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Bryan
Hagerty Employee

6 build-it-yourself cars that you could be driving by spring (if you finish)

The winter months can be trying times for car lovers. Some of you are better at finishing projects than I am, or maybe you recently sold your project car. Either way, for those of us in colder climates, this is the season where the driving stops—but the wrenching doesn’t have to. If you want to give yourself the gift of an ambitious project without the rust, hackery, or general mess that most old project cars can include, maybe you should look into building yourself a car from a kit. Here are six ideas.

 

Read the full article on Hagerty.com:

https://www.hagerty.com/media/lists/6-build-it-yourself-cars-that-you-could-be-driving-by-spring-if-...

 

88 REPLIES 88
RallyeRalph
Intermediate Driver

Just what i need-another project. My wife says I never finish anything, but she's wrong, I have everything from 1974 done. I'm going to be president of the Procrastinator Society next year or the year after.

Spencer30
Pit Crew

I would like to join said society, but I have too many projects I have to finish first......

MGBTGKG
Passenger

I would join also as soon as I finish the Triumph Spit6 I've been working on for 15 years. I vote for the Goblin, everyone has a Cobra and Caterham. 

z4mageek
Navigator

I'd vote for you Ralph ....... eventually
MarveH
Intermediate Driver

Maybe we should do a project swapping initiative. We each take over each other's projects for that initial burst of enthusiasm, then when that runs out, swap them again.

FlatheadsFoe
Intermediate Driver

Nah, you will have to get past me first... That is if I ever get to the candidacy paper work after I finish my ‘51 Victoria...🤣

gyashko
Intermediate Driver

Hey MarveH - All joking aside, working with a buddy is the best way I know to keep your projects on track. It's easy to come up with a reason not to go out to the garage/shop when it's just you, but, just like going to the gym, it's harder when you have to call your friend and make some lame excuse. It's also nice to have an audience for your jokes, or your profanity when something breaks or disappears into the depths of the engine compartment. Plus, you might learn some new stuff.
SteveC
New Driver

I joined the MN Procrastinator Society.  It's going well so far, but we haven't yet had the first meeting.

 

GollyGwagen
New Driver

The 818 has been an interesting build since it came out, and one that I would like to tackle after the kids are through college.  I've also really enjoyed the Lotus 7 cars I've driven, they really are just go karts.

Jaguarman
Pit Crew

No contest, the Cobra.  I'm sure the others are super fun, but nothing looks as good or has the legendary status and fun of the Cobra.  Now if I can just get all that other crap out of my garage...

390AMX
Pit Crew

The Cobra that I've always wanted of course... too late in life to expand the list

Rob1
Instructor

Being a product of the fifty's referring to me that is if the cash were available it would be the Cobra hands down a tribute to one of America's greats and it would be late model Ford powered I know not exactly a true tribute but in Carroll,s fashion find the meanest Dearborn V8 and stuff in it.Cheers R

gringo
Pit Crew

Also the FFR Cobra Daytona Coupe. If your a little tall for the roadster the Daytona gives you some room. I'm 6'7"/240 and love mine 

 

 

F360Spider
Detailer

Kit built cars never draw anything but ridicule. 

JStein
Pit Crew

I don't agree with you at all. Would anyone ridicule the original Lotus 7 or the Lotus Elan, both of which were available as kits; would you ridicule that? The Jaguar-based Kougar was also offered as a kit, and was one serious piece of kit, being both great looking in the spirit of the Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica and very fast. 

Brandan
Hagerty Employee

If you're building your personal project car to make strangers happy, you might be doing it wrong.
JStein
Pit Crew

I wouldn't call the Caterham a replica at all. In about 1973 Lotus worked out an agreement with Caterham to continue building the Lotus 7, first in Series 4 form, and then, in 1974, as the more popular Lotus 7 Mk III. Caterham simply acquired the rights to keep the 7 in production, although the car has been developed over the years. 

R400Turbo
Passenger

I came here to say this.

