At first look it seemed like a good effot, clean layout and good photograph's. After reading the book cover to cover a couple of time, my friend and I decided to go for it and build the buggy.
We have now finished the buggy and I have a number of critisims about this book, though the total cost is actually quite acievable if your very lucky (ours worked out at about just over 100 quid)
Ron obviously has access to a very good workshop, so he always talks about machining things to size, and that if you don't have access to a lathe then a company will be able to do it for little cost. All the shops we went to were asking £40 just for a tiny amount of work.
He says to use a 30mm axle, and then use diff flanges as sproket holders. In my opinion this is a bad idea.
The diff flanges are not 30mm and require re-sizing, but they are hardend steel so it costs a small fortune to machine them.
In the end we manged to purchase some proper aluminum go-cart item for a fraction of the cost of machining the drive flanges.
We used a 200cc engine for our cart, the 30mm axle can't really cut the amount of power that is produced, though ron states the cart should be good for 250cc.
I would use 40mm axles to build your carts because this is far stronger, and it's the go-carting standard so you can get hold of plenty of cheap bits to fit it.
He skips any details on wheel hubs which have been a major stumbling block for us. In the book his mate kindly gave him a decent set of hubs, and thats all he says about them. Not very helpfully ron.
I know that this book is only a rough guide, but I was expecting it to be up to the same quaillty as "build your own sports car".
Unfortunatly it isn't it lacking in so many area's, and the cart design is seriously limited.
Please don't let this review put you off the idea of building your own buggy. but if you do get this book make sure you don't take ron's word as final.
Once you have achieved the basic fabrication and welding skills required you should find the build fairly easy.
The advice given on components is sound, however it is up to the builder to ensure that the components are up to scratch. For example it is important that the grade of steel used for all the fabricated components (from the chassis frame to the tiniest bracket) is adequate. A good quality 30mm bar for the axle will be adequate for all but the heaviest drivers and most powerful engines, bear in mind the size of the driveshafts on many cars. A poor grade of steel however would probably lead to a bent or broken axle in fairly short order. For this reason I would advise against using scrap steel. The only way to be sure of the quality of your components is to buy new.
The basic buggy can easilly be improved upon, meaning that this could be the start of a continous adventure in development. There's no reason why somebody starting with this book could not be designing and building their own full suspension rail after a few years.
I only have two real critcisms of the book; firstly the projected price is ridiculously low, even if you bought everything required second hand you would find it difficult to achieve the £100 target; and secondly the safety aspects of the finished buggy are somewhat questionable, there is no way I would allow my son to drive such a buggy without a proper seat and a seatbelt.
The former is understandable, Ron would not sell nearly so many copies were he honest about the price. The second matter however is unforgivable. An old plastic school chair would be questionable on a smooth surface, but when bouncing around off road? I leave the potential for disaster to your imagination. A racing kart seat can be had at a reasonable cost, as can a simple three point harness.