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Author: Subject: From Zero to Indy?
Ron Lang

posted on 9/8/17 at 02:13 PM Reply With Quote
From Zero to Indy?

Hi all,

Relying on your honest opinions as ever. Here's my current situation in a nutshell:

As some of you know, rather confusingly, I have been posting about two different cars over the last few months - both GBS Zeros. One is a complete car that's been on the road for a few years which I co-own with a friend. The second car we bought (again in partnership) 'almost complete' with a view to finishing and selling on. Whilst we didn't particularly expect to make any money, we were keen to learn more about building these things without taking the plunge on a complete build - how wrong we were.

When I got the project car over to GBS for a preliminary IVA inspection, it became clear that the car was far from 'nearly finished' under the skin. Needless to say I had to strip it right back to address many of the issues and have spent many many hours building it back up (discovering many missing components in the process). As the car was only intended to be a project, I was attempting to balance budget with buyer appeal and so didn't really build with myself in mind. Now that has changed.

Due to a number of consecutive issues with our other car, the cash still needed to complete this one and the fact that we live 2.5 hours away from each other, I have agreed to sell my share of the complete car and buy him out of the project car with a view to completing and keeping it for myself. And herein lies the problem: Taking a step back and looking at the car as it stands, I'm not really happy its going to satisfy my requirements and I don't really want to pour money into finishing it if it's not what I want. With the cost of the outstanding work and the IVA and registration, I probably still need to invest 2k to finish it. My main reservations with the car as it is are as follows:

1) The location of the cross brace in the footwell means the car is uncomfortable for me. I'm only 6'2" and, although the car is both wide enough and long enough, the brace sits exactly where my kneecap does. I've tried different seats etc but with no joy.

2) The fit and finish of the bodywork just isn't good enough. The previous builder opted for the stainless steel panels which I hate and the scuttle, bonnet, nose cone etc just don't fit well. Almost all the GRP is in poor condition too having been poorly re-painted from red to black for some reason.

3) The car is running a brand new 2L Zetec and I have added a GBS plenum and OEM fuel injection system (I will look to upgrade to TB's in time). Unfortunately, this nice new engine is let down by the rest of the running gear. It could all do with refurbishing and looks as if they just sprayed over some of it to make it look new. If I want to register on a new plate, I'll need proof this has been done anyway so I'm told.

4) Wiring. The car has a GBS factory loom but this was butchered by the builder at the engine end to suit a megasquirt setup - unsuccessfully I might add. I subsequently bought an Emerald and made my own engine harness but I'm still struggling to get a number of things working (gauges mainly). I also want to move all the switch gear to the dash and remove the awful sierra cowling.

5) The main concern - I posted back when I first took the car apart about some chassis damage. By chassis damage I don't mean through use - the car has never been driven after all. There are some nasty chunks taken out of the top tubes in the centre tunnel - it seems they intended to fit a sequential shift and hydraulic handbrake or similar but decided against it after taking the angle grinder to it. I have been advised by GBS that this isn't likely to affect the structural integrity of the chassis (although they didn't actually inspect the car) but I'm just not comfortable with it. Moreover, the builder has made quite a few mistakes with the rivet/rivnut gun and this has left quite a few holes here and there.

6) The stainless side panels were attached with 1 million rivets - which is fine - but it ruins the look of the car and, as I want the car all in one colour, these will need replacing with bonded alu panels, leaving yet more holes every two inches along the main chassis members.

7) this leads me onto the final issue - even if I can replace the stainless panels for alu (all of which are quite expensive from GBS) I would then need to pay for an expensive paint job.

So, drastic as it may seem, I have decided to strip out the engine, running gear etc and start again which a new chassis and bodywork. Of course, this got me thinking; Do I want to build another Zero or go for something different? I've always liked the look of the MK Indy and the MK community seems very active so I thought I'd see whether this might be a better option. I went to visit the factory at the weekend and really liked the car. The chassis is well put together, the inboard suspension looks great and the cockpit feels much more roomy than the Zero - mainly for lack of a cross brace. The bodywork, being all GRP, seems to fit nicely doesn't have so many panel joints either.

Now, clearly I'm not doing this to save money! However, its about value. I could spend 2k to get to a finished car I'm not overly happy with or spend 5k and get something better - accepting that I won't get much money back for what's left of the zero (the naked chassis will be scrap I guess?). The current car (brace yourselves) already owes me 8,500 as it is.

So, what would you do?

Option 1) Buy a new Zero starter kit (chassis and bodywork) in GT form (i.e. wide body). GBS are currently looking at reducing the price of the kit based on parts I can transfer i.e. wishbones, electrics etc. This will without a doubt be a cheaper option although I'll end up close to where I started. I do know they are bringing some new wishbones, hubs and brakes to market soon though but this would be a costly upgrade.

