Built Or Bought?

If you’ve been following my recent posts, you might have picked up on a rather distinct change in personal taste that I’ve been experiencing over the last few weeks. It’s not that I’ve suddenly started disliking a particular style or build, rather that I’ve just begun to appreciate another kind that little bit more.

I have to be careful as possible with my words, as someone will always try and twist them when you write online – even when you have the best of intentions or don’t intend to imply any malice. It always seems that some people just want to be offended; but that’s another discussion for another day. What I want to talk about is something that some of you have picked up on, but maybe not in the way I would have thought. That is, the age-old cry of ‘built not bought.’

2015 Built Or Bought by Paddy McGrath-4

A lot of the cars that I’ve featured recently have been on the more humble side of things than we are probably used to on Speedhunters; we’ve been spoiled by a lot of builds around the world and how far both individuals and companies are pushing things. Of course, this is no bad thing at all. I’m happy to see these cars and I look forward to watching people continue to strive to outdo both others and themselves. But, I think it’s reached a stage where it has become almost impossible for the average person to relate to many of these cars. We can admire them, sure. I can only speak for myself here, but a big part of my car passion is being able to look at what someone else has done and try to figure out how I could incorporate something similar into my own car. For that reason, I’m more interested in how a guy has routed some ducting to help keep his brakes cool than how someone else has managed to fit a W16 into the back of a Beetle. Although that would be pretty awesome…

It’s these sort of humble builds where a person has had to rely on ingenuity to solve a problem rather than a seemingly endless budget that I enjoy so much. Or where a person dedicates themselves to learning a craft to complete a project – that’s such an impressive attitude to have in life. That mindset of not allowing anything to hold you back and leaving any excuses at the door. Nobody ever said that cars were easy, but they are a great test of a person’s character. Do you throw in the towel and sell the piece of sh*t, or do you persevere and build your dream car?

2015 Built Or Bought by Paddy McGrath-2

Some of you though have mistaken this for an attack on those who choose to pay someone to build their project; but this couldn’t be further from the truth. It also creates this awful mindset that a car is somehow less worthy if you’ve used a skilled professional to either assist or complete a car for you. I call it awful because it creates a needless stigma and puts good people’s jobs at risk. That guy at the end of your street might have paid his local mechanic to 2JZ swap his Civic, but he’s also helped his mechanic pay his mortgage or put food on his family’s table. The same goes for the guy who has spent the last five years restoring his classic Lancia in his home garage, but needs the skills of his local painter to do justice to the hard work that he put in himself. There’s no shame in getting help. One of my favourite lecturers in college once that told me that the key to success isn’t being able to do everything, but knowing who to go to when you need them.

I know some will argue that anyone can pick up a basic tool set and learn how to wrench on their own car; and whilst that’s true to a certain extent, some people are better suited to mechanical work than others. Some people simply don’t have the time to learn, others aren’t willing to risk doing damage to their own car or some people own cars where the manufacturer has made it all but impossible to work on a car yourself without special tools or a trip to a dealer. Despite what some people might think, there are things more important in life than cars. People with families to support will probably be the first to tell you that. So, should these people just ignore their love for cars because they don’t have the skills or time to build it themselves? Of course not. Before someone points out that I just said to leave your excuses at the door, well, there are excuses and there are reasons in my book. One is legitimate, the other less so.

2015 Built Or Bought by Paddy McGrath-3

For me, the real decider in how I look at and judge a build isn’t if it’s built or bought. It isn’t the how, but rather it’s the why. It’s such an important question that we often overlook when we consider a car. Did the person build it for e-fame or did they build it for the most important reason of all? Themselves.

Passion for your car, regardless if it’s built or bought, is the ultimate badge of honour.

Paddy McGrath
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Twitter: pmcgphotos



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I totally agree with you.. If some ask you "it's built our bought", they also ask you how it's your life, if you have time, if you have place to work in your car, how it's your family.
For a car culture with less judgement and more unity


I totally agree with you.. If some one ask you "it's
built our bought", they should also ask how it's your life, if you have
time, if you have place to work in your car, how it's your family..For a car culture with less judgement and more unity


@Guilherme Dias Exactly, if you don't have the place to work on your car it's almost impossible to do more than an oil change and other small things. I managed to do the most of the work on my car by myself only because a friend let me use his workshop ( I will never be enough grateful to him), and it's been really painfull anyway, working 12 ours a day is not something easy at all!!
I think in the US it's a bit easier just because a lot of people have a big garage and a lot of space, exactly what we don't have in Italy and in many other countries.


If you build your car for e-fame, then that's just stupid, cause based on what knowledge I have, people that build their car for the internet and have no regard for how it looks/performs, they must be the biggest attention seeking whore ever, like if you do something to your car that no one else has done and it's incredibly dangerous and it gets you followers on IG or whatever social media platform you use to show your car to the internet, you're just stupid. Anyway, that's my opinion on the whole "car built for the internet" thing.


Another great article Paddy! 
As a person who recently hit that fork in the road moment on a project; of either throwing it all out or knuckling down, it feels quite timely. Even though I've done pretty much all the mechanics on my  own cars, I still feel apprehensive to tackle jobs that seem beyond my skill set or knowledge. However once I get past that fear and press on, I usually find it's not as tricky you you think. Nothing feels better that fixing something yourself and learning a new skill or gaining knowledge of how that part of a car functions in relation to the rest of it.
Still, time and of course money is always an issue, and if I had way more of the latter then I'd probably consider paying someone else to do some of the work, but then its not the destination that has the most reward, it's the journey. 
Saying that I'll never look down on someone who goes the 'bought' route, but I'll always look up at someone who built it themselves.


My mechanical skills are pretty basic. I really like bikes and know a bit more about them (less complicated as well), but cars are my life. And every time I hear the whole "built not bought" shit, I just reply... Yeah, BOUGHT not GOT. We all have a place in this petrolhead hooniverse.


