does it really cost to build a hot rod, custom, or specialty car?
1960, the average retail price for a gallon of gasoline was 31¢
cents, in 2007 inflation adjusted dollars, that 31¢ equates to
$2.18. Using that same multiplier (X 7.03), the hot rod, street rod,
custom car, or dune buggy that cost $3K–$5K to build in 1960 would
take $21K–$35K* to build using today’s dollars.
yardstick is that building a nice custom car for less than what it costs
to buy the average new car is considered to be a good deal. The price
of your average new vehicle topped $30K** in 2005.
means is the Rodster Roadster Street Rod, with an average total build-up
cost (including the donor vehicle) of only $10K–$15K, is an all-around
sweet deal. And the Rodster Sedan Delivery Street Rod, at a total build-up
cost (including the donor vehicle) of $9K–$11K, is a smokin' deal.
do you mean, total build-up cost?”
budget is how you should look at any project. Whether it’s a house,
storage shed out back, or street rod, it’s always a good idea to work
up a rough budget to determine what the total build-up cost will be.
Figure out how much time and effort you can afford to give to the project.
Often, when you are building something custom, emotional considerations
take over and logic goes out the window. Trying to re-create a childhood
dream can get awfully expensive. The Rodster was developed so the homebuilder
with average mechanical ability can do most of the work himself (your
labor = soft cost) without contracting out a lot of the work (outside
labor = hard cost). For example, there is no welding required to build
a Rodster. At the most, our customers farm out the lowering kit installation
and the final paint.
more about hard costs vs. soft costs?”
giant do-it-yourself industry is built on hard dollars versus soft dollars.
When you pay someone $60 an hour (shop rates vary from $45–$75
an hour) to do something for you, you have to earn as much as $85 before
taxes to pay them. Plus, when you figure-in the taxes, parts mark-up,
down-time, charge-card interest (if you put it on a card), and misc.
supplies, you could easily pay over $100 for that hour of labor. It
can get very expensive fast. If you can do-it-yourself (soft dollars),
and even if you take twice as long to perform an operation, you still
haven’t taken any money (hard dollars) out of your pocket. You save
real money doing it yourself.
there a guy in Tennessee who builds ‘32 Ford Hi-boy replicas for only
We hear this “legend” from time to time, and when you check into it
you see that for $24,568 you get a bare-bones stripper replica called
an “Almost-Ready-to-Cruise” package. When you read the “fine print”
and add options like the upgraded chassis with IFS and GM disc brakes
($7K option - of course, a S10 Blazer comes with IFS and GM power disc
brakes), paint ($7K+ option for just your basic paint job), GM 700R4
automatic transmission ($1,600 option - note: the Chevy S10 Blazer uses
the desirable GM 700R4 trans.), A/C (over $1K parts/labor), miscellaneous
parts ($2K), and other things that aren’t included like gauges, an emergency
brake, and even rearview mirrors, you blow through the proverbial $40K
barrier very quickly.
thought you could build a Cobra replica for $15K-$20K.”
don’t know how anyone can do this, especially when the Basic kit for
most popular Cobra replica starts at $13K and a Complete kit goes for
$20K. By the time you add a few (and pretty much necessary) upgrades,
have it shipped to you, put in the modern running gear, and then put
a decent paint job on it, you’re knocking on $30K in a big hurry. We
guess that, if you’re amazingly lucky, tremendously handy, and extremely
resourceful, you can probably build a nice Cobra replica for under $30K.
But then again, if you’re amazingly lucky, tremendously handy, and extremely
resourceful, you can build a nice Rodster Roadster for less than $10K
and a Sedan Delivery for something like $7K (including the price of
the donor vehicle).
a Porsche Speedster replica only $10K?”
VW beetles are collector items now (those 2.8 million ‘83 - ‘94 Chevy
S10 Blazers are most definitely not). By the time you find a VW donor
vehicle (or a new frame kit and Brazilian motor), fit a body, add tires/wheels,
interior, and paint it - you’re over $15K in a hurry. Plus, when you’re
all done the best you have is the archaic engineering of a 25-50 year
old Volkswagen with a swoopy body. Cute, but it sure wouldn’t be our
first choice for a vehicle to drive cross-country.
heard about someone who built a real-steel ‘40 Ford convertible street
rod for only $40K.”
like to meet to this “someone.” When we occasionally hear stories like
this, we just shake our heads with wonder. If your grandfather had one
sitting around and gave it to you for a song, and your dad teaches auto
shop and just so happens to have a small block w/tranny lying around,
and your brother-in-law has a high-end body shop, and your wife has
an upholstery business . . . maybe you can build a real-steel street
rod for less than the cost of a new Lexus. There are a lot of “fish-stories”
in the hot rod/custom/specialty car business. Do your own math. Do a
total build-up cost budget. Don’t get into a project that your resources
(both checkbook and time) can’t handle. Building and owning a street
rod should be something fun.
I can buy a ‘32 Hi-boy reproduction body for around $9,900, then isn't
$8,495 a lot for a Rodster Roadster Super Deluxe complete kit?”
body for body it’s about the same . . . except that with the ‘32 Ford
reproduction body all you get is a body (and only from the firewall
back and w/o fenders). With the Rodster you get a complete conversion
kit with a body that is engineered to fit a modern production vehicle
- i.e.: the attachment flanges are all there. You also get all the stuff
you need to convert a used S10 Blazer into a Rodster (like a lowering
kit, radiator, fan, sport hoop, grille, lights, etc.), so when you add
a $2K Chevy S-10 Blazer donor, $2K paint job, and a $1K set of wheels/tires
you’re only in the $13K–$15K range for a completed Rodster Roadster
the time you add things to the ‘32 Hi-boy replica body, like a frame,
running gear, brakes, steering, seats, windshield, dash, etc., etc.,
etc., your finished rod is easily in the $35K–$40K range. Like
we said earlier, it’s a good idea to think total build-up cost.
Also, you gotta know that it’s a ton easier to convert a fully-operational
modern vehicle into a street rod than it is to build a rod from pieces.
(You know what that means, if you’ve ever hoisted an engine into a chassis.)
high cost of something that doesn’t get used.
have all bought an expensive shirt that just hung in the closet. We’ve
also bought shirts that we wore ‘til they were threadbare. We all like
to indulge ourselves with something nice –– but it’s even
nicer if we are able to enjoy it and have some fun. There’s nothing
worse than putting a ton of money into something that doesn’t get used
and then becomes a burden. Our customers enjoy the bejeezes out of their
Rodsters. After all, it’s the 100 smiles-an-hour street rod.
put, the Rodster is the more doable, EZ cruisin’ Street Rod. It doesn’t
break the bank to build one. It doesn’t take years and years to finish
one. It’s easy to maintain and find parts to keep it running at its
best. It’s a Street Rod engineered and designed to be a no-worries
cruiser. The Rodster maximizes the fun of street rod construction and
ownership. It offers the most bang-for-the-buck in the world
of street rods.
it time you got in on the fun?