Kit Car Comment

I was reading your article in the most recent issue of Circle Track magazine about having kit cars available and racers building their own cars, and I think it would be a great idea. A couple of things I like about the idea is that building a car out of a kit is I save money, because I just buy the parts and don’t have to pay labor for someone else to assemble.

Also I’m the type of person who wants to know exactly how everything works and fits together so if it breaks I can fix it, and I think just my opinion, that any good racer would want to know how the car is assembled and works. So I would be glad to see Circle Track magazine have an article or series of articles on building a car from scratch.

In conclusion, I just want to say that I enjoy reading your articles every month in Circle Track and just recently finished reading your Advance Race Car Chassis Technology book which I thought was very well written and easy to understand.

—Unsigned

Dear Unsigned,

You were the first responder among many who wanted to speak about the idea of kit cars. I first mentioned this idea, that is really an old idea, when I spoke about an article written in the very first issue of CT.

Since that mention came out, I have had many emails in support of the idea. Where it goes from here I don’t know, but we will be bouncing this idea off those in the industry who might be able to resurrect that plan with some current day modifications. Here are just a few representative responses.

Original Chrysler Kit Car Builder

I just finished reading your article on kit cars and it was a funny coincidence. My father still has that first issue of Circle Track magazine. It was like a holy grail to us because of the Chrysler kit car article.

I grew up just after the end of the kit car program and always wanted one. Every Mopar race car we constructed was based off of those blueprints. As a stroke of luck, I actually acquired an original kit car and raced it a few times.

My brother and I build mod’s and street stocks and talked about how cool it would be to take the current Camaro, Mustang, and Challenger and build and sell them as a kit car. They could have fuel injection, coil-on-plug and all. Wouldn’t it be awesome to see new Detroit iron battling on the local dirt track on Saturday night.

—Josh Sigler

Josh,

I had another racer contact me about the kit car and he told me that Chrysler copied his program for building that car and he had participated in the entire process. Now you tell me that in your area, the idea was very popular.

That is proof positive that this thing can work. What we need are a few race chassis businesses to put the time, money and effort into producing kits and see if it will again take off.

More Kit Car Comments

It’s Saturday morning, and I’m reading your comments (“Track Tech Q&A” Sept. ’13) as I drink my morning coffee before heading to the shop to work on my race car. I’m 68 years old and still racing in a Focus Midget at Skagit and Grays Harbor in Washington. As I look back on my racing experiences, I think the best racing was when I lived in Wichita, Kansas.

In 1976 we built a 100-inch Super Modified with a 305 Chevy, starting with just a bare Nance frame. We started in January and had it racing on Memorial Day weekend where I finished Second in the B-main at 81 Speedway.

That summer we raced tracks in Kansas and Oklahoma, generally two nights each week, and put 35,000 miles on the tow truck. There were races for Super Mods on every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday because we had so many cars for each race.

Why? Because we built them ourselves, including the engines and chassis using components that were not expensive and were readily available. Less expensive cars mean more competitors, bigger entries, more fans, and more tracks to race on. Let’s get back to running cars that start as a kit or bare frame and use less expense engines built at home using OME high-performance parts and a minimum of specialty racing components. Let’s get back to basics!

Thanks for your column,

—Steve Hughes; North Bend, WA

Steve,

This is just what I was looking for, interest in doing it yourself. As time goes by, people change as to what they are comfortable and able to do and building a car and engine from scratch is something I was used to back in the ’60s when I was growing up.

But now, people have the Walmart mentality and can just order and install whatever components they need. I find, through the huge response to this idea, that there are plenty of people still willing and able to do that very same thing in this day and age.

Maybe the idea is even more appealing now since we don’t really get to participate in constructing anything anymore. I remember getting a transistor radio kit when I was around 12 years old and soldering and assembling the entire circuit board and all of the wiring.

When I got done, it played music and it had been just a pile of assorted parts in the beginning. I was very proud of that effort and I think building a race car from scratch would provide the same thrill.