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So, how DO you do the "Cost of Build" Math??

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by James427, Oct 15, 2008.

  1. iamspencer
    Joined: Aug 3, 2008
    Posts: 350


    think of everytign your goging use add it u then multiply by two
  2. Shifty Shifterton
    Joined: Oct 1, 2006
    Posts: 4,964

    Shifty Shifterton

    James, this isn't intended as a slam or disrespect, just an honest opinion

    Here's why it's not possible. The cheap car is built entirely out of used, unrebuilt parts at this point.

    Dunno about you, but I quit using unrebuilt junkyard mechanicals on cars I care about as a teenager. Shit only lasting a few thousand miles after installation gets old.

    Horsetrading is great, so is spending time to buy and sell to generate your raw materials. But at the end of the day, don't hold your car up to those built out of new & rebuilt parts and say it's the same. It's not.

    Wanna know how to determine what it REALLY costs? Track the construction expense, then track repair/forced upgrade expense over the first 20K miles. That's what it costs to build a car right. And my experience has been you can pay it up front with quality parts, or you can pay it nickel and dime at a time alongside the highway, with broke down used parts.

    On the flip side, I commend you for horsetrading to get the right starting point, legit hardcore mechanicals. There's guys that do the same then build around stuff that has no business in a hot rod, and if you question their choice of mechanicals, suddenly you're "squashing creativity" and "don't understand customization".

    good luck with the project
  3. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,114

    from California

    I figure if you are building a car for yourself for long term fun it doesn't matter how much it costs (within reason).

    it's a hobby, and pretty much every part of it we do because we like it.

    my brother in law is big into camping and boating. I'm sure he and my sister have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last 20 years on gas, boats, campers, camping junk, and everything else involved with these activities.

    I doubt they have ever figured out how much they have spent and don't see why car stuff should be any different.
  4. Pins&Needles
    Joined: Apr 8, 2006
    Posts: 381

    from Santa Cruz

    I think for the most part you can't go into a car project with the concept of trying to build it on the cheap, because that will inevitably affect the design. You have to go into the project with a few things in the following order: You have to first set out a design plan... this in my opion should be done even before you buy the car, epecially if it is a custom. Then you have to set out a budget, that can be either a situation where you determine a monthly budget or a yearly budget. Then from there you can figure a parts list, which then help decide the time line of the build. I personally enjoy the hunt for that obscure part laying in the dirt in that old guys back yard. Because lets face it it's like a treasure hunt. Anyone can go buy new speed equipment from speedway, or grab a pair of wishbones for $300 off of eBay. But it takes a real conniseur and expert to be able to hunt craigslist, swap meets and the odd garage sale or junkyard and know what to look for. In my opinon this of course adds substance to a build, but lets face it... it also adds time. As far as a mathematical equation for the cost the only way to figue it out would be on a buget vs. time equation.
  5. James427
    Joined: Apr 27, 2008
    Posts: 1,740


    "Horsetrading is great, so is spending time to buy and sell to generate your raw materials. But at the end of the day, don't hold your car up to those built out of new & rebuilt parts and say it's the same. It's not."

    The car used as an example that I built was a 67 Shelby GT-500 clone. When it was done, everything on it was new or rebuilt. It had a Rick Toombs 427 solid lifter sideoiler rebuilt from the boat motor with 1969 Cobra Jet heads, also totally rebuilt. The (real) 1968 Shelby big spline toplaoder was also rebuilt by a noted expert. It has a factory ford dual quad set-up, rebuilt rear axle and brand new just about everything. All of it through horsetrading.

    Here is a link to the build. Is it HAMB friendly, no. But it was done on a por guys budget with me doing ALL of the work with the exception of the machine work, engine build and trans build.

