So you are toying with the idea of building your own car from a kit. You have some basic mechanical skills and a standard toolkit. You even have a bundle of cash burning a hole in your pocket. But there are so many car styles to choose from, where do you even begin?
Well, you need to work through the four basic steps to choosing the right kit car for you and you can’t go wrong.
Step 1 – Set A Budget
This is by far the most important step and one that you need to spend some time working through. Kit cars come in all budget ranges, from the Locost at just a few hundred dollars right up to serious sports cars like the Ultima, where the only limit to the cost is you.
So it is vital that you set a budget and stick to it. Even within a project there are so many little things that can eat up your cash if you let your enthusiasm run away with you. Shiny bits cost money!
Step 2 – Select A Kit Car Style
To narrow down your search for the ideal car kit you will need to look at your driving style as well as the use to which you will put your completed car.
If you are looking to take your vehicle onto the racetrack then you can forget about building a classic tourer such as a Beauford.
However, if you love to blast along leafy country roads with the wind in your hair then a Cobra replica could be your ideal choice.
Step 3 – Gather Information
Now you have a set budget and a specific car style in mind you now need to gather all the information you can in order to narrow your choices down to the last handful.
To do this, your first stop should be the manufacturers’ website. Here you will find all the cold, hard specifications you need to give you an idea of what the finished car will be like.
Then you need to dig a little deeper. Check out the Owners Club to see if there are any underlying problems with the manufacturer or assembly difficulties. Getting involved with the Owners Club is possibly the best investment of your time as they have already been down the path you are intending to take and can help you when things get tough.
Now you need to seek out as much information as you can from a wide variety of sources, such as forums, independent review websites and magazines. Don’t believe everything you read but let all this give you an overall view of the car and manufacturer.
Step 4 – Visit The Factory
By now you should have a shortlist of 2-3 cars. It is time to hit the road and pay the factory a visit. Most kit manufacturers are small time operations, so it is essential that you call ahead of time to book an appointment.
Once at the factory you can get the chance to actually get behind the wheel! Not all factories have a test car sat around for you to inspect and they may call on the services of a previous car builder to offer their car for inspection.
If the factory is holding an Open Day sometime in the near future then make this a priority trip as you will generally see a variety of vehicles from a number of enthusiastic builders. This is where you can see the full potential of the kit car you are intending to build.
The only step you now need to take is to make your final decision and place your order with the factory.