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Lightweight Mid-Engine Kit for Builders - Grabercars La Bala

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  • Lightweight Mid-Engine Kit for Builders - Grabercars La Bala

    Gentlemen, Some of you are aware of my La Bala project, so of you may not be. Here is a little background.

    This started out as a one-off project for myself. I wanted to see how hard it would be to build a fairly inexpensive mid-engine sports car in my garage. Apparently pretty hard, since I've been at it for close to 5 years now. The most difficult part has been the bodywork. But I am happy with the result. This car weighs 1,500Lbs. It is a simple car with a simple purpose. Quickness through lightness. There is no fluff and there are no frills. It's kind of like an Ariel Atom in simplicity terms, but with a full body wrapped on it. The Atom weighs 1,300Lbs, La Bala weighs 1,500Lbs and Attack weighs 1,900Lbs.

    Here is a link to a video walkaround of the car that I posted on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZC0lDfQLBs

    And here are a few pics taken at this years Knott's Berry Farm for your enjoyment.

    In the trailer:


    Down the side:


    High noon on Saturday:


    Overhead across the rear quarter panel:


    Great News! After many years spent designing and building la Bala from the ground up, I am pleased to be able to announce that you can buy your own la Bala in two levels of trim

    The following explains exactly what I am offering:

    I offer 2 levels of product. They look the same externally because they use the same bodywork, but underneath they are very different. Why two products with the same body? Why does Corvette offer the Z06? Some people want a fast little car that goes like stink and gets great gas mileage, but will rarely see the track. Other people want the ultimate performance car in a unique body style and are willing to pay more for that level of performance. We call our base car "La Bala-Street" and our uprated car "La Bala-Track". I know, not very creative...

    La Bala-Track is being offered as a diy crate kit. It includes all track/race quality uprated parts and is a lightweight track-only car (low and hard suspension). As an example; with an engine of only 220Hp and our sub 1500Lb weight you can easily understand that this is a very serious performance car. You cannot buy the plans to build this model. You can only get it as a complete car minus engine. It comes with a set of assembly instructions and all you do is assemble it. It might take a few weekends to complete. No welding required. Truly the IKEA concept applied to cars. This package includes everything you need to assemble the car minus engine and half-shafts. EVERY-THING... $25K - You just have to put it together, pick an engine and buy half-shafts.

    "La Bala-Street" is the car that I built in my garage and is based on the MR2 running gear and can still use any FWD engine. This is the one is being offered only as a set of plans or a set of pre-cut tubes and can be built much MUCH less expensively than my top-tier car offered above. You have to put the whole thing together yourself, you have to go to the junk yard and scrounge parts, ebay for the rest and you have to be able to weld, grind, cut, wire and fabricate. But I provide complete directions on what to do in the plans. And I have a website forum where I will answer all questions. I believe you can build one complete for around $10-15K.

    Aside from the fact that the Track version kit comes with everything you need to build it, the physical differences between the two cars is the level of components throughout the car, in the suspension, braking and steering. Bala-Track has about 1/2 the unsprung weight, a much quicker rack and pinion, much better dampers and brakes that will pull you downlike anchors. The track car also comes with a full-race digital dash package that datalogs and you can add gps track mapping to it.

    Thoughts? Let me have it! All criticism (Good and Bad) is welcome as it helps me tune my business plan. I'm very new at this, but I intend to do what it takes to make it work. I've made it this far and I'm not quitting now!

  • #2
    Very cool - your finished product looks great . . .


    For what it's worth, in my opinion you'd see a large bump in interest/sales if you were to offer the "street" level with both pre-cut chassis tubes AND preformed body panels . . . There are lots of folks out there who aren't afraid to dive into welding, wiring, fabricating, etc. But when it comes to the hours of labor and attention to detail you've put into the body . . . yikes.

    And I apologize if this is covered on your site (I haven't had a chance to catch up lately), but how are you faring with street legality of your car?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Daemione
      Very cool - your finished product looks great . . .


      For what it's worth, in my opinion you'd see a large bump in interest/sales if you were to offer the "street" level with both pre-cut chassis tubes AND preformed body panels . . . There are lots of folks out there who aren't afraid to dive into welding, wiring, fabricating, etc. But when it comes to the hours of labor and attention to detail you've put into the body . . . yikes.

      And I apologize if this is covered on your site (I haven't had a chance to catch up lately), but how are you faring with street legality of your car?
      Thanks Daemione,

      You can order the bodtwork for Bala-Street package as separate line-item. I make 5 pieces, which are the front deck, rear deck, side panels and windshield header cap.

