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Author: Subject: Cost of building vs buying
IndiaTango

posted on 27/8/20 at 06:19 PM Reply With Quote
Cost of building vs buying

Hello,

Apologies for the huge question! So I really really want to start racing next season (or the one after) and am torn over trying to build a car vs buying one race ready.

My question really comes down to this.. is it possible to build a race reader locost car nowadays cheaper than it would be to buy one second hand? This isn't the only determining factor I know but the cost of racing is a real stretch for me as it is, so preference aside i've got to go for the route that is most feasible for me economically.

A couple of people i've spoken to have suggested that building from scratch is always going to cost way more, but then reading through Ron Champion's book he seems to have gone to extremely great lengths to be thrifty (cutting aluminum sheet from old vans, moulding his own glass fibre nose cone etc) - I imagine that a lot of people who build locost's probably don't go to quite the same lengths as he did. At the same time there are parts like the roll cage which, as I understand it, are going to cost a fair bit regardless of the approach.

So that's it really - Is it completely inevitable that building the locost will cost me more than buying one second hand, or is it still possible to save money by being thrifty?

Thanks in advance for any opinions. Also this is my first post on here so apologies if it's in the wrong place.

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perksy

posted on 27/8/20 at 07:27 PM Reply With Quote
Welcome


Just my 2p but buy one ready built, unless you put a high value in the building experience itself

Very few builds come in on budget...

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IndiaTango

posted on 27/8/20 at 07:49 PM Reply With Quote
Hello

Thanks For responding. That makes 3/3 people i've asked all say to buy one! I do value making one very highly but perhaps that will have to be a project for a few years down the road. Now if only i could find one for sale!
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gremlin1234

posted on 27/8/20 at 08:01 PM Reply With Quote
buy one, and use it soon

then if you enjoy it, build a better one for yourself over the next few years, (then sell the original)

edit: or do perpetual upgrades to it ;-)

[Edited on 27/8/20 by gremlin1234]

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steve m

posted on 28/8/20 at 06:57 AM Reply With Quote
I also say buy one first, and if its for you build one yourself,

steve





Thats was probably spelt wrong, or had some grammer, that the "grammer police have to have a moan at




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jps

posted on 28/8/20 at 07:20 AM Reply With Quote
I would think building over buying only makes sense if you have all the skills and facilities at your fingertips already. E.g you’re a fabricator with your own machine shop. Even then you’ll be spending a lot of time on it.

In terms of racing, again cheaper if you’ve got access to things like a suitable towcar/trailer for free through your work. If not, you often see race cars for sale with their trailer.

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Irony

posted on 28/8/20 at 08:41 AM Reply With Quote
People only build a car for the experience and challenge. Only very rarely can you save money over buying. If you own a machine shop etc and you drop onto working on it when you have a spare hour etc, then it might make sense.

In my opinion you get three types of people on here. Builders, Drivers and Builder/Drivers. Builder/Drivers are the rarest of the bunch. A lot of people build a car and then don't drive that much. A lot of drivers abandon the build along the way and buy.

Which are you?

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IndiaTango

posted on 28/8/20 at 09:32 AM Reply With Quote
Yep, I don't have my own machine shop sadly. I have access to a local (basic) metal workshop and own a fair bit of kit for basic stuff (compressor, mig welder, pillar drill, sockets and jacks etc) but nothing that comes close to a proper workshop.

Building is something i would asbolutely love to do as I've always loved building things and working on my car regardless of whether or not it saves me money. I'm trying to be realistic atm though as I'm at the bottom end of budgets and racing will be expensive for me even if you take the car cost out!

So in the long run i would very much like to build and drive but from what you are all saying it's too ambitious for me in my current circumstances.

On a tangent, I'd be curious to know where most people find race ready cars? I've been looking on m750 classifieds, ebay etc with no luck but then perhaps they only show up at the end of the season?

I did look at ProComp but hesitant to contact them as i'm fairly confident a new car will be well out of my budget! I gather they make up quite a large proportion of the grid though..

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40inches

posted on 28/8/20 at 09:43 AM Reply With Quote
This one? https://www.locostbuilders.co.uk/forum/34/viewthread.php?tid=217270
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IndiaTango

posted on 28/8/20 at 10:06 AM Reply With Quote
I actually saw that one the other day - it does look like a good start but would need work to put it back to 750 racing regs (like putting an xflow 1300 engine back in it for a start).

