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Car Lift for Enthusiasts by an Enthusiast

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Car Lift for the DIYer, you see all kinds of cool gadgets, dollies and lifts to move vehicles around a garage or lift them to get to the under body to do some work.

We came across the MR1 car lift designed by Mike Dawes, a retired Cambridge UK Chartered Engineer and classic car enthusiast. A fairly mobile platform that utilizes jack stands and a rolling floor jack.

The design is pretty cool and that’s what caught our eye. Dawes offers four versions of the car lift:

– The MR1 Classic lift – for small and medium size classic cars
– The MR1 Modern lift – for all the above, plus the generally wider modern cars and larger classics
– The MR1 Heavy lift – for all the above and exceptionally heavy and large cars
– MR1 Bespoke lifts may also be available for smaller, larger and/or heavier cars

Car Lift Technical Information

All the standard lifts raise a car’s ground clearance by 350mm (14in). For example, a car with a ground clearance of 150mm (6in) has it raised to a total of 500mm (20in), which is a good compromise for work on the underside and topside. This is a comfortable height for using a mechanics creeper under a car, with your head and body supported and everything within arms reach. The extra height may also save a lot of backache when working on the topside, inside and under the bonnet/hood.

As shown later, small wheel jacks may be used on the raised ramps to remove individual wheels. Alternatively, you may place stands under the raised car in contact with the axles or other safe jacking points, and then lower the ramps to leave both rear wheels free. That is, a bit like a scissor jack, but at a comfortable sitting height. A similar procedure, after reversing the car onto the lift, enables both front wheels to be suspended. It follows that stands and bottle jacks on the ground may be used to support other parts of a car without the need for a bridging beam between the ramps. A wheeled transmission jack like the Sealey TJ150E would be ideal in this situation.

The maximum recommended weights and dimensions of the cars to be used with these lifts are:

MR1 Classic
Weight 1500kg (3300lb)
Wheelbase 2700mm (106in)
Track 1500mm (59in) – For lower weight cars we can easily increase this!
Tyre width 205mm (8.1in)
MR1 Modern
Weight 1850kg (4070ib)
Wheelbase 3000mm (118in)
Track 1700mm (67in) – For lower weight cars we can easily increase this!
Tyre width 305mm (12in)
MR1 Heavy
Weight 2600kg (5720lb)
Wheelbase 3000mm + (118in +) – if required!
Track 1700mm (67in) – For lower weight cars we can easily increase this!
Tyre width 305mm (12in)

Although a cool design and eye catching, the price for this makeshift lift may not be as appealing to some enthusiasts. With the lower model in the $1200(US) range plus fees to have the lift shipped, processing, etc. up to $1800(US) plus fees, etc. You can get a BendPak 2-post lift for roughly another $1000 in comparison to the MR1. You will have to deal more with the installation, hydraulics, etc. with the BendPak, but when it comes to holding up your pride and joy, it may be worth the extra money and logistics of getting it installed and maintaining. Your choice in the end.

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