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Old 02-02-2008, 03:55 PM
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Total vs Spirit vs Zipper

I'm new to the forum and to hotordding in general (building..I spectate a lot!), and am planning on getting started with my first project. I have a pretty nice 400inch Chevy small block with 6 2bbls, forged crank, and a buch of other nice old school items. I was going to see if could get financing, ebcause it looks like you can pick up a compelted car for less than you can build one...but I had a little issue getting a loan (credit score above 740...apparently not using much of the way of credit and paying stuff off all the time in "cash" is simply un-American )...

So I'm thinking about building a car from scratch, even though it will be the more expensive route. I'm not a welder or a body fabricator, and have a limited amount of tools at present (although I'm building up a stash of them ). So a simple build is one that I'm after....

I'm thinking about either a 23T or a Lakes modified roadster...I really like both types of cars... A 29 roadster is my favorite, but I fear that one would be a bit too expensive and a little too complicated for me....

I've looked at a bunch of postings and web sites and have come up with the following:

Total Performance:

+ I have their manual...pretty well written. I can probably follow it farily well. I think I contacted them once a long time ago and their customer service was fine... Seems like it's pretty well engineered for a beginner like me...

-I live in the Pacific Northwest, and shipping could be an issue. The Body and interior packages don't seem to be quite as "dummy free" as some other vendors'. The frame material is a little lighter than the other options....my 400 chevy motor will produce a good bit of tourqe when assembled..so I'm not sure if that's an issue.. Also I've seen some postings regarding some parts breakage and other little gotchas regarding it's construction....

Spirit:

+ Frame looks solid, Customer service emailed me the next day with answers to my questions, Like the setup of the 23 chassis with optional haripin radius rods..Interior kit looks to be fairly simple (especially if you let them do the work...)

-Their instruction manual seems a little vague. While their interior kit is simple, CCR's looks a little more "finished" to me... I was interested in their 27 kit, but feel their frame for the 27 is a few inches too long...especially between the engine and the radiator... Their 23 looks fine, though...

Zipper:

+ Unique looking car, very well engineered. Customer service emailed me the next day with answers to my questions.. Company has a video of assembly, very high quality parts appear to be used. Stout frame.

- The video provided was ok, but a lot of the assembly steps were "screened" out by Zipper as he put it together...was hard to make out what he was actually doing (apparently there may be a new video out this year from what they said in their email to me..). The completed product would run a but more $ than the other options. I would need to get an upolsteror involved in completeing the upolstery.. The steering box assembly in it's stock location limits exhaust options a bit.....

CCR:

+ Good frame, a lot of options for the chassis and body, nice pain free interior kit, Closest vendor to where I live...

- Emailed them asking questions and got no response...have seen other customer sat issues in various posts....Not sure if their plans would suit my needs or not...


From this info, I've narrowed it down to Zipper, Spirit, with a lingering fancy for Total (I like thier manual a bunch!)

What do you guys think??
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Old 02-02-2008, 04:21 PM
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WELCOME

As a Moderator here, I want to WELCOME you here.

If I were you ... I would go for what I wanted and build the 29 roadster.
They have a little more room and are fairly easy to build.

They might cost a little more ... maybe ... maybe not ... but the resale value is considerably greater and WHY build something that you " settled for " ?

Go for the 29 ...
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Old 02-02-2008, 04:30 PM
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First place I would say you should build your favorite the 29 roadster as the difference in cost and difficulty is not all that much..And you will be much happier in the end..Also on the 29 roadster one can arrange a top without too much difficulty if you happen to get caught out in a NW rainstorm..

I would not let shipping cost be the determining factor either as the difference in cost to have parts shipped in here is minimal from either Cal or the east coast..

BTW..We are close enough to meet for coffee sometime so PM me if you would like to..I do enjoy the opportunity to meet fellow rodders face to face when I can..

Sam
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Old 02-02-2008, 04:35 PM
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Here is a favorite combination. It is a 29 body on a 32 frame. You can do these in either fiberglass or steel. Both are available in reproduction and of course the original bodies are found every now and then.

There are companies who make the 32 frame already modified for the 29 body ( a old time Hot Rod trick from the 30's and 40's ) and bodies made to go on 32 frames.

http://www.brookville-roadster.com/28-29%20HI-Boy.htm

A steel reproduction 1929 Model A roadster body is very reasonable ... $$$ ... IMHO.
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Old 02-02-2008, 05:57 PM
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Total vs Sprint Vs Zipper

Deuce, I have nothing but respect for you, but.....I gotta jump in here. Some of these numbers might be a bit old and granted some shopping around can net some deals, but... Well here goes.

In the first place, Dilbert says he has limited tools. he also said he couldn't weld yet. This is going to slow the process down a lot. We probably all started there some time ago.

