The Project

This section details our latest project.

We are currently designing and constructing a new classic shaped roadster. The car will be a little larger (and a little more practical) than the Spirit Wasp and will have enhanced features and performance.

This section is under construction, but please revisit for the lasted news.

Les. (25-9-2003)

Which are sports cars that have stood the test of time?, cars that have been popular enough to be produced in such numbers and at a price that even with a bit of struggle, those other than the super rich can aspire to own . As the years roll on by this of course means many cars. Cars such as the Bentley of the 1920’s. The Mercedes such as Hitler used to get about in. One old racing driver said that the Bentley was the fastest truck he had driven, so perhaps the ideal sports car to drive on today’s roads may be the more modern replica. So perhaps cars with a more modern chassis structure even if the shape is dated.

The choice is difficult as everybody's likes are different, so I can only apply my limited experience to this. I have driven or been given rides in many cars over the years, from a frantic ride through busy motorway traffic in a Porsche 911 when they had just come on the market. A country lane ride in a 4.5 ltr Bentley. Drives in Austin Healey Frog eye Sprite Sunbeam Tiger, Cobra replica, Triumph TR2 & 4, Lotus 7 replica, Daimler Dart, Morgan + 4 coupe. E type Jaguar.

Of all the cars [and others I cant remember] I have experienced, the one that left a ‘WOW” in my day was when I had a ride in a Morgan plus 4 of 1960’s vintage. An imperfect car in many ways, out of date suspension, seriously hard ride and poor weather protection. Taken round the narrow lanes of England at breakneck speed by a driver who could drive it [and was trying to sell it to me] I was convinced.

Many years have passed since that day and it is to my everlasting regret after taking advice from a friend in Australia when I emigrated in 1973 I sold it. I have regretted it ever since. Many cars I have driven since were smoother, faster and better engineered but none left that sense of driving a large roller skate at speed down a ever narrowing leafy tunnel.

The next project is aimed at building a REPLICA Morgan type of car. I put replica in capitals because of course Morgan cars are still produced so not an exact copy is intended but the spirit of that type of car. The idea is modern suspension & very stiff chassis [unlike the Morgan] so it goes where you point it [and passes the Department of Transport standards of Western Australia, probably the strictest chassis torsion requirement in the world.]
Modern engine Turbo 2 litre for the prototype with room for a builder to fit other types of engines with a body of the classic style.


[Well that started alright didn't it, pity that it was written six weeks ago. Why so? New 6 month old female dog starts to dig under fence {we think it was on its first heat} so as an interim measure I put a running wire across the lawn and fixed a long lead to it . In the shed working away when phone rings, walked over to house to supply info requested to the caller and realized that if I didn't put the phone in the shed the caller would not be able to ring out, ran over to shed tripped over the running wire, flew down onto gravel driveway, came too a few minutes later with shoulder fractured in four places and a surgeon talking about putting a steel insert in shoulder.{This was after being sent home on the day by a general practitioner who got hold of my elbow and shoulder wiggled it, declared "not much wrong with that come back in a week when the swelling has gone down."' and saying an X-ray was not necessary.}Where are these clowns trained I wonder.] Anyway arms out of a sling now but far from ok but work on the new project will start again now. Watch this space!

Overview of tacked up chassis with Mog wings..........Rear showing datsun diff

Chassis so far lots to work out yet.............................Looking forwards to SR20DET


Well this is progress so far on the new project, got a couple of rear suspension arms made but now Christmas has got in the way. Now its off to open my presents [a Ferrari perhaps?]. Happy Christmas to all and a productive new year.

Top view rear suspension arms trial fit......................Side view rear suspension arms trial fit

5.1.04. Made the rear arms, modified version of Tiger Avons idea but spring will go on top arm almost vertical to above A frame. Hub and drive shaft is from Datsun 180/240K



7.3.04. Rather more time than I would have liked has elapsed since last update but plenty has been going and some of it to the project!

The main trunk of the chassis has been completed and tacked up, the steering rack has been procured and fitted [for this a Ford Escort rack was used and to this was fitted extension arms to go from the rack arms to the track rods ends. The rack gives approx 3 1/2 turns lock to lock which was about right for what I wanted.]

Steering rack, note pointers for setting bump steer.

.The front suspension has been completed but as yet I haven't procured the coil over shocks. I have the chassis tack welded to a set of 100mm wheels via a couple of tubes so that I can move the chassis around the shed when required this provided me with a small shock last week, I had the front suspension completed and put a wheel on it, I already had the rear suspension completed with the wheel standing on a brick plus a packer to get the correct road height. Put the brick and packer under the front wheel and whoa suspension locking up on full travel I was just about to start taking bits off and go back to the drawing board when I noticed the brick under the wheel was different in thickness to the rear one! Thank goodness for that, all working ok.

I decided to use the steering column that came with the front cut I bought [Nissan 180SX] which worked out quite well, by using a simple bracket to fix it on any like column could be fitted.

.......................Steering shaft ..................................Modifying rear wing....................................

For the seats I decided to use some Mitubishi Starion seats a bit hard to find they will need to be recovered later but because the seat location is so important to where and how everything else fits they are needed relatively early in the build. I picked up four seats for $200 which I didn't think was outrageous.

