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Thread: Questions about kitcars.

  1. #1

    Questions about kitcars.

    Iím doing a project for school on kit cars, and I need a source. If anyone is willing to answer a few questions please PM me. I would rather call the person but email is fine also. If anyone happens to be close to 48109 I would love to see your car, if at all possible.

  2. #2

    Re: Questions about kitcars.

    I really love this site and Iím interested in building my own custom car one day. But until then, if I canít get a grade for it then it doesnít get done.
    So, Come on guys just a few quick questions; I donít bite.

  3. #3
    Senior Member lovef501's Avatar
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    Jan 2003
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    Re: Questions about kitcars.

    what kind of questions? just ask the questions on here or use the search you can find a lot of stuff there

  4. #4

    Re: Questions about kitcars.

    I am trying to find out about the person behind the kit car. Only my teacher and classmates will read the final paper. The assignment called for an interview thatís why some of the questions are more detailed. Feel free to make up things, If you must; but your answers should be cohesive. It is not a big assignment, but I wanted to refer to actual people instead of just generalizing. The paper is short, so most of the paper will probably explain what kit car is. Iím going to engineering school, so please excuse the grammar. Someone more qualified will proof the paper. Try to answer the questions below, most of them overlap so do the best you can. Feel free to include extra information or links. Answer the question appropriately, weather you are building or have already built. I just assumed most people are currently building.

    Name? (First Last) (Doesnít have to be your real name, I cannot tell anyway)
    Age?
    Location? (Iím not going to come and get you; Iím using this question to set a scene)
    Family? (This helps me get a better sense of the person building the car.
    Occupation?
    Iím not sure weather kit car, replica or exotic rebody is used more often, if you happen to know please tell. Note that I will use them interchangeably, so Iím sorry if I offend you.

    How did you learn about kit cars?
    Why did you decide to build a kit car?
    What is your technical background?
    Do you feel you are capable of building a kit car? (Why or why not)
    Comment on the capability of others.
    How much is the car going to cost? (Estimate)
    Where are you building this car? (Description of the place itself)
    What type of car are you building and why? (year, make, model, .etc)
    What car are you using for a donor and why? (year, make, model, .etc)
    How long have you been building your current car?
    How long do you think it will take you to complete your car?
    How many people you know, who have completed a kit car? If they did not complete their car please tell why.
    Do you feel your car is safe? (Please explain why or why not)
    Do you know of other builders who are cutting corners and producing an unsafe car? (I do not need names) A description of how they cut corners would be nice.
    What is our overall impression of the kit car community? (forums, car shows)
    Do you believe it is ethical to replicate a cars design?
    Do believe it hurts or harms the original manufacturer when people build replicas.
    Do know any companies that have been shut down by the original manufacturer.
    Do you believe there is a major difference between kit car builders and hot rodders?
    How do people react before and after they find out your car is a replica?
    Do your think kit cars builders receive the same respect as hot rodders?
    Is there anything else you want to tell me?
    Do you have suggestions for questions that I should have asked?
    Feel free to do so here.
    Thanks for your time and effort.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    145

    Re: Questions about kitcars.

    Name? (First Last) Yoshi Vu
    Age? 23
    Location? Southern California
    Family? just myself, sister, and gf
    Iím not sure weather kit car, replica or exotic rebody is used more often, if you happen to know please tell. Note that I will use them interchangeably, so Iím sorry if I offend you.

    How did you learn about kit cars? When looking through the Dupont Registry, I came across an Ad for a replica Lambo (I didn't know there WAS such a thing)

    Why did you decide to build a kit car? Because, I'm a car lover through and through, and would love nothing more than to be able to tinker more with a car then just motor swaps, performance upgrades, and maintenance.

    What is your technical background?
    Worked at a performance shop (building Imports, and a few Domestics, for drag use)

    Do you feel you are capable of building a kit car? (Why or why not)
    Yes, nothing better than Trial and Error when doing anything. Combined with knowledge I already have, I feel anything is possible in this industry with enough resin, fiberglass, and money

    Comment on the capability of others.
    There are a wide range of skills in the kit car world. Usually, the longer they've done it, the better they are, just like anything.

    How much is the car going to cost? (Estimate)
    20-30k to get it to a reasonably acceptable level.

    Where are you building this car? (Description of the place itself)
    A friends Garage (he has more space then I)

    What type of car are you building and why? (year, make, model, .etc)
    355 spyder for now, since they're easier than a lot of other cars I'd like to build (namely, the Diablo). And it's something I still find asthetically attractive.

    What car are you using for a donor and why? (year, make, model, .etc)
    1987 Fiero GT, because it's easily affordable, and is easier to work with.