Building everything yourself isn't an option everywhere... try getting an engine swap or simple turbo conversion road registerd in Germany , its pretty much impossible without the help of dedicated work shops.
And some work steps like paint where IMO always excluded from the "bought" statement. Or would anyone call a car "bought" because a tuner went through it on his rolling road?


Both "Built" and "bought" can be good or bad in my opinion. What is mor important is the Intention of the build, as others already mentioned. Some examples.

Bought - good:
My neighbour is a Dentist working all the time but enjoys racing on the Weekends. He got a Porsche 911 built to  his specifications. but while others did the physical work he "Built" it into every Detail in his head and is the biggest car nut i know. while...

Bought - bad
... That rich kid across the street just got a GT-R From his dad for birthday and brought it to the local tuner shop. threw a bunch of Money at them and told them to make it the craziest GT-R around.

Built - good
I know a lot of People spending all their spare time in their cold garages during winter trying to build their dream cars with an incredible Detail work, while...

Built - bad
... others just want to have a crazy-ass build and Attention without spending much Money. buying replica-parts and putting stickers on their car. Normally These People disappear from the "Scene" after a short appearance :)

of course These are the extremes mentioned. Theres always a lot in between..

but however i think the purpose or the idea behind is much more important than the question if a car was bought or built.


Nice article !!!

Buid/bought deosn't matter really, this is how you do it.

For me the only part totally necessary is : LEARN IT

If You don't know how you built it, bought it but learn how to do it, this is the only way to progress


I second that. Thay "built in his head" thing is the most important part. And it all depends on the quality of your own work and on the quality of what you buy or pay to have done.


How about a mix of both?


Bosh! Nailed it again. Enjoyed reading this. As I said in a previous thread somewhere, it's the relatability that draws me in to read about the cars featured here. It might just be me, but I'm starting to shy away from reading about the big builds, (drift Lambo for example) because I just can't see anything that I can take away from it. saying that, I'm still glad they're out there to show what can be done I guess.


@JDMjunkies_ch Totally agree with this too. I enjoy building part of cars but there's many, many parts that firstly, I wouldn't even know where to begin and secondly, if I did give those parts a bash, I'm not sure I'd be 100% confident that I'd done it to standard it deserves. That's where 'bought' comes in...


Hit the nail on the head there. Nothing wrong with a "bought" car, its still built by someone somewhere. For me it depends if you have the time to "build" your car, if not then thats what the tuning shops and garages are there for, as long as you do it for yourself and not to impress 100k followers on instagram then its all good.

As an instagram page ourselves we pride ourselves on giving the home build Fiesta the same credit and the big money Time Attack specials, each car in its own right is impressive. If some guy has managed to build his dream on a tiny budget working over time just buy fund it with simple mods then thats what its all about.


The last paragraph nailed it Paddy!
I salute you for holding the average joe car guy flag up!
I could write up what exactly got me in this article but every word is the one and only truth... Let's drink some beer when you're in Germany and bash on the Internet haha.


paddy always nails it


The most important thing is if you built/bought it for yourself or to impress a couple of jerks in your friend circle. Coz if your only purpose is breaking the internet, the car will feel kinda hollow...


Yep built or bought, as long as it gets your car where you want it to be, and you enjoy it then good for you. My car is for me and no one else and it is built and bought.


yes. somebody had to say it. couldn't have said it better. i want an e39 m5 with a couple addons, then buy parts to my taste.


Example of your third paragraph: I want to know how your homeboy built that rear diffuser for his RX-8. I really liked it and want to build one for myself. I could buy a diffuser, but I'd rather figure out how someone else home-built theirs and then go attempt to build it myself - having really never done something like that before.

Shit, I'll even teach myself how to lay down carbon fiber if I need to. Just need to get that damn 240sx finished so I can free-up some garage space...

But I would admire the part the same whether he bought it or built it. It still looks great.


I dont care if someone builds his project or just commissions a workshop to do his project as long they enjoy the build and other people enjoy it too. That is all i wanted. ALMOST everywhere i go, there will always be that one guy(or group) that just like to ruin the day by bringing unwanted issues that ruin someone's day. Just go to Rusty Slammington(yes fuck you Ralliest) and you know what I mean.


That first image, though. :-)


Good job Paddy.


AprilexHK  Amen


@JDMjunkies_ch actually its not "built or bought" its "for you or to impress others". any car, built or bought, for the owner to enjoy is good. 
any car, built or bought, made to impress others ... its bad. 

whoever loves his/her car, will love it no matter if its build or bought. but people who want to show off ... they dont love the car, the car is just a tool to get what they want thats showing off.


Ignorance is the real enemy here. A guy who buys his car but knows every inch of and how it works is a better person for the car community than the guy who throws an intercooler on the front and calls it turbocharged... 
One thing I believe almost all the guys who scream built not bought fail to see is that the guys who buy are the ones who make awesome new components for old vehicles more than just a nice idea. OSGiken TC24 head (not the best example) or Tomei's new AE86 exhaust wouldn't be available if it weren't for the people who say to their builder "hey, I saw this online and want it on my car".

Built and bought both have their merits, sadly both sides have their assholes as well.


A diffuser is also one of those parts that if you are actually looking for a functional part, most of us are better off buying something. Unless your reason for adding a diffuser is purely for looks, or you happen to be an aerodynamicist, no homemade diffuser is going to out perform one that has been designed by an engineer, using CFD.


I think Jay Leno summed it up pretty well in the film "Love the Beast" when he told Eric Bana that it wasn't his car, it was the builders. You can never appreciate something you bought as much as something you have built.


There's too many trades in the automotive industry to know it all unless your some type of automotive guru God.... Another persons craftsmanship is an another persons build quality expectation....


Not true. My most prized posessions i have bought. What i have made, eh, i could make it again, and again. What i have bought cant always be re-bought.


@Milano  Then you didn't put much effort into what you have built. Unless you aren't talking about vehicles in which case it would be irrelevant in this discussion.