I am at present nutting out the fitment of the rear wings not quite as easy as a clubman type as the bodywork goes over the top of the wing and I am also using some old Morgan wings as a standard which when modified as required will be used to make a mould from. Off to Uk in May for a few weeks to see my 88yr old father unfortunately its worked out that I miss every available kit car show that on around that time I have been to a few before and the efforts of the UK kit car companies are really impressive


The prop shaft has been shortened and a new universal fitted and a start made to fitting the brake and clutch master cylinders and pedals. this is fairly straight forward, the pedals are going to hinge off the floor and use a balance bar brake system. The balance bar system can be bought commercially but I made my own and saved approx $160, [with an original trade of toolmaker I'de be pretty hopeless if I couldn't make my own!]


Well here we are again after an extended layoff which included a visit to my ailing father in England. Perhaps a brief refresher! Started new project, serious fracture of shoulder, approx nine months incapacitated visit to U.K. Now returned and trying to carry on where I left off.

Now before I left for U.K.[ a matter of half a day by the time I got the ok from the Dept of Tpt.] I managed to get the Torsion test carried out on the chassis. After all the trauma I went through getting the first car [The Wasp] through in Perth it went remarkably well. Using a rig, I purchased built by Dave Steen I set it up, carried out a series of tests to verify it would pass and then used an local engineer to verify the results whilst tests were carried out in front of him. I then sent the results to my engineer [who will sign off on the car] and the Dept of Tpt. Problem is the chassis came out a bit stronger than I expected so I have decided to use a 3.8 V6 Commodore motor, more of this later!

.......Torsion test set up with 325kg weights.......... ......Nosecone buck in place.&.. Bulkhead set out

The first project was to get the nose cone made, this is part finished in as much as I have made a plaster male shape formed over a polystyrene block [made up of 50mm slices of sheet stuck together] carved with a power plane and file, plastered painted and polished and fibreglass applied to achieve a female mould [got to the painted bit so far] want a bit of extra detail look at Ron Champions book.


Spent most of the day significantly modifying rear wings off a M..g..n to suit the chassis, its just amazing how much time all this takes, the purpose of course is to modify the wings and use them as a buck to take a female mould off so I can produce more.[Hope I have a bit better run with the fibre glass work when I made the Wasp moulds the nose cone stuck up in the female mould and had to be cut out I am still not entirely sure why it happened so I will take some extra professional advice this time]. Hey Ho enough for now Sunday afternoon so will take a couple of hours to "Veg"out before tea.


Yes sure enough it is christmas day early in the morning whilst waiting for the family to get up and give me lots of presents! What's been happening? well I have had to take a spell off building to finish returning the XJ6 Jag I have closer to pristine condition. I did a bare metal re spray on it, learning quite a bit about painting techniques along the way, it may persuade me to spray the project car when finished and that will be a money saver! Whilst I was almost ready to paint the nose cone buck I made, I found it difficult to finally smooth off the surface of the plaster, this was because to fill hollows I mixed up a little sloppy plaster filled the depression and let it set, the trouble being that for some reason it dried to a harder consistency that the plaster previously applied which upset things when sanding. What to do ? well I skimmed the whole surface with fibre bog very thin though and sanded this down this cured the problem. Of course I can now use my recently rediscovered car painting skills to prep the surface for molding.

Side view of rear end and door mock up...............................Ally panel fitted to rear end....................

The next thing was to construct the support for the rear panel and get that fitted. The Aluminum panel fits over the tubes supporting and tapers each side to the rear, being unable to put a decent fold in such a long panel in my workshop I took the panel to a sheet metal shop which necessitated four trips in and out of town [1] to pick up the panel with the first bend in it to locate its position, [2] return to get the correct angle put in as asked for in the first place. [3] to put in the first if the side bends after marking position, [4] to have the last two bends put in after marking. Of course after doing it for the first time it springs to mind how to do it in two goes the next time by having the both the tapered side bends put in then pushing the panel forwards until tight and then having the front and rear bends put in.

Next thing after christmas will be to get the nose cone molded up the doors sussed out and made so lots to do. Now for everybody reading this {I hope your looking at this from U.K. father, I shall test you on it afterwards!!}. may I wish you a happy christmas and all the best for the year to come.


Well its been a little while since I have been able to add to my diary but of course Christmas is a disruptive time for a bloke needing time in his shed! Well I can report that my first fibreglass part from my own mold came out ok and a nosecone is the result, a few minor dramas caused by inexperience in fibreglass work but I'm learning fast. A big help has been a video tape from the local library explaining the technique, I expect most library would have the same.

Whilst I have the materials to make the bulkhead, because car building from scratch is like a jigsaw puzzle I have started to make the cars doors. It would be nice to be able to make them in Aluminum but I decided it was just too hard!. The solution chosen is to make the doors in softwood get the shape and size right paint them up and then as with the nosecone make a female mold to manufacture doors in fibreglass. Its not hard to see why companies such as Morgan make a lot of their car parts in wood, its such an easy medium to work with compared to metal. [I believe that wood holds up quite well in accidents as well.]