    I got great deals all along the way and bought parts cars and engines to get what I wanted. I bought three 428 CJ engines and sold each one for much more than I paid for them keeping all of the best parts for my build. It's really just a matter of knowing what everything is worth. What I'm saying is that it is easily possible to have a hot rod hobby without robbing your family or your 401K (which I don't have either). If it wasn't for horsetrading, I would never get to own a single car. That's why I ask a lot of questions about value. I can't afford to loose on anything.
  6. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,114

    from California

    another comment on the horsetrading aspect. I parted out a 51 chevy sedan and got about $3000.00 out of it. i'm using the windshield in my car. if I were adding things up I'd say that was a free windshield rather than subtract $3,000 from the total.
  7. Shifty Shifterton
    Joined: Oct 1, 2006
    Posts: 4,964

    Shifty Shifterton

    James if you're doing that much horsetrading, then you need to add a couple more columns to the balance sheet before things even out.

    The truck/trailer you're chasing with isn't free. The computer & net access you use to find/analyze/sell these things isn't free. The fact you don't live in a smaller home, and have room to do these things must also be considered.

    If you look at your automotive enterprise the way a business would/should, the hidden costs add up quickly.

    The other thing to realize is everyone has different connections, and to some extent those connections are determined by what you do for a living. I know guys that wouldn't have to pay for anything from metalforming to paint jobs, but they've paid for it by earning jack-shit their whole lives. That's how they made the connections. Is that ultimately any different than a guy who works in an office earning more, but having to pay more because he lacks the connections? I don't think it is.

    We all pay. Somehow. Even if it's thru the divorce attorney because the marriage went to hell while ya spent all that time chasing deals.
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2008
  8. dabirdguy
    Joined: Jun 23, 2005
    Posts: 2,404

    Member Emeritus

    I don't DARE figure out what I spend....if the wife found out........
  9. Cataldo
    Joined: Jun 13, 2008
    Posts: 76


    I try and look at things this way, as many of you do, I add up everything I think I mihgt need then I tend to double it for the oddball stuff I will need that I didn't initially think of then. Then to add 25% of it and try and make that my "Budget".

    I usually don't pay attention to the "Budget", as long as I can keep on keeping on, I am not spending too much. I don't plan on building my cars to sell them for a profit. As long as I am happy with it, then it is built to my specifications.
  10. If you work naked out in the cold with no tools in a public parking lot, your time might be free.
  11. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 18,114

    from California

    my time is free. I get 24 hours every night at midnight. with any luck, tonight I'll get another 24.

    if a person thinks otherwise how much does it cost you to watch an hour of TV a night or search the HAMB?
  12. 26trackt
    Joined: Oct 20, 2008
    Posts: 50


    I read an example in a magazine that compaired building cars on a super low budget to running a marathon. Some guys can run vast distances very fast. It seems imposable but they can do it because they train long & hard. It is the same for cars and anything else. Some guys can because the have worked & learned.

    I congradulate & envy you guys that just get with it & build your rides. I can't start a project because I know I'm going to screw up & loose a chunk of money. I have been so obsessed with not losing any money (parts, labor, equip) that I have never started any of my projects. I need to justify the money I would spend. That keeps me in the wanna-be section of the stands.

    Don't be a wanna-be. Get out of the stands. Take a chance. You can do it. I'm going to give this speech to myself in the mirror.
  13. 40StudeDude
    Joined: Sep 19, 2002
    Posts: 9,464


    Experience is the best teacher...get the fuck outta the stands and go build something...

    How do you know you'll screw it tried it yet...???

    Thought not...and you're NEVER gonna screw anything up IF you don't start something...and if you don't start something, you're never gonna learn...and if you don't start something, you'll never know you could have done it without screwing something up...and you'll never know what a project can be WHEN it's done...

  14. Black Primer
    Joined: Oct 1, 2007
    Posts: 966

    Black Primer

    Yeah I usually look for the "african american" cars, they are much easier to part out.WTF!
  15. If a customer comes to me and says something like i have to justify the money that I spend I say, you don't need a street rod. A street rod is something that you don't need, it is something that you want and a reward for working and being a good husband and father and your family can enjoy it.

  16. Formula for cost of build..really simple

    5X= Build cost

    with X being what you told the wife it cost.

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