The LoCost Car

The LoCost is a Kit-Car with a difference. There is no kit.

The name 'LoCost' refers to a 2-seater sports car, based on the design outlined in the book "Build yourself a sports car for as little as £250", written by Ron Champion. This page aims to provide a source of information to those who are contemplating or have already started such a project.

My connection with the design is slight. After starting to help a friend to build a Locost, I bought myself an Rx7 to circumvent the effort required to build a car from scratch. I then inherrited the car, kept it in the garden for a couple of years, and sold it. I still have the engine if anyone wants it before I get round to scraping it!

2004 Update. Only 3 years or so since the last change!

The car I worked on (See Clive's Car:) is now occupying my shed, and it is NOW SOLD. Most of the welding (maybe all??) is complete. This is a roling chassis, but needs all the trim and cosmetic work to be finished. I estimate that there is 2-3 weeks work left to complete.

Update 2006

Clive's Car: The car I'm helping with. Click the link for some pictures of the build.
Peter Dunn's Car

Your car? Are you building one?

This page was last updated 19/5/98. Clive's car looked like this some time ago.



The car is bassed on a space-frame chassis, welded from steel tube. To this, you add parts from your donor car, and then cover it all with aluminium body panels.

At the back is a solid axle supported on trailing arms, with a Panhard Rod to provide additional stability. Pretty much any RWD engine and gearbox combination can be used. At the front, you need to fabricate pairs of wishbones to support the hubs.

Although the book apears to give good details of the construction, you will find that as the car progresses, it will slowly evolve and diverge from the designs given. This is partly because pictures in the book come from several different cars, all with their own variations.

If you want to avoid the cycle of welding, cutting away, modifying the plan and welding again, you should go out and buy a propper kit. The main atraction of the LoCost (I think) is knowing that your car will, eventually, be unique. Despite this, there is plenty of guidance in the book and you should be fairly confident that once you start, it should be possible to finish.


Things to be aware of:

SVA: To build a car and use it on the roads in Britain, you will need to submit it for a single Vehicle Approval test. This is more strigent than the MOT, and is also a newly introduced test, so is likely to change. More details are on my Robin Hood Kit page, or at

Cost: Your 3rd car might cost less than £250, the first will probably be over £2,000 (but it will be fun!)

Suspension: The details given in the book for the shocks and springs are wrong (we think) in the length, by 2 inches. It should be fairly easy to determine the maximum length required by your chassis, and use this to spec. the shocks that you buy.

Welding: To start with, we borrowed a small MIG welder. After spending lots of money on gas, which seemed to leak away at about the same rate that we were using it, we decided to try gas welding at about the stage where the chasis had started to take shape. We found gas welding to be slightly easier, and it seems to give better welds. It is also cheaper than MIG welding if you are doing lots of welding, and you will be. Some readers have suggested brazing, but this is only an option for attaching non-structural body work (of which there is very little). Avoid all the welding and buy my half-finished kit!

Radiator: The Sierra radiator is too big - the book recomends an escort one, but we had a CVH Sierra engine, which has the cooling inlet and outlet reversed left to right. We ended up with a specially built high-capacity radiator, which we exchanged the Sierra one for.

Front Hub Balljoints:The book reccoments Transit track-rod end balljoints for the top wishbone to hub ball-joint. This is incorrect, they should be something else, (from a transit)


An indication of what you might spend, not including tools...


Donor Car (Sierra - we got £15 for the rear bumper) £15
Rear Axle (Escort) £20
Front Hubs (Cortina) £
Brake Pads £
MIG welding gas £70
Oxy-Acetylene gas and bottle hire £250
Steel for chassis £100
Shocks & Springs £400
Radiator (exchange for Sierra - semi-custom design) £80
Steering Rack (Escort, Exchanged + track-rod ends) £
Ball-Joints (Cortina + Transit) £
Paint for chassis £15
Nosecone (Robin Hood Engineering) £60

This Locost Webring site is owned by Sean Houlihane Want to join The Locost Webring?
[ Previous 5 Sites | Previous | Next | Next 5 Sites | Random Site | List Sites ]

Sean Houlihane: My home page

This document is copyright Sean Houlihane,1998-2006, and may only be reproduced in full with acknowlegements, or referenced as a link.