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Old 17 Sep 2020, 11:51 (Ref:4003002)   #1
Peider
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Building a race car from the ground up

Hello

I have watched classic racing for decades but in terms of the ins and outs of the actual sport I am a complete novice. As I might have the opportunity to become serious about joining in sometime next year, I am trying to collect as much information as possible and have had a fantastic reply from the HSCC that has filled many gaps.

There is one aspect, though, about which I have heard a lot of horror stories, especially when it comes to cost, and that is building a race car from a road-going base. I must stress here that I will NOT do ANY of the prep and maintenance work myself. Screwdrivers have been known to commit suicide when they saw me coming so turning a road car into something hot and fast would be commissioned out.

My main question is, therefore: is it true that building one is up to 75% more expensive than buying a ready-made race car?

And as an add-on: why would that be – what makes it so expensive?

Many thanks
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Old 17 Sep 2020, 17:58 (Ref:4003183)   #2
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I think it depends very much on what you want to achieve. If you want to build a car that's going to run at the front it will cost a lot more than one that runs towards the back of the pack but can still give you huge amounts of enjoyment.
Similarly, if you want to buy a front running car it will be priced accordingly more than an averagely competitive car.
I have always built the cars I've raced (7 touring cars over a 45 year period) but I always spent more than anticipated and it always took way longer than planned and maybe some times I could have bought a ready built car for less than the build cost. If you are not going to be involved with the mechanical build of the car (which to me was always part of the fun of motor racing) then it may be more practical to buy an existing race car than supervise others doing the work for you with the potential frustration of progress being slower than you want and the costs being greater.
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Old 17 Sep 2020, 19:37 (Ref:4003236)   #3
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delta has a real shot at the podium!delta has a real shot at the podium!delta has a real shot at the podium!delta has a real shot at the podium!delta has a real shot at the podium!
O k, so you want go motor racing. Then you buy a racing car.!!!! Best way to go is a Caterham.
O k, you want to build a racing car. Cost wise buy something that has raced and then do the rebuild."ask us on here first if you find a car "
My big advice to you is enjoy the build or rebuild. Do not set yourself a time schedule or what performance you want out of the car, enjoy the time building,meeting people ,asking for advice,sourcing parts and going to race meetings.
You could also go to the nearest motorway bridge and throw £50.00 notes into the wind.
Good luck and if you do embark on this adventure I hope you can have as much enjoyment as I have had these past 50 years of motor sport.
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Old 17 Sep 2020, 22:07 (Ref:4003300)   #4
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If you are having to pay for race preparation and maintenance then it makes sense to look for a pre-built race car, one with a bit of history, and a good finishing record is sensible. Whilst some items are lifed and need to be replaced, a lot of aspects remain current for a long time unless regulations change.

Race cars are subject to depreciation as much as anything else, so rather than a brand new build with a lot of new parts, you are buying an older build with a collection of now secondhand parts, some of those parts will require replacing sooner than the brand new parts on your new build.

If you are mechanically savvy, then converting a road car can be done on a more modest budget, as you are not paying for your own time.

Having some hands-on skills is useful on a race weekend, because just occasionally you've had a bit of misfortune but there is time to get things done. There is always a list of turn-around jobs that need doing between qualifying and practice, and even if you learn to do all those, that frees your hired help to concentrate on the emergency fix to get you out for the next session.

When we were running several single seaters there was someone who you could absolutely rely on to have put all the batteries on charge, checked tyres / tyre pressures, refuelled the car and got it ready which was a weight off everyone else mind when they are also having to frantically rebuild a car thats been into the barriers.

We had a wipe clean board printed up with all the routine jobs listed which got ticked off each time and that meant anyone could see what jobs had to be done.
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Old 17 Sep 2020, 22:38 (Ref:4003303)   #5
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Paul D should be qualifying in the top 10 on the gridPaul D should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Mysteriously, used race cars are one of those commodities that are often worth less than the sum of their parts.

This means that you can generally buy a car for less than you could buy the parts to build it - and that's BEFORE you factor in paying someone who knows what they're doing to build it for you if, it's something you can't undertake yourself.

And when you consider that, at today's prices, anyone who knows what they're doing is likely to be charging upwards of £50 an hour, then you can see how paying someone to build a car from scratch - which is a very labour intensive operation - can end up costing a considerable sum.

As has already been said, you need to establish your objectives and decide what & where you want to race. If it's the type of car that's not too difficult to source as a road-going version, then you could always source a suitable base car, get the basic safety requirements in place and then get racing, and develop the car as you go. This allows you to spread the cost, but also gives you the opportunity to see if racing is for you before you get in over your head financially. Because, although those of us who love doing it can't understand how anyone could not love it, the fact remains that there are those who try it and decide it's not for them...
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Old 18 Sep 2020, 00:09 (Ref:4003317)   #6
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Lancsbreaker should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridLancsbreaker should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridLancsbreaker should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Building on what has been said already, and to answer your questions:
1: Yes - unless you happen to be buying a proven championship winner - which would probably be a bad idea, because as a beginner you aren't going to replicate its previous performance, and may therefore get discouraged.
2: Because time is expensive, experienced time doubly so. Plus starting from scratch involves sourcing a base car that someone else values as a road car, then throwing huge amounts of expensive parts and even more expensive time at, with no guarantee of success.



