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some thing therapeutic in creation - Page 2 - Roadster Builders
The rest of the plug and mould making I can do I remember how to do that part, it's the basics that I have forgotten since last time I did it at aged 16. During 18 months of industrial model making I learnt how to make plugs,moulds,castings and how to scale things up and down for production, what let me down is my ability to write 2000 word essays about things that I have no interest in.
The bonnet and scuttle I have made in sheet steel but I what I want to make now is new wings,arches and a rear tub with a bit of shape which would be difficult with out an English wheel and 10-15 yrs experience so GRP it is.
_________________ Fabricator of Roadster chassis and suspension parts using engineering machines and experience .
I am suprised that you are trying to get into the body stuff phil when no one has really pushed out the boat on the chassis front yet. Why has no one catered for the complete here is a chassis with all the lugs,engine mounts with nothing else to make market. A lot of folk have not got the time to sod about trying to make things like brake hose brackets etc. I feel that the haynes roadster has a place in the 7 market as a bolt together job. You would not have to cater for the odd twat like me who wants a v8, it could be here is a sierra based kit available in modules that has the three engine options end of. I reckon that would have buyers. Going back to the bodywork, do you think its worth the effort and expense to muscle in on the fibre glass stuff when it can be bought so cheap anyway.
I've had this discussion about a 'complete' chassis with a few people over the past 3 years. The first chassis I made to the book drawings complete with Pinto engine mounts and the guy that brought it said 'oh I'll have to cut that out I'm running an R1 lump' so he brought chassis No.2 and the first one was sold on.
The thing that puts me off making engine specific chassis ,no that's wrong... the thing that stops me from making pinto,cvh,v6,zetec chassis to suit is that I need to buy/have all these engines and gearboxes to hand to measure which I don't have the money and space to do. Yes there is the argument that you only need to buy these parts once to do it, yes all well and good but not if you don't have the money to do it in the first place!
There are people building Roadsters as a personal challenge to say 'I built that, I built ALL of that' and they spend very little doing so.
There are people building roadsters as there is nothing out there that suits what they want of the shelf so make it to suit them.
And then there are people who look at the price tag of a kit me included and say I'll never afford one but I can afford Â£25 a week to try and build one.
The thing with the Roadster is no two cars will ever be the same they are personal to the builder, where I want the gear stick,pedals,dash lay out,brake pipes etc etc etc to be may not be the same as where any body else would want them,this might down to their body shape or they are mixing and matching parts. The Roadster is not a kit car and it will never will be, at the end of the day a Roadster is only worth Â£5000-5500 at most even if it has been made by a former F1 mechanic and used areospace fittings it just does not have any pedigree.
My flat pack kits are Â£250 plus postage they include all the plates and brackets to make my Â£575 chassis and it's cut from ERW, what's the only thing we ever hear 'how good Handy Andy's flat pack kits are and they are cut from 25x25x2.5 HRS (black) with a band saw that does not cut straight in either X or Y I've seen 4 of them broken up where people have brought chassis from me.
My basic chassis that stops at RS14 with all important bits done is Â£475 and in 3 years I have done 5, it has to be the cheapest 7 type welded chassis on the market and it does not sell. The chassis with the rear tub and steering mounts is Â£575 I've done around 40, of those sold nearly every body has said 'great I can now get on with making every thing else to hit the ground running'.
If you want a bolt together cheap 7 buy one its called a GBS Zero made by a company that buys in bulk,employs around 30 people and is worth maybe Â£500,000 or more.
Talon is a screen name on 5 forums, it's just me working from a cow shed with letters from the bank asking why I'm Â£270 over drawn on an over draft I don't have,I have no credit card I can not get one,I don't know where January's workshop rent is coming from let alone if I will make it to the new tax year.
So please tell me given that I'm basicly going under with no money to pay the bills let alone invest in any material to change direction or add to my range what would you do?
Sorry if this is ranty but this is where I am at today,here, now.
_________________ Fabricator of Roadster chassis and suspension parts using engineering machines and experience .
In not so many words Phil has just about summed it up there. The most elitist part of building a Haynes is the "I've made that all by myself for only xxxxÂ£'s" and at the end of the day that's why we like it so much but there are too many variants to mass produce the only common part that most people cannot undertake themselves is the grp so all cars end up looking similar from the outside but then again there are so many similar styles of bodywork between different suppliers, and the Haynes, that all 7's look pretty alike anyway.
It's a good group of people to supply to but, as said before, it's a cottage industry and best done as a supplement to other work paying the bills. But at the end of the day you don't know until you try and at least you've tried.
Joined: Tue Dec 04, 2012 7:19 pm Posts: 27
Name: Location: South Africa
Yah Phil, its a bummer and you have reason to be depressive if I may say so...
