Keith Taylor's Locust

Taken from an article in the Autumn 1996 Club Newsletter

A Recent Picture taken in April 1999

I first saw Keiths bright yellow locust at the Sandown show, it was imediately obvious that he had put a great deal of effort into his build and indeed it won the clubs best Locust at show award. Keith put many new ideas into his build and I asked him to let me have a write up for the newsletter, he has supplied a great deal of information mainly notes and sketches which I will attempt to summarise;

Specification: Engine; 1600cc crossflow, rebored, reground crank, new pistons, cosworth big end bolts, lightened flywheel, crank - rods - pistons- - flywheel - clutch & front pulley all balanced. duplex timing chain & pulley, Kent BCF2 cam, reconditioned mexico head. Gearbox, Propshaft, Rear axle, all standard donor parts but reconditioned and adapted as required. Home made remote gearchange. Wheels; Ford R.S. 4 spoke alloys 6" x 13" with 205/60 tyres.

Keith Taylor recieving the "Best Locust At Show" award at Sandown park from John Richards of White Rose Vehicles

Keith started building in April 1993 and registered it in early 1996. The body tub was made from exterior grade plywood reinforced with 1.5" aluminium angle araldited and screwed with large hex head self tapping screws, these look like bolts when fitted, where the joints were not 90 degrees (footwell ends for example) galvanised sheet was cut and bent to shape before screwing into place. the angled joints between the flanks and the body sides were reinforced by gluing an aluminium sheet accross them. The aluminium body clading was first applied to the engine compartment, then the under floor area then the sides and finaly the dash top, the dash top was covered with two layers of thin ally sheet the first was butted to the sheet on the body side, glued, pinned and folded over the bulkhead, the second layer was glued over the first and overlapped the body side and trimmed off along the bulkhead.

The body sides were trimmed to follow the curve of the wheel arches and a curve cut at the front of the arch and the back was cut straight to give a slightly higher line at the rear (see sketch) the body side and back panel edges were covered with caravan trim, this has a rubber cover strip which hides the fixing screw heads.

The dashboard was cut away on the drivers side to clear the escort column shroud and switches, a hole was cut in the centre of the dash to take the escort speedo, this was screwed on from behind with a perspex disc in a recess on the front of the dash covered by a keyhole shaped piece of aluminium sheet with holes cut for the other guages. A hinged panel under the dash hides the wiper motor and wiring. The bottom edge of the dash is trimmed with an aluminium hockey stick moulding.

The rear sill is removable, to allow this the aluminium skin on the back panel and body sides was folded over as usual but aluminium on the curves was cut flush to the bottom edge, this allows the sill to drop out once unscrewed. Keith bought all his fibreglass parts from Caterham and the rear arches fitted after a little trimming but to avoid a large gap between the tyre and the arch the back of the arch was dropped below the bodywork and fog lights were fitted beside them as in the diagram.

The foam from two sierra seats had a 5 inch wide strip cut out of the centre and were glued back together, the backs were glued to a piece of 18mm ply shaped the same as the foam and the bases were stuck to hardboard, these were then covered in black vinyl with yellow piping by a local upholstery company, the backs were screwed in and the bases held in with velcro. The Caterham nose cone was about an inch narrower than the bodywork so the flanks were pulled in and held with brackets to the chassis, the flanks were also extended to fit into the two cut outs in the nose cone, the bonnet was made by a local fabrication company from cardboard templates. A heater was made using the escort heater radiator and a fiesta fan, this blows through two holes in the bulkhead into flexible tubes to mini demister ducts or blows down through a hole in the footwell top into a channel and into the inner footwell sides through two escort eyeball vents. The Locust windscreen supports were copied onto aluminium but made wider to allow a pair of motorcycle mirrors to be fitted. Keith likes square head lights (Oh well it takes all sorts) so he decided to fit those from a Citroen 2CV. He wanted to fit escort strut springs as the cortina ones seemed too strong but the escort ones were a poor fit on the chassis and cortina wishbone, he got over this by making a nylon spacer to match the spring and chassis, he got over the poor fit at the lower end of the spring by wrapping the bottom coil in nylon spiralwrap which took up the slack. Other features on Keiths Locust include, a home made roll bar, a high level brake light made from a reversing light and mounted on the roll bar, a home made spare wheel carrier, number plate holder and a very interesting looking home made remote gearchange mechanism details of which are below.

The gearchange on a Locust is nearly always too far forward for most people to use comfortably so some kind of remote is usually called for, this is how Keith has tackled this particular problem on his car.


The shaft assembly consists of the top part of the donor gear lever complete with original thread, welded to a long 12mm bolt which has a lug welded to the side of it to accept the operating levers this is then screwed straight into the 12mm rose joint. The rose joint also has a 12mm bore so a 12mm bolt holds things together at the bottom. The view below shows how the whole thing mounts in the tunnel.

With a remote such as this it is not possible to push down for reverse which means that the circlip at the base of the gear change has to be removed, allowing reverse to be selected any time, this is dangerous as it is possible to engage reverse during forward motion and as the man on the telly says "ooh you don't want to do that ! ". To get over this Keith has made up a gear lever gate plate (pictured below) with a spring loaded arm which makes it very difficult to select reverse gear by accident.

I would like to thank Keith for taking the trouble to let us all know about his Locust and I'm looking forward to hearing of any further mods or improvements he makes in the future. Congratulations on turning out a really nice car!


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