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Thread: La Bala - Scratch built, Tube-frame, mid-engine, 1,300Lbs

  1. #1
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    La Bala - Scratch built, Tube-frame, mid-engine, 1,300Lbs

    Before I show off my latest project let me first introduce myself since this is my first post in the Kit Cars Forum. Some of you might remember back this far, my first kit car was a Velo Rossa that was the cover car for Kit Car Magazine back in September of 1999. It was a silver VR with a tan interior. Here is a photo of the cover:

    I sold that car to a guy in Atlanta and he added some nice Ferrari badges to it. In fact I saw a photo of my car with the badges in another post on this very forum.

    In any case, that was a fun build, but building a cool looking car on top of a dated chassis really exposed all the weaknesses of the old datsun and to be honest it just whetted my appetite to build my own car, from the ground up. Something completely original. So I did.

    I'm not sure how far back in time I should go to show you guys what I've done. Maybe just saying that I started in 2002 with a couple of sketches on a napkin and the idea of using a FWD drivetrain mounted mid-engine style. And of course the idea that I should try to build as much as I could with my own two hands, both to save money and to say that I did it. It should also be noted that I did almost all of this build in one-half of a 2 car garage.

    Here's the story in a nutshell:

    I designed the chassis myself. First I sketched everything out, then I built a bunch of scale models out of balsa wood until I made one that was nice and stiff and light. I then built the frame in the computer to get the dimensions and cut angles for all the tubes.


    At the same time I was designing the chassis, I was also making sure that the body I was designing would fit, so I used the computer to model the bodywork as well.


    By the end of the first year I had taken my designs, an old MR2, and a pile of steel, and welded up this:


    I drove that around for a while, but I knew that I had a lot of work ahead, so I parked the chassis in the garage and started building the bodywork plug over top of it. (Not enough room to store the car AND build the bodywork next to it.)

    The bodywork was built as a plug (or buck) first. The idea here was that a car body could be built out of any material and a finish surface applied from which a fiberglass mold would be pulled. The mold could then be used to make many bodies later on.

    Here is the plug in an early stage. It is styrofoam and drywall plaster on top of particle board and 2x4 base.


    It took several years (and several decades off my lifespan) to complete the plug and pull the molds. Here is a photo of that styrofoam and plaster plug sanded out to 1,500 grit, waxed 12 times and ready for molds. (Hint, don't use styrofoam anywhere for your plug construction.)


    And the molds: (this was done at a friends shop. Can you imagine doing this in a 2 car garage?! My wife would be pissed! )


    I was super happy that nothing went wrong during the mold making phase, because the plug was destroyed when pulling the molds.

    Finally, to keep this short, the molds were pulled from the plug and from those molds the first body parts were pulled. I am in the process right now of mounting the bodywork to the frame.

    So I've caught you up with my project and here is the car as it sits right now:



    Here are the basic specifications:
    * Actual Weight (without bodywork) - 1,140Lbs
    * Target Weight (with bodywork) - 1,400Lbs
    * Length - 126"
    * Wheelbase - 98"
    * Width - 67"
    * Front Track - 57" (hubs)
    * Rear Track - 57" (hubs)
    * Ground Clearance - 3" - 6" (Adjustable)
    * Engine - 1.6L 16V 4AGE (125Hp) - Next one uses a supercharged Ecotec.

    Please note that this car is NOT finished, so I would appreciate that anyone wishing to say, "it looks just like --- such and such a car..." Please wait until it's finished, with the taillights, headlights and windshield installed! You will change your mind, I promise. LOL And yes, there is some Gallardo look in the side intakes, if you read my diary you will find that I was amazed that they copied my design.

    Finally, If you have broadband, you might want to check out my videos on Youtube. I have 4 recent ones there http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=sgraber or a ton more earlier videos On my websites video page

    Happy to answer any questions about the car, but first you might want to spend a few hours looking through my diary entries and the 1,200+ images in my photo gallery. It's free! :P

    Regards,

    Steve Graber
    www.grabercars.com
    "A lightweight sportscar for street and track."

  2. #2
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    Re: La Bala - Scratch built, Tube-frame, mid-engine, 1,300Lbs

    Hey there Steve.
    Your forums have been down for a while now, which isn't good seeing as I direct people there once in a while.