    How long have you been building your current car?
    Just started my friend. But have been helping with another one for around 2-3 months prior to starting this one.

    How long do you think it will take you to complete your car?
    I have no idea. I'm hoping 3-4 months to where I can drive it. But maybe up to a year (mostly likely more) to finish "tweakin' it to my desired state... although you're never really done with a kit car.

    How many people you know, who have completed a kit car? If they did not complete their car please tell why.
    Two. IF not, it's because they grew tired of the project, and feel they've spent too much time and/or money to make it worthwhile.

    Do you feel your car is safe? (Please explain why or why not)
    Sure, I didn't mess with the chassis too much.

    Do you know of other builders who are cutting corners and producing an unsafe car? (I do not need names) A description of how they cut corners would be nice.
    Yes, absolutely. By not doing the chassis stretch correctly most of the time. Shoddy weld jobs, no/not enough support to the chassis, etc.


    What is our overall impression of the kit car community? (forums, car shows)
    It's all about the build, the enjoyment of building a car that you can feel proud of, more than it is about fooling people.

    Do you believe it is ethical to replicate a cars design?
    Ethically, I don't feel it's right to steal any body's work. Regardless of who.

    Do believe it hurts or harms the original manufacturer when people build replicas.
    Well, personally I feel not. The primary reason I started building one (or most people do, from my understanding) is because they can't afford the real one in the first place. So it's not like they lost a customer. People who buy the kit cars (turnkey) usually do so because they can't afford the real one either. So their customer base, remains almost untouched, since people who CAN afford it and want it, usually would buy the real thing anyway. Hell, I'd drive a real 360 if I could afford one (without living in it and eating raman noodles for the next 50 years).

    Do know any companies that have been shut down by the original manufacturer.
    Yes.

    Do you believe there is a major difference between kit car builders and hot rodders?
    To me, it's mostly the same in the sense that they both want fast cars that look good (to them) although there are a few kit car builders that care little or none about speed.

    How do people react before and after they find out your car is a replica?
    That question never comes up. Although if it were ever asked directly, I wouldn't lie about it. Most people just say "Nice Car".

    Do your think kit cars builders receive the same respect as hot rodders?
    Within this community, yes, but anywhere else no, save for the hot rodders who build kit cars as well (obviously).

    Is there anything else you want to tell me?
    Yeah, you wanna buy a 355 spider kit?

    Do you have suggestions for questions that I should have asked?
    Yeah, you should have asked me how much I wanna sell you a 355 kit for.

  6. #6
    Moderator FunnyWheels's Avatar
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    Re: Questions about kitcars.

    My name is David Newman, Tampa, Florida, age 57. We have 6 children ranging in age from 15 to 35. I am in the construction industry building swimming pools after being in the software industry for 23 years. I computerized automotive manufacturing companies

    How did you learn about kit cars?
    I have built kit cars since I was 22 years old in addition to a lot of street rods. It all started back in Pittsburgh, PA hanging with a bunch of guy who built hot rods and custom cars. My first was a 52 Ford coupe than had the chrome removed lowered in the back etc. It was my motherís car. I was 8 years old. The guys in the neighborhood helped me do all of the work. The first car I made on my own was a 53 Studebaker Starlight Coupe. A beautiful sleek design. It had a 289 engine (Studebaker not Ford) with 352 horsepower out of a Studebaker Golden Hawk. Paxton supercharger in the engine from the factory way back in 1957. It seems to be popular again. It was a fun time in my life. I have owned 32 Ford Coupes, 55 Chevyís, 58 Chevyís Chevelleís, old GTOís, MGís, Chevy powered Triumphís and so on.


    Why did you decide to build a kit car?
    My first kit car was an Alpha Romero with a V W Engine. I built it to advertise my motorcycle shop in a parade. (Mud Sweat and Gears, Columbus, Ohio) I raced dirt bikes (Factory rider for a Spanish company names OSSA) and built choppers before they were cool like they are today.

    What is your technical background?
    I started into college in 1966 in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State University eventually filtering to Franklin University. During that time I took a job with Ford in Dearborn, Michigan as a tool and die maker. I then went into the US Navy Construction Battalion (Sea Bees), served a year and a half in Viet Nam, got to be involved in Hurricane Camille while stationed in Gulfport, MS. Once out I was a construction worker installing elevators and believed I could do anything. It helps to be a good welder when you are replanting engines and chopping tops off of cars. I went on to be nearly killed on January 7, 1977 when I promptly quit my job and started back to college to become an engineer. With no income, I started making custom motorcycle cables, welding Harley frames for the chopper crowd and building custom chopper wheels (spokes). This led me to purchasing a machine shop and a boring bar. I then established a paper route concept with the dealers boring out motorcycle cylinders overnight. That business really took off. I turned down Harley leg lowers and made fork extensions, oil tanks etc. It was a lot of fun. Every hardcore biker in town knew me as well as the Sunday racers. Big Daddy Dirt Pile or Mud as they called me back then. From the business name of Mud Sweat and Gears I guess.

