Oct 18 2020

There is another!

Builder Chris of Worcestershire UK has completed the first Midlana besides my own, with just IVA testing being the last hurdle before having it fully road-legal. I asked Chris to provide some information about himself, his previous car knowledge, and his Alfa Romeo V6-powered Midlana build:

“I intended Midlana to be a retirement project, although I did do a few small jobs before retiring like sourcing a couple of donor vehicles and preparing the donor parts.”

Chris was a broadcast engineer for most of his working life, and has always been interested in cars as a lad, “doing a bit of backstreet apprenticeship with a neighbor.”

Chris’s previous car experience: “Started messing with production cars, mostly Fiats and Lancias, first kit car was a very poor quality Cobra copy and almost at the same time, a Westfield for my partner Vickie, who ¬†wanted something nippy and easy to park. The Cobra was pretty enough but the chassis and suspension was fundamentally flawed and I got rid of it as soon as I could. Next non-production car was a Marcos Mantula Spyder, which was bought used. It was a bit tired, so I did a few mods/improvements to it then decided it needed a bit more work so stripped it down completely, removed the live rear axle and replaced it with a cut-down Jaguar IRS setup and re-designed the front suspension to cure criminally bad bump steer.

Next was the Lancia Stratos replica. This was a basket case of very much-abused 4th-hand bits. Most of the chassis (previous owner had cut the roof structure off for some reason), no suspension parts, some of the body moldings plus a huge pile of assorted junk – almost a garage clearance. Took me a while, but I got there in the end and some people whose opinion I value (and who know of what they speak) said it was a nice car.”

Build time for Midlana: About 40 months. “During the build, I’d say I spent about 20 hours a week during the milder months. Very little time over the winter and until I fitted air conditioning to the shed, not in summer either! I’ve no clue as to how many hours I have spent actually building – lots.”

“I really enjoyed most of the build process. I was introduced to being independent with my last project, it being in such a poor state when I got it, and the company that made the kit was just in the process of folding up so I was very lucky to grab a few vital parts before they went for good. I’d have been really stuck if I’d not been able to get the missing body parts I think. The rest, not so bad. The modifications I did to the Marcos were also good practice for Midlana.”

“The part I found least enjoyable was the panel work – not something I’ve really had to do before and due to lack of space, at times it was pretty tedious but it’s generally come out OK and I’ve begun to learn some new skills, or at least the basics of them.”

Overall comments: “Without the Midlana book, I never would have contemplated a build like this. Of course I’ve been aware of the ‘Locost’/DIY build field but it was never something I’d have ventured into. A complete scratch build of my own design never appealed for a range of reasons, not least being it looked like far too much work!¬† Given your previous build and that Midlana just appealed to me visually at first, then ‘mechanically’ as I learned more about it, I found myself entertaining the idea. I’m honestly not sure how I’d feel about building a kit now. I might find it a bit dull!”

Congratulations Chris! You can find his complete build diary here.