Business

Grabercars.com Merchandise Now Available!

Get some cool scratch builder swag! Buy grabercars.com t-shirts, coffee mugs, hats, posters and more!
Visit my online store today

The other day I saw this guy wearing a t-shirt with some really stupid saying on it, and I couldn’t help but wonder what possessed him to buy that ridiculous shirt. I mean, it was just terrible. Come to think of it, I see a LOT of stupid t-shirts out there. What a waste of space… That’s when I had a lightbulb moment. I could make a grabercars.com t-shirt and help even out the ratio of cool vs stupid t-shirts! At first I figured I would make just one, for myself, but then it occurred to me that other people might like to sport a nifty grabercars.com t-shirt too.

So I made up this t-shirt design. It has a risque photo of La Bala (naked!) and a quote by Dr. Ferdinand Porsche. “I couldn’t find the sportscar of my dreams, so I decided to build it myself.”

I made another variation with the logo smaller, over the pocket area.

How to slice sections in 3D Studio

Several people have asked me how I sliced my model up in 3DS Max. Well, there is a ‘Section’ tool that comes as a standard feature of 3DS Max.

Section

Create panel > Shapes > Splines > Object Type rollout > Section

Create menu > Shapes > Section

Tab panels > Shapes tab > Section Shape

This is a special type of object that generates other shapes based on a cross-sectional slice through mesh objects. The Section object appears as a bisected rectangle. You simply move and rotate it to slice through one or more mesh objects, and then click the Create Shape button to generate a shape based on the 2D intersection.

Here is a screengrab –

The white object is the section tool. The yellow line is the “cut” through the object. The rollout panel has a button named “Create Shape” that will activate when you select the section tool. When you create shape, it creates a whole new spline.

Grabercars.com Logo

Some of you may have noticed the new Grabercars.com logo. It forms the letter G out of an array of hexagons. This logo started out as a simple visual element in one of my old graphics, and subsequently evolved into this neat design by Pea (Peter) of the mr2oc forum. Peter is a computer programmer and artist and I think he shares a lot in common with me. He is designing and building his own car from scratch in Palmerston North, New Zealand.

Road Test Review of La Bala

Recently North Carolina based Bala builder James Holley and his wife Deb stopped off in Phoenix to see the La Bala prototype in person and to take a test drive.You’ve seen lot’s of photos of the Grabercars La Bala prototype #0001 but probably haven’t read much about how the car actually drives or how it might compare to other cars. I’ve been telling you that La Bala is a fast car with a firm but suprisingly supple ride and is a blast to drive, but as the designer and builder what else would you expect?  Jim, ex-navy and a straight-shooter of a guy, posted a review of his experience with La Bala in the Grabercars forum.

Follow the link for his full review.

