This Is What They Mean By ‘Built Not Bought’
Stock Doesn’t Rock

It’s not uncommon to see people using the phrase ‘built not bought’ in social posts about their cars, but often you’re only looking at basic modifications like wheels, suspension and intake and exhaust upgrades. Sorry, but that does not constitute a car that’s been built not bought.

Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely nothing wrong with just doing basic upgrades. Not everyone wants to completely change or chop up their car, and not everyone has the funds to do a full build, and that’s totally fine. Just don’t go pretending that you’ve built a spectacular machine.

Sometimes, though, people do build spectacular machines that totally live up to the ‘built not bought’ mantra. Quentin Boylan is one of those guys, and this Lotus/Mercedes-AMG mash-up might be his wildest creation yet.

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It’s interesting how Quentin got to the point of building this custom Exige-based supercar, because in South African tuning circles his name is best known for exploits in crazy-fast Hondas for the strip and street.


Among many, there’s been a now-retired FWD EK Civic that ran a best ET of 8.27-seconds at 290km/h (180mph), and a K24-powered EF Civic Quentin built for his wife (he’s currently also building her a K24 CR-Z with a sequential transmission). Quentin has two new builds on the go now too – a street/drag 4WD K24 turbo EG Civic, and a RWD-converted EK Civic coupe for exclusive quarter-mile duty.

Track Aspirations

Quentin has always been a passionate drag racer, but thanks to a trio of brothers and good friends, the Jouberts, over the years he’s developed an appetite for circuit racing as well.

The Jouberts have been developing their Honda-powered Lotus race cars for many years. Dawie Joubert’s white car is powered by a K24 turbo setup running between 700 and 800hp, and has had plenty of success in circuit and hillclimb racing. Charl Joubert’s grey car runs a Honda J35 V6 turbo motor, and this was very competitive too, until he crashed it quite badly at the 2019 Simola Hillclimb. It’s currently being rebuilt and will no doubt return faster than ever.


With the Jouberts running Honda engines and Quentin being such a massive Honda guy, you can see where the inspiration for this Exige street/circuit project originally came from. Of course Quentin had planned to use a Honda motor in this car, but that all changed when his right-hand man Hercules, otherwise known as Tjonkie, swapped a Mercedes-AMG C63’s engine into a Toyota Hilux.

Creating Crazy

While a high-power turbo K24 would have gone nicely in Quentin’s Lotus, the idea to use a naturally aspirated Mercedes-AMG engine was actually a very clever one. They could keep the engine stock and therefore reliable, and focus attention on other equally important parts of the build, like the suspension and handling.


To get the project started, a 6.2L M159 SLS AMG V8 engine – which comes with a dry sump from the factory, perfect for a race car – was sourced from Holland, and married up to an Albins ST6-M 6-speed sequential transmission via a custom billet bell-housing from MWAS Systems.


That was the (relatively) easy part; fitting it required a little more brain power and a whole lot of custom chromoly tube-frame work. Chassis engineer Andre Van Aarde was called in for this aspect of the build, and he extended the chassis by 150mm and widened the rear by 100mm, integrating a full roll cage at the same time.

Banging Body
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Next came the bodywork, which although might look like FRP in the images above, is actually all carbon fiber. The front end design came from a mould that Charl had for his race car, while the rear clam follows the original Exige form – to an extent.


Anton Dekker and Jimmy Staines from Exclusive Conversions worked with wood and body filler to create every curve and detail – like the rear-exiting vents above the front wheels to help disperse brake heat – before making moulds that would eventually create the carbon fiber panels now painted in Quentin’s signature yellow hue.


The front splitter and rear diffuser are just some of the many body parts custom-made for this project, but the wing is a Ferrari F430 GT3 item, which suits the car perfectly and is of course highly functional.


Then there’s the rear engine cover, which gives you a sneak peek of the high-revving V8 gem sitting beneath.

Running Gear

As mentioned earlier, one of the main reasons to use an AMG engine was its performance and reliability right out of the box. 571hp at 6,800rpm and 650Nm at 4,750rpm is nothing to sneeze at, especially when its sitting in a car as lightweight as this one.

Junior Welding Works built the fuel cell, the custom exhaust, breather box and the revised intakes which are fed through dual K&N air filters.