Option 2) Bite the bullet and migrate over to an MK Indy R. I'd need to spend around 4k for modules 1 and 2 and couldn't reduce much from the kit as wishbones etc are all different. One of the biggest downsides is that I can't use my existing shocks but aside from that, everything should fit straight in. I'd have to hope I could get something back for the old chassis, shocks bodywork etc, even in its current condition - perhaps wishful thinking?

I want to add that both companies have been extremely helpful and, if I choose to change, it would not be a reflection of GBS's professionalism or customer service. I also think both are capable cars but the MK is more 'me' than the Zero. I intend to use the car for track days as well as Sunday fun so do want it to be track capable.

So, over to you. What would you do?

[Edited on 9/8/17 by Ron Lang]

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ian locostzx9rc2

posted on 9/8/17 at 04:10 PM Reply With Quote
I think you have answered the question your never going to be happy in the zero and uncomfortable bite the bullet and get an Indy .
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TimC

posted on 9/8/17 at 05:34 PM Reply With Quote
Yes, iif you feel like that, I'd change the chassis and body - if you don't like it, you'll struggle for the necessary enthusiasm. To be honest the cost isn't that great a proportion of a total build. The other option worth considering would be to take your existing chassis to Procomp or Track Developments or Wildmoor Sportscars and get them to modify it so that it's perfect for your needs. Fibreglass is relatively easily dealt with too - Westgate Composites will work wonders if you want to change how something looks.

Assuming you do plump for a change, are you sure you want an Indy? I know that they've changed hands but I think the brand is somewhat sullied and I'd look elsewhere.

If you fit, I'd have a look at an Aries or Striker - probably not if you are looking at wide cars. I'd also definitely have a look at a Batho with aluminium and tig'd parts.






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MikeR

posted on 9/8/17 at 07:07 PM Reply With Quote
where abouts in leicester are you? I've been 'building' for 17 years (aka never finished - its still there in the garage and gets tinkered with occasionally). It does mean i've learn a lot of useless knowledge and did qualify as a welder 17 years ago. NB i'm not offering to weld up the holes.

I could have a look at the current car and give advice which may influence your decision. I'm just outside Hinckley.

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MikeR

posted on 9/8/17 at 07:10 PM Reply With Quote
just looked through your pictures - the cross brace isn't in the original locost. I've added it cause i'm determined not to finish and through about taking the front roll hoop from there (may now not!).

I'm also looking at using a foam seat (from expanding foam) instead of a proper seat like you. I'm also 6'2" and fit in without a problem.

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zetec

posted on 9/8/17 at 07:23 PM Reply With Quote
I would be tempted to finish what you have if 2K will get it on the road, and sell it to get back some of the cash you have in it. Then if you really do want to build from scratch you will start with a clean sheet.

Starting with parts from another project will always blur what you really want.

Then again I enjoyed building an Indy from scratch but after driving my son's Elise I know where I would have spent my money if I did it again...





" I only registered to look at the pictures, now I'm stuck with this username for the rest of my life!"

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Hopley89

posted on 9/8/17 at 07:45 PM Reply With Quote
I disagree with you regarding Mk, i have been dealing with neil and sean for everything on my current build
Mk indy R - RR and there help and surrport thought out the build so far is brilliant and i couldn't of asked for
better people to deal with👌🏻 always on the other end of the phone, evan on a sunday afternoon when i phoned
for some advice they was there


quote:
Originally posted by TimC
Yes, iif you feel like that, I'd change the chassis and body - if you don't like it, you'll struggle for the necessary enthusiasm. To be honest the cost isn't that great a proportion of a total build. The other option worth considering would be to take your existing chassis to Procomp or Track Developments or Wildmoor Sportscars and get them to modify it so that it's perfect for your needs. Fibreglass is relatively easily dealt with too - Westgate Composites will work wonders if you want to change how something looks.

Assuming you do plump for a change, are you sure you want an Indy? I know that they've changed hands but I think the brand is somewhat sullied and I'd look elsewhere.

If you fit, I'd have a look at an Aries or Striker - probably not if you are looking at wide cars. I'd also definitely have a look at a Batho with aluminium and tig'd parts.

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TimC

posted on 9/8/17 at 08:20 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Hopley89
I disagree with you regarding Mk, i have been dealing with neil and sean for everything on my current build
Mk indy R - RR and there help and surrport thought out the build so far is brilliant and i couldn't of asked for
better people to deal with👌🏻 always on the other end of the phone, evan on a sunday afternoon when i phoned
for some advice they was there



Don't misunderstand me; I've no experience of the new owners and am sure you are right about their service and the quality of their products. If however, the OP one day wants to sell the MK, there is a good chance that someone new to Kit Cars will find references to MK providing abysmal customer service and even exploiting charities. Hence, the brand is somewhat sullied in my opinion.