2008 Caterham R400 Turbo. 0-60 in OMG.

enesset
New Driver

I built a Meyers Manx in my garage (with significant help from specialists and a cage builder) and it took 3 years and then in 2018 we raced it in Baja.   Every car guy should build one car. http://www.manxclub.com/forum/gallery/image_page.php?album_id=154&image_id=5046

Mike_E_V
Detailer

I recall seeing one of these in 1969 in San Diego CA when they first came available. One of my Navy buddies bought one fully assembled with a top which resembled a touring "T" in purple metalflake. Bruce Meyers lives just up the street from our former home in CA. I recognized the scenery in the pic. Miss the old haunt of my native state but couldn't take the abuse of Sacramento any longer. Moved all 7 vehicles out-of-state. 

HowardSue
Intermediate Driver

Same here move out of San Diego in 2017 after growing up in San Diego not looking back 

California is Hot Mess 

JLM
Pit Crew

Kirkham Cobra...all day long 

bkmcgraw62
Pit Crew

Most definitely it would be a Cobra.  Eventually I plan to build one.  Of course I have to finish my 2 Model Ts and 143 other projects necessary to sustain my marriage of 34 years...

MR
Intermediate Driver

I've always wanted to do a Beck 356 Speedster kit. The wife loves them!

Kyle
Moderator

I knew I forgot something! The Beck 550 has always intrigued me.
Bunka
Intermediate Driver

I have owned several Buick's, Chevrolet's and Oldsmobile's in the past.  In 2004 I switched to Audi's and Porsche's. I switched because I finally realized that GM only sold replica cars.  They replicated junk and even managed to develop a passionate following. Sort of like the present political scene.

HowardSue
Intermediate Driver

Are you ever spot on GM is a mess 

A fan for years no longer 

Currently own a 1986 Chevy 1500 and a 1950 Chevy home built 3100 Hot Rod with a 261 not quit stock six “Old School Hot Rodding”  

Daily drive a Volvo 

930Flachbau
Intermediate Driver

Brought your version of the "political scene" here, "sort of".

tahend
Detailer

Love to see someone finish these by spring.  Apparently the writer has never built or restored a car.

MarkIII
New Driver

Sorry but the rules of the club provide me with the presidency until such time as I step down (fat chance of that happening) or I drop from being nagged to death. I have more fun finding and buying projects than finishing and driving them. 

oldcoot
Passenger

I am going with the "Corvette Kart" !

tcchuck2005
Pit Crew

Seems like the "easiest" could be the exocet. Miata parts are readily available and it may be less likely to stall out when you can see progress more quickly.

Code3me
New Driver

My project "Kit Car" for this Winter is not on your list, but I think it is a worthy candidate for the home builder that wants to DIY and go fast for cheap. I have a 1984 Corvette that I will be making into a "Vette Kart". It is a 350 V-8 with a 4 speed/ OD manual trans. The results of others that have already done this are all over YouTube. The best part of this build is the mid eighties Corvettes are really cheap because they were some of the worst performing Vettes in that era so they are cheap. I got my donor car complete for $1000 bucks and I plan on selling off the body parts I won't be using. Shedding a lot of weight should make this 80's Punk into a Rocker.     

Lee
Pit Crew

I've always wanted to build/find a dirt modified (coupe) from the 50's or 60's.  Guys have found them and made them street legal and they look awesome with big fat tires.  After looking at the 77 Vette I have, I realized they have the same proportions and would be an easy start for building one.  They have the same layout: Engine behind the front axel, fuel tank over the rear axle, and a ready-made interior.  All it would take is someone to pull some fiberglass molds off a nice little coup and a C3 of C4 and away you go.

OldCarMan
Instructor

NONE of these look much like a proper car, except the Cobras. "Kit" cars have been around since the early '50s. Most of them are still in their garages, piled with junk on top. They have gotten somewhat better, but ones that look like a real car with accoutrements like fenders, a body, windshield, etc. are still relatively expensive and/or difficult for people with few tools or skills...

