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Lucky@LeMans 27th November 2020 20:01

New build Scimitar Based Formosa
5 Attachment(s)
No sooner had the dust settled from the completion of my last Tribute I was thinking of what to do next ! I've followed the progress of some of the Formosa builds, I've always had a thing for the late 50's, early 60's style LeMans cars and sports cars from that era. The Scimitar based Formosa has the best proportions in my eyes, the extra wheelbase over the Triumph based cars looks just right.
I've found a Scimitar SE5a, bought sight unseen from Scotland. That was delivered last week and is now stripped to the bare bones. The 3ltr V6 appears to be in good shape with evidence of a rebuild in the not too distant past. The chassis is 95% rust free which is a real bonus, not bad for a 45 year old car !

redratbike 27th November 2020 20:06

Woo hoo

Love watching these builds come together

Lucky@LeMans 2nd December 2020 19:30

Had the gearbox off to check the clutch. Nothing unexpected except a core plug in the back of the block that looks a bit corroded. Whilst lifting the hulking overdrive box out I've had thoughts of fitting a modern alternative. The old box is the external push rod selector style, not exactly slick. I've decided on a Mazda RX8 6 speed, lots lighter being aluminium and there is a readily available conversion plate to fit to the Essex lump. I'm not a huge fan of the Essex but it is has been rebuilt and does respond well to some simple and basic tuning.

Mister Towed 3rd December 2020 17:15

You might want to consider the RX8 5 speed box for your application as it has longer legs than the 6 speed. First is often cited as too low geared on the 6 speed to be of any use anywhere but climbing the North face of the Eiger, while fifth in the five speed is a significantly taller ratio than sixth in the 6 speeder meaning less revs at high speed.

5 speed tends to be cheaper, too.

Lucky@LeMans 3rd December 2020 19:09

I've been looking at RX8 boxes today. There are plenty of 5 speeds about and hardly any 6 speed. You might be right about the ratios and the 3ltr engine combination. Also found a used adaptor that should suit my plans.

Mister Towed 4th December 2020 13:51

Six speed box is scarcer and more expensive because everyone wants the bragging rights to having a six gear box.

That's fine if you have no torque and an engine output shaft spinning at 9,000rpm like in the RX8. Bolt it up to a torquey motor with a 5 to 6 thousand rpm red line and you'll be setting off in third and wishing you had another cog in the box on the motorway.

Sometimes less is more.

Lucky@LeMans 4th December 2020 16:00

Looks like the 5 speed will be the better option with the taller final drive. Main reasons for going with the Mazda box is the really slick gear change. The old iron 4 speed OD with the 3 rod selector has the worst change of them all !

Reinstated my blast cabinet today, one of the best tools in the garage. My compressor that I purchased recently can just about keep up with it !

Lucky@LeMans 6th December 2020 10:20

Just thought I'd mention if anyone is thinking of building one of these cars is the offer currently available from Formosa that extends until the 24th December. Check out the website and get £300 off the normal price for a body !

redratbike 6th December 2020 11:07

Have you ordered the gun metal coloured body Gary has mentioned on social media or silver ??

Lucky@LeMans 6th December 2020 18:00

RAL 7001 for my car, Silver Grey.

redratbike 7th December 2020 06:32


Originally Posted by Lucky@LeMans (Post 105496)
RAL 7001 for my car, Silver Grey.

I saw he had a couple of silver ones at last ... red gets a bit boring :-)

Lucky@LeMans 14th December 2020 19:13

The chassis is stripped of all the running gear ready to go off to powder coaters. Whilst waiting for the body it was the right thing to do, it all comes apart very easily so I'll refurb all the bushes etc whilst I'm at it !

Mister Towed 15th December 2020 06:11

Good idea to start with all new suspension, brakes etc. Looking forward to seeing more progress.

Lucky@LeMans 15th December 2020 19:32

A word of caution when building from older donor cars that haven't been on the road for a while. Check every nut and bolt is done up ! My Scimitar had been partly restored a number of years ago and is stripped right down to the bare chassis now. At least half of the bolts holding the suspension on were just finger tight ! The brake pads didn't have and pins holding them in place on the front ! The body came off a bit too easily as well because several bolts weren't there at all ! Check everything !

Mister Towed 16th December 2020 17:22


When I built my Spyder I had a brand new brake pipe that had been fitted by a previous owner come flying out of the union feeding the rear brakes while I was bleeding them. It hadn't been flared properly and blew out of its union when I stamped on the middle pedal to check if there was any air left in the system.