I understand where you're going with the '29 on a Deuce chassis. He stated that a loan was out of the question. A b'ville '29 body is at least 5 grand. Add to that a rolling '32 chassis, what say another 7 to 8 grand. now we're talking 12, 13,000 bucks. I don't even want to think about the cost of the nickle and dime items.

I don't know what you paid for your 3 widow, but I gotta believe I could build a T bucket for the same money. Sorry, I'm not picking on you or any of the other established rodders. It's just that the T he's thinking about is going to go together alot easier and much cheaper than the '29 would. This could translate into a completed build and someone who is ballsy enough to go into a more complicated build somewhere down the road.

Dilbert, I ,for one, see nothing wrong with you picking a T for your first build. It will give you a good taste of what rodding is about. Be tween the companies you have mentioned and the help you can get here, you can't go wrong. JMO, Youngster
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Old 02-02-2008, 08:18 PM
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Dilberts size may make part of the decision...a small guy will fit fine in a stock 27 lakes modified, IIRC the zipper car is stretched 3 or 4 inches. A 6' tall guy will be miserable in a stock length T, and the 29 would be a better choice. Wescotts makes a fine 29, and they are in Wa.

There are other companies that sell a stretched 27 lakes modified as well as stretched 27 roadster, both fiberglass..


If fitting in a car is of some importance, try to one of the cars you like, and ask to sit in one. I know many hotrodders that would have no problem helping out a guy like that.

I think a test drive is stretching it..


Later, mikey
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Old 02-02-2008, 08:29 PM
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I used a Zipper body on my first build.
I cut the floor out as to set lower in the car and thought that this would "tweek" the body. It diden't move.
I liked it so much that I ordered his "New " body,$3000.oo. in 06.
At that time he said it would be 6 months wait.I thought the workmenship was worth the wait and gave him $1000.oo down. 6 months go by and I call,he says another 2 months.2 more months go by and I call,says he , 2 more months. Now I'm into this 10 months and no end in site so I ask for my money back. After 4-5 calls I finally get a check fo $800.00.
I would not use Zipper again.

Fred
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Old 02-02-2008, 09:06 PM
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Interesting responses from all of you...keep 'em coming

That's an interesting story about the Zipper body...I wonder if issues like that led to the company changing hands (or played a small part in it..). That's another thing about that option that may be a bit tenuous..their business is in the middle of a major overhaul (new web site being built, new parts, etc...) It will be interesting to see how they do in the future....

I knew I would regret mentioning the '29 ...

I wouldn't consider building a T "settling" at all... I like T's a lot... if cost and skill weren't a concern, I may step up to an A...then again, maybe not... a T would do just fine And I do want to finish the car and enjoy it before Halley's Comet returns....

Another Favorite of mine is a chopped 27 coupe, no fenders, either hiboy or channeled... Those can be really nice too... There's an outfit out in Texas that makes those bodies, but they are north of 5K again, and I'm not sure if I'm ready to tackle a couple bodystyle yet....

The problem I'm having with all the T kits is that I like features of each of them, but each has their downside.... makes deciding a bit tough

As far as the size goes...well, this will be a "short range crusier".... I'm 5'11 and have pretty long legs, so I may fit a little tight in a T.. But I think this depends a lot on where the seat is and where the steering wheel and pedals are... I've seen some T's that look tight even for the Keebler Elf, and others that don't look half bad....

Again, keep the suggestions flowing
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Old 02-02-2008, 09:08 PM
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BTW, I just found the spell checker...man, do I need it
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Old 02-02-2008, 09:17 PM
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Here's you a model A body
http://www.rodnrace.com/product/904/Roadster-Body.htm


Shane
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Old 02-02-2008, 09:35 PM
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Another outfit you can check is here these fellows have a good reputation for quality and the price is reasonable..You will need a chassis but that can be done..

Sam
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Old 02-03-2008, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Youngster
I don't know what you paid for your 3 window, but I gotta believe I could build a T bucket for the same money. Sorry,
I would HOPE SO ... I could build two or three T-buckets for what I paid for this 3 window ...



The main difference in the money spent on a T-bucket and a 29 Model A is the body. A T-bucket chassis ... having to BUY one, not weld it up himself and all the parts to make it a roller are very comparable to a Model A chassis. Rear end does not know if it's in a T-bucket or a something else. The same goes for brakes, steering, suspension and the list goes on and on.

Unfortunately, this is not a inexpensive hobby. The cost of a project, the tools needed and a place to work on it all adds up. Then factor in the stuff you have to hire out ... like chrome, upholstery and paint ... we are talking a fair amount of money. Some rodders can do it all ... some have to hire it all out and then there are those of us who can mix and match.

