Building Your Own Car

By Paul Hinkle | Contributed

After walking car shows and talking with car owners, you have finally made the decision to build the rod you have always wanted. No matter what your preference of make or model, as long as you love it, it’s the right choice. The next step is to figure out what you want your finished project to be; a daily driver, a show car or a trailer queen (a car that is always trailered). Whatever you decide, be sure that it is within your budget.

If this is your first project and you don’t know where to begin, you can find just about everything you need to know on the Web through internet searches, YouTube, etc. If you don’t have a subscription to Street Rodder Magazine, get one. They have excellent articles on building and fixing hot rods and cars. Often the best source of information is through car owners themselves – they are more than happy to share their experiences and ideas.

Depending on the condition of the vehicle you plan on building, it will determine the cost and time involved to complete. Other costs to factor in are tools and equipment you might need. Harbor Freight can be a place to look for inexpensive tools and equipment to make your build easier.

Some parts of the build may be better left to the experts. Things such as the frame, suspension, engine and/or upholstery, require experience and knowledge to do the job right. You can do the body work and painting, it’s not hard to do, however, it takes a lot of time and patience to do correctly. If you choose to paint it yourself, it can be done with one of the new waterborne paints, they are easy to apply. Your best bet is to go to your favorite paint store for advice on what paint to use and how to apply it. I went to Patterson Paints and got a lot of help from Bruce and his staff, they made it much easier for me when I painted my hot rod.

If you can’t find the parts you need from your local parts store or speed shops, go online. Summit Racing and JEG’s are good places to start as they have many different manufactures parts that will work for you.

Now that you have done your research, get started. Plan on spending many hours in the garage on your project. If you only have a two-car garage, you may as well plan on parking your other vehicle in the driveway as there probably won’t be enough room in the garage for both. Building your own rod will take a lot of your time, but in the end it is very rewarding.

If building your own ride seems overwhelming, you can always turn to a professional. There are dozens of experienced builders in the valley. Another option would be to buy a kit car that has everything you need. They are like assembling a life size model kit.


March 11: Valley Truck Show, Red Triangle, Fresno

March 25: 11th Annual Clovis First Assembly of God Church Car & Motorcycle Show

March 25-26: GoodGuys 35th All American Get-Together, Pleasanton

April 8-9: Street Machine Nationals Pomona

April 8: Tower Classic Car Show, Fresno

April 15: Kingsburg Car Show

April 22: Castle Air Museum Car Show

April 23: Old Town Clovis Car Show

If your club or organization is putting on a car show or motorsports event we are always looking for interesting cars, people and events to share. You can reach Paul Hinkle at or (559) 970-2274, or Eric Hinkle at

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @clovisparknpark and on Instagram @clovisparkinthepark.

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