Lotus 38 ish Replica

Gordy

Lifetime Premier Supporter
#61
Congratulations Ben ! Very cool.

I really admire what you, Kaspa and a few others on here have accomplished with scratch builds, quite an achievement.
 

Ben

New Member
#62
A one-year scratchbuild is pretty darned quick. Glad you're on wheels now. Any thoughts on how it drives?
Well I've only driven it 15 mph around the block and I was a little focused on getting it filmed (and was kind of rushed). So I haven't got a great sense of it yet, but I do have some first impressions.

Now to give some context in the form of my racing experiance, I started out autocrossing an old Lotus Europa that I put a toyota motor in. . . and then added nitrous :). Then I road raced and autocrossed a Forumla 500 for 5 years and I've driven Formula Fords and the old skip barber formula cars on occasions.

So that said, this is the heaviest race car I've run (1660lbs with me in it and fueled up). One day I'd like to put an aluminum block in it and get some lighter wheels and maybe lighter front uprights and overall take over 100lbs off the weight of the car. But anyway, its twice as heavy as my formula 500 and feels like it. BUT, its also by far the nicest car to drive of any of my race cars. The clutch isn't heavy, nor are the brakes. The steering feel is just right, not too light, not hard at slow speeds. The car also feels more solid than the Europa (not saying much there) or my F500. I was also worried about the throttle being a little too sensitive for a V8 in a this light a car, but it really wasn't (though the engine wasn't warmed up). It was a lot more docile to drive then I thought it'd be.

My hope is, at autocrosses, to start in 2nd gear and just leave it there both saving me shift time and keeping my audi gear box from exploding from a hard launch in 1st gear. I was hoping for a little more low end torque starting in second then when I tried it here (albeit with a cold engine) but I was being gentle with the throttle, so hopefully it'll come alive more with a bit more shove of the loud pedal. Actually that's something else interesting, its not loud. At all. Its kind of nice. Other than that, the car was also smoother than I thought it'd be and felt really well controlled over bumps (not that this matters in autocrossing, but it felt nice).

The real test will be on track as I know my F500 felt TERRIBLE when driven at slow speeds. but at full throttle was brilliant. So knowing that this car is nice at slow speeds is nice, but doesn't mean anything as to how it'll preform as a race car. But that'll probably be next year. I'd like to get away from the car for a while and do some other things. Like sleep. But I'll do some more test drives around the neighborhood with out bothering with cameras after Labor Day. I live near a beach and its crowded during the summer (I came home from work at 11 in the morning to do the test drive and there were still people driving around). But after Labor Day, the tourist go home and my streets will be completely empty during weekdays.

-Ben
 

Ben

New Member
#63
I finally got a trailer and got the car to the last autox vent of the year out here. Unfortunately it was a pretty tight course and my car isn't exactly small. I still have oversized (almost truck sized) tires on the car making it ride high and looking ridiculous, but I wanted the thing up off the ground to be sure it wouldn't slam its nose under braking or something.

I've never had this much engine behind me in a race car and its not the horsepower that was startling (I was never really in the meat of the power band as 1st was a little short and 2nd a little tall for this course with these tall tires). It was the engine braking. I could enter a turn, take my foot off the brake but leave it off the gas and the car would rotate. I spun the first time I did this, and then realized I could utilize it. But this event was more about being a shakedown then going fast (and I was pretty darn slow in the time sheets). I had a somewhat scary clunking noise that turned out to be a heat shield flapping just enough to tap the battery bracket and act like a bell. Easy fix.

So more of my brain was paying attention to the car then to driving the course. I'm sure there were people out there wondering why I was so slow and why I wasn't hitting the gas at certain points (I was listening for things).

Beyond that, the car was much better balanced then I thought it would be. Once I'm finished checking every weld, rivet, and bolt for any failures, and make some adjustments to make it more comfortable in the cockpit, I'm going to be really desperate to get it back out on track and drive it hard in the rev range.

In the extra wide picture with two people sitting in the background taking pictures, that's my uncle and my son :)
 

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Randy V

Administrator
#64
Nice job Ben!

Ah yes, trailing throttle oversteer is what you experienced. Try it at 150 mph in traffic some time if you really want to get religion quickly....

Looks like a whole lot of wheel weights on that right rear..
Hope your nut-n-bolt session turns up looking well...
 

Ben

New Member
#65
Yeah trailing throttle oversteer, but I've never experienced it AFTER I've braked for a turn. That is in the moment between foot on brake and foot on gas. I'll admit my "moment" was a longer than it should have been, but I was trying to pay attention to which tires were squealing.

And yeah, on the wheel weights. Apprently when you only pay $45 for a wheel they aren't very balanced to start out. . .nor terribly round. I've got aluminum wheels picked out but until I'm ready for new tires (or a giant influx of money comes in) they'll have to wait.
 

Ian Anderson

Lifetime Premier Supporter
#66
I recon the second picture shows how you felt!

Congratulations it looks great and no doubt after a couple of shakedowns will be a blast to drive

Ian
 
#67
Yeah trailing throttle oversteer, but I've never experienced it AFTER I've braked for a turn. That is in the moment between foot on brake and foot on gas. I'll admit my "moment" was a longer than it should have been, but I was trying to pay attention to which tires were squealing.

And yeah, on the wheel weights. Apprently when you only pay $45 for a wheel they aren't very balanced to start out. . .nor terribly round. I've got aluminum wheels picked out but until I'm ready for new tires (or a giant influx of money comes in) they'll have to wait.
Wait until you get some tires that will actually stick! BFG TAs are like hockey pucks on a light car............
 
#69
Ben, your car looks the part, and you did it your self. There is just something special about rolling out and firing up a car you have created yourself. Enjoy the moment.
Regards
Russell
 

Ben

New Member
#71
Now having had a couple of autocross events completed, and having gotten tired of not having any traction what so ever, I've put on some lighter wheels and vintage racing hoosiers. The car lost 70 lbs of unsprung weight in the process and is now down to 1420 lbs. It looks better too :)

If you want to see what it looked like on the oversized hard tires that's right here:
Project 22 Second Event. NEED BETTER TIRES!!! - YouTube
 

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Ian Anderson

Lifetime Premier Supporter
#72
Hi

Can you alter your seating position to lie more, if not please raise your roll over hoop as your head is the highest point!

Back in my single seat days a straight edge between roll hoop and top of front tyres and top of helmet had to be two inches below that line.

Accidents do happen and better safe than sorry!

Other than that it looks like a lot of fun!

Ian
 
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