CME Engineering custom-built the headers, and combined with the exhaust the sound is simply stunning. Tuned through a MoTeC engine management system, the upgrades have resulted in a total output of 575hp and 720Nm at the wheels on 95 octane fuel. Couple that to a weight (with driver) of just 1,100kg (2,425lb), and you don’t need me to tell you how quick it must be.

Surprisingly though, Quentin has ideas of making the car even faster – the 8-second quarters in his Civic are probably to blame for that. He’s looking at a Kleemann supercharger, or may even swap the current engine for an AMG 4.0L bi-turbo V8. The latter would require further modifications to the chassis to make it fit, but Quentin and Hercules are certain it can be done.


As it sits, the naturally aspirated AMG engine provides ample power. Much more than the original Lotus driveshafts could ever handle too, hence why they’ve been replaced – with those from a diesel BMW 7 Series. Strange, I know, but if it works, it doesn’t need to make sense.


In the suspension department you’ll find 3-way adjustable AST 5300 Series dampers, while 6-pot AP Racing Pro 5000R calipers, 2-piece slotted rotors and race pads provide the Lotus with all the stopping power it could ever need.


For wheels, Quentin went with lightweight 3-piece forged GA3Rs from Forgeline’s Motorsport Series, in 18×10-inch front and 18×12-inch rear fitments. On the day we shot, these were wrapped up in Pirelli slicks.

Carbon Overload

If you thought the exterior of Quentin’s car was wild, just check out the interior. Carbon-Kevlar is everywhere; the side-steps, dash and seats are all custom-made from the ultra-strong and ultra-light composite material.


An OMP Kubik flat-bottom steering wheel is attached to a Works Bell hub, and above you can see the carbon fibre shifter paddles for the air-actuated transmission.


With MoTeC on ECU duty, it’ll come as no surprise to see a C127 data-logging display unit on metering duty and a MoTeC keypad.


For me, this Lotus-AMG creation is a perfect example of what a custom-built car should be – properly thought out from the get-go and perfectly executed.

Despite being engineered for the circuit, after finishing the build Quentin decided that it’s just too beautiful to risk damaging in competitive racing. Also, being a one-off it’s not something you’d easily be able to rebuild. That said, he does plan on doing some casual track days and maybe a hillclimb event in the future.


Quentin has previously taken it to Zwartkops racetrack though. There, he slapped on some old slicks and handed the reins over to seasoned track driver Lee Thompson, who proceeded to knock out a 1:02 lap right off the trailer. To give you an idea of how fast that is, a Ginetta G57 does a 59-second lap around this 2.4km circuit, but that’s a prototype sports car and definitely not street legal like Quentin’s Exige. With some setup adjustments, I’m sure the Lotus could crack the 1-minute barrier too.

I managed to squeeze in this shoot the afternoon before South Africa went into its Covid-19 lockdown, so much to my disappointment, we didn’t get to take the car out for any driving shots. When life returns to normal, you can be sure that I’ll be hitting up Quentin for a blast in this masterpiece. In the meantime, a couple of quick video clips from the man himself should give you some idea of just how savage it is.

Stefan Kotzé
Instagram: stefankotzephoto



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Wew baby.

21st century hot rod.


just gulped my own saliva from the thumbnail. That engine with chassis that small, hans device must be mandatory


What a build!


Some nice cars are built in RSA.... Sweet ride.



Godfrey Mashongwa

Great shots Stefan. Wild build...


Thanks Godfrey! Easy car to photograph!


Got to love the creativity between 'Built Not Bought'
It's so unique!


Even though it doesn't really apply to this article... I HATE the phrase "built not bought" because the vast majority of it's use is to serve as a pseudo-insult towards those who pay someone to build their car(s) - somehow implying that they are not as much of an enthusiast or lesser in the lifestyle than those who do their own work. Coincidentally the person usually (not always thought...) throwing the phrase around has a car or mods of questionable workmanship or quality.

I build cars for a living, and I am very good at it. It is how I support my family, and it allows me to always challenge myself. I have heard the term "checkbook built" quite a bit too. I have never seen a checkbook build a car, nor have I see a car just magically be brought into existence by the presence of money. There is always someone - like me - who builds the car.

I feel like the phrase "built not bought" needs to be retired and stricken from the automotive enthusiast world.


This car is why I love Speedhunters. Such a crazy awesome car.


Slow down there mate 'built not bought' has NEVER been aimed at the builder\shop that built the car, only to distinguish between those who paid someone and those that didn't.
Built usually means somebody put their heart and soul into a car and probably learnt the skills along the way (and made mistakes). Some of us are proud of what WE did whether you think its any good or not and wish people to know this.
Nobody should use any term to be derogatory to something someone is proud of.


