Kit car owner says ‘everything was a challenge’ as pieces turned into vehicle in two years

Kit car owner says ‘everything was a challenge’ as pieces turned into vehicle in two years

01/03/2021

Caterham expert discusses assembling his kit car at home

Fast forward to 2015 and the kit had been ordered, 24 months later the car was built with no experience other than changing the oil and brake pads on his motorbike. Kit cars are exactly what they say on the tin, road cars or racers delivered in parts and constructed by the owner themselves.

Neil admits the world takes about 250 hours with construction two or three times a week but counts as “ten points on your bucket list” when the project is completed.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Mr Hammons said: “I started riding motorbikes when I was 28 and as I got older, I started doing my own servicing on them and realised I quite enjoyed it.

“I can’t really recall what got me back into kit cars but it just felt like a huge challenge, from changing the brake pads on a motorbike to building a car.

“I was finally getting some time to myself as my kids grew up, so I joined a few online forums and started reading blogs from other builders.

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“I then decided life was just too short to sit around, thinking about it, so I took the plunge and ordered my kit in July 2015.”

Having researched various designs, Neil settled on a custom Great British Sportscars (GBS) Zero vehicle.

Visually similar to a Caterham Roadster, the GBS Zero self build custom kit comes with everything builders may need but at a considerable price.

One Chassis, wishbone and pedals, panels and a set of bolt kite and shock bolts is included but will set drivers back over £4,500.

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For the price, GBS claims the design “takes away the challenges normally associated with self builds” making it suitable for beginners.

Finance options are available for those looking to pay in instalments, while GBS makes clear the car can be used on both the road and racetrack.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Neil said: “I spent about 6 months reading other blogs and lurking on forums, reading what others were doing and the problems they faced.

“By the time I ordered my starter kit (the basic chassis, the bodywork, suspension, lights etc), I had a rough idea of what order to do the work in and I just went from there.

“Kits do not have build manuals so I simply followed the rough route that other builders had taken.

“Everything was a challenge for me; I had no experience of most of the work – it was simply a matter of knowing you had to bolt part A onto part B, find the right spanner, drill the right hole etc.

“Fortunately, kit cars are much simpler than a normal car; no power steering, aircon, electric windows, ABS, alarms, immobilisers etc.

‘I didn’t have to paint my car either and I got help with some bits (doors and roof, for example).”

Kit car specialists at AK Sportscars told Express.co.uk last month that the “phones went crazy” over lockdown as motor fans looked for projects to pass the time of day.

The models must pass an Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) before they can be used legally on the roads.

The government warns issues with headlamp aims, brake pedals, fog lamps and even seat belts are common reasons why cars fail to pass after being built.

When asked whether he was concerned over the safety aspect of building his own car, Neil had only one response.

He added: “Unlike a plane, if a car breaks down, you roll to a stop, you don’t fall out of the sky like a brick.

“So, no, I was never worried about any dangers.

“I fully expected my car to break down more often than my family car (which it has) but I was never concerned that that was a safety risk to me or anyone else.”

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