An M.G. Locost Build
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November 14, 2015
The List

As promised, we took a couple of pictures on our latest drive with our local British car club, so that we could post them here and dispel any notion that we're only using the Locost for car shows. Unfortunately, there isn't a lot to report on the event. We came, we drove, we conquered. We didn't see anything cool along the way, and nobody broke down. We did stop for lunch, but we don't like posting pictures of food on the Internet. Fortunately, a couple of photos on the road turned out okay, or at least good enough for this website, at least in our opinion. As usual, you're free to disagree.

  Very spirited back roads drive
click to enlarge

Meanwhile, one day last week, when we weren't out driving spiritedly, we made a list of all the things we still want to do to our Locost. For the past couple of years we've avoided making such a list, because we like to think the car is perfect. And it is. But a few things still annoy us on occasion, like for instance the carpets, the seat belts, and the exhaust. There are a couple of things that don't annoy us but could still be improved, like the seats and wheels, and we also have one or two cosmetic items on the list, like for example the grille and the brake master cylinder.

Nothing on the list is critical, so we haven't gotten around to prioritizing anything. Although as you might expect we'll probably do the cheapest things first. The rattling seat belts, for example, could be fixed for nothing more than the cost of a couple of neoprene washers. The only reason we haven't done anything about them yet is because the rattling noise only bothers us when we're out driving, and not when we're near a hardware store. Hopefully, that will change now that the seat belts are on the list.

We are nowhere near a car show here  
click to enlarge

Fixing the carpets would be almost as cheap as the seat belts, even if we end up buying new material. A yard of luxury automotive carpet is only about $25, based as usual on our own definition of luxury, and a yard is all we'd need. The old carpets still work, but the Velcro-like substance we used to stick them in place doesn't stick anymore, so they tend to bunch up whenever we get in the car, and we have to straighten them out. It's only a minor nuisance, but you don't have to straighten out carpets in a real car. We're thinking of maybe using snaps this time.

Replacing the wheels will be last on the list, because they cost a lot and all of that cash could otherwise be used to pay down credit cards or buy food. The only reason wheels are on the list at all is because our steel wheels are heavy, rusty, and not especially round. We can see the left front wheel when we're driving down the road, and it wobbles. A lot. A shimmy sets in at around 72 mph, and doesn't go away until around 80. Balancing the wheels has so far been fruitless. The Minilite-style wheels we have in mind as replacements would balance perfectly.

  Artist's conception of Minilites on our Locost
click to enlarge

There's nothing wrong with our seats, but they're still a little too high, maybe half an inch. We sometimes find ourselves slumping down for a better view out of the windscreen. We like the way the car feels down there. The sills are higher so we feel safer, and yes, it's just an illusion, but it's a good one. Also, lowering 15 percent of the car's weight (i.e. me) by half an inch couldn't hurt. The only problem with lowering the seats is that the cushions are about as thin as we can allow right now. Two hours on the road and you can start to feel the plywood.

As luck would have it, though, we recently discovered that our original seat mounts were half an inch too thick. If you'll recall, the mounts are two piece affairs, allowing us to remove the squabs whenever we want without any special tools. The pieces are made from 12 mm plywood, which was clearly overkill. There's virtually no bending stress on them, and we're pretty sure 5 mm ply would work as well as 12 mm in compression. According to our calculations, replacing both 12 mm pieces with 5 mm would lower the seats 14 mm, which is slightly more than half an inch, although probably not enough to notice.

Not on the list, but something we've talked about for a while is a radio. We're not sure we could actually hear a radio, except possibly at traffic lights. We did reserve a spot on the dash for a radio, although we'd now have to remove the dashboard to cut a big hole in it, and no one wants to see any of that, least of all us. Still, we miss listening to ballgames while we're out driving, or even the news. Sometimes we'll go weeks without driving anything but the Locost, and if anything newsworthy happens, we're the last to know.

Installing a radio wouldn't be nearly as hard as installing speakers. We'd like two, for those occasions when we're listening to classic rock or some other stereophonic channel, or so one can act as a spare. Unfortunately, the usual places for speakers, like behind the seats or in the doors, don't exist in a Locost. We could just leave them on the floor and tell people we haven't gotten around to bolting them in yet. Maybe once we have the dashboard out to cut a hole for the radio, we'll find a place under there. As if we're actually going to do it.

There isn't any schedule for doing any of the work on the list, so we'll have to let you know if any of it happens. Over the next couple of months we're anticipating possible adverse weather in the form of rain and/or other precipitation, and that tends to preclude driving around in a car with no roof, but doesn't prevent us from working on said car in a dark and dingy garage. Luckily, we have such a garage, and once we kick the other car to the street, it'll provide plenty of work space. So we'll see.

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Comments:  
posted October 9, 2016 at 03:12:16  
Please don't change out the Rostyle wheels. They make the car!

Keep up the inspiration.

Chris