19 Nov 2008

Odds and ends.

I’ve been thinking ahead about what gauges to use. I’d decided upon the combination flat dash and datalogger fromĀ www.race-technology.com. With Kimini sold and cash in hand it’s all too easy to go nuts and buy really cool stuff, and cool it is. A flat dash, all instruments nicely integrated into one package. Alarms on all the important parameters, a datalogger and GPS, what’s not to like – and then a funny thing happened…

First off, Midlana is an open car. The thought of having $1600 of dash and logger sitting there begging to be stolen bothers me. Then there’s thinking of it getting beat on by sun and no doubt someday rain. Then there’s something else – the economy. I’m surprised to admit it but what’s going on is affecting me, like millions of other consumers. “Do I really need this?” No. I’m becoming turtle-like, slowly pulling arms and legs into a shell in anticipation of an economic storm of unknown size. I guess I’m getting older and a little wiser, no longer as quick to spend money. Who knows what’s coming next year, the year after, or even the year after that. I think we’re watching history in the making – what’s that Chinese proverb/curse, “May you live in interesting times”? I digress.

So the current thinking is that there’s nothing wrong with old fashioned gauges. Looking through all the various tachometers it’s a bit surprising to end up right back with the Spa Techniques tach/speedometer that was used in Kimini. It has an odometer which is nice for road use (and just for curiosity.) A nice tach, shift lights, 0 – 60 timer, electronically calibrated, it works well. Stack has a similar “all in one tach” that also has two sensor inputs. However, at around $750 versus $350 for the Spa unit, it’s a no-go. For the $400 difference a couple extra gauges will work just fine.

Regarding the engine cover, there are a lot of very differing opinions about what looks best. This part of the build will definitely be left open for each builder to do as they please. I’ll provide suggestions but there isn’t much point in saying “do it this way” when everyone wants something different. I think it’s great that each builder will create a different car; why build a car with plans that dictate ideas you don’t like; I think variations are great.

The side inlets are proving difficult to model but there’s no much pressure to dump a lot of time into them. At this point it’s not so important to produce nice renderings; the ones already posted give a decent idea of where it’s headed. Seeing an actual car is more important that a CAD rendering. Time is best spent pushing forward with finalizing the chassis, dimensioning it, and moving toward cutting steel.

Headlights, wipers, taillights. Headlights, tradition dictates the typical chrome bolt-on units but there are some interesting alternatives now such as 2″ projector units, though they don’t include housings as far as I know. Today I saw some 4″ LED(!) “work lights” that might work as headlights but are probably not bright enough. Wipers, ugh, haven’t given them any thought; how much does someone drive an open car in the rain? However I realize most areas require them by law and it’s tempting to just specify hand-operated ones sold by hot-rod shops. We’ll see. Taillights will wait until later, too. While they aren’t a big deal they certainly change the appearance of the car. If they go on the fenders it pretty much dictates an external-mount style like the original Seven to stay clear of the tires. OTOH if they go on the body then just about anything can be used. However, they seem so far off I haven’t given them much thought.

And finally, I just got another e-mail requesting to be added to the pre-order list and thought I’d yet you know there is one… now. If you want to be on the list let me know. No, there’s no free gift for doing so, just the knowledge knowing that you’ll be the first to know the moment the book and plans are available.