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Centerline 10-22-2009 10:44 AM

100% Builders - stand up and be counted!
I was just wondering how many 100% (or nearly 100%) home builders we have here.

First off for those of you who don't know what a 100% builder is, its someone who does 100% of the work on his (or her) ride. That means, chassis work, drive train, body, paint, and interior. Naturally there are some things that only VERY few people have the tools to do, one of which is the engine machine work, so that really doesn't count. However, if you do your own boring, honing, decking, balancing etc. more power to ya! :thumbup:

OK, so I'm trying to build my deuce at home with no help. So far I've been successful and the only help I've had has been an extra pair of hands from my wife if I needed them. In keeping with my goal of learning something new with each car I build on this one I took on several new projects I've never done before. Building a frame from just bare rails for one, and narrowing a Ford 9" rear is another. Doing the interior will be yet another project on this build I've never done before.

What I haven't done myself..... engine machine work and narrowing and re-splining the axles. I just don't have the proper tools for that kind of work.

Some of the things I've taught myself on my last couple builds were how to rebuild and modify an automatic trans, setting up rear gears, installing IFS systems and modifying and installing modern rear suspension systems. I've also tried to do something a little different on each build as well. On my pro-street car it was an electric tilt front end and on my pickup it was putting a hemi where one didn't belong.

Here's the 41 pro-street car that I did about 10 years ago. Sold it at the Louisville Nats several years ago.

and here's the '53 Pickup

and the Hemi that I built for it. Sold the truck to a neighbor who made me an offer I couldn't refuse.

and here's my current project, the Deuce. This one isn't for sale.

So, how many out there are trying to be a 100% builder??? I know of a couple who post here regularly, just want to see if there are any more.

geezer69 10-22-2009 10:55 AM

the car im workin on is my first major project. i have not and will not let anyone touch it. if its a mess, its MY mess.

americanLT1 10-22-2009 12:39 PM

Hello centerline,
I do a lot more reading than posting here but I'm building my car almost 100% myself. I'm with you on certain machine work and I would take it on as well if I had the tools but you can only get so much in a two car garage. Of course I cant justify expensive tools Ill only use a few times. i do have a mill and a lathe though and on my current project I plan on machining the block myself and installing the splayed main caps. I'm six years into this car so far because I do everything myself and I had to acquire some new tools and skills along the way. This is the first fabrication work I've ever attempted and it's been a challenge. The only part of the original rambler I used is the external sheet metal. I fabricated the chassis, the roll cage, floor sheet metal, the triangulated four bar rear suspension, narrowed the 9" rear and fabricated my own axle bearing housing, The headers for the turbos and all the exhaust and a ton of custom brackets and mounts. I've spent the last year on the body modifying every panel to get the best fit possible and a smooth clean look before I paint it myself. The interior will be tough so I may have to solicit some help there but I"ll do most of it myself too.
It's hard to stay patient sometimes when I do everything myself because it takes so long and sometimes I have to do things more than twice but there is nothing more satisfying than being the only person responsible for a big project that tuns out well.
I have received a ton of help on this forum from people like you and it helps to keep me motivated when the going is tough.
I also would like to see how many others here choose to abuse themselves this way ;)

Build on!

Ed 10-22-2009 03:34 PM

When I was first bitten by this bug. Back in the early sixties. My goal was to build a car from a raw pile of parts. Living in on a farm NW Michigan, if the piece you needed wasn't at the local hardware store, you had to create it!

In high school I worked in an Auto upholstery and glass shop. Started buying Automotive machine shop equipment because the nearest machinest screwed some expensive work. Did a stint at the local GULF gas station. Did a lot of "Gratis" work on buddies cars. Worked at another Trim and body shop while getting higher education repair/machinist in St. Louis, Mo. Did a stint in Tranny shop after moving back to Mich. Started doing trouble shooting and special fabrication for a major corporation with my machine shop on the side.

Attained my goal of a complete scratch built car (47 Ford B-coupe) in 1972, but muscle cars were all the rage and I sold it.

Since have done all work on many mechanical creations.
Tho my last project. I had to farm out the paint, due to health and time factors.

NEW INTERIORS 10-22-2009 03:50 PM

I guess I can fit in here.. I guess ... :confused: On my 32 I built the whole body,frame,motor,trans,rearend,billet windshield post,hidden door hing's,billet grill,drive shaft,seat's and interior, So I guess I can say I'm One.. :confused: Plus The rat rod I built on here..

He** I can't afford anyone to do any of my work.. :sweat: :drunk: Even if I could, I wouldn't let them.. :nono: I try to explore every part of the build I can..Remember !!!! SET NO LIMIT'S ON YOURSELF !!!!! :mwink: :mwink: :thumbup:

Here's the 32..

and the rat rod

zbhover 10-22-2009 05:48 PM

I'm building a V8 powered 69 convertible beetle ( and I have done all the work so far myself and plan to keep it that way, as much as practical. I enjoy doing things myself and can't afford to pay someone else too even if I wanted too.......... LOL

I have lots of experience building things from building hovercrafts, my dad was a mechanic for about 20 years and my grandpa for 30+ years. I'm also an industrial mechanic and have access to lathes, mills etc......

