The original kit/plans concept was conceived because the shape of a Lotus Seven lent itself to this type of body tub construction. The criteria being that there were no compound curves in the main body. The Locust body tub is a small simple tapering box with slab sides. Only the GRP nose cone and wings have compound curves. The Locust body is skinned in aluminium which only has to curve in one plane for the rear panels and the bonnet.The main components of the kit are a set of plans for the body tub and a chassis.
The chassis can be either Ford or Triumph based. The most popular Locust chassis is for Ford components and most are fitted with a combination of Ford Escort MkII and Ford Cortina Mk IV running gear. The origional Locust used either Triumph or ford Cortina Front Suspension but over the years many variations and subtle changes in chassis design have taken place. There is an option from the manufacturer BWE for double front wishbones and coil over shocks. Any engine that can be squeezed between the chassis rails can be fitted. The most popular Locust engines are the Ford Kent/Xflow engine. Depending on which engine and carburettor are fitted various holes and bulges will have to be fitted to the bonnet. As the Locust is a plan built kit car, it means no two Locust cars are the same. Each builder will tackle the same area of the build in different ways using different components.
The car was origionally conceived and manufactured by John Cowperthwaite. It was marketed as the JC Locust by J.C. Auto Patterns. A copy of the origional J.C. brochure can be viewed here. The brochure included one of the first articles on the Locust.
The rights of manufacture passed to T&J Sportscars who in addition to the Locust also took over the manufacture of the Midge (a traditionally styled roadster). The later introduced a slightly larger version of the Locust based on Cortina coponents called the Hornet.
The project then passed on to White Rose Vehicles - WRV. They developed the original Locust into the current Locust ES and also introduced a new model. The new SIII was designed with the SVA in mind and uses the Ford Sierra as the donor vehicle.
In April 2000 the Locust ES project was passed on to BWE Sportcars who also distribute the Locust's big brother, the Hornet and the baby of the family the Grasshopper. BWE are developing all models to utilise Ford Sierra running gear. BWE can be contacted at the following address:
Telephone - 01226 293717