Of course its automotive related... as someone who doesnt have much time at all to do stuff for myself, what i outsource i tend to appreciate much more because at that point its a luxury and i would never be ungreatful of it. But like i said, if i made it, i can make it again, and its top quality cuz i accept nothing less. And just cuz i can make it again doesnt mean i didnt put effort...what kind thought process did u go through to assume that something that has effort put into it cant be reproduced?


@Milano @Nate 

Guys, relax. 

Like all things neither absolute is right or wrong and the reality of it lies somewhere in the middle.


Evolution is not only shown within the cars , also the whole automotive surroundings.
The possibilities you´ve today to choose how to modify your car , the amount of shops you can contact about your special issue,
it´s a different time, with much more  of ´MORE`  and more people seem to be too lazy to diversify or even to think it over, nowadays the guy with the idea should get the same credits as the one who built it, as ,especially with modern cars, it´s far more complicated/or less possible to do everything on your own (try it with a Mark V Golf GTI for example , i ´ll raise my hat to ).
Maybe you must sometime take a deeper look into the ´bought one´ - Side, but it deservs respect too.
and do no not mix it up with taste, that´s whole other story ^^


PowerTryp i said something similar on a another post...there's a difference to some who takes the time to research and cherry pick parts to make something unique for themselves and hand over the work to someone mechanically competent to do the actual work than someone looks for the trendiest/name brand/expensive bits with no appreciation for what they do for efame/bragging rights etc...there is a heap of grey area to this all


Amen Paddy.
Looking back at my past projects I'm equally as proud of the ones I've built myself and the ones I've paid someone to work on.
Realistically however, I'm always more comfortable and less nervous driving the ones someone else has built for me - I know when my time spannering is better spent earning the money to pay someone far more qualified to do the job U0001f605.


Great article Paddy, I agree with you completely. I had to get my car professionally repainted because I am a mechanic not an artist haha. I am also waiting for my engine to return from being rebuilt because it was original and I don't have the tools to rebuild an engine. However, I would still say it's my restoration because I have been responsible for most of the work. Everyone needs help with a project car at some point, hop guy in the future I can help instead of be helped.


About time! Speed hunters starting to look at vehicles for the normal wrench spinning person. Not everyone can have the best and the shiniest. Sure its something to aspire to but its never going to be a reality for most. Bring on more everyday builds!


Best article I've ever read on Speedhunters


I completely agree, as long as a person loves his car, whether stock or modified, whether built or bought.
Here's a tough one for you guys: The kit car stigma. My never-ending project uses a fiberglass body sourced from a kit car manufacturer. Everything else is custom, adapted, or scratch built, even the frame. I get two types of reactions when driving it or even talking about it: the people that love it, and the people that saw "eww a kit car" and things like "why would you spend money/time on that". Even if it were a kit, why does it suddenly garner less respect? It took more time and wrench work to get it where it is than most people I know have put on their modified cars. Hell, every time I do a mod it takes an infinite amount of scratch-building because there is no aftermarket and no instruction manuals. Not everyone has the patience/skill to build their car up piece by piece. No matter what you started with the final measure is build quality, is it not? That's the whole point of modifying in the first place. Anyways just my thoughts. Gotta get back to fitting the four side-draft webers to my V8.
Great article btw!


@S3000 That's an interesting one actually. I think a lot of disdain for kit cars comes from people building poor Ferrari / Lamborghini replicas but still trying to pass them off as the real deal. People don't like it when someone tries to fool them.

I've seen some amazing kit cars over the though, so I guess like all things there's both good and bad. It's just up to us to learn to know the difference.


@S3000 I want to hear the stories behind the car, behind why you/whoever did it the way they did (and what ideas I can steal for my own project ;) ) I couldn't give a damn what drivetrain or shape it takes, it what the vehicle embodies - the effort, bloody knuckles and large bills.  

anyone can look up statistics and memorise them, but you can't really understand a car until you understand all facets of the build. 

(PS, screw them, Kit cars are a step above in the dedication to a build game. )


Hey Paddy, I haven't yet received by project car because the current owner is overseas.
It is a Datsun 280C (yes the 4 door tanks) with a L28E motor, if it doesn't want to start over after doing the normal: New Coolant, New Fuel and New Spark Plug I'll either have a choice to install one of 3 motors I have planned which are: RB20DE/DET, RB25DE/DET or A Naturally Aspirated RB26DE with trumpets.
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yes. 100%.
here, here!
can't sum personal feelings up without confusing people.
best i can do to avoid massive posts is  
"Culture over scenes. always."


It's an RX-8, sooooooo.... Looks.


Paddy McGrath  Yep! I agree the ones that are cobbled together give all the other ones a bad rep. I have the original style badging on mine because I don't like the "debadged" look but don't try to say it is an original (the fender flares should be a dead giveaway). It is what it is, a custom built car inspired by a classic. Nothing more, nothing less.


FunctionFirst Pretty sure the add-ons for the rear diffuser were purchased online, his front winglets were home-made.


TarmacTerrorist  Completely agree! In the end it's all about taking something you like and improving upon it. I used that "kit car" body because I liked the way it looked. Is it any different than having paid someone to make a body or body kit? This allows me to improve the looks, performance, and reliability to my heart's content, and make my ideal interpretation of this car without butchering a valuable original. Funny thing is that the people giving out negative comments are usually the first to run up excitedly when they see it, and only change their tune once told it's not a modified original, so clearly something attracted them to it. Would they rather I carve up a pristine original all for the sake of not being a "kit car". I have more satisfaction building this than putting bolt-on kits onto a factory made car, although there is no harm in that either. To each their own. Unfortunately although people tend to only criticize regular builds online, they take no issue with giving rude comments to a person's face when the car is a "kit" or kit-based.


Couldn't have said it better. 100% what I've always thought! Great artcile Paddy, once again.


Excellent little article to start the day off. Well said.


"Passion for your car, regardless if it’s built or bought, is the ultimate badge of honour."