T-buckets are considered a entry level rod for many. That's because they initially start out as less money ... but very few become long term rides. If I was going the T-bucket route ... I would BUY someone else's T and let them take the $$$ LOSS ... T-buckets generally sell for 50 cent on the dollar invested originally.



This T-bucket is listed on the web for $12,500
CHEAP ... could not build it for twice the money IMHO ...
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Old 02-03-2008, 08:32 AM
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Total vs Sprint Vs Zipper

I gotta stick up for the T buckets "cause I love 'em as much as Deuce loves his '32's.

Mikey...I have had the pleasure to work on a Wescott '29 build. Yeah, they make a real good quality product. But when it comes down to cash out of pocket, the b'ville body is much cheaper.

A Model A rolling chassis is going to set you back at least 5 grand, the same thing in a '32 is at least 7. A T chassis built with comparable parts, 3 grand. The difference between the A and the T chassis would easily pay for the T body, paint and upholstery. As Deuce points out, common items like rims and tires, etc. don't know what year car they are on. But they still have to be paid for.

Beyond all of this is the question," Is this car going to be finished, or did the first timer bit off too much?' Dilbert, that's not a slam, but for every project that is started, a small percentage of the original guys finish them. Point is, A basic T bucket has a better chance of seeing road use. This brings me to Deuces suggestion, buying a complete car and rebuilding it to your taste. I'd like to add to this the possibility of buying someone else's project. That's where a careful buyer can really save some cash, be it a T, an A or whatever. Right today I know of a T and two A projects that have stalled and are up for sale.

I'm not trying to turn this into a peeing contest. I'm just expressing my point of view.

Youngster
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Old 02-03-2008, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Youngster

Beyond all of this is the question," Is this car going to be finished, or did the first timer bit off too much?' Dilbert, that's not a slam, but for every project that is started, a small percentage of the original guys finish them.
I was not going to say that ... for fear of being accused of being harsh or discouraging .. but It is a fact ...

So many rodders get in over their head in a first time build. Contributing factors are

1) lack of finances
2) lack of tools
3) lack of a work place
3) lack of time
5) lack of planning

If you really look at it ... number #1 thru #4 ALL add up to number #1 and number #5 results in number #1 . I would guess that there are more unfinished T-buckets in progress than T-buckets finished, licensed and on the road.

BUY someone else's ...



423 miles since new ... BUY IT NOW for 16 grand ...



371 miles since new ...



23 Sprint KIT ... never finished ...



1500 miles



300 miles



500 miles



144 miles



1043 miles

I think theres a pattern here ... almost new and NO MILES ...

The above T's are on that famous auction site ... many, many more are for sale on the web and collector car type magazines and books.

I strongly suggest you look around ... maybe drive one and then make a plan .

Deuce ... Moderator
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Old 02-03-2008, 09:56 AM
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Not to do anything other than present another side of the "buy a project" mentality, I see alot of those stalled projects, lost interest deals, need the money deals, divorce revenge deals... in my shop..to be made proper for the new buyer.

A guy who is not experienced in buying cars can get in deep dollars pretty fast if he doesn't watch out.

One customer brought in a car with some complaints he had..
On a car that he paid top dollar for, (50K for a 40 ford deluxe coupe...really nice looking car, too)... he still had to put a brake booster/pedal assembly, brakes, bushings and ball joints in the front, have a fan shroud made and put an 18" fan where there was a 13" (13" ??on a 351 W??) and fix a bunch of wiring, and install a windshield wiper. (it had a trico vac wiper) and it still needs a motor. Granted, he could have driven the car as it was.

I know a guy who bought a 23 T, paid 14K and put another 11 in it in a motor, springs, brakes, wheels and paint.

I have a bunch more that I have had personal experience with...some were real horror stories. Some were not bad experiences at all. Like th eguy who paid 37K for a street beast '34 ....now that guy was happy...go figure.

All I am saying is when making ANY purchase, either new products or project/spec cars from an individual, a guy MUST do his homework. Upgading a car to your standards can be expensive, Paying others to bring a car up to standards will most definately be expensive.

As is evident by some of the past posts here, and on many other sites and company reviews, ("car builder took my money"..the post in this thread by ouh526 "zipper doesn't deliver"..) some companies that were good once are no longer doing business like that.

There are still reputable companies who will eventually deliver a product. (anyone who has ever been involved with a replica car knows that being late is the norm).

I think that Dilbert is doing a good thing by asking questions...he'll be less likely to get burned.


Brookville is top of the line. (Dave will love hearing that.. ) I mentioned Wescotts because of the close proximity to Dilbert.


Still, I have personally seen folks drive 600 or more miles to look at a body and or "kit" before they buy it.

Later, mikey
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Last edited by powerrodsmike; 02-03-2008 at 10:26 AM. Reason: some things don't need to be in bold.
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