If that had happened on the road it would have had catastrophic and possibly fatal consequences as, being a single-circuit system, it would have caused total brake failure :(

My Speedster and all subsequent builds are getting dual-circuit brakes...

lancelot link 20th December 2020 15:22

I've had a chassis supplied by another trader who offers a restoration service that had several bolts loose , washers missing , loose engine mounts , brake flexi's with no lock nuts etc etc ...
If you are getting bored of red ones ... How about Aston Martin Chiltern Green ?

The gunmetal one is going on a Super 7 style chassis of unknown origin ...
I have a ruby red one going on a Burlington Arrow as well and a 236 CM body being moulded in Ruby Red to go to Arizona ...
Oh and 2 yellow cars being built too !!

Lucky@LeMans 21st December 2020 21:25

The powder coaters are taking the chassis next week and it should be back before new year. I've welded in steel floor pans with a 3" drop. Even being 18swg steel they seem to have added a fair bit of weight to the chassis. I used the equivalent of a 2m x 1m sheet to make the floors which is around 20KG. Probably a drop in the ocean compared to the Scimitar body. Each part of that was heavy, the bulkhead section alone being a two man lift !
I'm half way through cleaning up the suspension components which is all simple stuff and they will be ready to go back on the chassis when it comes back.

froggyman 21st December 2020 22:10

Great progress so far. Your builds are always meticulously performed. Will be interesting to see this one come together.

J46uar 22nd December 2020 08:32

Sounds a great project will follow it with interest. Colour great. Be interested to know if the engine gearbox combination alters the 4 inch set back for the engine position.

Lucky@LeMans 22nd December 2020 12:53

Wasn't planning to move the engine back. I know you can but it sits well behind the front axle centre line so not much to be gained. It will depend on the gear stick position with the RX8 box fitted. I won't make a decision until I've mocked up the body, seats etc with the engine in place.

JG 22nd December 2020 18:05

Chiltern Green with black wires looks devine

Lucky@LeMans 26th December 2020 17:16

Going through the suspension components and I've found that most of the rubber bushes have already been replaced by the previous owner. A thorough wire brushing followed by a coat of primer and they are nearly done. Final finish will be a couple of coats of gloss black and they'll be ready to go back on. I'm getting the chassis powder coated in grey so it should all look quite smart !

I missed out on a set of 15" wires yesterday complete with new tyres and adaptors, someone out bid me at the very last second ! I've found another set so might get lucky with those !!

Mister Towed 27th December 2020 09:06

Little tip with ebay auctions: decide what the maximum you'd be prepared to pay would be, then, if the item hasn't been bid above that when it's about to end, submit your highest bid with five seconds remaining.

If you get outbid then it's gone for more than you would have wanted to pay, but if you are the high bidder at that point it doesn't allow anyone else to think 'hmm, I think I could go higher to win that'.

Apparently you can get software that automatically enters your high bid as the auction ends, but I think it's far more exciting doing it manually at the last second.

redratbike 27th December 2020 11:23

Agree with the eBay bidding highest price your are prepared to pay at the last second

Hate the idea of cheating sniper software personally

Lucky@LeMans 27th December 2020 11:36


Originally Posted by Mister Towed (Post 105585)
Little tip with ebay auctions: decide what the maximum you'd be prepared to pay would be, then, if the item hasn't been bid above that when it's about to end, submit your highest bid with five seconds remaining.

If you get outbid then it's gone for more than you would have wanted to pay, but if you are the high bidder at that point it doesn't allow anyone else to think 'hmm, I think I could go higher to win that'.

Apparently you can get software that automatically enters your high bid as the auction ends, but I think it's far more exciting doing it manually at the last second.

I did exactly that at 7 seconds remaining. The price went from £375 to £501, my high bid but it changed right away to £510 with 1 second left !

Mister Towed 27th December 2020 11:52

You just have to be patient - the good things about last-second bidding with your highest shot are that, 1/ you might just land a bargain, and 2/ you can't give it another go yourself and then regret overpaying for the item.

I've also received a 'second chance' offer of my maximum bid on an item I was outbid on less than five minutes after the auction ended, which suggested to me that the seller was bidding on it himself to bump the price but aimed too high. I declined the offer, then won it for a much lower price (as the only bidder) after it was relisted a week later.

