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Thread: So, you want to build a kit car?

  1. #21
    ***Euro-Nova Supporter*** Peter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Estepona, Spain
    Just updated the text and cut the end bit off as it is now too long. and I'll add that as an addendum, bloody hell I just saw the original date 2011, where has all the time gone.

    addendum, June 2019;

    So having satisfied yourself you are up to it and can cope, you now need to tackle the job and it is important to take things in stages and try not to be too much like a flea and hop all over the car, set you sight on one aspect of the project and see it though before tackling another part. Remember, this relates to a 'project' not a new build.

    Strip the vehicle down as far as you can. Strip out the interior. Body off if possible. Engine and transmission out. Wheels off and brakes stripped, suspension off.
    Overhaul the chassis first, never mind the scoops and seats and paint colour. Without a solid base on which to work you will be wasting your time and money, possibly having to go back to the chassis that you thought you had finished, (such as damaged seat belt mountings). Clean and de-rust totally the bare chassis whether it’s a classic VW beetle floor pan, a ladder style chassis or a shell, it needs to be clean, solid and rust free.

    When you happy that nothing bad is lurking in the chassis department you can now decide if dropping the floors are needed. Then de-rust and protect, paint thoroughly. Now assemble the suspension and fit the overhauled brakes and the steering, then run your lines for brakes etc, always use new. If possible (as on a VW) brake, clutch and throttle pedals next and bleed the systems, finally the wheels, we now have a ‘rolling chassis’ and things start to get a bit easier. Depending on the vehicle now is a good time to install the engine and drive train and gear shift. If chassis mounted, the fuel tank/cell and electrics can be installed.

    Now for the body, personally I prefer not have it sprayed before installing it on the chassis, you still have a long way to go and it will be very easy to damage the paint at this stage. If already painted or new then protect with plenty of padding, old blankets, etc

    Install the steering column, dash, and wiring. Now the wiring in itself would take a book to cover but suffice to say do it once, do it right, avoid old donor wiring and buy all new or make/buy new looms, it is neither difficult or expensive to do the job right the first time and you will have problems if you cobble together bits from all over the place. Companies such as Vehicle Wiring Products ( are happy to supply all you need, even if it is a couple of feet of blue with a purple trace. Many breakdowns are caused by faulty electrics as are many hours of fault finding, missed trips and shows and even the occasional fire by old components, try to use a new fuse box and relays etc and I would recommend using water proof connectors if there is a chance of getting wet such as headlight and rear light cluster connections to the loom.

    If not already done, this is a good time to repair and prepare the body and fit it to the chassis and then trundle the car into the paint shop. (Only two ways to do anything, you do it yourself or pay someone else to do it). There are many finishes possible. Traditional two part paints which require breathing masks and a proper spray booth. The new water based paints which you can paint in your garage with the minimum of protection and the latest trend, vinyl wrap.

    Trim, possibly where most people give up as the money is getting tight and time, etc, running out, also folks are surprised at just how skilled a job it is. Carpet first, over the tubes, wiring, etc, taking care to note where the aforementioned are for when it come to bolting in seats etc.

    Mirrors, roof lining, 'A' post rims, door, boot, bonnet and window seals, dash and door panels and centre consul if fitted, sound system. Security and finally the seats

    You should now be in a position to fine tune the car, test it and get the necessary inspections done and get it road legal.

    Enjoy your hard work and your car and all the very best of luck

    Copyright Peter G. Lee
    Last edited by Peter; 18-06-2019 at 10:44 AM.
    The opinions expressed in my posts may not be made in a sound mind and should be taken in the spirit intended, Jack Daniels is fine.
    Some people see things as they are and ask why? I dream things that never were and ask, why not?” JFK
    Genuine and an original, "Grumpy old mechanic".

  2. #22
    Senior Member Phill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Livingston (Scotland)
    Great thread Peter and one I hadn't seen before. Thanks for resurrecting it.
    I wish I had seen this previously.
    "The most beautiful kit car in the world - Motor"

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