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Fasteddie

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Fasteddie

I just thought that I would say hello.

I have just registered because I am looking at getting an X1. I was sorely tempted by one last year that was sold locally (Sussex) that I had seen at  a Goodwood Breakfast meeting. It looked stunning. However I had just moved house and didn't have a garage and no space.

Still don't have a garage but the planning application is in and discussing with builders etc. so should have space in a few months. I also have a Honda engined Elise S1 that I use for track days and my wife has a lovely 66 Midget called Mildred (midget, not wife) - certainly not a donor car!

I fancy something else as well and have always loved X1s although also sorely tempted by a Morgan 3. We hired one last year and it was great. I am also considering one of these and this would be my wife's choice.

My concern about an X1 is how much fun they are on the road. I had a few Minis back in the day and whilst my wife's car is lovely and I love driving it you wouldn't ever take it to go for a blast. You just potter along enjoying the sunshine and scenery. The A series in it is pretty breathless in my limited experience. I am not expecting a fire breather and don't need it to be fast, I have other cars for that but I assume that with a tuned A series with 90/95 bhp and the Ford type 9 gearbox you can 'make progress' and have some fun. I would want to be sure that the engine is happy to rev (say 6000ish revs) so that the car can be enjoyed. Owners thoughts would be welcome. I have seen on here that someone is putting an Xflow in. That would be great, I had one in a Sylva once that was 150 ish bhp and was hugely characterful. However I don't need that much speed.

Just wondered what peoples' thoughts are about the driving experience which I have heard very little about. How good is the screen, I presume that it is fine without a full face? I am also looking at 23 copies (ERA 30) but the screens there look really low and I think that a helmet may be needed for any distance or speed which would reduce the fun

 

I am looking to buy on. Although I would love to build one, realistically I just don't have the time. Don't really have the skills either but would love to acquire them one day and if I ever retire I might get the chance!

Thanks

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DIY-Si

Good evening and welcome! 

 

I can't comment greatly on your concerns about the drivability of an XI, as I haven't even collected my kit yet. However, I can say that compared to the Midget, it will be a very different experience. XIs are not the last word in fast, and your Elise will make it feel slow. However, that is to miss the point of a car such as the XI. The Elise will be faster, but is fat and heavy in comparison and that is where the XI is best. It is direct and featherweight, and with everything the Elise will feel like (bar the straight line speed) but dialed up to 11.

 

Don't forget that the Midget is a claimed 65BHP and 750Kgs. I don't know of a single XI with a stock engine, so you'd be looking at 90-100BHP and 500-525Kgs depending upon build spec. 86BHP/ton, vs up to 200BHP/ton. And thats just with an A series. You can fit all manner of engines if you don't mind a bonnet bulge or the cost of dry sumping. I know of a 180BHP K series, a 170BHP Zetec amongst others, should you want that kind of car. I would suggest 100-120BHP as being the sweet spot for the car though.

 

Its all about skinny tyres and low power 4 wheel sliding whilst reminiscing about Le Mans wins!

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Fasteddie

Sorry for my rambling first post, I hadn’t even had a drink, but thanks for the response. It is not so much the amount of performance on offer but the manner. I know that 90bhp or so in a 520kg car is plenty on the road. Making your cars ever faster is often self defeating. You spend less time accelerating and more time backing off. Having to drive with too much restraint is no fun.

My caution is perhaps the Midget underpinnings. As well as having one now my wife had one 30 years ago (at the time I had an X19) and both then and now I felt that Whilst nice to be in a Midget the chassis does not want to be hurried and the engine always feels a bit reluctant rather than enthusiastic.

I would note that I have never had the opportunity of driving a car with a nicely tuned A series or even been a passenger in one. I think that I just wanted some reassurance that as well as being a lovely thing an X1 is mechanically fun to drive, beyond just being low and convertible.

Thanks

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Fasteddie

I guess the only real answer is too try one but there are never that many of sale.

I also forgot to say good luck with your build, I am envious.

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DIY-Si

Thank you, I've been waiting for almost 20 years to get an XI and its been really good to be in a position to make it work for me.

 

Don't take your past experience of the A series as typical of what you'd find in an XI. I've had mini engines, the same thing but FWD, that have made 135bhp, revved to 9k and didn't even come on cam until 3.5k. It was brilliant, but didn't last long between rebuilds though! They can be made to be very willing if thats part of the fun for you, and even just a lightweight flywheel and a standard MG Metro head can make it feel very different. Equally, you can go longer stroke, big valves, lairy cam etc and more torque if thats your preference.

 

Likewise, the MG chassis is something you can pretty much ignore to be honest, as you don't use any of it. The only bits that you really use are the uprights/king pins/brakes from the front, the back axle and engine. Most go for a re-built type 9 to give better gearing and the useful 5th gear and the front brakes will probably see some upgrades too.

 

There are a couple for sale, but as you say, they are few and far between. As and when lock down is over, I'm sure some XI owners would be more than happy to take you out for a spin. They were when I was looking, and they're generally a very helpful bunch!

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jonjh1964

Fasteddie,

 

I own a 625kg, 192bhp Zetec engined SEIW that I built/registered 2012 and an 515kg, 84bhp 1380cc A Series Eleven that I built/registered in 2018 , both have Type 9 gearboxes (with 2.98:1 1st gears) and 3.9:1 Differentials. 