    Do you feel you are capable of building a kit car? (Why or why not). I believe anyone can build a car, kit or otherwise. It all comes down to desire. The only thing that sets the people with finished kits from those with piles of parts in their garage is quitting on your dream car. Life is like that too, success usually comes to those who have the stele to stick it out in order to win.

    Comment on the capability of others.
    I feel anyone who is into this hobby is a creative individual. There is no right or wrong way to build a personalized car, even one that loosely resembles a production car.

    How much is the car going to cost?
    I really have no idea how much my kit /replica costs. I started the 355 in 1998 and it is still consuming cash. I am sure it is expensive. I hope my wife never finds out how much. Probably well into the mid 40K range for the latest one.

    Where are you building this car? I started building the car in my garage at home then moved to the warehouse where I have my swimming pool business.

    What type of car are you building and why?
    The car I have selected to build is a 355 Ferrari. I thought it was one of the sexiest cars on the road at the time. Nothing like a red Ferrari with the top down. The first version was a poorly designed kit called a Mirage coupe. It took a lot of work to get this one to look good and I feel it never really did capture the image I wanted. I wanted to make it more realistic and cut the car apart and started adding original equipment parts purchased all over the US and extended the wheelbase to the proper length. I found a guy in Miami who built and raced 355 Challenge car for Tommy Hilfiger. They were changing over to the 360 model and had a lot of used race car parts and I guess I though they would look better on my car than in the corner of their shop. Then I met John Watson in Tennga, Georgia. He was a former GM engineer who built a 355 kit to fit on a Fiero chassis. His work was fantastic and he helped me get fiberglass 355 parts I needed to attach the Hilfiger Ferrari parts to my car.

    What car are you using for a donor and why? I am using a Fiero chassis for my donor car. (the cockpit and steering column are about all I have along with a title). There are plenty of them around and they are basically cheep donors. If I had one thing to do over, I would build a 100% custom chassis for this car.

    How long have you been building your current car? Since 1998

    How long do you think it will take you to complete your car? I feel it will never be completed, on various stages of glory. It is on the road, looks great and is fun to drive. If I find something that looks like it might be better on FunnyWheels III it will be added to the car.

    How many people you know, who have completed a kit car? Hundreds If they did not complete their car please tell why. They lost interest in their hobby.

    Do you feel your car is safe? I feel my car is safer than most. I have included custom suspension and brakes to the design of the car. I did that back in 1998 before I did anything else.

    Do you know of other builders who are cutting corners and producing an unsafe car? Wheel adapters, brakes and frame stretches are the critical areas. If the builder is using wheel adapters, get the best ones available, if using a car with wider wheels make sure the suspension is up to handling the extra stresses on the original design. Ball joints etc. If youíre changing the frame (making it longer) have a certified shop do the welding for you. I did my stretch on an engine cradle for this reason. I felt it best not to cut the frame in two parts.

    What is your overall impression of the kit car community? I like the forum and the kit car shows. A lot of wild designs and ideas come from these event. I go with my son to a lot of the local event.

    Do you believe it is ethical to replicate a cars design?
    I feel no reason to build a car that resemble something in production. Current or otherwise.
    Do believe it hurts or harms the original manufacturer when people build replicas. No, just because you put a custom body on a particular car does not mean it really is that car. We all know that they are replicas. If youíre the best in the world, something always will be lost in the translation. I feel like the old hot rodders do. It is a personalization or personal expression of our personality. A fake Rolex is still a Fake!

    Do know any companies that have been shut down by the original manufacturer.
    Mostly Ferrari replica manufactures are shut down for using their design and trying to pass it off as a real car.

    Do you believe there is a major difference between kit car builders and hot rodders? Most hot rodders look down their nose at kit car people, even though they have kit cars themselves. Fiberglass 32 Fords with Chevy engines etc

    How do people react before and after they find out your car is a replica? I always tell them about the car and then they really look it over and I can show them what I have done. Usually hot rodders will be interested in the drive train, Corvette guys look over the body design, kit car people want to know what kit you used and how much it costs. Real Ferrari people mostly canít tell since they have all the cash to drive the best.

    Do your think kit cars builders receive the same respect as hot rodders? No! They feel we are cheep and cut corners to build a car.

    Is there anything else you want to tell me? No!

    Do you have suggestions for questions that I should have asked? No!

    Happy Building!

    Dave Newman
    FunnyWheels III
    Tampa, Florida


    If you're not confused, you're not paying attention.

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