Seems so obvious doesn't it? A little perspective amongst all the 'insta'-hype. Must be an interesting paradox, being an amateur grease monkey and a professional Internet Automotive Journalist. The two must feel worlds apart sometimes.



"i have to be as careful as possible with my words..." No paddy you just butt hurt about half the people that read this, Haha dont you just love internet complainers...


I bought my car with the engine conversion already in it, why? Because I don't have the space or time to be able to go without a car for extended periods of time, I'm one of those weekend mechanics where all jobs must be completed by Monday morning. I have spent time since then making the car my own, doing the modifications that I think the car needed, whilst subtle and often in the engine bay so it's only really me that sees it.

So in my eyes my car is bought and built.


screw them. Where's their project? People who talk smack usually can't back it up.
Hell, I'm intrigued now. Which kit is it?! What's the plan!?!
What do the people you talk of think about promod? Cos like..... I'm not saying it's the same thing but......
Some people have no manners and think it's their right to say what they like with no come back. People misunderstand how freedom of thought and speech works a lot of the time.
They will be offended and become offensive whatever they see if it doesn't line up with their narrow minded views.
Tldr: they are d!cks. Just as long as they are in your rear view mirror give them no thought.


Paddy McGrath great article, any more details on the freshly painted Mk2 Escort?


Great article!

I can appreciate both "built and bought". I am more bias towards the home builds by a none professional simply because that's my experience. Everyone has different resources, skills and time though.
For me I started building my mustang at the age of 12 with the help of my dad. We did everything ourselves with fairly "basic" resources and a limited budget. My dad is a millwright and electrician, I just finished school as a mechanical engineering technologist. The whole idea of the project was a learning experience for me and to do something different with the project. We ended up doing a 4.2 v6 swap (F150) and an eaton m112 supercharger. Never complete and will be a life time project.

Anyways, to me the whole process of building a car is just as important (if not more) as the finished product. The experience, knowing every inch of my car and the time spent with my father is simply priceless to me. It may not be a profession build or desirable to others, but I wouldn't give it up for anything.


"A man's got to know his limitations" - H. Callahan.
Funny you mention how people with families will be the first to tell you there's more to life than cars. Before I had kids I was firmly on the "bought" side - I had no time and was scared to touch anything mechanical, but I had money to burn so thought nothing of commissioning work from the local shops in order to have what I wanted in a car. But over the past 10 years I've sold my toys, bought houses, got married and sired a couple of kids, so my play money has evaporated.
But this has actually been good for me. I'd owned cars for some 15 years but never done so much as change the oil. One day out of necessity I figured I'd try fixing the old bomb to stop it from blowing coolant out the exhaust. And you know what, I did it. And I bloody well enjoyed it, I'm pretty sure the neighbours thought I was insane with all the cheering and jumping around in the middle of the night when it fired up again first try.
So as time has gone on I still don't have another "play" car, and I normally drive that beat-up old 4-door sedan that's constantly on its last legs. But the thing is, I can fix it. I can bring that pile o' shite back from the dead, time and time again, and each time I learn more and more, so when I eventually do get something that my kids aren't embarrassed to be seen in, I won't be afraid to pull it apart and truly make it my own. I even mustered enough sack to change the suspension on the "good" car without worrying I'd ruin it.
Sure, I'm still not keen to try changing anything that resides in the block or transmission, I'd rather pay someone to do that, but everything hanging off it I'm keen to have a bash. It may even work afterwards.
TL;DR: If you're a "buyer", have kids.


TarmacTerrorist  It is "finished enough that I can drive it" ;). The body is from a company in the UK and is made to look like a 1960s Austin-Healey MK1 with massive fender flares. Exterior trim is from NOS of the original car. The frame is tubular with backbone and fully galvanized in molten zinc. All hardware is graded stainless steel. Interior is all custom made with much of the trim done in carved exotic hardwood. Double wishbone front suspension, 4-link rear. The engine is an old-fashioned SBC with modern aluminum heads, steel crank, mahle forged pistons, custom grind camshaft and upgraded valvetrain hardware. Right now I'm in the process of fitting 4 weber side-draft DCOE carburettors. Once that's done I will work on fitting a hardtop. Future stuff I want to do is upgrade brakes and convert to coil overs front and rear. And then maybe some stuff like seats and different wheels (deep dish minilites if possible). Overall trying to do a sort of grand-tourer/vintage rally theme.


TarmacTerrorist  Should specify that it looks like an Austin-Healey 3000 Mk1, not the cutesy looking sprite mk1


Do, or do not.
There is no try.
On a serious note, I enjoy a built car no matter what it is. I enjoy new cars almost as much but, what bugs me is the guy with the new car gloating about what they drive when it's a 100% oem, off the show room car. They bought a nice car. They didnt design, engineer, build, paint or assemble anything. All they did was pay for it.
I get compliments on my daily driver all day long. I give credit to the factory, i just drive it and enjoy it.


Daaaaaamn! very nice! As it happens I'm thinking of minilites for my own project. They make a good solid proven wheel.
See, that's a hell of a spec, I don't know what your works like but it must have taken time, and attention, and dedication to get to a set up like that.
Least people can do is respect that. It's not that hard for them to do if they put themselves in your place.
i would never fit into one but they are brilliant little things, is the mk1 the Sprite? If so, thats going to haul serious ass, it must weigh nothing!
I fully indorse this sort of lunacy!


Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! That makes a lot more sense! VERY nice indeed!


TarmacTerrorist  No not the sprite, the 3000. Still very light, corner weighed it on a friend's scale. Came out to approx. 2300 pounds (1150Kg) with all the fluids and half a tank of gas (no driver though). Never dynoed it but expect anywhere between 400-500 horse at the crank.

If you want to know how it looks, here is the link to the company that made the body. It's their "MXR": http://www.sebringinternational.co.uk/#!mxr/c6t9

What is your project? And yes nothing beats minilites ;) or RS Watanabes for that matter.


