Updated 13 June, 2004
Both me (Lee) and my brother (Tony) live in Bradford, West Yorkshire.
Almost 2 years ago Tony came up to me and said that he'd seen a book by Haynes that says you can 'Build your own sports car for £250'. At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to do it but after a few days of thinking I thought 'Why not?'.
My brother bought the book and we looked through it and thought it contained detailed instructions on building a car, it wasn't until we started that we realised this was just a guide, we weren't worried as it just gets easier as you go along.
So in March 2001 we started, well we bought an Escort (eventually), we scoured the local papers, free-ads, autotrader, local scrap yards, you name it we probably tried it.
We eventually found our donor 200 miles away, in Essex somewhere. We drove down there one Saturday in my brothers car and took a look at it. It was perfect, the bodywork was on the rusty side but the engine, gearbox and axle were fine. The car had 2 Sierra alloy wheels on the back which I later found out screwed up the Speedo as on the way back at 70mph on the M1 I was told by my brother on the phone to slow down a bit as I was doing 90, the little bugger still had it ;)
After we returned the car stood in my mums back garden for a week or so until we stripped it. Once stripped the roof was removed then the car was cut into easy manageable chunks and taken to the local scrap metal merchant and dumped, could've made some cash but probably only pennies.
The actual build didn't start until some months later, I think about July time. We don't own a garage or anywhere suitable to build the car so we asked about and a friend named Graham said we could borrow his garage, it's only a single garage but it's all we needed.
The tools we had were minimal but over time we have bought the tools we needed, to start we bought a Snap-On Mig130 from an ad in one of the local papers for £90 we had a hacksaw that we thought would be up to the challenge and it did fine, we didn't realise how bad it was until we bought a Stanley hacksaw and that seemed to cut in a straight line :)
We were cramped into a tiny garage (but grateful) for some time, my welding was improving but we still needed the angle grinder to finish off ;) I work weekdays until 6pm and Saturdays was for the family so the only time we could build was on a Sunday, every once in a while we would manage to do some things on the weekdays after I finished work but not very often.
Building the chassis was quite difficult at first until we got used to the tools and the book etc. The first four pieces I welded together fell apart when I picked them up so I spent some time welding strange looking metallic sculptures which helped as the second try it stuck solid. Tony was in charge of cutting and I did the welding, we both did the measuring and head scratching.
We worked every Sunday until it started to get cold towards the middle of November, about that time Grahams missus decided it was time she got the storage space back in the garage and both Tony and me decided to stop for the winter so on the 2nd of December 2001 we took the chassis off to my bosses barn to be stored for the winter.
During the 'winter break' we bought a few items, such as the suspension brackets, and an exhaust manifold (both of which we didn't use)
We didn't get started again until March the following year when we managed to talk another friend (Rick) into lending his garage. When we got there it needed a bit of a clean out so we spent a couple of hours tidying up. Over the next few weeks we added to the chassis including the rear round bar that has to be bent (I got a plumber friend of mine to bend the tube).
Suspension brackets were a real PITA to get right, I'm not going to go into any details because it was a tricky job to do, it took us one full Sunday with overtime to get that bit done. The wishbones were not home made, I bought them from MK Engineering as I felt it was something that we couldn't build ourselves although I wouldn't hesitate to build them now.
To be continued ...