28 Feb 2010

Turns out I had it easy with Kimini, as do Locost builders with their cars: being handed the basic shape, be it plans in their case, or a carbon shell in mine. With Kimini, I had the luxury of building a car to a shape conveniently defined by someone else. With Midlana, however, I get to deal with something new, something I’m unfamiliar with – styling.

I almost got away with it, too, more or less copying the Lotus Seven shape, but am changing things as I see fit (be careful what you ask for…), like the area immediately ahead of the rear fenders. I’ve seen how beat-up Lotus/Locost rear fenders get, pelted by sand and pebbles. The usual tactic is to either ignore the issue, or add stainless shield rock-deflectors. Of course, then the stainless shields get’s beat-up, being – like the fender – directly facing the onslaught, sometimes bouncing stones into the car. Then there’s the case of autocrossing the car, cutting close to cones with the front tires, only to have them smack the rear fender and possibly cracking it. (And yes, I know, “don’t hit cones.”)

Finally, because Midlana is mid-engine, cooling air is needed for the engine, oil-cooler, intercooler, and maybe brakes. Which brings me to now: how to integrate stone deflection, cone “nerf bars” and air-inlet vents into an aesthetically-acceptable shape. Of course, I knew going into this that side-vents are such a subjective issue that no two people agree on what looks best. For that reason, every builder’s free to do what they want, and in fact there’s a thread in the forum with potential builders voicing opinions on what looks good.

Shown here is half a day’s effort of messing about with cardboard, scissors, and tape. There’s several different attempts: different sizes, lengths, and shapes. I’m undecided for now; maybe by next weekend I’ll either give it another go or just call one of these good enough and get on with things.