Given that, my advice would be to try a few of the "arrive and drive" companies - in my world a typical one would be Bianco for an Alfa - and see if you actually love the sport from the inside. If you do, you'll have a better idea of where to start from
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Old 18 Sep 2020, 04:05 (Ref:4003350)   #7
Gerard C
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A lot of good things here. You should read and read again at least Paul D advice its very wise and adapted to your question/ situation. At the end of the day certainly Richard's advice is the best you can follow:
My advice would be to try a few of the "arrive and drive" companies - in my world a typical one would be Bianco for an Alfa - and see if you actually love the sport from the inside. If you do, you'll have a better idea of where to start from.
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Old 18 Sep 2020, 07:24 (Ref:4003363)   #8
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If cost is your main concern and you are new to historic racing, the best thing to do is buy an existing car that is eligible for the series that you are interested in entering. Given that you are not good with a spanner paying someone else to build a car is the most expensive route to take.

HSCC Roadsports (both) are a good place to start. Alternatively, if you want to race a car which is eligible for other series then it's hard to beat an FIA MGB. MGBs are also easy to sell if you want to move on to another marque.

Converting a road car will never give you a car which is light enough to be competitive.
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Old 18 Sep 2020, 09:17 (Ref:4003423)   #9
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Before I say anything else I feel obliged to plagiarise many other users here at TenTenths and stress that I feel overwhelmed by the sheer enthusiasm, support and friendliness on these forums. Never in my life had I expected such a response and I cannot thank everyone enough.

HSCC Road Sports was mentioned. I spoke to Kevin Kivlochan who thought nothing of taking time out of his busy schedule to talk to me on the phone for ages. Like you, he suggested I buy a ready-to-use car (an MGB in his case) and go racing to have some fun to simply see whether it will actually be the right thing for me. Although I must go with Paul D on this one and say: “How could it possibly NOT be?” I must not forget David, Kev’s counterpart on the 70s side at the HSCC, who also provided me with lots of information.

A ready car is, obviously, the way to go (a Ford GT40 maybe?! ). So I might see some of you in the future, hopefully not after having shunted you into the fence.

By the way, delta, I have taken a fresh batch of £50 notes off the washing line this morning. All I need now is a picturesque motorway bridge.
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Old 18 Sep 2020, 10:40 (Ref:4003462)   #10
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An MG B sounds like an excellent choice, reasonably fast, fun and easy to drive, reliable, good parts availability, many specialists, all the recipes to maintain and prepare it are known, not too expensive to buy and steady resale value. Many friends to meet with the same model on or out of track!!!
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Old 18 Sep 2020, 15:11 (Ref:4003539)   #11
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Just a clarification. If by "road going car" you mean a car you drive to the track its feasible of course (MOT, insurance and so on) but in fact not many racers do it. A trailer should be reconsidered just in case…
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Old 18 Sep 2020, 16:09 (Ref:4003568)   #12
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I agree with all that has been said. I've built four cars, three of which cost substantially more than they can sell for (one is an original works touring car). I have enjoyed driving them all and I've made some good friends whilst doing so. Not sure about single seaters but there's a good team involved with FF2000 and the cars are relatively economic.

Bang for buck something with a roof would be the MGB. There was one for sale for £25k on racecarsdirect recently. Loads of spares and specialists available. To compete in the 6hrs (or any race longer than 90mins) it would need a much bigger fuel tank but if, as advertised, it is FIA compliant with an HTP then it seems to me, it would be a bargain.

This car would get you on the grid with the MG Car Club, The HSCC, Masters Gent Drivers, Equipe GTS, GT and Sports Car Cup, HRDC and a number of others. So ticks a lot of boxes. That said a Mini Cooper S would also be a good bet, about the same price as a MGB, (most of which are around 35k) it would get you on the grid with Masters, HSCC, CTCRC, HRDC and U2TC.

But whatever you decide make sure it's something you want to drive and will enjoy.
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In the current circumstances, we need to do all we can to help local businesses. With this in mind I suggest we all schedule our visits to the pub so we can keep the 2m social distancing and whilst there get completely slamied for two hours before handing over to the next shift.

It probably won't stop the virus but nobody would care.
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Old 18 Sep 2020, 16:26 (Ref:4003575)   #13
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zefarelly should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridzefarelly should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridzefarelly should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
All good words and advice from seasoned racers and preparers.

I'd be considering not only car budget but maintenenace and running budget. Not just moneary but time.

Complexity costs both. It took 2 of us 6 hours to do a full service on my Cortina the other weekend. We know the car inside out and its a simple thing to work on. A complex car with specialist needs and you can double it easy!

Probably £100 in assorted juices. Most production based cars are well supported in parts. You will eat consumables like tyres, brakes etc at an alarming rate racing competitively. A set of 4 slipwel never grip Dunlops is £800+ and you will shred a pair of fronts in most cars in a season if not sooner.

A saloon car is fun, GT cars have a lot more race options, MGB being the obvious choice, and as good a bang per bucj as you're going to get.

As a first car I would recommend doing anything I've done! In wanting to do something a bit different, and keeping it original/period correct I've been down some long dark scary alley ways before seeing any light at the end!!!
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Old 18 Sep 2020, 16:31 (Ref:4003578)   #14
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Originally Posted by zefarelly View Post

As a first car I would recommend doing anything I've done! In wanting to do something a bit different, and keeping it original/period correct I've been down some long dark scary alley ways before seeing any light at the end!!!
Was thinking of you when I posted. Your route with the Cortina GT is different but not outlandish.

As a guide the attached album shows you what a £750.00 MGB from E bay looks like being restored to race.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/tVTBVzMGPwxWfaEd6
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In the current circumstances, we need to do all we can to help local businesses. With this in mind I suggest we all schedule our visits to the pub so we can keep the 2m social distancing and whilst there get completely slamied for two hours before handing over to the next shift.

It probably won't stop the virus but nobody would care.
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Old 18 Sep 2020, 17:15 (Ref:4003595)   #15
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Originally Posted by Peter Mallett View Post
As a guide the attached album shows you what a £750.00 MGB from E bay looks like being restored to race.
Looks like a £75 000 now! Cant believe the cost of few pictures…
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