Sunday, 23 December 2007

Build Begins

After seeing how much kit there is we've made a big attempt to reorganise everything so it now only fills the garage, garden and loft. This is our starting point with our chassis and it's ally floor pannels riveted and sealed up.

It's got to be said the chassis looks fantastic and the guys at MNR have done a top job. Before we get started on the panels we read through the brief 120 page build manual. The chassis we have is not the original MNR design used in the guide but has seen years of continuos improvement being tweeked to make it better and stronger.
First thing we noticed is that its more of a rough guide leaving quite a lot up to the builder of the kit. Bolting piece A to piece B in a Mechano style wouldn't be challenging and we're glad ours isn't and we quite look forward to this other than the wiring. Eager to get started we riveted the ally bulkhead panels in place. Before long theres already a big concern. The roll bar looks much taller than we specified.

After measuring up the chassis we've decided the roll bar is just too high from what we specified. Me and my Dad arent exactly tall so have 9 inches head clearance. With my helmet on it's still 7 inches so were going to reduce this but still at a safe level incase of a roll. MNR have been great with this as I'm sure this will mess up their schedules and take them a while to pick up, remove, re-weld, powdercoat and return. So the build will almost stop and everything we had done; panels, brake lines, cylinders, pedals, fuel line and tank has to be removed. We can't do much as everything at the start is fitted directly to the chassis. However we're going to keep ourselves busy so that once it's back we can move at a much quicker pace, including;

  • Attatch the sump baffle and clutch springs

  • Full engine clean

  • Repaint the clutch, camshaft and timing belt covers

  • Full engine service - plugs, oil and filter etc

  • Assemble suspension, hubs, wishbones

  • Buy additional small bits and pieces

  • Prepare wiring

  • Recondition donor parts
  • Friday, 21 December 2007

    Christmas has come early!!!

    Today's the day and 4 months certainly have flown by for me, not for my Dad though as he's dead excited. The build has come at a great time really as we both have time off to participate in the build and the family are around to offer an extra set of hands.

    The garage is the cleanest I've ever seen it in over 18 years! Usually packed full of cement mixers, 4 bikes, compressors, my tools, gardening and decorating gear, rubbish and all sorts of bits and pieces. Now you can even see the carpeted floor that I never knew existed! The work bench is considerably shorter after it met it's match with a saw, the frezzer and racking have all been moved to the sides so here's how it now looks with some home made tressels.

    This morning we were up way to early considering im a student on christmas break. We picked up the Van from Rent a Van and of course the one we requested (very long, LWB Renault Traffic Master) was not available so settled for a New Transit which was a fair bit shorter leaving us slighly annoyed. Not a great start but anyway we set off to Yorkshire at about 9.

    Reached the MNR premises about 2ish and had a quick chat and a cup of tea. The guys have worked extremly hard and got our kit, name "No 80" completly ready in time.
    A picture of Vortx No 80 inside the MNR workshop.

    Here is the Van jam packed full ok kit. It took a while but everything was covered in bubble wrap and cloth. Luckily the Transit was just about long enough.

    Everything fitted in the van rather snuggly and we began the trek home which wasn't that bad albeit 5 hours long. We got some of the kit in the garage then realised just how big the chassis was. There are so many parts I could barely believe it. Seeing it at MNR it looks quite small inside a huge workshop. However it wasn't going to fit as we need space to work round the chassis so we started filling other rooms including the utility room, back room my room and even the garden. A module kit buying parts as you need is definetly something we would consider and recommend if we were to do this again.

    Its a great feeling having it all home with all the planning and patience over. Onto the build being such a well built kit, thought out thoroughly, other MNR owners believe the build can be done in less than 200 build hours. One has even been done in a short few weeks but with the added luxury of building it at MNR and working non stop. However the only target we are setting ourselves is to build a car as close to immaculate as possible. We're both the sort of people who are never happy with that niggly bit that went a bit pear shaped so prepare to stay tuned to quite a long build! Although we're hoping to get a couple of drives out of 2008.

    Friday, 7 December 2007

    The wait is almost over

    It's been a long although expected wait but a collection date of the 21st of December is now floating around. We were hoping for a quicker turn around but because of summer shows like Donnington, MNR have had a few fully paid orders packed in whilst our exact specification was being decided. So we've just booked a van and ordered our own choice steering wheel, alloys and tyres, sorted the engine out and the paddle shift. Got most the tools from the local Machine Mart, they don't look like they will last the build but are cheap enough to replace if need be. Also found a great bike shop, Hein Gericke in Purley to get a helmet and gloves for karting in the Britsh University Karting Championship (BUKC 2008) at a reasonable price(comparable to demon tweeks) and they can also get plenty of bike parts in.

    The first detailed spec of the car came close to that of Tiger so weve taken out some expensive luxuries. We've gone for the MNR Vortx RT(road and track) with the better inboard suspension. The setup is similar to that of MNR's track focused car without the complete adjustability of rose joints which would make an amazing handling car but we couldn't see ourselves tweaking it all that much. An inboard has the advantages of using the Cortina front uprights with the shocks and springs mounted inside the chassis operated with push rods. This offers lower unsprung weight and there is less movement in corners as the shock and spring don't have to travel far as they're closer to the pivoting point of the wishbones.

    Right boring stuff over with and onto power :) we chose the Yamaha fuel injected R1 engine(5PW). Its not the cheapest (especially compared to car engines) but should be very reliable, easy to plumb in and fly through the Single Vehicle Approval scheme(SVA) as emissions can be controlled through the power commander on a laptop. This should be a brutally fast car weighing less than 400kgs packing over 152bhp. This equates to a power to weight ratio of more than 380bhp/tonne which is truely into supercar territory. However it's only 998cc and will be as cheap to tax as a vauxhall corsa. The gearbox is sequential to save weight and make shifting faster. Instead of an H pattern arrangement we have 1st - down to neutral - down to 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th then up to go down the gears. We're going to make or adapt our own paddle shift so our hands remain on the wheel. We have ditched the reverse box(£700) in favour of pushing the car as it's extra weight and effort on the engine and gearbox. This might not turn out to be a smart move, but after all it isn't going to be used in the usual supermarket situations.

    We almost opted for comfy leather padded seats but after testing the variety of seats on offer we opted for light GRP seats. They look hard and uncomfortable but once you're strapped in you wouldn't even notice and are also significantly cheaper being a single piece item. The only options I think we added are wind deflectors, a boot box and splash guards on the rear arches. The car is almost a standard RT inboard spec, bare of options to keep it as light as possible but it does have all the important bits; a highly recommended chassis and an amazing light power plant, what more do you need in a 7.
    The brand new black Team Dynamic 1.2 pro race alloys, only 6.2kg each

    Toyo Proxes R888's road legal track tyres (GG compound) in 195/50/15's

    Side picture of the alloys and tyres to show their depth at ET23

    I havent seen any MNR's exactly like ours so heres a little traced sketch (I was very bored this afternoon whilst revising tax computations) to show the overall effect of the car in orange with black parts.