@S3000 TarmacTerrorist I now require pictures..... You ca't give all this info and not put up at least one pic.... Please?


@S3000 On the kit car debate, and the love/hate they seem to attract. By the same argument, what's your opinion on fibreglass bodied hot rods? It's basically a kit car, so do you think they fall under the same love/hate category? Personally, I don't mind a good kit car, but as was said, it's the tacky and horrid examples that give them the bad name(or if people aren't forthcoming with saying it's a kit car). Which are the same reasons I don't like fibreglass hot rods, especially when it's not disclosed what it is during a discussion about the car. Don't tell me your hot rod is a '32 Ford and not follow up by telling me it's fibreglass or at least saying it's not original or steel bodied etc, because in my opinion, that's just lying.


@Nate NO ONE can do everything themselves, so at some point, something is
bought. The whole "I built my own car entirely in my garage" thing
doesn't impress me one bit(well, maybe a little bit, but I highly doubt it was ALL done in the garage anyway). Some people have the skills, the confidence
and the time to do a lot themselves, some don't. There is a lot I do do, but there is a lot I CAN'T
do. So where do you draw the line on bought and built? I have built a
fair few full on cars from bone stock, but have always paid people to do
the stuff I can't, I see no problem with this and will still claim I
built the car.....because Joe Blow down the road didn't build it and nor did the mechanics or painters etc(not entirely anyway), I
did(whether I did it all myself or not).


@S3000 TarmacTerrorist that sir, is a stunner. really nice shape to her. i Hope i see more of it around the net.

mine...... is nothing on yours. slightly embarrassed I brought it up compared to yours.

I'm trying (being the operative word) to build a fully stripped, caged, light weight (as it sits at the moment 777kgs dry, 3 out on the front left side) ED9 CRX. which sounds simple but really, really isn't. Im disabled so everything from the gear system, clutch pedal and stick all the way through to my getting in and out of the car has to be thought out. Everything needs adapting, designing, attempting.
driving causes me pain, so that needs addressing and allowing for. 

don't even get me started on seats. 

the other issue is getting the work done, painkillers and power tools rarely mix well (did find out you can use a dremel to remove hard skin though) and trying to get access to the underside of the car without a pillar lift is impossible (so is the engine bay but I'm stubborn). so I have to ask friends to help, those friends have their own projects so things take time. but ill get there. and I'm determined to do everything I can physically do myself. 

I guess you could say my openness towards cars comes from the understanding that the world is never as black and white as built or brought. sometimes people need help, some more than others. no shame in it.


*see some photos of it, unless that picture was actually your car in which case, holy cow dude. 

holy cow.


Built or bought doesn't matter, what matters is who you are.  If you appreciate craftsmanship and cars, you're good in my book.  I don't care if you worked your ass off to be able to buy a Ferrari or you worked your ass off building your Honda, as long as you can appreciate the work required for anything good in life, we'll be friends.  If you're an ass and you just went out and bought something to show off, or you're constantly rebuilding your car just because you want to show up the next guy for more likes, you and I won't get along.  It's the why, it's the passion for the automobile, built or bought, that really matters.


Hmm that's a tough one, it all comes down to brand identity really. In the real world as a "kit" owner you don't usually go around trying to convince people it's the real deal. They usually come up to you, look at the car, and then ask if it's the original. To which you reply no, and then they make some rude comment about plastic kit cars. I mean, sure the badging may confuse some, but should I not put any badges? Or invent a fake brand? Either way someone will end up asking what it is. In that case what do you reply? Can't really say it's a replica because a replica should perfectly imitate the original. Don't want to say kit car because of the stigma of poor build quality. Hot-rod works... but it's a hotrod what? Same thing with modified. I usually end up saying fibreglass bodied healey hotrod, to which people say "oh a kit car then". Mine makes no attempt to look exactly like the original, so I usually just let people think what they want, if they know healeys well enough they'll see it's not original right off the bat. For a 32 Ford kit, I really don't see what choice the owner has other than 1: just calling it a hotrod 2: calling it by the kit brand (eg. Factory Five) 3: saying 32 Ford hotrod because that's what it looks like. And if someone asks, then yes it is fibreglass.


Spaghetti Some people can. Actually almost anybody can if they have the dedication. I built my motor, I built my mounts, I built the intake, I designed my cooling system and built it, I built the ignition system, I built my suspension etc. I did all of it in a single car garage. I don't have professional training, I just wanted to learn and wasn't afraid to make some mistakes. The amount of work required to consider the car built by you will always be debatable. Personally I would say a drivetrain swap would be the minimum.


No that pic wasn't mine, same colour though! :) I'd post a pic but I'm far from home and all the pics are on my computer.
I'm sorry to hear about that. Don't ever think a CRX is inferior though! I've had one school me on some mountain roads. It's all about what you do with it (same idea as with the kit, nothing is black and white). Please post pics of your project if you can! How do you manage getting a seat with good bolstering that is still easy to lift yourself into? Hope it sees some track time soon! Best of luck!


but then again some cars come with a great drivetrain...


@S3000 I think your response to people asking is correct, "fibreglass bodied Healey". Too many people in the hotrod world aren't forthcoming with stating it's a fibreglass body when asked about the car. It's not a '32 Ford, so just be honest, as you are when asked. It's just something that irks me, because if you're not an expert and can't pick it just by looking, you're hardly going to knock on their car to see what sound it makes. Should it bother me, probably not, but in a similar scenario if you were to build a replica of say a Mexico MK1 Escort and never say to people it was a replica when asked, then you're only fooling yourself.


@Nate  You built the suspension...you made the springs, shocks etc from nothing, and the radiator core etc? That's my point, at some stage you have to buy some stuff from somewhere, you can't build everything, no one can. Can you do body work and paint, or retrim an interior from scratch? I'm not saying you can't do those things, but can you really do absolutely everything yourself?


