So you want to build a kit car? Part 2

Lambo Replica
Unfortunately the term “kit car” has been hung on these projects. This really is misleading. Normally when you buy a “Kit” to build something, there is an assumption that it will come with all the necessary parts and complete step by step instructions. This is definitely not the case with these vehicles.

Back to the “kit” concept.  When you open that box from Office Depot that is going to be a computer desk when all put together, in addition to the parts list, they normally give you a list of the tools you will need. You will need lots of tools to build a car.

Some of these can be expensive. Probably at the top of the list is a good welder. I would recommend a Mig welder as you do not have to deal with the slag found on an arc welder. I would also recommend a 220V version they typically will have a longer duty cycle. You will need a good set of sockets, both standard and metric. You will need an air compressor especially if you are going to paint the car. Even if you don’t paint it you have all that body work to do and the air tools will be invaluable. Then there are all the power tools. Drills, 3/8” and ½’, grinders, bench and hand held, heat gun, sanders, Dremel tools and a sawzall. Of course the usual screwdrivers of all kinds, wrenches, files, pliers, clamps, vice, hammer, pry bar, jack, jack stand, trouble light, etc.  Then there are all the consumables , like sanding pads, cut off wheels, cans of spray paint. Nuts, bolts, washers, thread lock, sand paper, fiberglass, resin, duraglass, Bondo, sheet metal and assorted tube steel.

Something else you will want to think about is what do you want the car to be. A lot of builders starts out wanting the car to be as realistic as possible. Then you begin to find little things like the heater controls or the location of the gas cap don’t look like the picture of the real one. The important thing to remember is this is your car. Make it what you want.

This leads me to another question I get asked. What is the best engine / transmission combination?  I go back to this is your car. What is necessarily right for me is not necessarily right for you. I’ve had people say they have to have at least 550 to 600 HP just like the real one. They’re not going to be sitting at a light and have a hopped up Civic beat them off the line.  So this speaks of two things. How deep are your pockets and what is your level of maturity?  If I’m sitting in what is perceived to be a quarter of a million dollar car, why would I want to race someone? What do I need to prove to a high school student? If I don’t respond to the challenge, they will always wonder. (OK, is teasing immature?)

There is also another misconception that all Diablo kits are the same. If you had purchased a used kit on Ebay and wanted to get the glass package, the glass from another manufacturer may not fit your car.  The shape of the doors / bumpers/ windshields all vary from manufacture to manufacturer. That is because some cars started off being sculpted while others were “splashed” from a real car.

So this raises the question, what parts do I need to buy and what are the part numbers. Again, this is your car. It depends on how you are building it as to what you need. (Remember there is no one set of instructions) One of the best things that has happened to this industry is the advent of the Internet. Not only can you Google “heat shields” but you can also do research and join a builder’s forum.  There are two sites that everyone who builds one of these cars should be familiar with.  KitCentral  and Lamboclone.  KitCentral and Lamboclone are forums where you can post questions and get feedback from lots of fellow builders who can share with you their knowledge. If you are new to either forum, please start off by using the search tool and reviewing the build diaries. The search feature is very helpful as most of the questions you have probably been asked and answered many times over.

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