I have wanted to build my own car for many, many years. Always something seemed to delay me. Finally I decided to put off the delays and start building.
After deciding to actually go through with it, I decided to build a Brunton Super Stalker. A modern interpretation of a Lotus Seven.
There is no reason to discuss why to build a car. Everyone has their own reasons and if you need help deciding whether or not to build no one else can really help you. Rest assured there will always be many reasons to NOT start. In my case, the reasons to delay include five small children and the time they take. The best reason to start is that I happen to be renting a house with a great garage, and that may not last more than a few years.
Now this is where the really hard parts comes in. What do you want? A really cool street car, a rce car good only for track days, or something in between. It seems that for the U.S., Shelby Cobra replicas completely dominate the market. They are cool, they range from moderate cost (25-30K finshed) to brutally expensive (100K to get on the road). I like them, but not enough to spend that kind of money (and more important to my immature desire to be different, there is one down the street from me!). I have always been partial to very small, very light cars. Cobras tend to run in the 2000-2500 pound range, which while svelte by production car standards is still pretty portly.
My ideal car would be the Ariel Atom, which isn’t available as a kit. I have also always been interested in the Thunder Ranch Porsche 550 replica. It certainly meets the light weight requirement, but the suspension was an old design in 1955. The architecture of the kit is such that enhancing the suspension would require major surgery to the body which comes pre-bonded to the frame. It also turns out that getting the VW drivetrain components isn’t as easy as it was in the eighties.
The Lotus Seven
Our American icon is the Cobra, in Europe it seems to be the Lotus Seven. There are literally dozens of kit manufactures Over There. And at least as popular as the various kits are the self built clones inspired by Ron Champion’s book, Build your own sports car for as little as £250 (ISBN 1859606369).
I spent a great deal of time with this book, analyzing the frame and came to the decision that it wasn’t really all that well designed from a structural efficiency standpoint. I set out to design my own using Miata suspension geometry and components. My initial design resulted in a completely adequate 1400lbs estimated. That was good, but it still wasn’t going to be as good as…
The Stalker V6
Or to be more exact, the Super Stalker, designed by Dennis Brunton. 1440 pounds, with an easy 240HP and 300ft-lbs of torque. All that and a track record for establishing FTD’s all over Florida. And even more important, Brunton Automotive has a very enthusiastic builders network and they have established a very good reputation within that builders network for a high quality product and more than ample support during the build process.
So in February of 2006 I sold my BMW Z-3 and placed an order for a Super Stalker kit.