Kit Cars & Instruction Manuals: 7 Important Facts (For Beginners)

Apart from the obvious need to drive a special-looking mobility piece, a lot of people may want to build their cars just to take pride in it. However, is it as simple as they make it look? Do you need some kind of experience? And how do you go about it? Let’s dive in!

Do Kit Cars Come With Instructions?
Kit cars come with instructions. The instructions are detailed but you will typically need to have experience with engines and fixing cars.

Here’s everything you need to know before you decide whether a kit car is something for you!

How Hard Is It To Build A Kit Car?

Whether or not you have a manual guiding you don’t rule out the fact that certain basic skills are needed to assemble a kit car. Your skill level also affects the level of difficulty you will encounter.

Irrespective of the type of kit car:

  • Unique Motorcars,
  • E.R.A.,
  • Shell Valley,
  • Everett-Morrison,
  • Lone Star, or
  • Factory Five Racing Mk4 roadster.

Some kits come with build options.

For instance, the FFR kits include basic instructions that you can follow to build your kit car “by the book”. Or, if your skills are wide enough and your pockets deep enough, you can build it as you’d like no matter how complex.

Now, even when you stick to the basic build and didn’t do any major deviations or modifications, you could still encounter some problems as an amateur.

We also have an article here with How Fast are Kit Cars?

Some of the problems who might encounter would be during the fitting process.

For the kit parts to fit together better, you may have to perform some additional technical tasks that require skills. Such as, welding and/or trimming some areas like the aluminum panel so that they can line up and/or fit like a glove.

Wiring also has its challenges. Whether you’re installing a donor engine or a crate engine, you must figure out the appropriate wiring so that you don’t begin stripping out both important and unnecessary wires.

Even when you buy pre-made components with the kit, it’s still not a plug-and-play deal.

Building a kit car shouldn’t be a solo journey. Invite your friends who may have some knowledge or experience to make it more fruitful and fun. It also helps to join kit car clubs and/or forums.

A community of experienced friends and fellow kit car enthusiasts will readily provide answers to questions and share helpful experiences.

Some forum friends who live around your area may come around and help you or show you how they did theirs. And if there are people whose own cars are also in-progress, you could all join hands together.

A collectively completed project is more than fun.

Still on the matter of instructions…

How Detailed Are The Instructions For Kit Cars?

The manual that accompanies a kit provides detailed instructions about assembling the car, fabrication, and improving the design of the kit car. It includes photographs, detailed assistance, and explains the entire building process for the kit owner.

Instructions include; how to assemble suspension, complete chassis, install steering and brakes, lights, wiring, and engine/powertrain. More so, when specified donor car parts are not available, the manual also shows how to redesign.

Go through your build manual over and over again before you begin to build your kit car project. Even while you’re building, going through the build manual should be a strong habit.

Every section of the manual should be carefully examined and followed irrespective of the type of kit you’re building.

Here are a few common topics usually covered in the kit car instruction manual;

  1. Chassis
  2. Suspension
  3. Powertrain
  4. Safety/Ergo/Interior
  5. Materials/Fabrication
  6. Fasteners/Joining
  7. Construction/Assy (Basic)
  8. Construction/Assy (Advanced)
  9. Electrical

Some kit car manuals are more thorough than others. The Factory Five Mk4 Roadster Complete Kit manual, for example, is very logically displayed and extremely thorough.

However, if you already own an FFR Mk4, you may not need the manual to build yourself a Cobra replica. But, it’s still a manual and using it will make the job a lot faster and easier.

The FFR Mk4 manual is still one of the most detailed instruction manuals one can have.

Regardless of your kit choice, this manual provides you a user-friendly advantage, with a completely colored display, photo descriptions.

At every stage and during each step of the car building process, you’ll easily identify and understand what you should do. More so, they have a kit car forum, where they provide additional information and instructions on how to assemble your Cobra.

Can I Buy The Instructions Without The Kit?

Usually, a kit car package includes the kit car instructional guide.

As soon as you order a kit from a kit car manufacturing company, they send along with an instruction manual. This is included, as a matter of practice, to enable you to easily assemble your newly purchased kit.

However, Amazon sells just about everything.

So, with as little as $23, you may be able to purchase hardcover copies of kit car instructions and building guides.

Some kit car forums also have electronic copies for download by users. These soft copies could be free or paid depending on the particular forum.

Where Can I Get Help When I Don’t Understand The Instructions?

So you have all the assembling instructions detailed in your manual, telling you what parts you’ll be needing, and how to fit it.

But, what happens when you don’t understand the manual that was provided along with your kit car?

In cases where you may find any part of the detailed process difficult, here are a few things you can do;

  1. You may contact the manufacturing company for support. They always respond and someone is always willing to walk you through it.
  2. You may join kit car forums and clubs, where you can ask questions or link up with forum friends living in your area to give you a hand. (Be careful though, there’s real evil in our world).
  3. You may visit as many websites as you can to get information that will set you on the right path. Our website is an example. You can find a load of information on kit cars on our blog.

How Tech-Savvy Should I Be To Build A Kit Car?

Tech-savvy? I don’t know how geeky you have to be. But, the ability to follow instructions carefully? I’ll rate that 100%. You may not be very techy, but try to gather as much information as you can on kit cars – especially the one you intend building.

The information you need includes; information about the kit, as well as the vehicle that inspired its parts.

Some others include; what parts you need to purchase, where to get such parts, how to identify superior-high-quality parts, and how to acquire them.

Another important factor is to know what car parts are needed to support your build. The right suppliers, tools and additional building demands are also key considerations. It also helps to find out the personal demands of building a car like what is personally required from you.

Where applicable, you may need to purchase a donor vehicle. Ideally, the donor vehicle and all its parts should be in good running condition.

Parts like:

  • The brakes,
  • suspension,
  • steering,
  • controls,
  • and other parts should be in great condition.

Don’t be too critical of the interior and exterior body appearance of the car, since you’re just buying it for parts.

Therefore, you should only examine all the parts that matter before you make a purchase.

How Long Does It Take To Build A Kit Car?

This here is a tricky question and there’s no simple answer.

The length of time required for building your kit car is usually dependent on multiple factors, as follows;

  1. How mechanically inclined is the builder of the vehicle?
  2. What prior experiences and how much of it do you have on building a kit car?
  3. Which particular kit are you using?
  4. Are you using new parts to build your kit or you’re using a donor vehicle?
  5. Is the kit car you’re building meant to be street legal?
  6. Will your engine be turn-key, or are you completely assembling your engine yourself?
  7. How much time do you have to devote to your kit car project?

It is not unusual that a kit car can be put together in a short time, but that only depends on how familiar you are with it. However, an amateur or a normal person without any tech experience, who’s only devoting spare time to the kit car project will spend more time.

The time such a person would consume will range from two months to eighteen months.

All these still depends on one factor – whether or not you know or have an idea of what you’re doing.

Check out more kit car articles here.

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