Obviously much less ambitious than starting from scratch though. Pretty tempted by it if it's not sold already!.

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Deckman001

posted on 28/8/20 at 10:30 AM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by IndiaTango
I actually saw that one the other day - it does look like a good start but would need work to put it back to 750 racing regs (like putting an xflow 1300 engine back in it for a start).

Obviously much less ambitious than starting from scratch though. Pretty tempted by it if it's not sold already!.


Don't forget, an engine swap will be easier than a whole car build !! ( including an engine)

Jason

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Mr Whippy

posted on 28/8/20 at 11:07 AM Reply With Quote
Ron Champion's book is so unrealistic it should not be used to determine the actual cost of building a car. Slightly concerned you describe the "the cost of racing is a real stretch for me as it is" although I do not race myself, fiends do and the amount they spend certainly puts me off, I don't think it is ever a cheap hobby.
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procomp

posted on 28/8/20 at 07:21 PM Reply With Quote
Hi. As somebody who has built 20 or so Locost race cars, the short answer is buy not build.

Budget for 9K if doing whole car self build.
If buying a chassis kit and building budget 12K
If buying second hand mid field car budget 5-6K
If buying front runner / championship winning car budget 7- 8K

Cars currently for sale Locost championship Xflox 2.5K needs 3K spending on it.
Mazda Locost championship car 12K
I currently have 2 LA GOLDS for sale. 1 needs tidying and work 2ltr zetec race in the sports specials, northern sports , Mag sevens and is IVA tested. 10K
And 1 more with ST 170 eng 230Hp championship winner ready to race in sports specials, northern sports, mag sevens, castle combe GT. 15K

There are people out there who will claim they can build one for 6K but as has been proved that is not possible if you actually want to race it reliably.

Edit to say. A realistic budget for a seasons racing Inc: all entry fees, race licence, club membership, travel fuel in tow car and race, few replacement parts, 1 or 2 B&B, couple of test days. 6K

Also dont get too hung up on the 750mc locost championship, there is plenty of other places to race if you find a car that is already built with a zetec etc.
I converted a 1300 xflow ( chris pyke) to zetec sports specials and won class B, 2nd overall cheaper than converting a xflow to mazda locost spec

Cheers Matt

[Edited on 28/8/20 by procomp]

[Edited on 28/8/20 by procomp]

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nick205

posted on 1/9/20 at 02:28 PM Reply With Quote
Having put an MK Indy together I personally enjoyed the process immensely. Cost wise, I have to say it costs more to build a car than to buy a built one. I'd imagine that applies even more if you want to compete.

Personally I'd say buy a built car and get competing. If you enjoy it then consider building a car. Maybe even start building while you've still got the bought car (don't leave yourself without a car).

I'd love to build another. If I get there I'll be buying a part built and finishing it though to save time and cost.

Note - I don't compete, only road driving.

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SJ

posted on 1/9/20 at 03:06 PM Reply With Quote
The build question on cost is definitely 'how long is a piece of string'.

I built mine in 2006 from an MK kit using as much as possible from an almost free Sierra donor, plus second hand parts as much as possible (exhaust etc.) and it cost me about £5500 to get through SVA.

No doubt I could have bought one for less.

I wouldn't build another, though I enjoyed the process, but it took 12 months so that was a year of lost driving.

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SJ

posted on 1/9/20 at 03:06 PM Reply With Quote
The build question on cost is definitely 'how long is a piece of string'.

I built mine in 2006 from an MK kit using as much as possible from an almost free Sierra donor, plus second hand parts as much as possible (exhaust etc.) and it cost me about £5500 to get through SVA.

No doubt I could have bought one for less.

I wouldn't build another, though I enjoyed the process, but it took 12 months so that was a year of lost driving.

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JMW

posted on 1/9/20 at 03:20 PM Reply With Quote
if you buy one that has already been competed you will know what times it is capable of as a minimum, so you won't only be buying a car but a known track record as well. Doesn't mean you will match those times straightaway though. But you might, who knows?

Even if you do buy an "off the shelf" racer you will find it hard to resist tinkering with it. Try not to at first unless it is something obvious like safety or comfort or operability.

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