My wife Deb and I drove out to Phoenix a couple of weeks ago to pick up the blue body for NC La Bala. We arrived on Thursday evening and met Steve, his wife and kids. After talking cars for a couple of hours, Deb and I took the camper and trailer to a nearby Wal Mart parking lot to get some sleep. The next morning was the highlight of the trip for me. Steve took me for a 30 minute drive in the prototype. I was very impressed with with the little bullet. At the top of my list would have to be the cars simplicity and functionality. Strap yourself in, flip a switch, push the start button and go. The car has everything you need for a sunny day, and nothing else. Steve put the pedal to the metal a couple of times when we could find some clear road. The car pushed me back in the seat in first, second and third until Steve had to apply the binders as he was doing about 3 times the legal limit. When we returned to his casa he turned it over to Deb and I. First off let me explain that Deb is more into aesthetics and comfort than performance. She has liked the appearance of the car from the first time I showed her a photo and told her I wanted to build one. I think we both felt the car looks even better in real life than on paper or a computer screen. I have driven her around the Tampa area in a FFR, and a Shelby 427 CI CRX. She has also ridden in a friends Ferrari Testarosa. Deb liked the La Bala better than the Ferrari and the FFR, and thought it rode better than the big Cobra. I think one of the things that impressed us both was the lack of wind noise in the cockpit. Driver and passenger can hold a conversation at 50 mph without having to shout. Debs hair did not even get blown about. I don’t have that problem, with or without the hat.
When Steve turned it over he told me to drive it like it was mine, and take as long as we liked. I had already experienced the performance and concentrated on driveability and comfort. I’ll start with the only thing I found a bit uncomfortable. Steve is 6’4″, and I am 5’9″. He built the car so that when the seat is all the way back, his hand fell comfortability onto the shifter knob. When I slid the seat forward so I could reach the pedals, my elbow was behind my body when I shifted gears. On the La Bala I am building I have positioned the shifter a little farther forwad to make it more comfortable. I think each individual will have to decide what feels best for them. Driving this car really made me want to get home and get mine finished. It is FUN! I like the firm but not harsh ride, and the availability of all the power you could ask for in a street machine. The closest thing I could compare the ride and power to would be a slightly modified Subaru WRX STI. The Subaru is running twice the HP, twice the weight, and gets half the mpg. Not bad for a car built in a home garage. My car will be running about 70HP more than Steve’s, and should be scary fun to drive. I wish I had a chance to take the car up a winding mountain road. I think this is where it would really excel. From looking at the photos, reading the history of the build, and talking to Steve, I can see La Bala is still a work in progress. As Steve and future builders add modifications and tweaks to the Little Bullet, it is going to become the most kick ass homebuilt on the street or track.

Order Online and Pay with Credit Card, Paypal or Check

LA BALA CHASSIS PLANS AND PARTS LIST ($99 FOR EARLY ADOPTERS)

NOTE: These plans enable you to construct the La Bala Chassis, which is used as the basis for further construction of the La Bala-Street MR2 based Mid-Engine sports car. If you do not understand ‘Early Adopter’ please read this or contact me directly via the Contact Us form for an explanation.

Your purchase includes:

  • CAD Plans to build chassis (including suspension)
  • Parts List Spreadsheet
  • Link to download 3D eDrawing viewer with measurable chassis in 3D

The Chassis Plans consist of only the detailed and dimensioned CAD drawings with some other important annotation. Every tube and bracket in the chassis is dimensioned and when required, provided with a full-scale wrapping template that you can wrap around the actual tube. See an explanation of the wrapper templates. This innovative feature helps you make very precise miters and copes and removes all of the guesswork from your fabrication. The parts list contains general information regarding other parts and components you will need to source to complete your La Bala-Street.

The Manuals and Plans are in PDF(Portable Document Format). If you order the plans to be delivered via email they will arrive in PDF binders, which are groups of pdf files organized by chassis section. If you send a check via mail you can expect the files to arrive on a CD accompanied by the entire plan set printed out on 8.5″ x 11″ letter size pages.

To be able to view the Manuals or Plans on your computer, you must have a PDF reader installed on your system. You can use Adobe’s PDF Reader or Foxit Reader. Adobe and Foxit are both free readers but Foxit is only 1 MB in size while Adobe Reader uses over 65MB of hard drive space.

The Bala chassis plans should be printed out so you can take the paper copies with you to the workshop.I encourage you to print 2 sets. One you will use to cut the templates and the other you can keep as reference for dimensions. When you print please make sure that your printer is not scaling the pages to fit as this will mess up the templates for the tube ends, which you will cut out and tape around the tube ends to make your cuts. When purchasing the plans electronically please make sure that you include the email address you wish to have the plans sent to as these pdf files will be emailed within several hours of receiving your order. I am located in Cave Creek, Arizona which is near the west coast of the United States of America.

  Early Adopter Price will remain in effect until Plan Set is complete, then will return to original $179 price.

Other Payment Methods: If you are old-fashioned and don’t like email you can snail-mail me a check. I will print and mail you the plans in a manila envelope.  There is an additional $10 printing/postage and handling charge for checks. Expect a 2-3 week delay for all mail transactions. Your check will have to clear my bank first. Make the check out for $109.00 payable to ‘Grabercars’ and be sure to include your return address.