project car on road

10 Key Things You Need to Know Before Building Your First Project Car

A car enthusiast’s ultimate dream is to build a project car. Cars are the most recycled items in the world. You can save a car from the recycling center and turn it into your dream car.

Too often though, that dream project car can turn into a nightmare really fast. Next thing you know, you’re spending more money and time into a project that’s gone from fun to frustrating.

How can your project car turn into a massive success that you’ll love and your friends will drool over? Read these 10 tips before you start building a project car.

1. Pick the Right Project

Your very first step is to pick the right project. You want to have a car that’s affordable and something that you can turn into an amazing machine.

There are project cars of all types, from the inexpensive cars to a bank account busting project. You want to make sure that you pick the right car to build, it fits your budget, and you can do what you want.

When you pick your car, you want to make sure that there’s no rust on the vehicle, that’s a sign of damage that will probably get worse over time. If you’re going to invest all of that time and money, you want your project car to last.

2. Plan Out Your Build

Now that you have a project in mind, let’s plan out your build. You’re going to want to research everything. Research different models, different people to work on your car, tools, everything related to the project.

There’s a good chance that you’ll find someone who has tried what you’re trying to accomplish with your build.

3. Get the Right Tools

You’re going to need tools to complete your project car. You may have some on hand, but there will be tools that you need. When you’re buying tools, you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting a quality tool.

It’s easy to go to the store and look at two screwdrivers and get the one that’s less expensive. Just know that you get what you pay for. Don’t skimp on quality on parts and tools for the sake of price. You’ll pay for it sooner or later when those tools and parts fail.

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4. Prepare to Run Out to Get a New Tool

As you’re building your project car, you’ll find that you’re ordering parts and tools at a breakneck pace. There’s always going to be something that you’re missing or forgot to order.

5. Have Patience

There are going to be two certainties with your project. The first is that it will take longer than you expect, even if you plan it down to a T.

The second is that it will cost more than you budgeted for. Those are just the realities of working on a project car.

Once you realize that, you can add a contingency line to your budget and you can relax and enjoy the project.

6. Don’t Rush Your Project Car

Since you set a deadline for yourself and the project is going more slowly that you’d like you’re going to want to rush the project. Don’t do it.

When you rush your project car, the work will be shoddy. Like any bad car work, that can cause long term damage to your car. You want to do the job right the first time.

You’ll be so glad when your project is complete and you’re driving your car around loud and proud. You’ll want to make sure that you take care of the car by getting it detailed regularly, too. Read more about that.

7. Minimize Costs Where You Can

There’s a good possibility that your project costs can get a little out of control. With that in mind, you want to cut costs where you can.

You don’t want to cut costs on parts and tools because you could compromise quality. You can compare your labor costs against the cost of having someone do some of the work for you. You want to do as much of the work as possible before turning the work over to a mechanic.

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8. Organization and Systems Matter

Plastic bags and labels are going to become your friends. It’s critical to have all of your parts, especially the small ones labeled.

Your systems and organization will determine how fast you move through the project. After all, you don’t want to spend an hour looking for one part.

9. Going for Speed? Be Prepared to Pay

A project car built for speed is expensive. Let’s say that you want to turbocharge your project car. You might love the speed that would be added to the car. Your car and the rest of the build might not.

If you’re going for speed, you have to plan accordingly and make sure that your body and parts can handle the level of power you plan to put in your car.

10. Have Another Set of Wheels in the Meantime

Yeah, you don’t want to be without a car while you’re working on your project car. You’re only going to make life miserable for yourself. Remember, your project car is going to be more time and money than you thought.

Don’t depend on getting the job done by a certain date so you can have a car again. You’ll want to have another car in the meantime.

Ready to Build Your Project Car?

A project car is every car enthusiast’s dream. You have the power to transform an old clunker into something amazing. When it’s done well, it’s a project that you’ll be proud of as you’re driving around town, getting a lot of attention.

The road to having a perfect project car isn’t easy. It takes planning, patience, and the right tools to make it happen. When you have those things in place and use the tips on this list, your project car will be a showstopper.

Are you ready to get started on your project car? Check out the auto repair manuals on this site and find the one for your dream project.