Spaghetti I narrowed my suspension and welded it up, built springs to the correct
size and sized the correct shocks. Ive never had training but I have
taught myself to do body work, replaced floors and have done some of my
own interior. Yes I can do everything myself, because I want to and Im
not too lazy to learn new skills. Anyone can do these things if they are
willing to make sacrifices to acquire the skills. Thats the difference
between people who buy and people who build. I have no issues with
people who buy, but they can't appreciate the car the same way.


Spaghetti  That is true. Maybe the actual issue is that people somehow believe that anything fiberglass is inferior to anything in steel. I like steel, but it rusts, and is heavier. In an ideal world I would go with carbon fiber which everyone seems to have the utmost respect for when in fact it's just a composite, as is fiberglass (on a side-note I've been looking into making some carbon parts myself for a while now that I'm comfortable with F-G). Carbon is seen as space-age (and rightfully so, it is stronger and lighter) while fiberglass is seen as "plastic". I have no problem telling people the body is fiberglass, but find issue with them thinking it's "cheap" or that my car is therefore "just a toy" or less of a car, and that I would have used steel if I was a real builder.
With something like an MK1 Escort clone I would think you get less hate because either way you start with an escort to try to copy an escort, using only escort parts. So even if you say it's a tribute people won't sneer at it.
In the end, I built my car to drive and have rarely ever gone to a show. I usually get questions about it during a random escapade to the neighbouring twisty roads, in which case I don't go out of my way to state that it's fiberglass simply to avoid sparking a negative conversation where people try to make me feel guilty of liking the car I built. I will never apologize for it and would not trade it for any other car. At this point I could probably have bought an original one with the investment that's gone into mine but still wouldn't if given the choice.
(On a side note, often "carbon fiber" parts are actually fiberglass with a carbon top layer. Not to mention pre-preg dry carbon and wet layup carbon are two entirely different animals)


I've built my car in the past. As I got older, I'll buy it next time. Not interested to do a coil over or bushing swap on 10+ years old sporty car on my own anymore. No one ever argue if you built or bought your home or electronics, isn't it?


Awesome article! It would be nice to see more realistic street cars on the blog every now and then. I do love the high budget one off's and competition monsters but seeing more cars that are attainable on the average tuners budget would be motivating and inspirational to us all. I believe in the "to each his own" motto but I myself fall into the "built" category. It took me a little over 2 years to amass the parts and knowledge to build my car from the ground up. I opted to do it all myself and go the reliable route so I could drive my car daily and hit the local canyon or track every now and then. Now that the car is done, I don't think I can build a car any other way but by doing it myself. By no means is my car a monster, but it will handle with the best of them and have decent power to boot. WOT is music to my ears and rekindles the passion i have for this lifestyle. Til the next project!


Well i think a good build is the way. Even start from the oxide!




Everyone can see your wankel.


90nissanS13@my350z LOL *blushes*


Building the car of your dreams is just poetry in motion, it's pure passion at work and allows for a zen-like meditative state when you have a wrench in hand. Focusing on even minor details for weeks on end to accomplish the most subtle aspect of a build has tremendous personal reward. It's the feeling of success and pride when you fix that electrical issue that's been there for months or sitting in the driver's seat knowing you reupholstered it yourself. It's the feeling of molding a car to what you think it should be or simply taking the steps to achieve what the original creator set out to accomplish. Feeling the metal beneath your hands on a build is like taking a step back in time and walking through someone's shoes. Built or bought I appreciate the level of craftsmanship and attention to detail in all builds even if they're not suited to my personal tastes but putting the wrench time into a car is passion, buying a car is appreciation. Neither is cheap in the end and that's what most people get confused. Passion and appreciation for cars is what it's all about after all, isn't it?


BrentBadulis Tough looking SA22, very nice work!


I have bought a few partially pre-built cars in the past, and then taken them way further with whatever I did to them after that, to make them my own - either attempting it myself, or more usually getting help from my very generous friends, or of course going to a professional when I know I'm not capable. At the end of the day, the only problem I have is when someone buys a complete, heavily modified car and then tries to claim the work as their own. As a journalist I've seen it a few times before when featuring cars, and sometimes, you just can't know. But you're sure as hell going to find out when the article is published and you've got the angryman crosshairs on your forehead...


Peter_Kelly BrentBadulis Thanks so much! Not sure if its a NA only thing but my car is actually a FB3S, its a GSL-SE so it came stock with a 13B, LSD and 4X114.3 bolt pattern.


Peter_Kelly Agree completely. I hate it when people call out someone who takes a stock car, buys parts, and has a shop install them, as a "bought not built" whatever. What if the guy doesn't trust himself to wrench as well as a dedicated shop? What if he doesn't want to fuck up? He still had the vision of what parts he wanted on his car.


CJC_Matty I think you've hit the nail on the head there, my preference for built over bought cars isn't to do with a lack of respect for people who can't do it themselves, but the fact I think everyone should experience that "oh wow, I did that and it actually works" satisfaction. 
It's a feeling you can't fully appreciate until you've experienced it.  Turns your car into YOUR car.


sometimes you just need someone smarter or someone with tools and a garage next to you to get confidence to do some job on the car. I didnt want to do the floorpan welding myself, worrying to fk it up, after i saw and helped to do the job with my friend i got the confidence to do it myself and to work it every day, i towed the car back to my own garage and finished most of it. another example, one of my childhood friends called me that the alternator on his volvo went bad and needed someone with more experience with cars and a place to do do it because he didnt have to courage to do it himself... a long story short he basically did everything and i just stood next to him watching :D


Paddy McGrath I had a real interest in kit cars growing up. I've never been keen on replicas, but some of the original stuff was great, and it seemed like a way of getting an interesting car without spending a fortune.
I still notice kit car magazines on the shelves, but they just don't interest me as much any more. And it's not because of the stigma - it's that it's now so easy to buy the sort of fantastic cars that used to be out of reach for pennies on the used market! Why have some weird Metro or Fiesta-based roadster when you can get an MX-5 for a grand, for instance.
I guess from that perspective, I've gone towards bought, not built!


