Cheap Kit Car

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Ted DuPuis, Jul 23, 2018.

  1. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    #bandozer
    So let's say that I want to build a kit car. Not something that I put on the body of a Fiero or a VW Bug. Let's say it's actually building something. Want it to be fairly easy and inexpensive, let's say I want to be in it for $10k or less. Preference is not a 4-cylinder for a powerplant. V8 is ideal.

    Throw out suggestions with links.
     
  2. Chip Sylverne

    Chip Sylverne En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Fear is the poison of our lives.
    So, you're thinking about a kit car?

    Guy up the street built a Shelby Cobra including welding up the tubular frame, but that ain't happening for $10k
     
  3. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach

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  4. Sac Arrow

    Sac Arrow Touchdown! Greaser!

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  5. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I saw one of these driving around town earlier this year:

    http://www.superlitecars.com/slc/

    The website says to expect the street legal version to finsh out around $65k, so not in your price range.

    People were racing it to the next light so they could get a better look at it.
     
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  6. Anymouse

    Anymouse En-Route

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    Total Stud Bush Pilot
    I keep telling myself that I'm going to build my own car, rather than buy one with all the nanny and spy stuff on it. Still haven't done it. However, I've been a fan of these folks...

    https://www.factoryfive.com/

    $20k for the kit (MK4 is what I'm looking at) and you still need to provide an engine/transmission/rear end, wheels/tires, and paint. It's that whole engine thing. I really have no clue how to get one, let alone install it.

    Just looked. It seems that they have a recommended dealer for engines. Getting something from them (looking at the Ford 427) will set you back another $20k.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2018
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  7. bflynn

    bflynn Final Approach

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    I dunno - can you get an engine for 10k? Plus a trammy, universal, struts, brakes, hydraulics, etc, etc, etc.

    I looked at several kit cars a couple of years ago, but like building a kit airplane, the price of the kit is about 1/3 the total cost.
     
  8. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The old-school kits used to call for an old Pinto or something, then you slap on the new fiberglass body.

    I hope there are other options by now for <$10K.
     
  9. cgrab

    cgrab Pattern Altitude

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    The less money you spend the more tools, skill and time you are going to need. At some point you have to think do I buy a tube bender or buy a prefab frame.
     
  10. skier

    skier Line Up and Wait

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    I had a family member that was seriously considering one of these a few years back, so we went to their build-school in Michigan. We walked out less than impressed. In the end you're really looking at a $60,000+ car with fit and finishes that would be disappointing on a Toyota Corolla. In other words they look good from a distance, but up close seem cheap. If you don't care about the finishes, then they are supposed to be a lot of fun to drive. Since they are a do-it-yourself thing, I am guessing there are some people that got decent looking results, but on my experience that isn't the standard.

    Pay attention to the rules in your state for licensing kit cars as street legal. I don't think what you're proposing would be possible in Connecticut. Last I checked it seemed like you had to start with a known vehicle and couldn't change the wheelbase, width, etc. much from the base car.
     
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  11. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Yes..... helped more than a few kit builders get a list like that for a really good deal for them.

    They work with me to identify the vehicle that has the package they want, we strike a deal on the price, and then I start working the auctions to find a vehicle that supplies the list, and I make a small profit on.

    Then I provide the entire vehicle to them with the agreement that they leave the body panels and interior bits I want alone. The drivetrain and suspension I sold them, they can remove themselves.

    Then I get the carcass, remove the valuable bits I want to put in the warehouse and sell, and squash the remaining unuseable hull.

    One of these that stands out was a guy who wanted the F150 Lightning powertrain package. $4,500 from him got what he wanted, and I made reasonable bank on that sale plus the sale of the useable body panels and interior.
     
  12. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    When I first started working for Dad and the salvage yard, Mustang II's were popular for kit builds
     
  13. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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  14. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Yes, I'm thinking about a kit car.