    Did you replace that windshield yet?
    I come to you with only &quot;KARATE&quot; - empty hands. I have no weapons, but should I be forced to defend myself, my principles or my honor; should it be a matter of life or death, of right or wrong; then here are my weapons - &quot;KARATE&quot; - my empty hands.<br />- Ed Parker, 1957

  3. #3

    Re: La Bala - Scratch built, Tube-frame, mid-engine, 1,300Lbs

    hello again
    Professional 3D, web, graphic, architectural, interior, and CAM design at affoardable prices.<br />Any questions: voicemail/fax (323)281-0583<br />sales @ rt-network.com

  4. #4
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    Re: La Bala - Scratch built, Tube-frame, mid-engine, 1,300Lbs

    Hey, I know people here! Any_key! Yo! Auto-Mx! hey brotha~ ;D

    Cool. Yeah I upgraded my website software (joomla) to fix some security bugs and it killed my forums. No fix yet. I am actually going to have to go into the code and rewrite the database calls. Since I only have a minute here/minute there and the fix is probably a good 5 hours (for me) I just haven't found a good time to do it. This is a very busy time of year for my core business which is tied to professional sports, so extra time is very scarce.

    Graber


  5. #5
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    Re: La Bala - Scratch built, Tube-frame, mid-engine, 1,300Lbs

    Wow, that sucks.

    Have you concidered disabling the built-in Forum module and using some other software for this? No offence or anything, but the fourm wsan't intuituve and if images were to large the whole thing got out of line. Maybe moving to something else would make sence.
    The problem with that being you'll loose all of the old posts.

    I've got a more or less finished frame design (This took long enough) and have a professional welder, who builds bullet proof cars, teaching me.
    I'm re-building the engine on my fun car, when I have time (1997 Cobra) and am looking around for another one to use in my scratch build.

    You're site has been a huge inspiration, and a good deal of help. If you should need any help with anything feel free to ask.
    I come to you with only &quot;KARATE&quot; - empty hands. I have no weapons, but should I be forced to defend myself, my principles or my honor; should it be a matter of life or death, of right or wrong; then here are my weapons - &quot;KARATE&quot; - my empty hands.<br />- Ed Parker, 1957

  6. #6
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    Re: La Bala - Scratch built, Tube-frame, mid-engine, 1,300Lbs

    My scratch-built car forum is back online!

    I updated my forum to phpbb and transferred all my users and old posts into it. I had been trying to do this for months and months but never had the time (need) to do it. Once my forum software died, due to an aggressive security patch, I was motivated to complete the cross-grade to a better forum package.

    Right now I am still trying to get it to fill the page by removing the left side menus, but so far have been unable to do so. Any Joomla experts out there reading this that care to chip in?

    The link is http://www.grabercars.com/phpbb2/index.php

  7. #7
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    Re: La Bala - Scratch built, Tube-frame, mid-engine, 1,300Lbs

    I remember seeing this some time ago. Great work. It just inspires me a little more to get my butt in gear and get these ideas out of my head.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Kstix's Avatar
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    Re: La Bala - Scratch built, Tube-frame, mid-engine, 1,300Lbs

    That's cool .I wish I had that kind of time..........If I did my car would be done. We would be haveing fun with it and I'ed be working on my next car.

  9. #9
    Senior Member RCR's Avatar
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    Re: La Bala - Scratch built, Tube-frame, mid-engine, 1,300Lbs

    Hey Steve, welcome to Ari's place (although it's not called Ari's anymore). I've followed your build for a couple years now. Awesome stuff. Good to see your progress. I hope the business portion takes off.


    Bob
    Bob custom '84 Fiero SE --->>> custom F408
    http://www.madmechanics.com/forum/cu...ilepic37_1.gif

  10. #10
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    Re: La Bala - Scratch built, Tube-frame, mid-engine, 1,300Lbs

    Thanks guys! I appreciate the positive comments. I spent a little time this weekend fabricating a shorty "in-the-pipe" muffler and then did a number of full-throttle datalogged acceleration runs up the street beside my neighborhood in an effort to aquire data for my MegaSquirt and Edis ECU. I love the sound of the turbo spooling up! Not sure I was appreciated, so after a bit, when I felt that the cops might be on their way (ahem), I pulled back into the garage, closed the door and worked on the rear hinge mechanism and latches till the welder ran out of gas.

    It was a good weekend - Fun Stuff!
    Graber

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