There's no shame in getting help. Sometimes it's worth not having an aneurysm over certain things. Like wiring. As long as I can pay someone to figure out the electronics on my builds I'm a happy camper. However, sometimes I jump in and learn things the hard way. Like my first clutch swap being on my evo x. It took me all of june. JUNE! Next time I'll be more than happy to pay Mitsu to do it:/


Spanksy Paddy McGrath It was built for a charity auction a few years back :)


@DriveCircles Peter_Kelly Would you consider that a built car but not his built car?


What about the guy who buys it, and doesn't use it? They pay someone a ton of money to put together a monster machine and then.... it isn't used. Anywhere near its fullest potential at least.   I feel like this is outside the question of "built or bought?" and could be a totally different topic of conversation.


@S3000 i only have one with the number plate blotted out, but ill happily add it.
they (CRX's) are reaaaaally light and well balanced once you remove the interior. the roofs about to become white (looks at weather) soon as its dry enough to get out there and do it. 

seat wise, you email people. a lot of people. at the moment its looking like there might be a seat mould involved. the Cage is a full affair so the rail across the top of the window is going to have some handles bolted there and two at the drivers side loop of the cage also. 

oh, and I have a great little safety hammer that doubles up as another handle when hooked into the lock retainer. 

the track time will come but first i need to be able to drive it... and sit in it!

Gianluca FairladyZ

I had the great luck in buying a customer car that i was involved in, back then when i worked @ Novidem, a Switzerland based tuning shop. So i knew the car very well and did some work on it too. I was really happy that the customer already bought the beautiful TE37SL wheels, that saved a lot of money for me. Since 3 years that i own it i continued to customize it, to give it my very own touch. I would say that this project is something for myself, if one day it gets featured on some website very nice. but that's not the main target.. Target should be to have passion and "joy of machine" ;) Nothing else matters!


I don't see it any different to people who collect art; if you think about classic race cars there are many that sit in museums and are never driven despite being in full working order...
Just because people like different aspects of a hobby that maybe you or i don't result understand doesn't mean they are less worthy or deserving.


That looks clean! Love the color. Are you going for white roof with white wheels? Would look great imo. I hope the sanctioning bodies won't give you too much crap.


Thanks! I have something special up my sleeve when it comes to the roof finish and the colour. It is indeed to match the wheels, I've been Photoshopping the black lower of the car to white also but am unsure yet. The colour is a Bugatti/Renault colour (love that fact. I may never own a Bugatti, but I own it's paint code at least!)
Regulations are going to be a pain (seriously, explaining the "no it's not an auto" gearbox to VOSA is going to pale in comparison), but I know plenty of none sanctioned hill climbs I can show up for...
"I'm retired, I needed a challenge" I seem to remember myself saying when I was on my way back with the car......
Good luck with yours too!


You're on fire, Paddy. Love this article, really hits home for both teams on the field.


As a father of two little ones and homeowner, having someone else do the tough stuff makes sense. Finding time and energy just to wash the car can be a challenge.  If I take the time to do mods myself, I may save money spending nights in the garage, but there will be  cost with respect to relationship in my marriage, with my kids and things turning shabby in and around my house. That is why I don't like Built Not Bought mantra. There is always a price somewhere unless you are single living in your parent's basement with no friends or family with which to spend time.


EricLonchambon Completely agree with your point 'Finding time and energy just to wash the car can be a challenge' esp with kids/marriage/mortgage.  

At this point in life, I think figuring out the 'new' balance is key.  It's also helped me realise the elements of my builds that I will / want to / have capacity to do, and what I will happily outsource - taking into account that balance.
I can't spend every night in the garage anymore, but I can spend one night a week, and that is great for me. I know as the kids get older, and life (hopefully) gets easier, this will increase but for now I'm not just going to give up on my hobby.

If you look at a beautifully finished car, it is rarely the $ that has gone into it that makes it stand out. It is the thought, the designer / builder's eye, the attention to detail, finishing touches and ability to carry through on a vision. 
None of this takes lots of $$. It takes skill and execution ability.

The reality is whether it is built or bought, (the majority of us do both), it is the culture and passion for cars in general which makes this such a great life long hobby.


Dude, that is one hell of a statement to put at the beginning of the article. The fact is you are writing as your occupation, and your words hold merit. You can say you didn't mean something you wrote or it was taken the wrong way, but it is your responsibility as a writer, a user of words, a wordsmith as you will to own up to them. Writing is a big responsibility, and you have quite an audience on this site. Understand the weight of those words and put thought into choosing them. You don't have to reveal to us how many revisions you had to do, how many times you had to pick up a thesaurus to find the right word, it will show. Own up to your words. It would be the same thing as a sword smith making a deadly sharp edge on a sword and saying "I didn't mean for it to be used that way" if you really didn't want it to be used that way you would have made it dull. If someone has to twist your words, take them way out of context, and add intonation to perverse the meaning then it will show. 

Bottom line, take pride in what you write, if you truly don't want to offend, then have other people read your articles and proof them, but be warned that will wash out your personality it will dull your words. From what I have read, you have your preferences and your tastes, some people disagree, but take pride that that quirky weirdness is kind of inherent to you. 

I can tell most articles written by you even before I get past the first paragraph, just like Dino's articles have a certain feel to them. Bottom line is don't go throwing that kind of blanket statement around. It is piss poor writing. Making a huge dismissing statement before saying something is the equivalent to crap phrases like, "I'm not racist but..." or "just saying..." or "don't take this the wrong way..." 

Your article was written to show a change in appreciation for certain aspects of building something. That has merit, your pictures are relevant to add a little flavor, I think this is well written.

JMax Paint Garage LLC

TL:DR - as a person who has built -and still capable- of building my own stuff:


Really. If you have a nice car, so be it, it doesn't matter if you built it or bought it built. This debate makes my stomach turn. If you have money to buy from someone then that's GOOD FOR PEOPLE THAT BUILD! If you have the gift and talent to build stuff THAT'S GOOD TOO, you can build stuff for people!

