How to build a simple soapbox car

Written by meagan coelho
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How to build a simple soapbox car
Building and racing soapbox cars are hobbies passed down through generations. (tools image by Marek Kosmal from

Soapbox cars are small handmade carts without motors. They are usually used for racing purposes and most commonly are driven by boys or men. The hobby of building soapbox cars dates back many years and can be passed down through the generations. Although the designs of soapbox cars and materials used to build them have become more involved, there are still many simple ways to build one. There are kits available, but many people like to build the cars from scratch. With some determination and inspiration, soapbox car building can be a great experience.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Blueprint
  • Tools
  • Wood
  • Metal (optional)

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  1. 1

    Decide on what material you want to use to make the body of your soapbox car. If you will be using it for recreation, you can experiment with cheaper materials such a wood. If the car will be used for competing there may be regulations regarding what materials can be used. Choosing a sturdy material such as steel will result in a well-built soapbox car.

  2. 2

    Decide which type of front end or nose you would like to give your car. There are many choices such as pointed or rounded. If you are referring to a blueprint, there may be specific directions showing you how to obtain different nose shapes. After deciding this, you can start to piece the car together.

  3. 3

    Build the exterior and bottom of the car specific to the blueprint instructions. This is when the car starts to look more like a soapbox car. Bring the sides together to ensure that your car appears the way you want it to look.

  4. 4

    Start setting up the wheels for the car. The front wheels need to have the ability to move and steer while the back wheels will stay in a stationary position. There are many ways to set up the wheels including buying a kit or using a rope method to work with the steering wheel.

  5. 5

    Bring all the pieces of the soapbox car together. These should include the exterior, steering wheel and chassis, and the main body including a riding seat. Once the pieces align you will need to use a strong bonding agent to keep them together. Making sure the car is built sturdily and safely is very important. Go back to the blueprint to compare your car with the suggested directions.

Tips and warnings

  • Remember that your first soapbox car may not be perfect, but that "practice makes perfect."
  • Do not use any material than can easily wear or tear as it imposes a safety risk.

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