    The Factory Five Cobra replica is something I've been thinking about for a couple of years and has been the top of my list. But reality is I expect I'd be in one for about $30k to do it the way I want to, depending on how exactly I went about it. Maybe more than $30k, just depends on what I bought (i.e. new or used components, and how nice of them).

    Point of the question was more "If I make the criteria cheap only, what's out there?" Obviously the most logical choice would be a kit that someone else has completed and save myself the time.

    Really the core of the problem is that I lack a proper visceral vehicle in the daily lineup and have for a few years. The last one I had was the 3000GT VR-4 (upped to around 450 HP or so), but once I left Snowsylvania (PA) the all wheel drive benefits just became annoying as I'm a rear wheel drive kind of person.

    My V12 Jaguars (converted to a manual transmission) were a lot of fun. I've thought about the idea of doing something really out there like finding another Jaguar with a blown engine, and then dropping in a 454 with a 6-71 sticking out of the hood coupled to a 5-speed manual. But picking what that right combination is has been the challenge. Generally I want a vehicle that I can drive on the street (although it won't be a daily driver by any stretch) and I like something that I haven't done before.

    Now that hits the nail on the head. Still going to end up at over $10k in it, but I think that overall hits the mark. Get a cheap donor Miata for the main parts, and then throw in a V8 and a T5 or something along those lines.
     
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  15. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    With how little it weighs I’d almost rethink a V8, YouTube some track videos of them, depending if you want a track or a drag car, might be faster with a turbo crate Miata engine.
     
  16. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    I know of a certain aeromedical doc who at one time was into the V8 Miatas
     
  17. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    It probably would be, but part of the idea for me would be the ridiculousness of it, and the visceral qualities of a V8 are preferable.
     
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  18. Craig

    Craig Line Up and Wait

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    If you don't mind working from plans only, probably the least expensive is building one of the Lotus 7 replicas.
     
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  19. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I've thought about those as well, and they're a lot of fun, but haven't found any proper "plans only" kits. That probably is more than what I want to do anyway.
     
  20. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    My buddy built a Factory Five with a coyote engine, that thing flies, sweet car too.
     
  21. Brad Smith

    Brad Smith Line Up and Wait

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    A PORSCHE Spyder kit would be on my short list if I was to consider a kit car. Even though it’s VW powered, it’s by no means slow. Most of the kits are are hard to distinguish from the original. The Beck Spyder used to be the nicest of the reproductions, but there are others available. Speedsters also make great kit cars. I know you’d really prefer a V8 kit car and the Spyder is just my take on it.
     
  22. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I'm open to considerations like that. Links to options?
     
  23. Brad Smith

    Brad Smith Line Up and Wait

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    Try beckspeedster.com to start.
     
  24. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    I like it and they look very cool. However, that's way above the price tag.

    That exocet that James referenced looks like something that if I really wanted to be cheap about, could get done for the $10k budget. Realistically I'd probably have closer to $15k in it.
     
  25. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Yup, Exo or FF kits are probably the most popular. Gotta love a Cobra replicar with Coyote engine, but even a 351/408 is pretty potent. I'd have to think hard about which engine option to go with, as there are a few all-aluminum options which weigh far less than their big block cast iron counterparts. The Ford Voodoo 5.2L would be out of this world if money isn't an option and you wanna stay Ford-powered.

    On the Exo, the turbo'd miata engine is probably fine, but that's a solid platform for an LS motor. Probably less than 100lbs weight penalty with tons of potential HP/TQ combinations and about as simple as any V8 can be.

    Pretty tough to build one up under $10K though. Might find someone offloading a built kit or partially assembled kit.
     
  26. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Like I said, realistically it'd probably be on the order of $15k to do it the way I'd want to. But I think it definitely could be done for $10k if you bought a ~$2k Miata donor car and the cheap version which is <$7k.

    I'd probably get the highest end version if nothing else for the bigger roll cage, which I think is a worthwhile safety feature in something like that. I'd probably take it to track nights.