There is nothing worse than walking to a drift event or car show and some fucking asshole tries to shame a fellow car guy just because he didn't build his own car and Johnny 240 built it for him. The fuck is wrong with people feeling high and mighty just cause they can change their own oil?
ALSO - you will NEVER get this kind of shaming from people who build cars professionally or even as a hobby. It is usually the Johnny Come Lately's that barely learned how to change a tire or change oil that feel they can do everything and are trying to make an impression around people to feel admired. I know the people behind companies such as JSP, Full Race, Vivid, and K-Sport (among others) and have never experience them looking down on someone because they didn't build their on car.


JMax Paint Garage LLC  who cares? you obviously do, alot... judging by your 3 paragraph reply lol. i built my car and ive never shamed anyone for paying a mechanic to do work. the article just targets the posers, just like you did. we all care if were here reading this.


@Nate Spaghetti but what if I don't have the money or time to make all those mistakes or the the facilities to even try or the money to buy all the tools and shed space to store them. Does this make me going to a reputable mechanic for help when i have the money to do so any less valid as a car enthusiast


It really should be said. Built, Bought or Modified. That really covers all of the major aspects.

If some of you continue to psychoanalyze this topic, then you really need to consider what the OEM's do as well. When it is said that "I" don't build my car because I use an Mishimoto radiator or K&W dampers, I'm no longer "building" a track car. You say that because, I didnot fab, machine and weld ALL the components.

If you want to go to that level, not one OEM manufacture "builds" a car. Nissan for example does not make their electronics(Bosch), dampers(Tokico), VQ35 engine(Renault) and the list goes on. Which manufacture makes their own tires?

Nissan doesn't even "build" a Nissan in this respect.


You buy and build what you can with the money you have. You do your best to make it serve its purpose. You buy a Haynes manual and learn everything you can. You become a member of forums and meets that promote a positive and diverse range of views. Make mistakes. They are yours for the taking. They are valuable. There's lot of them waiting for you. And they are necessary. Be prepared for people telling you that your car is crap and that you did it wrong. And then decide whether you should listen to them or not. Sometimes their advice will be sound. Other times you'll realize they are just incredibly insecure and conservative about the decisions that they themselves have made and if they can convince you that their way is the "right" way, they'll feel better about themselves.


built, bought doesn't matter. as long as you are creating something you love and get enjoyment out of it.


Completely agree with this article. 

I do some work on my Nissan Winter beater but will not touch my 996 that I use on the track. My limited skill is ok for a car that is never gonna go above 70 or 80 clicks but when I hit the end of the straight at Mosport at 150, I wanna know I am gonna be able to stop! 

Also the snobery around cars that someone has contracted someone else to do really dream killers. RWB, Ring Brothers, AMG, Nismo, RUF, Rinspeed and a bunch of other well respected tuners would not exists if someone did not pay them to do cars. Imagine  world where those companies or ones like them did not exist.


JonathanW Difference is that art has no purpose other than being looked at: cars are meant to be driven


The "built not bought" argument only makes sense when someone who bought their way in, claims they "built" the car. 
In my book, anyone can take money, and start buying parts and pay someone to install them. Meanwhile it takes more dedication to research what parts work best with what type of setup one is going for, then buying said parts and lastly installation ( which can be either a shop or the individual). 

I think its this distinction that really embodies the "built not bought" argument.


I have to say the recent pompous lecturing to Speedhunter writers in the comments section is getting REAL OLD FAST. 

In this article and in the Nissan one Douchebags have felt compelled to offer advice on how one of contributes might be a better "Professional Writer" and take their "Occupation" more seriously. 

These people have likely never had to meet a deadline or been paid a salary for their words and yet they feel justified in lecturing others who have obviously managed to develop a successful following. 

If you don't have anything to say about the content within the article KINDLY FUCK OFF!

You come off like that fan who got filmed giving Lewis Hamilton tips on how to get around Monaco faster!


What world are you living in where a writer is responsible for how everyone interprets their words?

Is Nietzsche responsible for Hitler? Is JD Salinger responsible for Mark David Champan who shot John Lennon? I would hope the answer is no, because that is how a majority of people would respond. 

Thus why are Speedhunter writers held to a higher standard than the hero's of the literary world? Point being you are talking out of you ass. seattlejester please try and refrain from offing up your flawed wisdom to someone who clearly is a professional writer. You know how i know that? They have a following!

Net net, your literary critiques are not needed. Stop acting like you are stewarding Paddy along on this grand journey that is his literally career!


Built, obviously! This is my project: https://www.facebook.com/sfylatino


Passion for your car, regardless if it’s built or bought, is the ultimate badge of honour.  Fact of the day!!!!! 


Built bought or drivin. As long as you love driving at the limit. That's all that matters. I wish I could buy a car and just bolt some coilovers brakes and tires on and just hit the track. But I've never had much cash so I learned how to build a car out of necessity. In the end driving is all that matters to me. It just takes some people more effort to make it to the track. I envy those who can buy a car that can be competitive. I guess that time will come with lots of hard work


"Hand built replica"


It doesn't matter if you had to have the work done or you have the skills to do it yourself.  It is your dream and your dream alone and if you are happy with your dream then to hell with anyone else.  Hence why I have so many cars with no intention of selling them.


Very true Paddy. People need to not be so close minded. While I prefer built over bought, starting with a more expensive car such as an rx-3 mustang or 240z over something cheaper would be cool. Same goes for outsourcing jobs that you cannot do. Sometimes, it is best to leave some stuff in the hands of the pros. For instance tuning and painting. I speak for myself, I want to learn basic welding, panelbeating and engine building but would probably be best leave tuning and painting to the pros. No shame in not being able to do everything yourself. There's only one Torretto, btw.


I see where you're coming from and feel the same way myself. The grassroots feel builds are some of my favorite! That Starlet was one of my favorite features in recent time


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