99% of everytime I have heard someone say "built not bought" it was a phrase intended to take something away from a car that someone paid someone else to build. It seems to be commonly used (in this country) as a derogatory statement that many people use to somehow indicate their car being better (regardless of if it is - usually it isn't....) because they did the work themselves. As a couple other commenters here have also pointed out.

Every car is built, by someone. By the adding "not bought" it is an implied statement discrediting someone's car because they could not do the work themselves. That is what the phrase means, and how it originated and that is why it should be axed from a car enthusiasts vocabulary. Why say "built not bought" when you can just say "I built it?"


That's fair enough and I think you hit the nail on the head with that last statement.


Love this build. Must be insane to drive! It's refreshing to see a properly done swap, not some hackjob welding and fabrication. Does anyone know if the builder/owner has a website or online shop? I couldn't find anything online.


This car is amazing.

Side note, anyone who uses the phrase "built not bought" is an arse hole, and don't know what they are talking about (as said by another poster). Chopping your springs and putting on vinyl stickers is not "built".


Nice sweeping generalisation there. see above. Everyone has to start somewhere.


The M159 sounds amazing in this build. That engine should have come factory as a modern incarnation of the esprit V8.


Speedhunting at its finest , top work by all beautiful car and very nice pics , keep up the good work . post like this that drive me to finish my car , thank you .


This has got to be one of the cleanest builds around


This might be one of the coolest cars i have ever seen

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

Hey, this is much cooler than the common LS swap Lotus that I have seen before!


Nice article . Nice car . Quentin Boylan has deep pockets.......

Safrane Biturbo

I use "Built not bought" because i use my own hands and have to achieve my skills etc. to higher level. When someone says that he dont have time or skills to do it, it is his problem. I did not have it too. I see the difference between someone who challenges himself and someone who is enthusiast. Sorry for my english. Its like when you are fan of football but you dont play it. For me its clear.


Your reasoning doesn't make much sense in the adult world. Just because you have the time to learn to work on your car - doesn't mean every "car guy" does. Many of my customers are way more into cars than most people I hear that utter "built not bought." Most of my customers have very busy lives managing their businesses, families, or other obligations. I even have a few customers who want to do their own work but can't risk damaging their hands due to their professional lives. These are people who are challenged everyday, in different areas - and because of that can't spend a year of time to build their car. To judge them as lesser compared to someone who has time is ignorant. Not everyone's lives are the same. This is even more-do demonstrated at the very high level of car building like i do - 99.9% of people cannot learn the skills required to build a car at a high level themselves and also do adult things like work, family, etc. If they did it would take decades to build the car.

This doesn't make them any less than someone who built their own cars - it just shows they have a different requirements with their time or ability. I am mostly talking about what I do (build custom cars/hot-rods to a high level) and this is a little different than someone who just changes out some wheels, or installs bolt-ons.

Just because you "build" your own car(s) doesn't elevate you higher than someone who doesn't. Passion, enthusiasm, and the lifestyle isn't measurable by the ability to turn a wrench. I have customers who have spent 20-30 years involved in the hot-rodding scene and had me build their cars.


You are absolutely right about the term “build not bought” ,i’m in the middle of a build process but cannot weld or putting an engine in my car even if i could i simply don’t have the space and equipment to do so,but i know what i want,and my friend translate my ideas into my project car,i like to let it be build by a professional then do it myself and have poor quality

safrane biturbo

OH in adult world, OK...sorry man but Im not 20y old with overfender VW on air. I see difference in people because noone is the same. You just think that is something like "car guy" and that guy is the same as "car guy" standing beside him. That is just not true. YES there is difference between someone who play football and someone who does not. THAT IS JUST FACT. Sorry you can argue what you want but you can not change this litlle thing. I never say that I judge people by the fact if they work on their vehicles. im just send smile to people who dont understand cars and they just showing money and act like masters. Maybe you are too adult to understand this? You just taking "built not bought" by ONLY your understanding. There is more in that.


Oh, wow. I hit a nerve. Sounds like some personal issues.

You don't get it apparently. Just because someone isn't physically able, can't invest the time, or isn't interested in turning wrenches on their own car somehow makes them inferior to someone who does? That is hilarious.

