About Jim McSorley
My interest in all things mechanical (and low-cost) began at a young age while growing up in eastern Pennsylvania, USA. I use to save some of my weekly allowance and buy used bicycles from local garage sales and the like. My goal was to 'frankenstein' different bikes together in an effort to constantly improve my trustworthy transportation. More often than not however, I found myself using the parts to fix something that had broken along the way. My interests continued with my first engine rebuild... a 1.5HP Tecumseh side shaft lawn mower engine that I bolted to a mini-bike frame assembled from parts (at the tender age of 11). This minor success was followed by two seasons keeping a 250cc Suzuki Enduro motorcycle running with a broken compression release valve and a questionable gearbox. With a broken release valve, the massive compression of the single cyclinder 250 was enough to break your leg if the kick-starter decided to return the favor.
The previous owner would jump-start the Suzuki by rolling it down a hill and popping the clutch. This went on for many seasons until the gearbox no longer agreed with the procedure. The bike would slip into neutral with every pop, leaving all casual observers to assume that the gearbox was shot. $50 later, I was more than ready to tear the bike apart and learn how it all worked inside. Before tearing it down however, I figured it wouldn't hurt to whale on the kick start and see what happens. I was one of the bigger kids in the neighborhood, and as it just so happened, I was the only one with enough weight to actually start the bike properly (without the compression release valve). I was now the proud rider of a mean off-road motorcycle with built in theft deterant since no one else could start it!
Later while studying for a degree in Mechanical Engineering (go figure) I had the opportunity to participate in the rebuild of a 318 cubic inch Mopar V8 as part of an optional 'self improvement' class offered during the annual holiday. I tought the class the following year and instructed a handful of engineers through the rebuild of a 1978 MGB.
My interest in sports cars and especially roadsters originated with the '59 Triumph TR3A that my Dad liberated from a barn in 1969, 4 years prior to my introduction to the world. He paid $100 for the car and pulled it out of an old barn with most of the bits in the front seat. The car sat in the family garage for nearly 18 years until Dad realized that mechanical aptitude must have skipped a generation in our family (my grandfather was a heating/roofing/plumbing trademan... my dad, not so much). After tinkering in the garage for many years he finally had the car shipped off to a quasi-professional for restoration.
Fueled by watching the rebuild of the TR and having personally rebuilt an MG, I decided that one day I would own a roadster of my own. Fearing that this dream wouldn't be realized for many years due to the costs involved, I began rebuilding an '87 Kawasaki Ninja 1000 in the two car garage of my home in sunny Orlando, Florida. Motorcycles are more managable at home and tend to be much less expensive. "A good place to start," I figured... And that's when I found Ron's book. I quickly convinced myself (and more importantly, my better half) that the Locost really is feasible. I could hardly finish the Ninja without thinking about my next project. A bike powered Locost you might ask?... probably notl, as my wife and I used to ride together with her on a '95 Suzuki ES550 (circa 2004 BK... "before kids").
So, my efforts have been dedicated (well, as much as possible) to the Locost ever since I found the book. In preparation for the build, I've developed the 3D models and drawings you see on this site, and I completed a MIG welding certification at the local tech school. With a well stocked garage, great Florida weather, and a very understanding wife (also a Mech. Eng.), I am satiating my need for mechanical artistry by building a "Sevenesque Roadster" from the ground up, and sharing my experience along the way.