Build Your Own Car – Making the Locost Chassis

All of the steel was cut for the chassis, but I was not confident enough to fabricate the front wishbones.. These, along with the suspension bushes and panhard rod were bought ready made from Martin Keenan. Great guy and incredibly helpful. The welding was done by a friend of mine, John who is an absolute whiz with MIG.

Initially, the chassis shape was marked out on a large piece of blockboard and the bottom rails were laid out. All of the joints were first tack welded, working from one side to the other to avoid distortion. The bottom frame was the checked for squareness and adjusted as required. Once we were happy with it the joints were fully welded, again working from side to side and again, checking for squareness as we went.

The next stage was fitting the uprights, again tack welding and checking for squareness. It’s amazing how much things distort when they are heated up. The top rails were then tacked on.

The most difficult things were the front frame and trying to get the angles correct and correctly positioning the suspension, trailing arm and panhard rod mounting brackets. Both of these jobs were accomplished by making up jigs to hold things in place when they were tack welded. Once all of the chassis rails were tacked in place the laborious job of fully welding all of the joints began. Again, this was done by working from one side to the other, continuously checking angles and squareness.

A couple of things were done differently to the book. The engine mounts were slotted to make it easier to get the engine in and out, the gearbox mounts were drilled and tapped for the same reason. Also the angle of the back of the chassis was steeper than the book. I can’t remember why we did this, but there was obviously a good reason.

Brackets had to be welded onto the Escort rear axle. I had read that some people had problems with this. Mainly because the axle distorted. We didn’t have any problem at all.

Although it took several weeks of part time work the chassis wasn’t too bad a job to do. Below are a few pictures of the finished chassis. Also a couple of pictures of the Zeemeride coil-over shocks that were bought for the car.

Nearside 1 Nearside 1 Nearside Rear Rear 1 Rear 2 Front 1 Front 2 Engine Mount 1 Engine Mount 2 Gearbox Mount Rear Axle 1 Rear Axle 2 Rear Axle 3 Trailing Arm Mount Zeemeride Shocks 1 Zeemeride Shocks 2

To be continued…..

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