January 1, 2014
Happy new year, 2014. We are no closer to getting our Locost registered, having spent the past two weeks doing mostly non-car stuff, but we did take the car on its first really long drive today, now that we no longer have to worry about spewing coolant out of every cap, tube, and overflow tank in the car. We still have plenty of caps, tubes, and overflow tanks in the car, but with coolant temps well below 200 degrees, none of them appears to be under enough stress to give up the goods. So this morning we took a trip down the Marin peninsula for a photo op.
Ever since we found Martin Keller's Locost build log two years ago, we dreamed of a day that we could take a picture of our car as cool as the one Martin took of his bright yellow Locost perched above the shores of Malibu. That picture was our inspiration for a long time. To us, it represented the epitome of the California sports car scene, at least back when California had a sports car scene. We wanted a picture like that with our car, and today we got it. We didn't drive all the way to Malibu, but we found a place almost as cool.
The historic Marin Headlands sit high up on the north slopes of the entrance to the San Francisco Bay. During WWII the headlands were used by the U.S. Army to defend San Francisco and the bay area from its enemies, which apparently was enough of a threat to deter the Imperial Navy from ever attacking. Large concrete gun emplacements and pill boxes still dot the rocky bluffs overlooking the Golden Gate bridge and the City beyond, and a narrow road winds through the rolling hills so Japanese tourists can drive up and take in the magnificent view.
That's where we went to get the picture we always hoped to get, and there's no way we could've captured the same effect with Photoshop, because for one thing we don't have Photoshop, and for another it would've taken us weeks to learn how to use it. Much easier to drive our temporarily legal Locost up into the hills, park it on the shoulder, and snap photographs with the morning sunlight floating in over the bay. Unfortunately the lighting wasn't the best, and might be better at sunset. We'll drive up there one evening and check it out.
The drive to the headlands and back was 58 miles, with a mix of freeway and back roads. The car is still incredibly fun to drive, and we are convinced that impression is not going to change for a very long time. Or ever. It's just so different from any other type of car. The driving position is like a go-kart. You're looking up at everything, which is somewhat worrisome if there happen to be taller cars around. Or any cars around. But then you park the car, and climb out and walk away, and then you look back at the car and you immediately feel better.
It's interesting to watch the reactions of passersby when you park and go into, say, a coffee shop. If no one stops to check out the car, everyone walks by either sneaking peeks or staring at it. If one person stops to look closer, then more people do, and the result can be a small crowd. It's hard at that point to just hop in the car and drive away. We've tried several different tactics. So far the best is to join the crowd and pretend to be another interested spectator. Although we haven't worked out exactly what to do after that.
We made an appointment with the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) station to get the Locost approved for day-to-day use on the public highways. We're meeting with them next Wednesday. This is the last hurdle in the long and painful registration process, or next-to-last if you think we might have trouble getting the DMV to accept our test results and issue license plates. As always, we'll let you know how it goes.
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