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Hopley89

posted on 9/8/17 at 08:34 PM Reply With Quote
i understand where your coming from and I know they had a bad reputation at some point as the previous mk owners
didn't want to deal with the normal day to day customers but only deal with the racing side of the business,
But from my experience with the the new face of Mk i think they are working hard to turn that bad reputation into
a positive direction and build from that.



quote:
Originally posted by TimC
quote:
Originally posted by Hopley89
I disagree with you regarding Mk, i have been dealing with neil and sean for everything on my current build
Mk indy R - RR and there help and surrport thought out the build so far is brilliant and i couldn't of asked for
better people to deal with👌🏻 always on the other end of the phone, evan on a sunday afternoon when i phoned
for some advice they was there



Don't misunderstand me; I've no experience of the new owners and am sure you are right about their service and the quality of their products. If however, the OP one day wants to sell the MK, there is a good chance that someone new to Kit Cars will find references to MK providing abysmal customer service and even exploiting charities. Hence, the brand is somewhat sullied in my opinion.

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ReMan

posted on 10/8/17 at 01:01 PM Reply With Quote
Sugar 8.5K is a long way in.
+ 2k to finish
= GBS for 10.5k

Worth?
2k if you break and sell it all?
5k if you finish it?

vs:

1.5k parts reused if you keep them?+ 4k MK kit
+1.5k to finish?
-1k sold parts
= MK for 6k

Worth 6k?

Tricky!!
Theres got to be some love in there somewhere too
Hmmm





www.plusnine.co.uk
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wylliezx9r

posted on 10/8/17 at 01:29 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by ReMan
Sugar 8.5K is a long way in.
+ 2k to finish
= GBS for 10.5k

Worth?
2k if you break and sell it all?
5k if you finish it?

vs:

1.5k parts reused if you keep them?+ 4k MK kit
+1.5k to finish?
-1k sold parts
= MK for 6k

Worth 6k?

Tricky!!
Theres got to be some love in there somewhere too
Hmmm


Surely a brand new GBS is worth more than 5K ? The same goes for the INDY at 6k ? And yes I am serious and don't call me Shirley





I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered.
George Best

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ReMan

posted on 10/8/17 at 08:18 PM Reply With Quote
Yes maybe Shirley

I was just scratching it out , not being contriversial
Yeas add a bit more on, but built values aren't great from what I see at the moment,





www.plusnine.co.uk
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Ron Lang

posted on 11/8/17 at 07:15 AM Reply With Quote
Thanks lol for your responses. I've not been getting notifications for some reason so assumed no one had managed to make it through my original post without falling asleep!

Not the most positive responses! The main reason I was thinking about the Indy is that I was under the impression it was a better car? From what I've seen it serrainkt seems better put together and I dare say more track focused.

However, if what I end up with is broadly the same then there is little point in changing so dramatically. GBS have agreed to modify that brace if I buy a new chassis which will sort the fitment issue and I could make do with alu body work (and perhaps go for wrap for coat). Having done the maths now, it will cost 5000 to get to an Indy and around half that to re-build as a zero. Sounds like neither will be worth a lot!

I should definitely add that Sean at MK has been incredible. We have been emailing back and forth for days and he always responds with a thorough email within hours. I had no idea about previous reputation.

Are the only cars that anyone are actually enthusiastic about the caterhams and Westfield? Maybe I would be better off cutting my losses and getting out of the kit car game. Problem is I've wanted a 7 since I was about the same age!

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TimC

posted on 11/8/17 at 07:41 AM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ron Lang

Are the only cars that anyone are actually enthusiastic about the caterhams and Westfield? Maybe I would be better off cutting my losses and getting out of the kit car game. Problem is I've wanted a 7 since I was about the same age!


Interest in kit cars has decreased dramatically over the last decade or so. If you need to one-day extract most of what you invest, much short of a Caterham is unlikely to meet your investment criteria. However, if you are able to spend some money on a hobby as others might with golf, sailing or horse riding then it can still be an absolute joy to build and own a kit car.






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ReMan

posted on 11/8/17 at 11:13 AM Reply With Quote
The Indy is a great car. let down previously by customer service, now resolved I believe. But will take a while to shake it off, they should have renamed IMHO
No experience of GBS myself.

In the pisc your car looks OK, soo i think finish it, wrap it, drive it. It will still be more capeable than you ie expect
Get a feel, then see if yu need to "upgrade" to an MK, perhaps not.





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