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Lee Iaccoca, ever the entrepreneur, approached Western Golf Car to build a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV). Western is the largest manufacturer of custom golf cars and is experienced in producing electric vehicles. The NEV is a class of electric powered vehicles which meet some basic DOT requirements for lighting, seat belts, etc, and are limited to 25 mph top speed. These vehicles can be registered and licensed and driven on the street where the speed limit is 35 mph or less.

The partnership resulted in the best looking NEV yet produced, the Lido NEV, named for Mr. Iaccoca of course.

The vehicle was designed in the studio at Formdesign and was based on a lengthened version of the golf car rolling chassis that is used by Western for their product line. I was brought in to prepare the vehicle for production. This required a great deal of development work ranging from stiffening the chassis, developing 4 wheel hydraulic brakes, adapting a Delphi automotive steering column, and basic body and chassis engineering. I also developed tooling for building the chassis and various components, and for assembling the car. On the electrical side, I developed the wire harnesses and tuned the motor/controller systems.

Although the Iacocca partnership eventually ended, Western continued to develop and evolve the vehicle. A second generation model was prepared which incorporated revised styling and further technical improvements. As the vehicle evolved I designed a proprietary chassis which could be made completely in-house rather than extensively modifying the purchased frame on which the vehicle had originally been based.

  • Originally the frames were made by modifying an EZ-Go frame.
  • Here's a shot of one in the jig under construction. This is the jig I designed for cutting apart the original frame.
  • For re-fabricating the frame I designed a rotating jig faciliate the welding and hold the sections in accurate alignment.
  • After studying the deflection of the frame I designed several gussets and brackets for key areas to increase the stiffness.
  • This toeboard on the driver's side shows the layout of the Delphi steering column and brake master cylinder. I designed the hanging brake pedal system to replace the original floormounted golf-car based pedal layout.
  • Notice the wire harness. Because these vehicles had a full set of lights, including brake/turnsignals and foglights, and audio systems, blower fans, etc, the wiring circuits and harnesses were as complete and as complicated as an automobile. The fusebox for protecting the various circuits can be seen on the steering column bracket. A DC-DC convertor was used to supply the vehicle 12v circuits isolated from the high voltage motor power circuits. For safety the chassis is not used for ground - the ground circuit was including in the main wire harnesses. It usually took 4-5 drawing pages for me to completely specify a harness.
  • The steering column bracket also incorporates the brake pedal and master cylinder. The front brake rotor and caliper system had to be designed too because the golf car front suspension does not include brakes. I was able to use a new design caliper from Hayes Brake, with minor modifications for our application. I designed the rotor/hub from scratch, which Hayes also manufacturered to my specifications for Western.
  • This is one of the early development cars for the second generation model.
  • With the roof removed, the metal roof rails designed to support the B and C pillars can be seen. Only the B-pillars are installed in this photo.
  • From the brochure, the Lido LS was the second generation of the Lido NEV. We always referred to it as the "Gen 2".
  • The front and rear ends of the car were redesigned to update the appearance to current SUV-like style.
  • I revised the roof design to improve rigidity and installation. The roof and the pillars complicated the build and was always a difficult part of the production process for the Lido.
  • A pickup truck version of the car was also created.
  • Iaccoca liked to refer to this car as his "little red runabout".
  • This is the two seat version which was made primarily for golf course use.
  • This model was build on the standard length chassis.
  • The optional alloy wheels are installed on this vehicle.
  • Contact Ron Jones at 949-637-6067 or