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Locost space-frame chassis build

Well the concept is simple enough - grab a heap of steel tubing and follow Ron Champion’s book to build a space-frame chassis.  The reality was that the process is far from simple and there are many decisions to be made along the way and problems to overcome.

First step was to decide on the mechanical components that I was going to use as they determine a lot of the design criteria. 

I purchased a complete 2006 Mazda MX5 NC as my donor vehicle and a selection of steel tubing, I was then ready to begin the process. 

Second step was to rethink the frame design as Ron Champion’s original design is not strong enough to meet the Australian Design Rules and requires additional bracing and triangulation. Locost chassis in the early stages of construction.

There are many different ideas floating around on how to build the best Locost and I don’t believe that any two cars are really identical.  I obtained a great set of detailed plans from Formula Motor Sport in Queensland and incorporated many of their ideas into my chassis.  Unfortunately they have removed their realistically priced Locost chassis plans from sale due to the high cost of public liability and professional indemnity insurance.

The original “book” design is also a bit on the narrow side, therefore, like many other builders, I added extra width (130mm in my case) and also extended the length by 100mm in the cabin, 50mm in the footwells and 50mm in the engine bay plus 25mm higher sides from the scuttle forward and increased the size of the rear “boot” area.  My Locost is very individual and desiFirst stages of construction.gned to suit my needs.

First up I built a solid timber table with steel legs to provide the level surface required for the space-frame construction, which also gave me a chance to practice my cutting and welding skills before launching into the serious construction stuff. The top was 20mm chipboard with 90mm x 30mm pine supports glued on the long edges and a steel tube frame underneath.

I haven't detailed the build process in this section as the many photos on this site describe how it developed.  I have included some notes with the photos where appropriate.  So take a look at the photo albums and follow my project as it grew into a home built, road registered sports car.


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