Advice for people interested in building a locost, or just starting a build
First, start reading the locost USA forums ( http://www.locostusa.com/forums/ ). This is pretty much the #1 resource for locost building.
Buy copies of these books:
Build your own Sports Car: On A Budget by Chris Gibbs-The updated version of the Locost bible…
How to Build a Cheap Sports Car (Motorbooks Workshop) by Keith Tanner-Similar to the locost bible but written based on a miata donor
Kimini: How to Design and Build a Mid-Engine Sports Car – From Scratch by Kurt Bilinski -Kurt Bilinski covers the major aspects of building a car, through his own trial while building the Kimini. Kurt is closely tied into the locost community and always willing to give good advice. Definitely an extremely helpful and practical book
There are some really good (practical) theory books out there that won’t bore you to death:
The Racing & High-Performance Tire: Using Tires to Tune for Grip & Balance (R-351) by Paul Haney-excellent theory based book…goes over everything that makes a car handle, and does so in laymans terms.
Prepare to Win by Carrol Smith-Carrol Smith covers the preparation of race cars in a no-nonsense, easy to understand way.
Tune to Win by Carrol Smith-Carrol Smith discusses the development and tuning of race cars by clearly explaining the principles and common sense involved.
Engineer to Win by Carrol Smith -Carrol Smith explains the fundamentals of race car dynamics, including answering many common questions, and explaining how to do what, and WHY.
Carroll Smith’s Nuts, Bolts, Fasteners and Plumbing Handbook by Carrol Smith-Carrol Smith discusses fasteners, problems with them, and how to make sure your car generally won’t lose because a nut fell off.
Chassis plans are available on http://mcsorley.net
steel supply (near Atlanta): http://www.imsgasteel.com/
Good general race car part supplier: http://www.speedwaymotors.com
Almost as good race car part supplier: http://www.summitracing.com/
Start watching craigslist for big tools like an engine hoist and mig or tig welder (contrary to what most people say, it is not hard to learn either). If I were doing my car over again I would prefer to have a mig welder and a horizontal band saw (the harbor freight model is good). I built my car with a slightly upgraded, but still very simple, harbor freight TIG unit and a metal cutting blade on a compound miter saw. Start looking for/researching a donor car as well; miatas and s10 pickups are common to use and cheap to design around.
My best advice is read a lot, realize that pretty much anything you build is going to handle better than most cars on the road (aka dont sweat the small stuff), and most importantly, getting it finished is much much more important than getting it perfect. If you really want a perfect car, complete one quickly and then take everything you’ve learned and build the second.