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Old 16th March 2005, 13:39   #1
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Exclamation how to build a kit car?

Hi ppl, well this started out two years ago. i laid my hands on a totalled fiat premier padmini. i have been trying to re build it at home. i wanted something like a catterham.

well i have removed the entire body work and rebuilt the engine a bit. the engine had some minor damages from the accident.

now i have shifted the seats back where the rear seats originally were. i have elongated the steering column, the pedals and converted to floor shift.

now i am stuck with the skeleton. i need to know how to go about building hte body. guys the main concern here is cash. i am short of it. i am trying to do most of the stuff my self or using little help from some people around here.

can some one tell me how the body is built for commercial vehicles? i say commercial vehicles bcas what i have in mind for the car is the plain strainght lines of teh catterham.

since i am planning to put in a full roll cage for protection all i need is a shell to cover the cage and give that catterham like look.

will it be possible to make a frame over the chassis first and then weld or rivet the sheet metal on to it? i could then get a tinker to give a few cosmetic touches...

i am totally lost guys! autopsyche and other guys please share some views on this...
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Old 16th March 2005, 14:16   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harrie
will it be possible to make a frame over the chassis first and then weld or rivet the sheet metal on to it? i could then get a tinker to give a few cosmetic touches...
You got it right yourself there.

The key things that you would have to do is:

1) Lower the chassis by working on your suspension mods
2) Get the locations right for all the parts so that it falls into the shape that you are looking for.
3) Build a pipe frame giving you the base skeleton of the body shape you are looking for and add mountings for all the parts you need.
4) Build the body shell as required (Welding, Riveting & Flexible parts like bonnet etc.)
5)Paint and Finish

But please remember to get a Caterham look you will have to extensively reshape the Premier's Chassis and add custom suspension mounts for the look.

If I was in your place I would build a new chasis and mount the engine to it, its a much easier excercise and the final results would be way better than trying to modify the existing Chassis.
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Old 16th March 2005, 14:37   #3
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thnx.

i dont have the expertise or the tools to build a chassis. so i thought better to compromise on the shape rather than on the chassis.
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Old 16th March 2005, 14:48   #4
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Hey, I wanted to do something like that myself... you're in B'lore right? Can I come over and see the work you've done??
Ya, I think Psycho is right, build the chassis, and place the engine on it... if required, study the chassis of the Premier and then attempt to duplicate places like the suspension frame, and the cabin frame, and the engine bay. The rest I gues you can just put on yourself...
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Old 16th March 2005, 15:10   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harrie
thnx.

i dont have the expertise or the tools to build a chassis. so i thought better to compromise on the shape rather than on the chassis.
Can help you make a chasis if you like do give me a call and we could discuss. Have PM'd you my number.
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Old 16th March 2005, 15:12   #6
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aveek i am in blore currently but i am based in coimbatore/tirupur. the car is also in coimbatore.
i have reatained the engine bay and the suspension mounts. i am only shifting the seats towards the back so as to give a pseudo long bonnet look. hey all powerful sports cars (the older ones atleast) have long bonnets right???
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Old 16th March 2005, 16:44   #7
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hey harrie,
if you really wanted that long bonnet look, you could have gone in for the old model HM contessa, as they are available a dime a dozen. no, seriously, a petrol contessa might set you back by just about 15-30 grand, and more importantly, the engine and chassis are more competent than the padmini. also, you can extract more horsepower from the isuzu 1.8L unit (upto 110 bhp, if tuned correctly). but if you want to work on the existing chassis, consider adding a cross member at the front, and rear as well. this will stiffen the chassis a bit. as for the body, don't you have the padmini's old one? if you do, you can use the metal for wherever necessary, but get the shaping done by a proper welder/denter.
also, when trying to mod the chassis, try to keep it's temper intact by using spot/electric welding wherever possible, as doing otherwise might 'soften' the chassis.
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Old 16th March 2005, 19:33   #8
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take some pics lets see it
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Old 16th March 2005, 20:31   #9
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hey i started with this car because it well... I got it for free!!!

