Introductions

Introductions, posting rules, FAQ - What is a "Midlana"? Can I build one? How long does it take? How much does it cost?
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jputer
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Re: Introductions

Post by jputer » 08 Sep 2010, 12:02

Hello All,

Where to start...my name is Jim and I live in Central Florida (Apopka) and am taking the plunge. I have recently retired (30 years as a Firefigher/Paramedic) and have had a sincere love affair with anything automotive for my entire life. The tools are assembled, the single (too small) half of the two car garage is dedicated, wired and plumbed and ready to start.

One of my biggest problems has been deciding what I want to build. I have gone through the "kit" listings and come away unmotivated or dissapointed at the current state of the "art". Most of the "Locost" type chassis are too narrow for my tastes, so my design will have an interior at "track width" with a closed coupe "weather resistant" cabin" and an "all weather" design. Yes, that means doors, windows, weatherstriping, defrosters, heat and A/C (Florida is HOT and HUMID and I am OLD and "built for comfort, not speed"). This is going to be a 99% street car, 1% autocross/track car.

OK, basic specs. 96" wheelbase, 60" track, GM LZ9 with the auto transmission (2006 Pontiac G6 GTP, 240 HP/240 TQ) in a "Midlana" configuration. Corvette C5 rear uprights and brakes. Front suspension style TBD. Target weight (dry) should be about 1800 lbs.

You may think my engine/transmission selection odd, but here is my thinking behind it. I like torque and I like to keep things simple. While there are several high perfomance 4 cylinder solutions to power a "Midlana", most of them escalate the cost and complexity of the drivetrain. I should be able to use a minimally modified stock ECM that will control both the engine and transmission. Parts are as close as my GM friendly salvage yard, GM dealer and there is a lot of ECM support from the aftermarket. There is a manual transmission available for this engine (at really good prices) but if I can shift electronically (at the push of a button) and do away with clutch and shifter linkage, why not?

Comments and observations are welcome and in the coming weeks (as the weather cools and the drivetrain is collected) design and build details will be posted.

Jagmandave
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Re: Introductions

Post by Jagmandave » 09 Sep 2010, 08:57

Excellent choice, IMHO.

And I (being older and built for comfort too) agree with the auto trans choice as well, especially with this much torque and light weight. Also, if the need for more power arises (argh argh argh!) you can easily add a factory supercharger to the mix.(or is the GTP already the supercharged engine? Don't know my GM nomenclature....)

One question tho, do you really need a heater? The A/C wil handle defrost easily, and I'd think that and summer heat would be the more important HVAC use....

Can't wait to see what you come up with, be sure to start a build thread and lots of pics are always appreciated!

jerelw
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Re: Introductions

Post by jerelw » 10 Sep 2010, 16:44

Just curious - Did you see Steve Graber's La Bala? His latest iteration has a hard top and doors.

jputer
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Re: Introductions

Post by jputer » 11 Sep 2010, 11:59

Thanks for the comments, I really appreciate them.
Jagmandave wrote:Excellent choice, IMHO.

And I (being older and built for comfort too) agree with the auto trans choice as well, especially with this much torque and light weight. Also, if the need for more power arises (argh argh argh!) you can easily add a factory supercharger to the mix.(or is the GTP already the supercharged engine? Don't know my GM nomenclature....)

One question tho, do you really need a heater? The A/C wil handle defrost easily, and I'd think that and summer heat would be the more important HVAC use....

Can't wait to see what you come up with, be sure to start a build thread and lots of pics are always appreciated!
GM put the superchargers on the 90 degree 3800 V6 L32 and L67. The LZ9 is a 60 degree V6 at 3.9 L is within 20 HP, about the same weight and a whole lot less expensive.

Most of the A/C suppliers to the rod world include a heater core in their packages. Plus, Central Florida does have a few sub-freezing days a year.
jerelw wrote:Just curious - Did you see Steve Graber's La Bala? His latest iteration has a hard top and doors.
I really like what Steve has done with the La Bala and it has inspired me to go with the basic layout I have planned. Steve is in the process of a new model (LB2) and will incorporate the doors and roof into the car. He has changed his marketing from selling plans and "pre cuts" to fully welded chassis/frames and body kits. I think he may be fowwowing the same business model as Dennis Burton's "Stalker" in selling "kits" instead of "plans and parts". His starting price is at $15K for the base kit, engineered around using either an Audi or Northstar V8.

superford317
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Re: Introductions