Tinkerah
Technician

OMG how refreshing would it be to build a project with no rust, no geometry to solve, no wiring to diagnose, all the holes already line up, etc., etc.,!

427sc
Intermediate Driver

Build a Cobra, but wait, the author says DON'T put a 600HP plant into it?!?

I must have done something wrong... I have a Superformance 427SC with a bored and stroked 520 cube 385 Series Ford plant in it, mated to a Tremec 5 speed; makes roughly 650HP and 700Ft-Lbs at the flywheel. That's where I would suggest starting! LoL...

On the charts, my Cobra IDLES at @350HP. This is also THE best car to teach somebody to drive a manual transmission with because even at idle, if one quickly dumps the clutch, the motor will not stall. The car just lurches forward and rolls along at idle... LoL...

I actually would like to but an Ariel Atom type of vehicle, but I'd rather use a Ford Eco-boost than the Chevy Cobalt motor.

I'd also like to do a Monster Miata (small block V-8 transplant into a Miata). I understand these are fairly easy to do.

So many projects, so little time and money...

leduced
Intermediate Driver

In 1990 I bought a "Gazelle" (1928 Mercedes replica) and in 5 sos I was driving it to car shows. I took many prizes including one "Best of Show" and one "Ladies Choice" trophy.

It was based on VW parts and lacked OOMPH but turned heads.

 

Pete
Pit Crew

The Cobra, hands down.  Regarding the "... don't get too carried away ..." warning, a friend of mine's son is building a Cobra with a blown Coyote V8.  

Kyle
Moderator

Out of curiosity, has your friend's son driven a Cobra or similar power/weight car before? I would bet he would rethink the need for a blown Coyote after experience how fun one can be with just 300hp. You know, where you can actually move the throttle pedal without blowing the tires off.
sglmalt
New Driver

Without question it would be a Cobra. And while a 427 would be ideal, a nice 5.0L (302) would be ideal. Perhaps even a 351. I would want it clean without a lot of extras just like the originals.

HowardSue
Intermediate Driver

Cobra first then Then the Manx 

Maybe the Factor Five 33-34 Ford 

All fun cars to build and drive 

warrene
Intermediate Driver

I'm 87 and know, you'll never finish a car unless you do something with it every day, even going out, turning one bolt per day will get things done.  Stay off the phone, work on the car, stay organized and focused, it's amazing what will get done.  Winter IS the time to do it, no lawn or gardens, I use a wood stove in my shop, have restored four cars since I retired and several before.  Work efficiently, make time count, put tools back, know where everything is.   Keep at it guys ...

HowardSue
Intermediate Driver

Yes do something each day turn a nut or bolt run a wire or clean a part 

Lee
Pit Crew

Most importantly, have a plan.  Breakdown the project into manageable steps.  It will help you stay focused and not get overwhelmed when you step back and look at all that still has to be competed.

 

I disagree with, "Do something every day, even if you just turn a nut".  Your project will never get done that way!  If you have your work planned out, (parts, tools, know-how, etc.) you'll get more done and enjoy your work and accomplishments a lot more.

 

PS:  While I've had a few automotive projects...  I've built a lot of Dollar General and O' Reilly stores throughout the country and know you have to plan, plan, and plan some more.

stevecobb45
Detailer

I'm not a Ford guy but the Cobra gets my vote (maybe with an LS running gear).

CaptainRocket
Pit Crew

I'm not a Ford guy either but the Cobra is something I've loved since I was a kid. Maybe that will be my retirement project but mine would have to be Ford powered. 

Timbo
Intermediate Driver

I like the Factory Five Type 65 Coupe, though I'm not adept enough to do it right.  I'd have to hire it out.  Since when did this become a haven for griping?  Let's stick to the topic.

930Flachbau
Intermediate Driver

I've seen the Corvette Grand Sport, Ford GT40, Cobra Daytona kit cars and dreamed of owning and building and wondered if they could be done in one Winter by myself. Being retired helps, but with the pandemic are there logistical issues?