How to Build a Car to Save Gas

Tired of high gas prices? For $2,500 and about a thousand hours, you can build a car that gets 100 miles (160 km) to the gallon.


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    Put together the appropriate parts. Join the front sections of two identical scooters and one rear part with the engine and you have the foundation of a basic, three-wheeled car that you can build.
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    With the appropriate safety gear, cut the frame. (In the background, you see the rear portion of the second scooter, which was not needed.)
    • Start working on the main chassis. In this picture, the wooden stand is holding the forks in their desired position. Trying to figure out how to build the main connecting chassis. Don't use more 2" round tube like the scooter frame. It's not strong enough.
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    • You can see the original Honda handlebars being tried out for position, and also Honda's wonderful variable speed drive, using a ribber belt with spring-loaded pulleys.
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    Try the car at this stage. The photo shows the beginnings of the vehicle with a plank clamped to the frame for a seat, after three months of building. There's also a forward foot rest using conduit coming forward from the frame, hung with red straps, and a speedometer connected to the handlebars. This experience should prove the concept and provide a helpful inspiration to the next phase: building the body.
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    Sculpt the windows. In this photo, the white panels of the overhead door are done, but the windows must be sculpted once the position of the lower edges are decided upon. Yet this cannot be done without some idea of the rear panels. I felt the car would look better if the rear panels had some upward flow, rather than downward. Note the child's car seat I used for the testing. It says "60 pounds max". Actually quite comfortable...
    • In this photo you can see the white 'steering plates' which are welded to the front on the motor scooter forks and through which the "heim" ball-joint fittings are bolted.
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    In this picture, you can see just how many clamps it takes to bend a lexan panel in place, all without scratching anything too much. Once the panel is thoroughly in place, you can drill, tap, countersink for the 6-32 flathead SS screws. When all are ready, the panel is removed, silicone caulk is applied, and the whole thing finally screwed down and excess caulk removed. Screw holes are also caulked. You can see that seating experiments were also going on: a rather minimalist plank and bungee cords used as a backrest. Not enough comfort!
    • In the lower picture, you see some bald guy bending the 1.5" wide by eighth-inch thick flatbar, which will be the forward frame of the overhead door, using the forward arch as a form for the bending. A small piece of conduit is used to help the bending. Be sure to overbend the arch, so it is sprung in place when attached. Otherwise the sides will bow outward and let in weather. This picture, of course, was taken before the picture above.
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    Note the motorcycle the motorcycle steering head, with the excess shaft sawed off. This will eventually disappear behind the black side panels with the moonbeam logo, which you see on the home page. I didn't want to mess with the widely-spaced steering head bearings.
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    Look at your work from another perspective. This photo is looking forward from the driver's seat. It's a good view of the back-to-back "Heim" fittings which go from the steering arm below the handlebars out in opposite directions to each wheel. You can also see some of the 2" flatbar welded between the two forward frame members to be junctions of the plastic body panels. You can see the 4" automotive headlights jammed into 4" rubber pipe couplings as a nice simple way to mount headlight bulbs. You can see the steering post , wrapped in black tape to minimize glare, coming out of the front frame member to give the maximum legroom to the passenger.

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Categories: Cars