The publications mentioned on this page are worthwhile additions to your library as each one improves knowledge and provides alternative designs, ideas and construction methods etc. Ron Champion’s book was my first inspiration to undertake this journey, however Chris Gibb’s book is a big improvement and I found it to be very helpful.
“Build your own Sports Car on a budget” by Chris Gibbs (UK)
This is a Haynes publication and was first released in 2007. It follows on from the original Ron Champion book and there are a number of refinements and improvements to the chassis, suspension and mechanicals, including using Ford Sierra components and incorporating an independent rear suspension. The Sierra was not sold in Australia so alternative vehicles need to be sourced for parts, but the design and engineering principles still apply.
If Ron Champion’s book is “the Bible” then Chris Gibbs effort is the “New Testament”. It remains true to Ron Champion’s original concept but the car is called a Haynes Roadster rather than a Locost, which could be for legal reasons or cynical people may suggest it’s to further promote the Haynes brand. An excellent publication with lots of quality detailed plans, drawings and full colour photos. There are a number of errors in this first edition but the book is still a valuable asset.
“How to build a cheap sports car” by Keith Tanner (USA)
An informative publication that follows on from Ron Champion’s original concept. It adds a bit more sophistication to the project by using more modern mechanicals. Keith purchased a professionally built chassis and utilised early Mazda MX5 (Miata in the USA) components to build his car, so there is no information on building the chassis. However it steps you through the process of assembling the car and modifying some of the parts. Keith Tanner supports the book with an interesting and comprehensive web site (here) that also contains some updates and corrections to his book. Recommended reading as it describes yet another approach to building your own sports car, however in my opinion, Keith misses the mark by not building his own chassis and the project is more like assembling a kit car.
“How to build your own Tiger Avon sports car for road & track” by Jim Dudley (UK)
An interesting book that provides very good information on constructing fibreglass panels. Apart from that chapter the rest of the book lacks detail and while its a worthwhile read the original Ron Champion book or the newer Chris Gibbs book offer much better information for a new builder. The Tiger frame is more sophisticated than Ron Champion’s Locost and the plans provided are detailed but there is no step by step guide to construction. If you are after a book that guides you through the build then the Ron Champion and Chris Gibbs publications are the better choices.
“The sports car & kit car suspension and brakes high performance manual” by Des Hammill
provides a great guide to suspensions for the Locost builder. If you are like me and have never studied the black art of suspension design - and ackerman angle, king pin inclination, bump steer, camber and castor have you scratching your head, then this book is for you. It helps understand the technical issues in designing and building a suspension for a Locost in plain English, with very basic and easy to follow diagrams. There are more detailed and comprehensive publications on suspension design, however for the novice suspension engineer it’s hard to go past this one.