The following are some of the most frequently asked
questions concerning Kit Car Building...
Q: Which Dream Car should I build?
A: The type and style of car you choose depends on what you plan to do with the car. If the car is to be used for everyday transportation, then building a Lamborghini would not be a practical choice. They are difficult to get in and out of and you can't get many groceries in to them. But remember, most Dream cars aren't practical everyday vehicles in the first place, so, the choice really comes from the heart.
Q: Is the most expensive Kit the best?
A: No. Not Always. There are Quality kits that are just as good as the higher priced kits, but they are rare. Remember, in the World of Kit Car Building; "You get what you pay for". Unfortunately, some manufacturers will try to take advantage of a customer with no prior experience and charge more for parts and accessories than they should. This is how they make up for the price lowering of their kits. Most parts can be purchased from sources other than the manufacturer. You are paying more for the convenience of not having to do the "leg work" in tracking down the items you need. Unless the
parts you need are unique to that particular kit (i.e.... louvers, fiberglass pieces, etc...) you can probably get the parts cheaper from another source.
Q: How much should I spend for a Kit?
A: This will depend on the kit. It will also depend if you are buying from a manufacturer or a private individual. In dealing with a manufacturer, the more you can afford to spend to have them do the critical work, the better. More often than not the manufacturer has worked out most of the bugs and knows the potential problems that can be encountered in certain phases of completion of the kit. Critical phases such as hanging doors, latch placement, and the purchase of specialty items unique to that kit is highly recommended. In the long run it will cost you more than it would have if you had let the
manufacture do some of the critical phases. When dealing with a private individual you are getting some one else's headache. Most of the time you can buy these kits for pennies on the dollar. This is one of the best ways to save money up front.
Q: Where should I start looking for a Kit?
A: There are many sources for locating kits. The Kit Car Magazines are a good source for both new and used kits. Your local newspaper, in the classifieds and the internet also has a wealth of information on it. You will find a few of these sites listed in the "OTHER SITES" category of this site. Also, local car clubs and specialty shops and custom body shops may yield some surprising leads.
Q: Should I buy already built or build my own?
A: This question is difficult to answer. People get into the Kit Car Hobby for many reasons. If you enjoy working with your hands and have the time, patience to devote to building a Kit as well as the facility and tools to undertake such a project, then the answer is buy an unassembled kit. If, However, you would rather fill'er up and go and you don't have the desire to spend hundreds of hours (all of which are free) in building a car; then buy one already done. The chances of you recuperating your investment in building your own car including your time is between "slim and non-existent". You will
be lucky to break even for the outlay of the parts and work you had to farm out. Unless you do it for a living, Kit Cars are not a money making endeavor and are not a good investment. For whatever reason people join the Kit Car hobby, they all have one thing in common. The deep love and desire of owning something special and unique. The thrill of getting behind the wheel of something you built from the ground up is a feeling that can not be described. It is something that has to be lived!
Q: Should I buy from the factory or from a private Party?
A: Each of these has their pros and cons. The pros for buying from the factory are obvious. You can investigate the manufacturer for quality and honesty and you have a better chance for legal recourse if a problem ever arises. On the other hand, you are going to pay top dollar for everything you purchase. As far as buying from a private party is concerned, there are different aspects to consider. You will probably get a heck of a deal. Or so it may seem. Many of these people have either lost interest, ran out of money or just realized that they have bitten off more than they could chew. That's the good news.
The bad news is the work that has been done may not be to your satisfaction or sub-standard and may have to be redone. Also, the Kit is sold in an "as is" state, so if there are problems that you were unaware of at the time of purchase, then you are pretty much out of luck. Unfortunately, the old saying "Let The Buyer Beware.." strongly exists in the Kit Car hobby. The best suggestion is to research thoroughly before buying. With manufacturers, compare like product, ask for referrals from their customers, (AND CALL THEM!) and visit the plant. A thousand dollars spent for a trip now may save you tens of thousands of dollars later. In dealing with private individuals ask as many questions as possible. Especially the Question, "Why do you want to sell?" Look the Kit over carefully. Get a list of what is to be included in the sale. Remember, "If it's not in writing ,it's not worth anything in a court of law." If you can't see the Kit in person, then invest in two or three disposable cameras and send the seller a list of what you want pictures of. If possible, contact a local mechanic in the area and enlist their services to inspect the kit and give you a report on what was found. Again fifty or one hundred dollars spent here can save you thousands later. Also, find out if the kits' manufacturer is still in business and that you are able to contact them for questions and as a source for unique parts that may be needed to complete the Kit.
Q: What should I look for in a Manufacturer?
A: Price should not be the most important factor in your decision. Quality, longevity in the business, referrals, how quickly they return your calls, and willingness to talk to you to answer your questions should also play an important part in your decision. A flashy ad does not guarantee a reputable manufacturer. If possible, research the length of time the company has been in business. Contact the local Better Business Bureau. A very good suggestion is to stay away from manufacturers doing business out of Florida. Florida has no Better Business Bureau and the State Attorney General has not done much in dealing with the "Fly By Night" Kit Car Manufacturers doing business there. While not ALL Florida manufacturers are dishonest, a good many of them are. Most Good Kit Car Manufacturers will be happy to send you an assembly manual or assembly video for a modest fee. This will aid in showing you just what your getting into and of work involved in the assembly of the car. Most manufacturers will refund the price of the manual or video if you purchase from them. If they are unwilling to sell you a copy or tell you that their Kit is so simple that you don't need instructions, AVOID THEM LIKE THE PLAGUE! Again, most manufacturers will be accommodating in supplying you with a list of customers for you to contact.
Visit the manufactures production plant to confirm their claims and verify that they do truly exist.
Q: Are all manufacturers producing the same kit alike?
A: No. There are many manufacturers out there producing the same type of kit. Some do a better job than others in authenticity, quality, and customer service than others. Generally speaking, if the company has been around for a few years and is under the same manager/ownership then they are probably a quality company. Research and more research is your best recourse in finding the best manufacturer for you.
Q: Can I build the car myself?
A: Now THAT is the "64 dollar question !" To answer this question requires some honest thought on your part. First, Do you have the facilities to assemble the Car. i.e... the work space, equipment and time to do such a project? Secondly, do you have the desire, dedication, and expertise to deal with all the frustrations and problems that will arise. An understanding spouse is also mandatory! You will find yourself doing things two or three times before they are correct. Something that sounds good on paper may
not work in application. You will also find that, generally speaking, you will assemble and disassemble the car up to 3 or 4 times depending on the complexity of the fit, mechanics, and painting before your finished.
Q: How much should I let the manufacturer do?
A: This question depends on how you answered the last question. Generally speaking, the more you can afford to let the manufacturer do, the better off you will be and probably the cheaper it will cost you in the long run. Saving a few dollars up front may cost many times that in experimenting and self-fabricating that you may have to do later on. The manufacturer already knows the problems inherent in their product and what it takes to fix them. Also, they have the tools, knowledge, and material list needed to assemble the car much quicker than you. The old adage "practice makes perfect" holds true here. The more Kits you build the quicker and more efficient you become. Unless you work on cars for a living and have 30 years of experience in the body shop business, it is far less costly to allow the manufacturer do most of the complex work for you.