11/16/15 Both ourselves and Willamette Pattern guys have been busy with other projects but now that a lot of those are completed or well on the way, the D2 bodywork is moving forward again. For the final plug of the roadster bodywork, the nose, we're trying yet another technique. This time the foam is cut into slices, then bonded to a square-ish plywood box, and final machined to shape.
The devil is in the details as always but overall it appears to be a good approach. Machining will be done soon and we hope to proceed to molds in the next couple weeks. Hope to have some panels late January.
There are many other things in the pipe as well. The D47 project, which is based on D1/D4 suspension with some D2 DNA thrown in, is coming along. That in turn will serve as the foundation for many streetable variants, including possibly some powered by the Motus V4 engine. Initial plan is to do replicas of classic small/lighweight cars but eventually custom body designs are possible as well. The Motus engine is potentially a good fit for us as it's somewhat akin to a small version of the LS3 that powers the D2, with solid specs, and would stay with the designed-and-made-in-USA aspect of our cars. Below are some illustrations of what's possible, but it can really be anything.
We're looking for lead customers to get these things moving, and contemplating Pikes Peak 2016 as well. Get in touch if interested.
11/18/15 Picked up the remaining roadster plug from Willamette Pattern.
With their shop being literally two blocks from ours, we just wheeled the thing down the street. We did fail to come to a full stop at a stop sign - does that make it this body style's first traffic violation?
The requisite finishing and sanding is to follow, but I couldn't resist the chance to see, even approximately, what the finished car might look like. The pictures below still require some imagination. Tape in the last two helps. It's an interesting combo of compact (same length as Elise or Europa) and wide (same as a Diablo). Getting pretty excited :)
All the roadster panels for which the plugs have been machined so far are also shared with the coupe. So we've been working on both simultaneously.
There is another collaboration that is now taking place - with another neighbor, Modern Edge. We've shared a wall for several years and have now figured out a way to work together. In the immediate future this will help us get a proper interior in the D2, with several alternative body styles being contemplated as well. As always, much more to come.
12/21/15 Haven't posted an update on this blog in a while, but as always things are moving forward. Don't know if I've mentioned it, the Drakan was on Leno's Garage show recently. I actually flew down for the filming a couple months back and got to meet Jay. Hopefully after the new bodywork is finished we'll get the D2 on there as well.
The bodywork right now involves a lot of sanding and we take turns doing it when we can find the time. I was on point for a while, recently it's been Tristan and Jay. They've been figuring out progressively better techniques, improving of what I had come up with earlier. It still isn't easy or quick, but we're getting a lot more efficient at it. The door pattern, being the smallest, was finished first and the molds are now being made.
The nose was the last machined but will be the next one completed, just because we've applied everything we've learned to it and it's going much quicker than all the other parts did. On the subject of the nose, it has actually undergone quite an evolution since I got CAD from Zukun. Below is a sequence and you have to look closely, but the differences are there and they mostly have to do with the center section. In the first picture below, the top of the nose is smooth, as is the leading edge. The lower lip is pretty close to the ground (too close, actually, as it would scrape on everything).
The next picture has a number of changes - there is a raised area in the middle, but it's a bit busy. The lower lip is an inch higer than in the previous rendering.
The actual machined pattern has much cleaner feature on top (a bit hard to see because of high contrast of the white foam). Lower lip is cleaned up and at the proper height. However the center of the top lip is a bit awkward. It was taking too long to get SolidWorks to do exactly what I needed and machining had to start, so I approximated it with the intent of cleaning it up by hand. The other thing that was changed, last minute before cutting foam, is raising the headlights by 2" to a legal height and detailing the upper lip around them.
Below is the center section after first coat of primer. It was shaped quite a bit manually but still not quite there, the center is not consistent with the rest.
The final shot shows refined edge in the middle of the nose that is more harmonious with the other detailing.
02/05/16 Some exciting news on the D2 front - we got an order for what will be the ultimate D2 (really a D5 prototype in most meaningful ways). It will have the new bodywork, in coupe form. Add a modified LSA engine with at least 700hp (but likely more since we've already gotten 660hp from a totally stock one). Mate it to a Hewland LWS sequential transmission, with electronic paddle shift. Finish it off with an upgraded interior, HVAC, custom wheels (12" wide in the back, wearing 335 wide tires), and there you have it. It will take us about a year to complete the entire car since there is a lot of development and tooling involved, but the chassis should be drivable mid to late summer, with roadster bodywork on.. I'm very excited about this one.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by the 503 Motoring display at the Portland Auto show - 503 is going to be a dealer for our cars and they kindly gave us front and center space at the show, even putting the McLaren 675 behind us.
On the bodywork front, we finally finished polishing the nose and wheeled it back over to Willamette Pattern Works for them to make the mold. They machined the foam and as it turns out are experts at mold making as well. Anyone looking to get this type of work done, give them a call!
We are getting much better at prepping the patterns, but it still takes a lot of time. Doesn't help that we we have lots of other projects going on and have to juggle the efforts. Now that we have a paying customer for the new body the priority is upped and the remaining pieces should go quicker.
We are also building the next 5 Sector111 Drakan cars, the D47, continuing work on the Stiletto, and are getting ready to move the shop to a new location.
In keeping with our commitment to continous improvement, we've been updating the master cylinder and common manifold design for our pedal boxes. Some detail tweaks should make assembly and service considerably better.
On the subject of bodywork, I thought it would be a good time to look back at the evolution of the D2 design from early stuff to the latest design. The picture sequence is below, with the last two showing some minor detail tweaks that may not even be noticeable to some.
So now the saga continues from here. There are many new announcements coming but this is enough for one post.
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