Greetings from Australia from your newest International Member I am a 56 year old former Australian Superkart Grand Prix winner (1984) and an avid lover of British motor cars especially "Sevens". Born in Australia, I attended boarding school in Sussex UK in 1965,( Parents moved to Beirut with Father taking a job as a Pilot with MEA) eventually leaving to join the Sussex Police Force. Hated it (on the beat in winter in Brighton from 10pm until 6am in January!!) and after 18 months I resigned and joined the Coldstream Guards in 1971. Toured 'Derry (Operation Motorman in 1972) and Berlin and I returned to Australia in 1975. Apart from a rust free Fiat X-19 and Aussie muscle cars, I and went through a Mini Cooper S MK 1, a 1966 MK 11 GT Cortina, a 1965 MK1 GT Cortina (Still got it) and built a replica 1965 2 door MK1 Lotus Cortina albeit with a 1500 GT motor. Then I found the Locust on ebay, which I bought on impulse for 1900 pounds. When I told my long-suffering wife what I had done, impressed she was not!!!!!!!
So to make amends, I sold the replica Lotus Cortina on eBay to fund the purchase. I then began the long slow process of getting it to Australia. Aussie import rules are in the Stone Age, but with cunning and stealth it is in my garage ready to be brought back to life.
Australian import restrictions meant I was unable to ship the car as a complete unit. It was cheaper to strip the parts and sell them in the UK and get a donor car here in Australia to replace the bits taken off i.e engine, gearbox, rear axle, battery, wheels and tyres. Ebay to the rescue as I got a donor 1978 MK II Escort for AU$300. I am lucky here, in that rust is not a real factor in many older cars. All the parts I required are rust free and in fact look in very good nick. I then sold bits I did not need and the shell for AU$155. So I replaced all I needed for AU$145 (£70). The parts taken off in the UK were sold on eBay for £280!
It took 7 months to get it crated and sent over. The car was bought off eBay from Merseyside in September last year and took some time to crate up as your weather was not kind to my mate who was doing the work!!
He was an old mate from the Army who I had only recently re-contacted. After the car was bought it was trailered from Merseyside to Barnstaple where my mate from my Army days lived. He did not feel enthusiastic enough to work outside in the winter in Barnstaple building the crate! Ha ha ha ha! The engine, gearbox, wheels and back axle were removed, then the remains were crated up and trailered to Southampton to be put on a ship to Australia
The reason things had to come off is because I was not permitted to import it as a car. So I went to the letter of the law and took off just enough to deem it "carparts". It left UK on 24th February 08 and arrived here on 2nd April 08.
When I won the e-Bay auction, I had folk contacting me asking if I was nuts and did I really realize that the car was in UK and not Australia. My replies were not nice as I had a gutful of listening to w**kers telling me I was not allowed to bid on it. But win it I did and at a bargain price as it was registered, MOT'd and driven when your weather permitted!! Comparable prices for a similar Clubmans as we refer to the car style here in Australia is as follows:
1996 PRB Toyota 1600cc Twin Cam 5 speed
1998 PRB Toyota 1600cc Twin Cam 5 speed
1996 PRB Toyota 1600cc Twin Cam5 speed
So you can see my logic in paying what you guys in UK may think foolhardy, is actually very economical. . By the way, where I live ( 30 miles north of Brisbane ) we only average 5 days a year when the temperature fails to reach 68F. So it really is a Locust driver’s country
I am more than delighted with the general engineering of the Locust chassis compared to other kits (especially the Locost chassis). Locusts are way out in front in my opinion. I actually did not know there was any difference in a Locost and a Locust until I bought it.
I have replaced quite a few bits and pieces due to the abysmal English weather and will send you pictures in the near future. For example, the front brake callipers look like a Napoleon era gun barrel that went down at sea. I forgot how badly things rusted in the "Old country". Nuts and bolts I have replaced with hi-tensile bolts and Nyloks. Steering rack changed for a 1978 escort one. (Neoprene bushed).
I am planning on the following course of action: Sourcing some Minilites. Headlights will have to be either re-chromed or painted. Extra bar being welded into roll bar for full harness belts. Looking for a detachable steering wheel to make entry/exit easier. (Don’t say anything about fat stomachs!!), and I am looking at covering the firewall and surrounds with checker plate aluminium. Then a rubdown and respray. British racing green of course, with a small enamel Union Jack on the drivers side to prove some Convict stock are still loyal to the crown!!
Now some may think this exercise is excessive for a 1994 Locust without an engine, gearbox or rear axle, but I have already been offered AU$14000 . (just under £7000 ) as is and it owes me AU$9250 and as I look at www.carsales.com.au used car sales prices are around AU$20000 (about £9700) to AU$30000 (about £14500).
I need the tail of the proshaft shortened a fraction as the 1600cc Kent motor gearbox I fitted is fractionally longer thus requiring a shorter tail shaft than what arrived with the car.
The paintwork is pretty ordinary (in fact it is crappy ) and I am talking with a few spray painters for advice to re-spray. It has tiny pimples over the entire paintwork and I think that is due to being painted in winter and the moisture has attracted to the undercoat. I am not bothering as yet to get it done before registration as I am too anxious to get it mobile.
We have a steep narrow road nearby that I intend to explore once she is ready. Hahahaha I have put in an extra crossbar in the rollbar to mount a 6 point harness later on. I am sourcing a muffler, finish the rear brakes ( was this afternoon's project while I have a spare moment over the Christmas break . . . . engine tune / fire-up and that is about it.
Here you can see that I have de-rusted, rubbed down and painted the suspension / steering components with most bolts being replaced and nearly all nuts being replaced, mostly with nylocks. Once I fully retire in just over 2 years I intend stripping her down to the last nut and bolt and rebuilding her from the chassis up.