I know guys who have been into hot-rods for 20-30 years. They organize shows, collect the history, and have spent decades helping preserve artifacts and keeping the scene "alive." However due to them either being too busy, physically incapable, etc - they have their cars built. So you are telling me that these guys are not the same level enthusiast as someone who has built their own car?

My customer(s) that are surgeons - who don't want to risk damaging their hands - so they have me build their cars - are somehow lesser than someone who threw together a car in a garage because he doesn't have a job that depends on keeping hands in "great" shape? Even though my customer has the same amount of knowledge as 80% of people that have "built" their own car? I am not buying it.

By your poor analogy - let say there is a dude who memorizes football stats, collects memorabilia, plays fantasy football, watches all the games, and is a walking dictionary on the sport - however he isn't physically capable of actually playing - this somehow makes him inferior to some dude who goes to a park once a week and plays with a few dudes?

I have a ton of friends who have me do the more complicated tasks on their cars, as they would rather I do as I have more experience, the correct tools, and can get it done faster so it doesn't interrupt their work schedule and family life. They know what they want, do the research, and set everything up after I have installed it. Somehow this makes them "beneath" someone who installed the parts themselves?

The "fact" of the matter is not every true car person can afford the tools or the time to do something themselves. Or maybe they just aren't comfortable doing it for safety reasons. That doesn't mean they are a lesser car person than someone does. There are a multitude of valid reasons why someone can't build a car themselves - and the vast majority of those aren't make-or-break when it comes to being a true car person.

Maybe we are having a misunderstanding due to language - but being able to wrench on a car doesn't discount or add to someone's ability of being a car enthusiast.

Safrane Biturbo

I absolutely get your point. But you dont understand me. You put for example someone who live by cars, thats ok, but AGAIN i speak about people who know shit and act like know everything dispite they cant change brake pads. Its like you wrote about some fan of football who really live that play, but you dont mention stupid ass fan who just drink beer and beat weaker people. Do you understand the diffence? I AM NOT ENTHUSIAST NOR CAR GUY, I JUST LOVE CARS AND "BUILT NOT BOUGHT" IS REPRESENTING THAT STATE. So if you are one big enthusiastic family, its your thing but here on this planet is another people too, who dont understand that EQUALITY ABOVE ANYTHING. WITH ALL THE RESPECT TO PEOPLE WHO LIVE THEIR LOVE TO CARS.
Its the shame that arguing of someone else is lesser to you. Because you say just oposite. You judging me by the "built not bought" and forgot you know absolute nothing about me. You and now Stefan are puttin me words to my mouth, but i never said that im more than someone else. YOU GUYS ACTS LIKE THAT.


Perhaps it is a language thing, but you seem to be failing to understand what the phrase "built not bought" implies. By adding the "not bought" it is implying that people who pay others to build cars are lesser than those who do the work themselves. The phrase itself has the meaning that one type of enthusiast is "lower" than another.

The phrase is synonymous with someone who has "built" their own car, often at a lower quality or effort - who then uses the phrase to express resentment towards someone who has had a car built - often at a higher quality than what the phrase-sayer has.

It is not a "friendly" saying , but a disrespectful insult here in the US (where it originated.)

Safrane Biturbo

"people who pay others to build cars are lesser than those who do the work themselves"
Maybe that is the problem, lesser feel someone ofended by that phrase, but that phrase is not include that. People mostly hate knowledge of their incompetence and then yelling out its not fair. You are repeating something about poor quality of work on the "BnB" side, I really dont get it. And on other side when someone pay money for work you present it like that work on car is perfect. Thats funny because that is the reason i started do things by myself. Because of shit quality of work of the "professionals". That is another thing you are ignoring. Another "BnB" point of view - money doesnt guarantees any quality.

Now I understand you are like "BnB" is like this and that is offensive. But i feel it like more open therm what is sayin lot of things. Expression of this term is changing by every man and every place.

Safrane Biturbo

So if Man no1 have supra built himself on high standard, say to man no2 who have gallardo from his father and know shit about cars, "This Supra is built not bought", you have problem with that?
If I put that sign on my car, Im not aiming it for you, but for him(man no2), do you get it?
From my point of view people who feel bad about this statement are 95% those who dont work on their cars but they cant understand that its not hate for them. Hate is not the word but i dont have word. I know lot of people who have 10% skills of me but it is not reason to dishonor them. But they know Im better then them in these things and worse in any other things.
About origin of that, I use that phrase in my language before I realize that it is used in the world. I use english because more people will understand. Maybe the feel of owning of that phrase make your misunderstand of what im saying?