    I'm not dedicated to Ford, but I would be looking to do this on the cheaper side and the 302s are the lightest of the cheap/readily available options. The idea of a Rover V8 (4.6L out of a Range Rover) is appealing as that would save some more weight, and could be a consideration as well. About the only thing you can do to them is put a cam in, which is fine... it'd still produce >250 HP I'd expect in that trim, which is still ridiculous for a car of that sort. Room for more if I put some kind of blower on or the like. Carburetor, distributor... nothing fancy. Cam and high compression pistons plus some sort of headers would do fine I suspect.
     
  27. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    This looks pretty nifty...

     
  28. FormerHangie

    FormerHangie En-Route

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    You can get a not too old Mustang GT for that money. That will give you the most go for your dough, and that V8 rumble you're looking for, plus it works from the day you get it. If you do an engine swap into an Exocet, you're going to wind up doing some fabricating and a lot of testing/debugging, especially getting it to handle. Track time is precious and you don't want to spend the next couple of seasons trying to make your new car handle, and balance is everything on a road course. The other thing about an Exocet is that you'll be driving it mostly just to and from the track, it's not something most people find pleasant to drive on the street.

    Here's what you can get for 10 grand. If you've got an itch to work on something, get one with a lot of miles on in and swap in a crate engine. I realize that a Mustang doesn't have the neat factor that the Exocet does, but it works from the day you pick it up.

    If you are considering a four cylinder kit, do look at the Factory Five 818.
     
  29. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    It's a shame that I don't care for Mustangs, but I don't. Looking for something that has some unusual/fun/cool factor to it, and a Mustang... doesn't.
     
  30. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    Something to add into this... what I'm liking the more I look into the Exocet is the fact that it looks simple and is something the kids can be involved in. That's really a lot of the goal with projects - let them help with turning wrenches and learn from it. My son and I built his go-kart, with him doing most of the work and me basically telling him what to do and giving him the tools, but him getting some as well. One of the two girls is getting very interested in helping me turn wrenches as well. The amount of pride that my son has in his go-kart (which we got him Christmas 2016, got it built in time for spring 2017) is very high... having a car we could actually take on the road? Even better.

    So unlike a plane where I'm more interested in flying than building, this is a case where building is a lot of the goal.
     
  31. LoLPilot

    LoLPilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    As someone who dabbled in the car world prior to aviation, you can get car engines for these kits for cheap. A 302 Ford for a factory five kit can be had from CL for <1k if it needs attention. $2500 later from a machine shop and you have a long block. (Pistons, reconned crank, valves, honed cylinders, etc). Hook up your choice of carb and headers and there's your engine. Transmissions are also fairly affordable - extremely so if you go automatic. For a good manual it costs a bit more. My jaw hit the floor when I first saw the reman price of a GA engine.
     
  32. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    In the case of what I'm looking to put in, one can also buy a used 5.0 Mustang as a parts car for the engine and transmission. I'll be going with a manual... no slushboxes for me.
     
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  33. LoLPilot

    LoLPilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Regular Car Reviews on YT did a video about putting a late model 5.0 into a 60's Ford (carburetor, distributor, etc).
     
  34. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Administrator Management Council Member

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    A lot of what I've read has said the mid 90s Explorers have the best 5.0 to use, which has the "GT40" heads and intake if you can find one.
     
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  35. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If you want real power just get a LS and be done with it.
     
  36. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    How about a rat rod, something like this:


    [​IMG]
     
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  37. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Ooooh, that's a nice looking car!
     
  38. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    No

    [​IMG]

    Even though it’s called a rat rod, he’ll end up twice as much $$ compared to the exo
     
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  39. LoLPilot

    LoLPilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Does Factory Five make a drop in LS kit? I thought they were designed for Fords.
     
  40. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

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    $$$ I could build you one of my spare big block Chevies $$$

    I had a 351 Cleveland that was bored and stroked to 390 CI. It had enough left in it to go to 427 CI. I bought it to put in a Cobra. That didn't happen so I sold it a few years ago for only 8500, which was still more than I paid for it.