Ron Champion designed
the Locost as a present for his son who had just passed his driving test. The
reason for the car’s existence was a lack of funds to buy a production sports
car. Ron decided that he could make his own for a fraction of the cost and
set about to do so. This was a daunting task, but Ron was helped by his thirty
years of experience in the automotive research/ development and restoration
Once the first car was complete Ron decided to approach Haynes Publishers with an idea for a book. The philosophy behind the car was for someone with limited funds but lots of enthusiasm to be able to build their dream car for a very small outlay. Haynes saw the potential for this product and Ron produced his first book, ‘Build Your Own Sports Car for as Little as £250’. This may sound like a ridiculously low figure for a complete sports car, but the record so far is an on the road project for £47.50 !!!
This book soon became a best seller and is now on sale all over the world. The Locost Car has captured the imagination of hundreds of car enthusiasts who can now own a car that they could not have afforded previously. The Locost phenomenon has seen hundreds of cars being built around the world and a look at the Locost Car Club or many of the web sites devoted to the cars will show you how well it has been received. This popularity came to the attention of the RAC racing committee in 1998. They were looking for a route to encourage and enable young drivers to enter motorsport and saw the Locost as the ideal platform. In January 1999 the Locost Formula was launched under the control of the 750 Motor Club. This is a single type formula based on the car detailed in Ron’s Book, i.e. a Locost based on a 1300cc Mk2 Ford Escort.
This new formula is being run under tight construction regulations which are designed to keep the costs down. The idea is to ensure that the winners are not simply the teams that can spend the most money, but the teams who show the most skill and ingenuity in preparing the cars and driving them in the races. As such Formula Locost has attracted a great deal of interest from all walks of life, including a number of schools and colleges who see that they can produce a competitive race car in their own workshops.
The actual chassis design and layout are built to Ron’s drawings.
To build the car requires a much wider range of skills than those required for a normal ‘kit’ car. Instead of using a box of pre-made components as if it were a big Meccano kit to build the car, the Locost builder has to make do with lengths of metal bar, sheets of aluminium, and second hand parts recycled from scrap cars. Everything on the car has to be made or restored by the builder. The more effort put into the car the better the finish, and of course, the lower the price. And once its finished this is one of the few cars where you can truthfully say that you built it ALL yourself.
Ron will be using this hands on engineering approach as the main focus for its courses, the first of which teaches the building of a car. The fact that students must learn the skills required to build the car from nothing teaches a wide range of useful and, more importantly, marketable talents with the practical experience to back it up. The fact that they produce a fully road or race legal sports car simply provides the motivation and excitement to keep them interested and enthusiastic.
For more details on the courses please, feel free to email us. Courses on hold during 2000.
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