Great reasoning here theAngryMarmot. Just because someone didn't do all the work themselves, doesn't mean they have any less input.

It's more about people doing basic things, the same as everyone else, and then pretending it's the best car in the world. I'm sure lots of your clients for instance come with a proper set out idea/vision of what they want to achieve with their cars, and just trust you to do the work.

This whole thing is more about having a proper idea and plan when you start with a build, other than just slapping some stuff together to have a modified car, or to be part of a certain movement

Safrane Biturbo

But honestly i dont give fak if you thing that im stupid or whatever. When I put hundreds hours of work on my cars and feel results every day, i really dont need opinion from you guys. Someone who payed for work on their cars never feel like someone who did it. For me its clear.


Probably the dumbest thing I've ever heard. By your logic i should have gambled with my RB28 engine build which cost close to $50k? I'm not an engine builder and if i attempt a home job instead of sending it to a specialist, things go bang and cost a lot. Not everyone is building Honda lawnmower engines for their cars. I can guarantee you wont be able to build a 600whp RB motor

Cherston Warner

Not a huge fan of swept control arms, but man does that thing move!! Great sounding drivetrain. Love the kevlar cockpit. Awesome fabrication.


Awesome car, seems a shame not to race it though (admittedly understandable).


Stefan, your opening comments seem intentionally inflammatory. Why shouldn't someone who is proud of what they've done pretend it's a spectacular machine? These comments seem to go against everything that I thought Speedhunters stands for and are somewhat disappointing.


Well if everyone in the world pretended sub standard stuff was great, wouldn't we live in a shitty world. Imagine a child getting a F in school and the parents telling them great job. This can be applied to almost anything in life.


There is so much wrong with that statement Stefan............ We don't live in a shitty world, just some people make it that way. The car IS awesome, I just don't like the insinuation that other builds are lesser. Far too elitist.


There's nothing wrong with lesser builds at all. Not everyone can have a serious build that also costs serious money. It's just about not pretending something is much greater than it really is. If it's a simple build, then portray it that way


Ok Beautiful car, On to the distracting part of built not bought. If I had to pick one defining part that starts the idea of car, for me it would be Rubber/tire in contact with the ground and I dont know many people who even get to design tires, they are probably the only people who can at the heart of it say they built it, the rest of us have to buy what we are offered, but with that choice begin all the process that is what keeps me going and learning, cars and my car hobby have led me to some strange places and trying to understand the connection of tire and ground even made me think of whats the next step in numbers, yes try stepping off that cliff, you wont worry who built what just enjoy that any of ot works at all.


What a machine! That Carbon Kevlar weave is something else. Also agree with you that your Stage1 Golf GTI with an intake and Eibach springs is not a build lol


What a great car and great article. I just dont understand why 'Built not Bought' was mentioned in this article. Speedhunters is full of articles of crazy builds that one man has built in the back of his farm house this is not that. The article itself points out all the work completed by engineers, fabricators and designers for this build as with many builds of this caliber it takes an army to complete. It is great to see the owner turns the spanners but it is clear that others are also paid to work their magic on this.

I personally hate the built not bought argument but if we are going to bring it up then at least do it in an article that is a true one man back yard banger and not this car which clearly is a healthy combination of built and bought.


Truly inspirational...


Normally this stuff just doesn't register over the great cars but......I have to say this is depressing, maybe it is that all the little decisions matter and none are unworthy of noticing and talking about . If all you change on a car is Springs its still a big subject. What rates, linear, Progressive, Outer dia., inner dia., What material, number of coils, and of course leaf springs are a whole other subject. And then how do they relate harder, softer, higher, lower. What kind of dampers and wheels and tires are they paired up with, do you like the change or cant wait to find something else. Also Eibach is a great company. I have to go out to my crappy tiny work space (I have had nicer but its OK) to drop a fuel tank to change a pump, perhaps a walk first to clear the air. I Hope the Honda powered builds kick this thing back to the gutter it belongs in, and I like the car

Josh Buchanan

"built not bought" is one of the worst phrases and often misused to provoke people online. This doesn't directly relate to the context in the article but there is nothing wrong with paying someone to build you a car. If we want to encourage the next generation of quality car engineers, you should be paying someone if you have the means. Even if it's as simple as swapping your wheels. That's what keeps the doors open, not shade tree mechanics that have a point to prove.