      Theoretically someone could design their own chassis and use my bodywork, or my chassis with their own bodywork!

      Mine is a very high quality hand-layup fiberglass. I was going to do chopper-gun, but have decided that quality is more important than profit margin. Very little finish prep is required for my pieces compared to many fiberglass products available on the market today.

      You may not be aware that paint prep cost is the dirty secret/hidden cost of many available kit bodies on the market. They get you with a low initial cost for the fglass, and you are left with very high (in the Thousands!) paint prep charges due to wavy, distorted surfaces out of inferior molds.

      Price for La Bala bodywork: $4,500. And please realize that this is not a splash mold taken from someone else's design. It's not a copy of something else, and as you know there was a huge amount of fabrication and design work and artistic endeavor behind its creation.



      Edit - I meant to add that I expect to be street legal in a month or two. Just missing the headlamp buckets and clear plexi covers at this time. Having a heck of a time working the thermo-forming machine. THAT is a hard machine to master....

      Comment


      • #4
        I just realized I had forgotten to respond to this . . .

        Originally posted by sgraber
        You can order the bodywork for Bala-Street package as separate line-item. I make 5 pieces, which are the front deck, rear deck, side panels and windshield header cap.
        Awesome.

        Edit - I meant to add that I expect to be street legal in a month or two. Just missing the headlamp buckets and clear plexi covers at this time.
        Even more awesome . . . Did you have to go through a big tech inspection? How rigorous is your state's "home-made" car registration procedure?

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Daemione
          I just realized I had forgotten to respond to this . . .


          Awesome.


          Even more awesome . . . Did you have to go through a big tech inspection? How rigorous is your state's "home-made" car registration procedure?
          Thanks Daemione!

          Registering in Phoenix will be relatively easy. I have a page on my website dedicated to the process. http://www.grabercars.com/component/...per/Itemid,53/

          I don't know how that process will go in other states, but I do know that it varies greatly. And some are more difficult than others. The best thing for people to do is keep a file with all of your receipts and legal docs such as titles for engine and other car parts. You may also need a dismantle cert for the donor car before you start tearing it apart.

          I have not been able to work on the car for the past several weeks due to unforseen issues, but by next week I'll be hitting on all cylinders again to get those headlamp buckets finished!

          Comment


          • #6
            Nice

            Been contemplating getting a K1 but the Race Edition is apparently 3 months away and a street legal turn key for 67,000EUR

            Got a link to a website or more pics?

            So is the track version available now or what?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Drew
              Nice

              Been contemplating getting a K1 but the Race Edition is apparently 3 months away and a street legal turn key for 67,000EUR

              Got a link to a website or more pics?

              So is the track version available now or what?
              Tons of pics, videos and diary entries at http://www.grabercars.com

              The track version is not available to test yet. It is completely designed and the parts list is complete, just not built. Reason is I am still putting the finishing touches on the MR2 based version. I am sure that the guys over at K1 would agree that the most difficult phase of car development is the last 5%. It feels like it is never done!

              However...

              I do want to get one of these track versions built soon! I have a conversation going with Weber Motor A.G. as a potential source for new lightweight turbo V4 engines, and having one of my track versions built so they can evaluate it would further that goal significantly.

              Therefore, if someone were to say, "want" a Track version , and they were willing to put 1/2 down and 1/2 upon delivery, I would build it for them asap. I would even source their engine of choice and install it too. Crate motor or Insurance auction motor. As long as I could fly the guys from Weber out to take a look at the finished product before delivery.

              You are welcome to email me off-list if you are interested.

              Comment


              • #8
                Yes yes I've seen your website; remember seeing it here or another forum/site a while back; lots of pics and gibberish however a distinct lack of prices :P

                What would you want for the track version w/o panels and interior?

                I'd like it to sit a K24 so I can just swap the motor out of my DC2R race car into it and vice versa should anything happen to either motor, as I can only race one at a time anyway...

                Better yet do you use msn messenger?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Drew
                  ... lots of pics and gibberish however a distinct lack of prices :P
                  niiiice one Drew! LOL - - Try being a one man band starting a grassroots car company sometime! And keeping it fun.

                  Originally posted by Drew
                  What would you want for the track version w/o panels and interior?
                  We will need to get specific about what you want/don't want, so email me - or message me using the gmail address listed below.

                  Originally posted by Drew
                  Better yet do you use msn messenger?
                  grabercars (at) gmail.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    mmm it seems with the different time zones were not on at the same time?

                    maybe n the weekend

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