However, catering for the 7 clone market will always be risky since it is a specialty market and any contender will have to compete with well established name with lots of goodwill and Caterham, Birkin, Westfield etc comes to mind. In England 7's are quite popular but still a niche market to compete in with limited buyers, compared to other countries like SA for instance where it is even worse. The Locost "franchiser" here does not do sterling business either (my observation and stand to be corrected) hence a full time day job as well. If 12 fabricated chassis are sold here annually, it would be good business in my view, but because of costs involved and the would be owner a blue collar worker with not much spare cash, many DIY guys rather go doing their own thing as they can afford with progress. Someone took 12 years to complete his ride.
That said, a locally fabricated and power coated Locost chassis from agent with front and rear IRS wishbones, rear uprights and poly bush set will cost in the region ZAR22500 (1607 British pounds) according to their website price locally. They have to sell body moldings, other accessories like go faster goodies, hubs, shocks etc etc to make some money to survive. Thinks about it, if a chassis is sold, maybe a set of body parts goes with it and thats it. Unless another chassis is sold or some sod built a Locost book chassis and need body moldings, it is dead stock...
To complicate matters, many different plans of different clones are available for free on the internet with archives of info on these different clones for the taking on forums instead of having to buy an expensive book to build by - myself build a McSorley 442E chassis from the net - making Locost body parts and much the same for Roadster suppliers obsolete for these builders since it will not fit. Here in SA a Roadster builder is left to his own devices and are few and far between.
To recap my ramble, I would not venture into such a small and limited niche market full time but rather do it as a "hobby" to supplement a full daytime job's income. But then again, if you can find something else to do with the equipment and infrastructure at hand and have the Roadster as a by product, things may turn for better.
Finally,if I may be so bold and please forgive me for raising this but it seems relevant. People are suckers for perception but also very aware of it - do not advertise the fact that your workshop is a cowshed You can perform the best work possible money can buy and as soon as someone hears backyard, cowshed etc, they become biased in the sense that because it home built, etc, it must be inferior and herein lies your dilemma.
Sometimes it pays to bullshit a bit by painting a picture with more colours than it has, iow, window dress a bit. Firstly, do not let people into the workshop but rather have a chassis available at a neutral place that masks its origin like a small showroom or have someone marketing it for you. It may be difficult for you now because people may have already prejudged you as a "backyard" operator and I mean no harm or insult mentioning this.
Something I learned when I was still running my steel fabrication shops and retail shop before retiring was this; always tells the customer what he wants to hear and you have a sale
Phil, I hope things will turn out for the better sooner than later and God bless.
I've had this discussion about a 'complete' chassis with a few people over the past 3 years.
Quote My basic chassis that stops at RS14 with all important bits done is Â£475 and in 3 years I have done 5, it has to be the cheapest 7 type welded chassis on the market and it does not sell. The chassis with the rear tub and steering mounts is Â£575 I've done around 40, of those sold nearly every body has said 'great I can now get on with making every thing else to hit the ground running'.
The sales stats bolster my theory that the more complete version sells better. I am not saying dont sell the flat packed or part built chassis`s, I am saying there would be a market for a full house job. The Haynes is no less of a car than any other kit car out there, its just not been put to market as a car like westfield and the others. We are not talking about turn key cars here but being in a position if someone wants it to supply the chassis and build modules in packages. Many kit cars out there end up built to a poor standard because the builder has poor engineering skills. The same person could build a car to a high standard if more of the engineering was done for them. I have seen dexion shelving angle iron used for brake pipe brackets on a car because the builder said "thats all I could find". Now think if that was a chassis you supplied, its finished to a shite standard and when the guy gets asked where he got it he says "talon". All for the sake of another Â£1.50 worth of steel and ten minutes of your time. going that extra bit would attract more builders and imho one that might just have a few more quids to spend.
I'm afraid i have to disagree there Robo, Saturn was marketed from the start as a supplier of turn key cars (cvh and zetec based version) this was backed up with major articles in the 3 top kit car magazines and a full spread cover page in one (see avatar), the magazines suck you in by putting out some great articles but then expect you to advertise every month costing upto Â£500 a month to try and develop the brand. There was never any interest in a turn key car, the major marques, MK Caterham MNR Westfield, dominate the market for this and it would cost an awful lot of money to get a foot into this market. Look at Roadrunner Racing who put together a very nice mx5 based roadster with their own chassis and bodywork design spending a lot of money in advertising and shows, last time i was talking to them they where struggling for a foothold in the market. I did supply a full build kit and also a 3 stage kit for building the roadster, after all we had the perfect build manual, these where popular especially the full build kit but only made up about 10% of the sales the majority of people just want components to go along with their builds where it is not feasible to make for themselves. This is the principal of the Haynes and it would take an awful lot of investment to develop a new marque based around the Haynes.
Its got me thinking now. If some thought was put into engine and gearbox mounts the platforms they land on could be in one fixed place. that would leave you another possible sale of some engine mounts to go from whatever engine/gearbox to the standard platform. Thats what happens in things like landrovers. no one cuts the mounts off the chassis they just fabricate mounts to go to the original platforms.
Edit Sorry spud I need to learn how to type quicker
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