so we estimated a lot of hours. But then we took the time during the final frame welding to figure out how to route everything, and even welded on tabs with blind nuts to make mounting stuff easier.

Similarly the headlight bar, and the spare tire mount, and little things like the pedal return spring mounts. We're told this kind of thing is called "planning ahead". We're not really sure what that means. I think if we'd really planned ahead, we never would've gotten into this mess in the first place. It's been a whole lot bigger project than we ever imagined, and it's taken a significant toll on our garage, tools, clothes, and bank account. But we've come too far to quit now, so it's full speed ahead, on to the finish, and all that other rah-rah stuff.

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