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April 11, 2016

The lost art of building

by Paul Daniel

I love building stuff!

EAA, experimental aircraft association, oshkosh wi, EAA, kit cars, ford cobraBy Paul Daniel

You would not have to walk more than ten feet in our house to see examples of my work. I’ve been building plastic model car kits since I was a kid and it seems like only yesterday that my dad sent me a box of balsa which would become my first radio control airplane. About 30 years later my plane builds have become more complex like the F-16 with a real turbine. This picture was taken two years ago at the EAA’s (Experimental Aircraft Association’s) AirVenture event held every year in Oshkosh, WI. Yup, that’s me, and my daughter Meg, on the ramp with my jet’s big brother thanks to the USAF Thunderbird team that had performed that week. The entire team autographed my plane. Fun stuff.

I also love to tinker

That would be evident if you poked your head in my garage. I do all but the big stuff on my Suzuki Hayabusa while next to it sits a 1975 Honda 360T I’m turning into a Cafe Racer. This is a hot segment of the motorcycle market. Same goes for our 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and our aging 2008 Chrysler Pacifica which is starting to show its age at 140,000 miles.

There’s also all my radio control airplanes and slot cars to occupy my time. So let’s add another money sucking hole, a kit car, like a Shelby Cobra. Would love to have the real deal but that would set me back around a million bucks or more. MORE, lots more like this example sold at a Barrett-Jackson auction. I already tried the restoration gig with a 1970 AMX but after the 390 V8 blew up, and I found the body was more bondo than metal, that was enough. It was an expensive lesson.

Photo: Discovery

Photo: Discovery

Now a Cobra kit car could be just the ticket. It would be so cool tooling around in a ride like this. My buddies would ask how I could afford a Cobra and I would respond by telling them it’s a kit car I built. Yup, IIIIIIII built it! Not sure wifey would be down with that because it would mean one of our cars would be kicked out of the garage until the build was completed. There are a variety of companies who offer kits of this classic.

Photo: Bentley Motor Cars

Photo: Bentley Motor Cars

But what if you don’t want a Cobra? There are lot’s companies that sell kit cars and you can build just about anything. Want a Bentley Continental GTC Supersports? The real deal could set you back $250,000. I had the opportunity to drive one once at Road America. 0-60 in just under four seconds! They are a fantastic car but few people have that kind of cash just sitting there. Well here’s less costly alternative. Take a 2003 Chrysler Sebring into the shop and boom, it comes out looking like this. Seems Bentley got a little testy and the car is no longer available. They turn up every once in awhile on the auction sites. Bottom line is that there are kits that you can buy that look like the Eleanor Mustang, a Porsche Speedster, even a Tucker. Here’s a list of companies who sell all kinds of kits. Be prepared to drool.

 

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