I got into the idea of building a kitcar a couple of years ago. I've amassed enough stuff that I have bought because they were cheap and thought I might need it in the future that I can actually start now.
I know what is involved in it, I've read loads and have spoken to loads of people. I know that there are limits to what you can do with a production car, the more I've gotten into it, the more I'm surprised how many corners manufacturers cut to save a bit of money.
The first step is the scariest - the spaceframe, this is an example from a Caterham:
It can be lifted by one man, it is a simple lattice of hollow, steel tubing. It looks weak, but is incredibly strong. If you launched this into a wall, it wouldn't twist or bend. (A production car is based on a cost-effective, ladder frame:
or a pretend 'spaceframe':
It is part strengthened by the shell that sits on top of it. The shell is redesigned prior to this, so large pieces of sheet metal are removed to save money. The fact that cars need strut braces to reduce them bending round corners is a pretty good indication. The Model T-Ford used this design, and it has been in use ever since.)
The spaceframe needs welding to a good level of accuracy and symmetry, and also considering what is going in (engine/gearbox). The spaceframe can be pre built, they're from about 500 quid. If I compare this one more time to a conventional production car chassis:
A kitcar chassis has protection all round, from the sides, the front, the rear, and even above. A normal car has to meet the minimum of safety standards to pass the tests. Even driving the 'voted safest car of the year', I still wouldn't like to have a crash in it at anything above 30mph, especially if it rolls over. When a kitcar enters it's own Single Vehicle Approval, even a sharp edged nut on the rear number plate is deemed dangerous!!
I'm sticking with vauxhall power, including either a Manta or Omega F25 gearbox, however I'm wondering about the running gear.
I'm looking forward to spending loads of time on it, it's the norm to spend most nights and every other weekend doing it, and not have anything drivable for a couple of years (!). It'd be pretty awesome to have some to drive that you built from scratch, for a single purpose. I guess I'm just sick of production cars (and getting my arms cut to shreds for the sake of the manufacturer's cost cutting reductions).
Sorry about sounding like a school book!