Can You Build Your Own Car?

Can You Build Your Own Car?

While many of us have tinkered around under the bonnet of a car, how many have dreamed of taking it that bit further and actually building our own car? While it may sound like a daunting experience, those with some mechanical know-how can certainly make it a reality. There is a wide range of options when it comes to embarking on your own project. A ground-up build of a classic, using a mix of original and reproduced parts, can be left to the more experienced among us – especially when it comes to the mechanics. Kit cars are by far the most realistic option for the rest of us. In the most basic sense, they are giant versions of the model cars we used to build as kids. Only these “models” can be driven and deliver some outstanding performance. So, if you ever thought about building your own car, here is a guide to kit cars in Australia.

build your own car

Kit Cars Explained

A kit car can be best described as a giant jigsaw puzzle. You buy the kit, get it delivered and then you spend your spare time putting it together following the instructions supplied. Sounds simple? It can be, if you have some mechanical knowledge. Many enthusiasts sub-contract out parts of the build to a mechanic. Often this is the engine, which can be tough to install if you don’t have the right tools. There are many types of kit cars but they generally tend to be small, sporty models made of lightweight materials with a small engine, that provide an excellent power-to-weight ratio.

The Cost

The satisfaction of building your own car will eventually outweigh any concerns you have over the cost. If you build it all yourself then you are going to keep labour costs to nil. Use a mechanic and the cost will start to go up. You will probably find you don’t have all of the necessary tools to begin with, so you may have to fork out for some specialist gear, such as an engine hoist. As for the kit itself, the price varies depending on the type of car you build. Do it all yourself and chances are it will cost no more than $50,000.

The Frustrations

While building your own car can be fun and rewarding, it can also be frustrating. You will probably find you hit a stumbling block at some stage that will cause you to scratch your head and spend many, many hours trying to figure it out. But isn’t that part of the fun? One of the biggest frustrations many find is the law. Getting kit cars registered for the road can be confusing, as different laws apply in different states. You could live in WA, buy a kit car from Queensland and then find it doesn’t meet certain criteria in your home state. So it pays to do some research first.

Where to Get a Kit Car

  • PRB: A long-established firm that creates the Lotus-inspired PRB using Honda or Mazda engines.
  • Arrow: Marketed as the cheapest and easiest to build, Arrow produces Clubman-style cars.
  • DRB Sports Cars: Produces Cobra and GT40 replicas. Popular because of their simplicity and compliance in all states.
  • Cobra Kits: If it is a replica of the classic Shelby Cobra you are after, then Cobra Kits is the place to go. They say $50,000 will get you a good working version.
  • Meridian Motorsport: Highly regarded firm that produces GTM coupe and roadsters. They are a distributor for the popular Birkin model and also create original designs.
  • Stryker Sports Cars: How does 0-100kmh in under five seconds sound? That’s what this firm promises from their Clubman kit cars.
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