Owning a powerful and sleek car is a dream for many of us and a reality for a few. Cars that cost over one hundred thousand pounds boast insane features that most would never think of. For instance, Bentley allows you to pay for the option to have a gun compartment instead of a glove box or to have a champagne refrigerator installed in the boot.
Whilst this level of excess is a sad pipe dream for some, there are other ways to get a great deal of satisfaction out of a car. Welcome to the world of Kit cars.
What are they?
Kit cars could be considered the equivalent of Ikea for cars. You select a model, order the collection of parts, get it delivered and then build it yourself. This may seem like a very strange idea, but in reality, it’s a project aimed at getting exactly what you would like out of a car at a much cheaper price. Second hand models appear on ebay (in great condition, under 70,000 miles and for £5000 at a time). Most of the kit cars you can find are already prebuilt. To actually look at fully building your own ride, it would help to look at a magazine subscription that specialises in kit cars. Parts can usually be found in bundle deals.
There’s a good deal of models to choose from as well. A good deal of them are modelled on classic cars like the Ford 289. Some even look like 60s era Formula 1 cars. It’s easy to be spoilt for choice with them.
How easy is it to use or own one?
Just as easy as owning and using a regular street legal vehicle. You fill it with petrol, you keep it in a garage, pay insurance and then pay tax amongst all standard things associated with owning a car. Another thing to remember is that kit cars can be harder to maintain or rather to get serviced. Just because the parts are smaller and more specialised. Don’t worry though. It will be a lot easier than trying to get a Bugatti Veyron serviced.
Wear and tear will take its toll, no matter how much money you spend on a car. The first part to consider for wear and tear is your suspension as that is the part responsible for keeping your wheels in contact with the road as well as absorbing the majority of shocks you face in a typical trip. Don’t fret over it too much as suspension systems (along with all of the other parts) are put together by professionals who hate being taken to court. Still if your car is old or you tend to drive out of its comfort zone (all terrain with a Porsche 911) then it’s suspension will need to be kept up to scratch. Trying to find good service and MOT deals can be difficult for any car. However, click the previous link to find a comparison service that rates the mechanics nearest to you that can do specific work.
How do they compare to regular cars?
Well you get barebones when you buy the kit. You’ll need to supply your own engine (so you get a good deal of playing room if you want quick acceleration or a bigger MPG rating. Things like air conditioning or radios aren’t included either.
Because kit cars end up being lower down than most cars, the centre of gravity is lower too so you actually get a little more grip out one.
The equipment provided with each kit car varies between manufacturers. However, if you re-read a line from the section before this, you’ll notice the use of the sentence “…put together by professionals who hate being taken to court”. No person in their right mind would want to have to tangle with the legal system, which is why these parts are put together with the highest amount of care possible.
So is it worth getting one?
That depends on a few things. Building a kit car can take a long time. However, people who have tried their hand at DIY and made something with their own hand know the pleasures of building something from the ground up. You see each nut and bolt as you would your most prized possessions. You’d even be worried about dropping a piece for the risk of ‘offending it’. The cost is certainly attractive. Modern cars are sadly a good deal more expensive for the benefit of being able to drive it away the second you buy it.
As a quick suggestion if you aren’t convinced by any of this, a Honda Civic is a perfect (and relatively inexpensive) choice with Top Gear rating it at 7/10. Getting a good Honda service isn’t difficult either as the parts are easy to find if they need replacing.