35pontiaccoupe 10-22-2009 06:24 PM

My Pontiac fits in this category. I have only had someone else prep the block. The bodywork so far has been done by me. I even fabricated the door bottom replacement panels. I'll probably have someone else paint it but I'll do as much prep as possible.

wretched ratchet 10-22-2009 06:26 PM

no way I'd try to now but my oldest son and I built a '46 Dodge Power Wagon from the ground up back in the late 70's

quite a learning experience with the 6volt change over, shortening the drive shaft and putting all new glass/moulding plus a 302 dual ignition and automatic out of a wrecked Falcon Sprint, however our paint job left a lot to be desired - - LOL

DoubleVision 10-22-2009 09:30 PM

I`ve never built one from scratch and likely never will. But when it comes to having a ride and doing all the work myself is pretty much what I`ve done. I didn`t know how to do rear diffs but ALL my vehicles must have posi traction, I hate peg leg rear ends as I`ve seen what a posi can do to get one out of a jam compared to a peg leg rear, so I took the time to learn how to do it without having the expensive gauges to set it up, I`ve did 2 so far and they`re both still holding up without noise and with many miles. When a trans needed built and it`s a TH350 as we mostly used, I built it. The engine hands down I built, I let a shop do the boring because I can`t afford a boring bar. prep, priming and paint, we`ve did ourselves right out in the open yard. You should see my brothers corvette that was did right out in the yard. Just to cut a dollar, we hot rodders are very adaptable, but that`s what being a hot rodder is all about. I had to rearrange the wiring in the dash of my cutlass to install a rallye pak gauge cluster to replace the idiot lights and electrical is not my strong point, but I did it and it still works. If me letting a shop do things I can`t because I can`t afford it makes me a pogue so be it. However I will say, if a shop does the work check behind them closely no matter how much you trust them. The one time I put 5 grand into a engine I didn`t check the machine work and got bit, taking a 5 grand loss still hurts to this day. It`s almost like the great tool debate in the 90`s where many said "a real mechanic uses Snap On tools" and I still say I wish I could afford snap on tools. In the mean while, craftsman serves me well. Sorry Centerline,, I don`t count.

Blazin72 10-22-2009 10:28 PM

I 100% built my race car but ended up having to sell it before I got to painting it. Engine of course, welding, roll cage fitting, aligning and attaching spring, trailing arm and shock mounts. It was fun. Too bad it had to go because of a lack of garage space for other things. :(

ChevyTruckGuy 10-22-2009 10:31 PM

Well kinda, I use to build my own custom buggies and trailers, lots of custom made parts from zip. Not to far off from a hot rod. Most of my rides I have have done 80% and subbed out the engine machine work, trans, diff, seats, and some painting jobs. The older I get the less I want to do its just cheaper to buy it done. No real saving to me now days.


C-10 10-22-2009 11:09 PM

I farm out the engine machining.

So yeah, I fit the description of a 100% builder. Also, I borrow a paint booth for the all-overs. Lucky enough to have a few hookups.

DIY 'til I DIE. :thumbup:

Docc 10-23-2009 12:07 AM

Over the last 36 years I have done most of the Jag.

What I didn't do..paint..seats. I had a pro shop do the machining on my heads..the block was new. I have had several motor in the old Jag...I built all of them.

This last time I cheated..I have a friend who owned a shop..he was retiring soon..and I got to use the lift..and all the pro shop niceties. No laying on the floor..banging out ball joints this time.
Can't do some stuff like I used to..back just don't like might not do another that requires a ground up.
Probably buy somethhing and change things they way I want..perhaps a 53/54 Stude Starlite..

I did the welding for my mounts years ago..had a shop build my it runs in a tunnel near some of my favorite parts.. :eek:

So..I don't think that 100%..but then Jaguar did make a lot of it in 1953..

RustyRatRod 10-23-2009 02:53 AM

I guess I will be as soon as I can obtain some funding{full time work}. Everything I make now goes to pay bills.

cboy 10-23-2009 08:05 AM

I'm forever impressed when I read posts,like the above, about the things other rodders tackle, things I would never dream of rebuilding an automatic trans, narrowing a rear end, or building posi center sections. It's a rather humbling (but great) experience every day when I come on this board and see what others are doing in their back yards and makeshift machine shops. But more importantly, it is an inspiration - and a kick in the pants. An inspiration to set aside my fears and apprehensions about a particular new project, like transmission building, and jump into it with both feet knowing that others have done it AND survived.

And thanks to that prior inspiration from HR.Com members and dozens of other rodders, here are a couple of my home built efforts. With the exception of boring the block and pinning the pistons, everything on these cars, including fabrication of the bodies and frames, was done here in my backyard shop.

A journal showing the step by step fabrication of the roadster can be viewed here. And a journal showing the fabrication of the sedan delivery can be viewed here.

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