my uncle had totalled it and it was lying simply. i had a look at it and the devil in me said why not? and there i went spending whatever i could on it for the past 3 years.

i am not really looking for a powerful car. so the fiat engine should be sufficient.

will put up the pics asap.
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Old 17th March 2005, 14:16   #10
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well harrie, if you got it for free, then it's cool,i guess!!
as for getting more opinions on modding it precisely, you gotta load da pics man, jesal's right. and here are some cost saving tips for ya:
a)try 13" rims from the contessa (or equivalent) to decrease the height. take care of the rear differential, as the ground clearance of the diff. housing shouldn't decrease substantially. ditto for the engine sump.
b) you can add extensions to the suspension, for making the tyres "stand out" by bolting on lengthier lower/upper arms (even extending the old ones by proper welding will do!) ; but a word of caution: "performance driving under these settings not recommended..."
c) and oh, the fiat's engine can be tuned to give upto 70-75 bhp too. but anyways, since you are modding it..is your original gearshifter column shift or stick (floor) shift? coz u'll need to have a floor shift for the modded car anyways..
the rest on seeing the pics...ciao.

Last edited by veyron1 : 17th March 2005 at 14:24.
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Old 17th March 2005, 14:41   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veyron1
hey harrie,
if you really wanted that long bonnet look, you could have gone in for the old model HM contessa, as they are available a dime a dozen. no, seriously, a petrol contessa might set you back by just about 15-30 grand, and more importantly, the engine and chassis are more competent than the padmini. also, you can extract more horsepower from the isuzu 1.8L unit (upto 110 bhp, if tuned correctly).
The chassis information about the contessa is misleading as the body shell of the contessa forms its chassis and it would not allow for a mod to make it like a caterham, as the body it self would collapse under the stress however an Amby would work well as a donor car.

As for the Padmini, Harrie I would suggest that you continue your way and if you feel you want to progress faster go ahead and build the body first and then see how you can correct the chassis to accomodate all the parts within the body shell.

Pics would be definitely be helpful.
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Old 17th March 2005, 15:08   #12
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i got a few pics. not very good ones though. they are stuck in my digi cam. i'll post it as soon as i get it back. its with a friend now.

another thing is since the car is in coimbatore, i have to do things only over the weekends when i go there. so things are proceding very slowly. i was stuck because i didnt kow how to go about with the body parts. now that i have some idea i'll get on with it this week end.
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Old 17th March 2005, 15:08   #13
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hi psycho,
i'm sorry, i hadn't really given the contessa's chassis a firm look, as i thought it was a ladder type,( body-on-frame) construction like the tata estate. the car in itself, which is a derivation from the vauxhall cresta, is one of the more competent old warhorses of yore.
but still, nevertheless, the monocoque frame (of the contessa or any other similarly designed monocoque framed car) has a floorpan which forms the base chassis design, and the body frame is designed, or welded onto it.( you can check the production pics of the indica's assembly line, as an example, for reference. the pics can be seen in june 2002 edition of overdrive, page number 13)
also, the monocoque frame can be strengthened, as per requirements. you might note that
the catterham has a monocoque frame.
but thanks for pointing out my mistake, psycho.
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Old 17th March 2005, 16:25   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by veyron1
the monocoque frame (of the contessa or any other similarly designed monocoque framed car) has a floorpan which forms the base chassis design, and the body frame is designed, or welded onto it.( you can check the production pics of the indica's assembly line, as an example, for reference. the pics can be seen in june 2002 edition of overdrive, page number 13)
Well the contessa orignally happens to be a vauxhaull victor. And as for the monocoque frame well it is not just the floorpan that gives the chassis the rigidity, but the pillars and the strut towers are critical to avoid the flex. Its like a sheet of carboard is strong enough to be lifted flat but you can still flex it, instead use a box made of carboard it takes more effort to flex the same.

As for Monocoque frame design please remember that each monocoque is designed specifically for a body type and can rarely be used for any other type as they are a seamless cage.
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Old 17th March 2005, 17:34   #15
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well, thanx psycho, but i guess what i was trying to say was...... well...what you're saying, but i was putting them in different words, i guess...he he he....
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