Lucky@LeMans 29th December 2020 19:01

The local powder coaters have taken the chassis away today. Thats given me a bit of a chance to go over the engine and gearbox to see what's what. I've already rebuilt the heads and port matched the inlet manifold. That was a job worth doing as there was a step mismatch between the head ports and manifold ports of around 5mm at the worst point. I marked out the manifold and ground away the aluminium manifold until it all lined up. I opened up the plenum area under the carb too which is another trick I learned back in my Autograss racing days. I bought a set of tubular exhaust manifolds from ebay that should flow really well being a long branch three into one design with a 2 1/4" collector. A straight through system front to rear with a single cherry bomb will finish it off !

Mister Towed 30th December 2020 10:24

Sounds good, and I'm sure it'll sound good too!

Lucky@LeMans 1st January 2021 09:44

Should sound great ! Plenty of space under the car for an extra silencer if required but I don't want it too muffled !
The body is ready for collection so the build can start next week. If I can put in a couple of hours a day it should be done by March, maybe !

lancelot link 3rd January 2021 19:34

Radiused rear arches and stretched front quarters all done in fibreglass and gelcoat finish ...

molleur 3rd January 2021 20:18

Looks really good!

Lucky@LeMans 8th January 2021 19:14

Slowly making progress ! The engine work is now complete along with the gearbox conversion. To say the RX8 gearbox fitment was easy is an understatement. The standard Essex clutch hooks right upto the Mazda box, they have the same splines. The spigot bearing in the V6 is the right diameter for the Mazda input shaft. The Mazda bell housing just needs a little trimming to allow the standard Essex starter to fit. The only issue will be the lack of a speedo cable drive, the Mazda box hasn't got one !

The powder coaters are delivering the chassis in the morning and the suspension is largely rebuilt and ready to go back on. Thanks to Gary for a spare set of Scimitar coil overs, a couple of mine were leaking. I've done some research for softer springs to replace the existing ones. Looks like a set of MK1 MX5 will fit straight in and provide a more compliant ride.

Photos to follow ........

Lucky@LeMans 9th January 2021 16:26

1 Attachment(s)
The chassis was delivered today and I've made a start refitting the suspension. I hope to have the engine and box back in over the next few days.
Looks like this is going to turn into another lock down project !

Mister Towed 10th January 2021 07:18

Chassis looks very smart and I really like the welded in floorpans. Nice work.

Lucky@LeMans 13th January 2021 23:00

I had the Essex engine and RX8 gearbox offered up to the chassis earlier. Stock location for the engine and its sitting on new rubber mounts. I modified the standard Scimitar gearbox cross member to fit the RX8 box mounting point.

I also made the prop shaft up using the front section of RX8 prop grafted onto the Scimitar rear section. Pretty standard stuff, I have built several props in the past so nothing unexpected.

Next job is to run new brake pipes from front to back along with fuel tank and fuel line. Probably look at the exhaust system too whilst the body is off.

Lucky@LeMans 17th January 2021 15:12

2 Attachment(s)
A bit more progress has been made. The rolling chassis should be complete in the next few days and I plan to offer up the body by the end of the week. I need to modify the exhaust manifolds as they are too close to the floor, touching on the passenger side. They were second hand parts so I think they must have been for a Capri originally rather than a Scimitar ! I've ordered a set of Mk1 MX5 springs to replace the too hard and too long Scimitar ones. The combined weight of the engine, box and chassis isn't enough to compress them from their fully extended position !
Edit - Ignore the advice re the Mazda springs , they don't fit !!

peterux 18th January 2021 16:01

Looks great, nice engine colour!

Lucky@LeMans 18th January 2021 17:25

Light blue hammer finish paint for the block. Black, aluminium and grey colours will feature throughout the car !

I've just got in from the garage having extended the exhaust manifolds by 1 1/4" to give clearance under the floor pan. One of those quick little jobs that take hours !

Lucky@LeMans 23rd January 2021 17:11

I've had a chance to offer up the space frame body support structure onto the Scimitar chassis. It fits pretty well and is located in such a way that you can't really get it in the wrong place ! I've decided to lower the central tunnel section as the RX8 gear lever is quite short and low at the rear of the box. The tunnel is pretty high as standard especially towards the front .

Whilst the frame was resting in place I thought I might as well drop the body over the top to see how it looks. All pretty straight forward and it won't be long before it can be fitted for good !

I'm waiting on a set of tyres to fit on my wire wheels. I found a set of 5 1/2" - 15" wires in the end and I've chosen some skinny 165 / 80 profile tyres.

I'll get some more photos in the week.

Mister Towed 24th January 2021 07:32

Those 165/80's will look just right. These classic 50's style cars really need a high-profile, comparatively skinny tyre to look their best.

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