14 Jul 2009

Received an e-mail from reader Glen: “… When do you anticipate the book ready to publish, (for those of us who don’t have a lot of patience)? I know you have the two beta builders, and don’t have time to tutor any more. Are you going to wait to publish until the car is complete? Or can we get some bits and pieces in advance?”

My reply: Have you read through the forum? There is – or was – a few people who were itching to start a build so I listed all the things they could do in the meantime – which can take a while. I’ve yet to hear back that anyone (beside the two beta-builders) has done these things – I suspect not. If you’re serious about wanting to get started, great! Start by cleaning out the garage and reviewing the Midlana forum about what parts to start accumulating. This can take a while, like locating a powertrain. If it’s in sad shape, have it rebuilt now, which takes a while on its own. Cleaning up, building a table, gathering all the Miata parts, sourcing seats, it’ll takes time, never mind building a sufficient budget to get most of the parts up-front – something most builders don’t expect to have to do.

I am having the engine professionally built to save time and right after the car’s moving under its own power (whether it’s painted or not) it’ll be put on a chassis dyno to be fully tuned. These two actions save literally months of floundering around with building the engine myself and fiddling with tuning. So, while some have pointed out – correctly – that rebuilding an engine at the same time as the car is asking for trouble, by having the pros handle that it should go far to avert additional delays.

Best case, the book will come out next Spring. It’s moving along in parallel with the car pretty well, staying just ahead of construction so it’s being used by me and the beta-builders to validate it as we go, corrections being made as required. After the car is done it will go through shakedown testing, street driving, and at least one trackday event to validate the suspension and overall design. Throughout the build and during testing, pictures will be added to the manuscript to aid construction (and motivation), up to the day when the last picture is inserted, probably of the car on-track. On that day the book will enter the finish phase of editing and copyediting. Then there’s dealing with formatting for the printers, ISBN numbers, etc, etc. That in itself could be a couple months.

Given that it took 10 years to build Kimini, expecting this to be done in one year may be optimistic. However, we’re seven months into the year and it’s probably 60% done – so far so good. Of course, electrical can take a long time, then there’s the shifter, paneling, turbo manifold, plumbing, etc, etc, so who knows.