пятница, 28 сентября 2012 г.

The shopping basket sports car - for [pounds sterling]250; SCHOOLBOYS MAKE CLASSIC ROADSTERS FROM SCRAP. - Daily Mail (London)


QUESTION: What do you do with a rusty Ford Escort, a leather handbag from Oxfam and a shopping basket?

Answer (if you're a pupil at Oundle): Turn them into a classic wind-in-your-hair sports car costing just [pounds sterling]250.

The public school, founded in 1556, has started its own production line using cannibalised parts to make the DIY vehicles.

So far 32 of the `LoCost Sevens' have been built, all uncannily similar to the classic Lotus 7 designed by the late Colin Chapman - hero to the school's head of motor engineering, Ron Champion.

`We are one of the few truly Britsh motor manufacturers left,' Mr Champion said yesterday. `It's effectively fallen to one of Britain's top public schools to be a last bastions of the British motor car industry.'

Now Mr Champion, 52, has written a manual revealing the Northamptonshire school's engineering secrets. It will be released today by motoring publisher Haynes at [pounds sterling]14.99.

It advises would-be car makers to scour scrapyards for a Mark I or Mark II Ford Escort with a good engine, gearbox, back axle and tyres. Body condition is immaterial. The school says it has never paid more than [pounds sterling]75 for a whole car.

The manual then gives full details of how to strip the Escort and turn it into a shiny new sports car.

Top tips include making the radiator grille from a discarded wire shopping basket, using [pounds sterling]2.50 bath sealant to fix the windscreen and making old leather handbags and coats into trim for the dashboard and gear-stick surround.

Once the car is complete have it inspected by a vehicle licensing centre, fix on the number plates, insure, MOT and tax it - then head for the open road.

Oundle's motor industry connections run deep.

Former pupil Rudolph Stahl designed the first Chrysler, while Charles Amherst Villiers created Malcolm Campbell's land speed record-breaking Bluebird and later designed the landing craft for Nasa's Mars exploration.

Mr Champion has more down-to-earth ambitions. `I'm writing another book - build your own vintage sports car, similar to a pre-war two-seater sports car, for as little as [pounds sterling]1,000,' he said. `We're working on a prototype now.'