How to build kit cars

Updated November 21, 2016

Building kit cars is a hobby enjoyed by many car enthusiasts. Many kit cars are entered into contests. If you are just getting started, you want to start with a reputable company and one that provides plenty of instructions and support. You also have to decide what type of kit car you are going to assemble. Will you pick a classic from the 1930s or the 1960s? What colour would you like your kit car to be? You can enter kit car clubs, and you can even subscribe to a kit car magazine, such as the one listed in Resources. Building kit cars is not easy, but it is a rewarding and interesting hobby.

Order your kit car. Once you get your crate of kit car parts, buy the engine, transmission and suspension, and possibly a few other parts, depending on what your kit car crate contains. You need a large space to work on your kit car inside so it is protected from the weather. Go through your parts and label them so it is easy to find and assemble the car.

Level and support your frame on jack stands. Once it is on the jack stands, go over the frame with a wire brush or grinder to remove any sharp edges. This also helps make the frame shine if you are going to show your kit car when you are finished building it. You can also spray paint it. When finished painting the frame, mount the front suspension components. You also must install the lower control arm to the front crossmember, then install the upper control arm.

Find a friend to help you do the spring and shock installation. It can be the most dangerous part of building a kit car, so make sure you have a "spotter." Next install the spindle and the rack and pinion. Once the front suspension is finished, move to the back of the kit car and mount the rear end as well as the springs and shocks that are with the rear end. Keep that friend around to help you.

Run the critical brake and fuel lines next. Make sure the lines look neat when you are finished and that you do not have any kinks or crimps in them. Mount the master brake cylinder and booster to the frame. Then finish with the front brakes, rear brakes and an emergency brake.

Add the wheels next and finish with the fuel lines, tank and fuel gauge. Add the steering wheel and anything to go with the steering mechanism.

Install the engine, after you have carefully considered what kind of engine you need to install in your kit car when you are building it. Decide if you will buy a smogged engine. If you want to avoid a smogged engine, you'll need to buy one that was made before 1974. Regardless, you should contact your state's Department of Motor Vehicles and see what type of rules are required for the engine you choose. If you are going to use an engine that is newer, you may have to also purchase anti-smog equipment.

Align the front wheels and mount the body over everything you have built. Do this carefully, and get the help of a friend. Next, sand the body in preparation for painting. Finally, paint it and put on finishing touches.


Inspect and repair any used parts you are using for your kit car. You can also paint older parts to make them look new. One kit car company is Street Beasts. Their phone number is 1-888-888-6645. They have an excellent service and support department to help you build your kit car.

Things You'll Need

  • Kit car pieces
  • Other automobile parts such as an engine, transmission (will depend on the kit)
  • Tools for assembly
  • Sandpaper
  • Spray paint
  • Bolts
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