Post by superford317 » 15 Sep 2010, 04:46

i have been a hot rodder for the last 25 years and have all the tools and a big shop just waiting for this.
my idea as of now is to build close to the plans, using the same suspension, most of the frame layout and subsystems and brakes.
the big change will be to lengthen the frame behind the driver and install a small block ford stroker with a manual 5 speed and use a ford 9' diff changed to independant rear suspension and use the same rear half shafts kurt used so it will still mate to the miata parts.
when finishd it will be a lot like the GT-40 and build a body around it like the one he will be using also.
the car will be a street car only for fun.
the big reason to use the ford engine and the ford diff is i already have it from my drag racing days, all i will have to get is the tranny, it will save money and time.
i have most of the other things i will have to change workd out already i think.
i have a complete full shop, mills, laiths, plasma cutters, torchs, welders, tube notcher and tube benders, all i needed was the plans for the suspension and some ideas on the frame, i have done several complete drag race builds from the ground up before.
things can change though, i was just wanting to use the parts i have on hand.

Jagmandave
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Re: Introductions

Post by Jagmandave » 15 Sep 2010, 08:17

A Porsche transaxle will shorten your overall length considerably over what you have in mind - engine lengthwise + transmission + differential is a very long package to sling behind you...

superford317
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Re: Introductions

Post by superford317 » 15 Sep 2010, 09:16

i have lookd at several of the transaxle set ups, they look nice but to get one that will handle the power i will have cost big $$$$$$$.
the ford 9"will have a coupler mounting it straight to the back of the tranny, i hope to do away with the tranny tail housing, over all it will be some what short and super durable, the weakest link will be the strength of the half shafts.
if you find a picture of a sportsman rear engine dragster running a shorty power glide with a coupler mounting it directly to the diff is what it will look like.
that is the reason i will make the ford 9" into independant suspension, i will solid mount the center diff and have the half shafts provide the suspension movement.

balidey
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Re: Introductions

Post by balidey » 20 Sep 2010, 01:01

Hi, I'm Steve.
I am a design engineer in the UK.
I only found out about the Midlana a few days ago. Some people recomended the Kimini book on the UK locostbuilders forum and I found out about the Midlana from that. And so far I like what I see.
My car building ambitions have been on hold for the last few years due to a growing family, but I'm hoping to start sometime soon.
My original plan was to build a Locost. Then I thought about a Haynes Roadster (UK updated version of the Locost).
Now I am torn between two possibilities, either the Midlana, or the Haynes SIngle Seater. The Single Seater book is not yet out, much like the Midlana one, so plenty of time for me to make up my mind.
There are obvisouly Pros and Cons for both, but from what I hear I imagine I will buy both books anyway.
From the diary and photos I have seen so far of the Midlana I am very impressed. The only concerns I have so far are that the Midlana seems a bit, how do I say this.... big. I really want a small, light car in the tradition of the Seven, and the proportions of the Midlana, with 17" wheels :shock: maybe a bit too large for me. I recently had a ride in an MK Indy and it felt tiny and didn't weigh much. Its performance was amazing mainly due to its lack of weight and small size.
So if I do decide to go Midlana then I think a scaled down version would perhaps be the way to go. Unless the photos are deceiving? Maybe someone could organise a photo shoot of a finished Midlana side by side a Locost? Or are there any suggested finished weights?
The only other downside to the Midlana is the UK regs. The Haynes Single Seater is being designed to pass the IVA tests. Perhaps Kurt you could get another Beta Builder to start in the UK and suggest what work (if any) needs doing to pass IVA? I'm not suggesting a UK version of the book, but perhaps a few suggestions about tweaks that are specific to UK builders? I am sure that there will be several UK builders when the book is out.

Anyway, I am several months away from even starting a build and hopefully the Book will arrive soon and I'll keep checking back on the diary and forum for updates. Keep up the good work everyone.

Steve

Midlana1
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Re: Introductions

Post by Midlana1 » 20 Sep 2010, 19:46

Midlana is about 72" wide to the outside edges of the tires. The engine bay is 48" wide and can't really go narrower, and the body tapers inward as it goes forward. I chose to keep the outside edges of the tires the same front and back, so yes, it's pretty wide, but 15" tires isn't going to change much.

fazeShift
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Re: Introductions

Post by fazeShift » 27 Sep 2010, 21:50

Hi everybody,

My name's Chris and I'm in the "research phase" of personal car building - or what my wife would call "professionally thinking about spending money". :lol:

My mind is currently set on building a Kimini / Midlana hybrid of sorts - meaning that I haven't yet decided on a body style, would like a roof, change ideas on engines from moment to moment, and want something street legal. I'm reading a ton of books and practicing a lot of new skills (i.e. plastic / composite futzing, raising my kid, re-learning math, and looking into welding setups).

I hope to leech a bunch of fantastic ideas off the lot of you and hope to offer anything that I might be able to from my past experiences of customizing cars and bikes with bolt-ons or minor fabrications.

:geek:

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