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So, you've been looking at some of the awesome kit cars at car shows and you have caught the bug. Excellent! Next comes the realization that building a car from the ground up is a major undertaking and you wonder if you have the required skills and knowledge. Well my friend you have arrived at the right place to help you answer that question and I am confident that you can do build your own car!
The first thing to realize is that if you purchase a modern kit as the start point for your build it will typically include everything you need to build the car except perhaps the drive line so you will not be required to spend hundreds of hours cruising the junk yards, flea markets and swap meets looking for parts that you hope will fit and work.
In these tight times it may be that your budget will not allow you the luxury of using all new parts to build your kit car. If that is your case, take heart as there are many kits out there that are specifically engineered to use the parts from a single donor car. These kits are an excellent alternative in as much as they are engineered in such a way as to ensure that all of the parts from the donor car are a direct no-hassle bolt on to the kit cars chassis. Of course if you take the donor car route, the money you will save will to a degree be off set by the time you invest in cleaning up and refurbishing the parts prior to installing them on your car. Systems such as the brakes, for example, which are designed to wear out you will want to at a minimum replace the pads and shoes prior to installing on your car. Even with this added expense you can expect to save at least half over what it would cost you to buy all new parts for your build and at the end of the day the finished car will be every bit as good as a car built with all new parts.
So, now that we have the money issue covered - sort of, lets talk about your personal abilities, skills and knowledge. The first thing you need to understand about a kit car purchased today is that it will have been designed with modern CAD design software which unlike kits of even 10 years ago means that everything will fit as advertised without your having to break out a welder or other special equipment to modify the frame in order to get the part to actually fit where it is supposed to go. As a result you should not require any special tools beyond what the typical home mechanic would have in his tool box.
If the thought of building a car from the ground seems completely overwhelming, stick with me here as I am about to put this into perspective for you. Try thinking about the entire project as if it were a huge plate of spaghetti and meat balls. When you are initially presented with it the concept of eating the entire plate in a single bite seems like, and in fact is an impossibility. However if you start with one noodle, wrap it around you fork, pop it in your mouth, chew swallow and repeat until done, in no time at all what initially seemed impossible is not only possible it is done. This basic pne step at a time process is precisely how building you kit car will be accomplished - one step at a time. Typically you start by bolting the steering and front suspension to the chassis following the manufacturers instructions. Once complete move to the rear suspension, repeat the process bolt on wheels and tires and voila you have a roller in a couple of evenings work!
With the help of the manufacturers manual, using this same step by step approach will walk you through all of the cars other systems including the Brakes, Fuel system and wiring. While we are on the subject of the wiring I should point out that even experienced professional mechanics are terrified of having to wire a car and it is so unnecessary. With today's modern wiring harnesses having each wires purpose stencilled on the wire every 5 or 6 inches it is actually quite simple to wire an new car. Just like the plate of spaghetti one wire at a time and before you know it you are done. Once you have completed the wiring and everything is working you will look back on it and realize that project was no harder than any other aspect of the build so far.
Obviously in this short article there are many aspects of building a kit car that I have not elaborated on, but what you need to know is that in my 14 years of working with guys building kit cars I have had more than one guy that started the project having never changed a tire in their lives and not owning so much as a screw driver and in all cases not only did they complete the car in more than one save they went on to build several.
So, in summary, if you have always had a hankering to build your own car and been put off by your perception that you do not have the skills knowledge or tools I encourage you in the strongest possible way to think of the plate of spaghetti and Just-Do-It.
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