Mold for nose cone with anti warp bars....................First of 3 parts Gel coated



Well like last time its been quite a while since the last addition to the diary but that's because whilst the project car has been steadily progressing, under a bit of heavying from her indoors I was persuaded to draw up, design and manufacture all the structure for a four bedroom steel framed four bedroom house for a couple of locals who wanted to build a house as owner builders. What has been achieved lately? the bulkhead has been made [in steel for the first one from which a mold will be taken for the next one].The next thing was that to make the doors first a wooden mock up was made to judge the size and fit of what would be needed. That being done a side intruision system was needed and after a bit of head scratching and looking what others have done [and considering that the dept of transport in Western Australia are very keen on this aspect] I decided on a system made up of twin parallel 25mm x 50 bars joined directly to the hinges and connected to Hyundai door locks. This is not an original idea of mine but follows that found on some of the Cobra kit designs. The next thing was to decide on a system of making an aluminum bonnet hinged at the top opening from the side on each side. and how exactly to make those hinges. At this point it would be as well to focus on the mode of thinking caused by living where I do, approximately 400km from a major city [Perth] which again is said to be the most geographically remote city in the world. I considered piano type hinges for the bonnet but if the vehicle got damaged or hinges proved faulty its not as if you can just walk down the road and buy exactly the same type required as you might in Europe so whilst I haven't got a picture of this yet a system using two parallel round rods with the aluminum of the bonnet wrapped around them and fixed from underneath which if damaged it would be easy to reproduce. So there we have it I wonder though if the extreme rise in the cost of oil is going to cause car enthusiasts to dissipate a little in Australia ? we must remember that fuel in U. K. is almost three times the price and there are plenty of sports car enthusiasts there. So onward and upward stand by for the next diary edition a bit sooner than the last.

Intrusion bar set up doors.................................................car with bonnet pattern laid on it...............


Doesn't seem like a month since I updated this but sitting here at six in the morning freezing cold tells me that summer is over at least, one day someone will invent a heater for a shed that warms a vast space and costs nothing. The next part of my project was to strip the chassis down and use it to make another chassis for the next car whilst it can be accessed for measurements etc and also carry out any improvements that can be made as I go along. To aid this and further work on the project I decided to cease work on the main game and build a car rotator [or spit] to make access to all points much easier one that will carry the full weight of the car with the transmission and engine in etc.I investigated various sites on the internet to look how others have done it and what is commercially sold and built a system using a 3/4 inch screw as the means of raising and lowering at either end. My goal was that other than the odd piece of metal, bolts and the threaded rod it should be made out of left over metal from my stock. I made it all out of 75 x 75mm square tube left over from verandah posts and it has worked out well as per the pictures below.


Well after pausing to make the device shown above a start has been made on the next chassis whilst the first one is still unclothed, as I do this I have taken heed of any critisisms of interested observers of changes that may be benificial. [such as trying to reduce the width of the tunnel between the seats] this of course will have to be subjected to torsion testing but I intend to lower the torsion strength which in turn means lighter chassis as the first one achieved well over the 6500Nm/deg I required..More later!.


Well reluctantly yesterday I had to apply to the Dept of Transport for an extension of time to complete my project car,I hope there will be no problems. I think normally if you are all geared up to go two years is sufficent to build a normal Kit or a straight forward project but a difficult project with lots of design work and making of new parts such as fibreglass wings and molds and also trying to earn a living at the same time it becomes a bit of a squeeze for time.

!!!!!! 2.3.06.!!!!!!!!!

Well here I am back again, I couldn't mention when I made the last entry that I had to go to England to visit my rather unwell father (now 90 plus) as it was a suprise and if any of the family had read this he might have got to know. Now I am back again the pace quickens to get the car finished and registered by September (the end of the 12 months extension to build time allowed by the Dept of Transport).

Of interest was the Exeter Kit Car Show I visisted with my son who was working in England, the quality of the finished kits was in some cases exceptional but in most cases was pretty good. I was very obvious that the manufactures dont have to subject their chassis to torsion requirements required by the West Australian regulations and in so doing are able to build somewhat lighter chassis. To see the trade stalls of parts and accesories available to the builder is mind boggling, I have had to make parts that in England I could just ring up and get by the next morning by freight or even buy just down the street.


Well it’s the New Year now and hopefully only approximately a month to completion!
A lots been made such as the louvered bonnet, dash panel and grill have all been made. Quite a few headaches with the wiring especially time wasted trying and succeeding connecting a mini wiper motor into the Nissan wiring. When I searched the internet to see how others had wired the wiper none of them seemed to be acting the same as mine so I will try to put up my example how the wiring (it’s the park that’s the problem) works. I extended the gear stick today so that its nicely to hand. That reminds me I must buy an immobiliser and fit it as the dept won’t pass the vehicle without one now. It’s really a bit of a nuisance because when a car is being used in the first few days and months of its life and an electrical fault is suspected it could always be the fault of the immobiliser as well.


Getting there painting underneath yesterday and then sorting out brake line matters and filling with brake fluid etc



Well finished now licenced on road prety quick and very satisfying see pictures below.







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