If you can put together a flat-pack wardrobe, you are more than able to build your own car. This might sound daunting, but there is a whole specialist car industry catering for those who want to drive something different and exciting, and the UK leads the world in this field.
Dozens of small car builders are based in the UK making everything from cutting-edge supercars to inch-prefect replicas of classic cars. The best bit is you can order all of these cars as a kit of parts and put them together in your own garage for a fraction of the price of buying an off-the-shelf model from a mainstream manufacturer.
Where do you start when building your own car and what skills do you need? The best places to learn more are some of the specialist car shows for self-build car, or kit cars as they are often referred to. There you can learn what models and types of car are available, and meet many of the manufacturers.
One of the best known companies offering self-build cars is Caterham, creators of the iconic Seven, pictured above. This comes as a complete kit that is ready for assembly with chassis, suspension, engines and wheels all included to make the build as simple and quick as possible.
Other self-build cars require you to find a ‘donor’ car, which will provide all of the major components like the engine, gearbox, suspension and brakes. Anyone who has carried out DIY jobs on their own car will be able to tackle this as it’s all completed with simple tools.
Some kit cars will need unique parts, which are offered either by the manufacturer or from specialist firms. The parts can range from performance upgrades to exact replica components such as the wheels Hawk Cars offers for its Lancia Stratos replica.
The most important factors in building a kit car are time and patience. With a little effort and thought, you will end up with a car that is unique to you and huge fun to drive.
You will need to take the car for an IVA (Individual Vehicle Assessment), which is a bit like a super-thorough MOT. This makes sure the car is safe and complies with the law. Once this has been passed, you’re free to enjoy your self-built car on the open road, tracks days, abroad or anywhere else you fancy.
There are lots of owners’ clubs around to help you get the most out of your car. These clubs are also invaluable for offering advice and help when building your car as most members will have been through the process or are at the same stage as you.
Together, they will be able to help with any queries or problems to make sure your car gets on the road just how you want it.
So, whether you fancy an Ultima supercar, Dax Cobra replica, Raw Striker or one of the dozens of other kits out there, the only thing stopping you is your own imagination.