 

The driving experience is different, the Eleven on skinny 155/70R13 road tyres has less grip the SEIW on 205/60R13 R888Rs and coupled with less power means that you need to carry more speed into a corner.  This doesn't make much difference on the road with the Eleven having no trouble keeping up with SEIWs in a convoy, even Ecoboost 250 powered, on track at higher speeds the aerodynamics of the Eleven helps to the draggy wind screened SEIWs but the lower power is more noticeable.

 

The Zetec has a very flat torque curve with peak power at ~7,000 rpm whereas a the Eleven needs to be over 3,300 rpm to get into the power and gives peak power at ~5,300 rpm - standard MG Metro valve and MED Fast Road cam.  I was going to get Slark Engineering to port the head/fit even larger volves but to get the most from it I'd also need to fit a Weber carb to get most from it and the more I drive the car I'm not convinced it would improve the enjoyment.

 

To get the best out of the Eleven I've modified the rear axle setup with longer shock absorbers and a cut out to allow the axles greater movement, others have changed the front shocks for longer and fitted softer springs.  The later Midget steering rack is slow, so if you can get an earlier one - known in Midget circles as 'Fat Rack'  needs the rack, mounts, steering arms and rod ends as they're different, it make it a sharper drive.

 

By far the biggest difference is the reaction you get from people when you're out in the cars, the Eleven attracts a lot more attention (from a far wider demographic) than the SEIW, most of it positive.

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Fasteddie

Thanks Si and John. Interesting reading. You have mentioned the suspension changes with longer shocks and softer springs, what unfavourable chassis characteristics are these aimed at addressing?
Fully understand that trying to get more out of the engine may not actually make it more fun. The trouble is that it is always hard to resist.

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jonjh1964
1 hour ago, Fasteddie said:

Thanks Si and John. Interesting reading. You have mentioned the suspension changes with longer shocks and softer springs, what unfavourable chassis characteristics are these aimed at addressing?
Fully understand that trying to get more out of the engine may not actually make it more fun. The trouble is that it is always hard to resist.

Once I'd setup the car ride height the rear had a fair amount of pre-load in the springs and I found the ride harsh/skittish 1up, that improved significantly with 2up but then there was some bottoming out of the rear axle on bumpy roads (the roads about Somerset/Dorset.  There's a lot of info on the Westfield-Eleven Register forum wrt suspension setup and @Simon Marks - North Oxfordshire AO has also made similar changes to his with the same improvements I believe.  

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Fasteddie
18 hours ago, jonjh1964 said:

Once I'd setup the car ride height the rear had a fair amount of pre-load in the springs and I found the ride harsh/skittish 1up, that improved significantly with 2up but then there was some bottoming out of the rear axle on bumpy roads (the roads about Somerset/Dorset.  There's a lot of info on the Westfield-Eleven Register forum wrt suspension setup and @Simon Marks - North Oxfordshire AO has also made similar changes to his with the same improvements I believe.  

Jon - thank you. I have been reading more on Rob's build blog about damper extensions as well.

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Morris

Not wanting to get too hung up on this topic but I also have the building (but not yet the driving) experience - I'm about two thirds way through my build.

 

It would be very straight forward to retrofit the longer shocks and springs (although I've fitted mine during the initial build).

 

Apart from an aperture needing to be cut in the panelling beneath the diff casing to allow for the extra travel, one of the handbrake rods that runs along the axle may have some clearance issues with the axle casing at full suspension travel. I've added a small bend into mine but I won't know for sure of its success until later on in the build.

 

The beauty of these cars is their simplicity and the excellent access to all the mechanics.

 

It is fine to get a very stock spec car and tinker with it over time (changing the radiator configuration, adding an oil breather system etc. etc. or even converting to electric power (it's been done!)).

 

I'm pretty much a novice at this and I've found the club members to be very accommodating of my occasional naivety, and they've been a mine of information when I can't figure things out for myself!

 

Morris.

 

 

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Fasteddie

Thanks Morris

I was looking at your build thread yesterday and thinking about whether that is what I should be doing. However forgetting about my lack of time or skills, it would be my lack of patience that rules it out.

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jonjh1964
20 hours ago, Morris said:

Not wanting to get too hung up on this topic but I also have the building (but not yet the driving) experience - I'm about two thirds way through my build.

 

It would be very straight forward to retrofit the longer shocks and springs (although I've fitted mine during the initial build).

 

Apart from an aperture needing to be cut in the panelling beneath the diff casing to allow for the extra travel, one of the handbrake rods that runs along the axle may have some clearance issues with the axle casing at full suspension travel. I've added a small bend into mine but I won't know for sure of its success until later on in the build.

 

The beauty of these cars is their simplicity and the excellent access to all the mechanics.

 

It is fine to get a very stock spec car and tinker with it over time (changing the radiator configuration, adding an oil breather system etc. etc. or even converting to electric power (it's been done!)).

 

I'm pretty much a novice at this and I've found the club members to be very accommodating of my occasional naivety, and they've been a mine of information when I can't figure things out for myself!

 

Morris.

 

 

You also need to reduce the head height of the lower axle mounts/trailing arm bolts so they clear the chassis

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