Kitcar and Replica
Kit tips and advice
Applies to any and all kits
Knowledge is your protection.
It's true, there are a few companies that stand in need of a little more scrutiny than the rest. But for the most part the kitcar companies are producing excellent products and are responsive to the customers needs.
Just about any kit you buy will bring excitement, fun, reward, pride, etc. You will do well to establish just what you really want to do with the kitcar, the finished product, and then you can decide where you can make the compromises which will lead to a company that fits your goals.
What is important to you?
Are you buying for yourself, to impress your friends, join a kitcar club, or impress the general public? (Attract attention?)
Maybe you are interested in the build process, to have something to occupy your free time (therapeutic) and to be a learning experience.
Want a school shop, car club, or family project?
If you become learn-ed, you will trek where many have gone before, into kitcar satisfaction!
Set a course.
1. Learn everything about hotrods, streetrods, stock cars, sports racing cars. The kind of frame construction, suspension, body reinforcements, how it mounts to frame, etc. Enhance what you've learned by reading some books about frame, chassis, metals, materials, aircraft construction, etc.
2. Study the construction layout of the Corvette. Corvette has been making fiberglass cars and more of them longer than anyone. Modern streetrods have followed the construction layout of the Corvette, even though it is not acknowledged.
3.Don't listen to one voice only when choosing the kit. Don't get lured in by a messiah; "we are the only kit company honest and trustworthy, we care about you, all the rest are greedy and horrible, and are out to get us." This is a tactic used by cult leaders to gather an unquestioning loyal following. The "everyone is against us" theme is a clue to this type of propaganda. Above all, in it's subtle forms, it really works! A lot of people get caught up in this trap. Slap yourself.
4. Keep an eye on the resale value of your kit. You probably aren't buying to make money, but it is an indicator of the value and reputation of the kit. The bottom line. Look at the selling price, not the asking price.
5. Keep in mind this is a very small market, they don't sell very many.
6. It's easier to buy cars, than to sell them. Be sure to get the one you really want.
7. One builder's experiences don't count one bit. Some people can't turn the wrench the right way or find the right end to use thereof. If someone has a hard time of it, it might be the constructor rather than the kit or company at fault.
8. You must see the kit in it's as delivered condition. Look at it. Can YOU make a car with this? Are you lost already? Any instructions included? If you only see a finished kit, you don't know what the builder did to make it look right. A good car builder can make anything fit and fix the bad fit, poor workmanship and lack of correct parts as they go.
9. Don't be enamored (captivated) by the company's building, advertising, sweet disposition, etc. You aren't taking these home with you. You end up back home alone with your kit and they have your money.
10. Don't expect to establish a warm and fuzzy relationship with the kit manufacturer. They have people trying to do this everyday saying they want to be dealers or they can "sell a whole bunch of these back at our corporate headquarters", etc. Just because they do not warm up to your shmoozing, doesn't mean they are bad or hard to deal with. Maybe they are serious about their business.
11. You can learn something about car construction by building a kitcar. But don't expect to learn how to diagnose any and every problem that may show up down the line. Diagnostics is an entirely different field of endeavor. Don't let a kit manufacturer lead you to believe you will be able to do every kind of repair on the car. Of course having assembled it, you may have the confidence to make an effort to do the repair.
12. Learn how to save money. Start a kitcar bank account and put in the money you would spend on other things you want in a lesser degree than that kit. Understand?
13. Don't plan on painting, upholstering or building an engine as these things may prevent you from finishing if you get bogged down trying to do something you aren't qualified to do.
14. Don't get involved in the kitcar scene ALL BY ITSELF. You will never learn enough about car construction to know what is good, bad, right or wrong.
15. Do attend all kinds of auto events, shows, swap meets, rallies.
16. Start looking at cars and see them from a new perspective. Look at hinges, door seals, fan shrouds, etc.
17. If there is a great kitcar club you know about, join them. There you can get the skinny on the kit scene and find help getting that kit licensed and road ready. Alas, there aren't many kitcar clubs around.
18. Don't take as gospel anything you read in the leading US kitcar magazines. Aside from the pretty pictures, they leave their mark on the industry and may well do more harm than good in the long haul.
Ever wonder why you are so confused?
They promote industry mis-information.
Remember the promise to check on the complaints about bad companies?
They only print articles about the big ad clients, you know, the three or four companies who buy one or two full-page ads every month. If a company doesn't advertise in the magazine, the magazine acts as though the company does not exist.
It's really a bad place to get information. Does anyone openly criticize those who are paying their wages?
It isn't "the industry" alone that is responsible for all of the problems, they couldn't do it without the magazines!!! The pretty ads and lack of scrutiny pave the way for the shady operators.
19. Learn how to weld with gas and arc/stick methods. Practice working with fiberglass and resin to get the feel for the process. These things might put you in touch with some people who can teach you a few tips and such. And it can help you recognize good workmanship when you see it.
20. If the company you are considering has been featured in Curt Scott's alert page, be sure to check the current status of that company. They may have corrected the problem and you can press on. Every company experiences growing pains in their first year; finding reliable suppliers, employees, etc. Don't allow one mistake to taint your attitude forever.
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Send comments or contributions (literary) to 3rdParty at firstname.lastname@example.org
8copyright 1999 kitplace
This page may only be redistributed in unedited form.
Updated Oct 2000
Written permission from the editor must be obtained to reprint or cite the information contained within this page.