Building a kit - would you recommend?

Building a kit - would you recommend?



Original Poster:

2,420 posts

137 months

Friday 5th February
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My Dad has always wanted to build a Caterham but I think they were always out of his budget. I quite fancy it myself and think it would be a great thing to do together. He’s 74 now but in good health, and I’m in the fortunate position that I could buy a Caterham (from an initial look I’d be leaning towards the 360).

I have some questions on the realities and practicalities:

1) Would a standard single garage be large enough, assuming it’s cleared out apart from tools?

2) What is the ‘real world’ build time? I live 90 minutes away so will only be visiting every few weeks, although happy to put in some longer hours when there.

3) How complex is the build in general, and what are the most complex stages? My dad is a retired Mechanical Engineer (coal mining) so I have absolutely zero concerns in this regard but just interested.

4) Any other general advice?

Much appreciated- thanks.

Edited by nammynake on Friday 5th February 22:18

Edited by nammynake on Friday 5th February 22:19


14,879 posts

175 months

Saturday 6th February
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I built mine in a single garage a few years ago. It took me a winter to do, so nice and leasurely. None of this build it in a weekend stuff!

It's pretty easy to do really, very basic mechanical skills required. Mostly the ability to bolt up to a torque without cross threading!

The diff was probably the most awkward bit and I was nervous about the getting it central thing. But it was so fine.

I got a job lot of used office carpet tiles and carpeted the floor of the garage especially as it was winter. Not a long lasting solution, but did the job.

Easy, go for it!



1,141 posts

143 months

Sunday 7th February
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Like most things Caterham, there's no fixed rules about how or where to build one. They can take anything from two weeks to two years to put them together. A single garage is big enough although power, good light and heat are probably high on the priorities to make it pleasant. The main issue in small spaces is storing the unassembled components - if you can do that elsewhere then it is great help.

So go for it and enjoy the experience with your Dad,


684 posts

190 months

Sunday 7th February
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I built one in a single garage and it wasn't a particular problem at all. i stored the wings, bonnet and nosecone in the house to save space and damage and gradually worked my way through the boxes. I bought a Halfords professional socket set and a couple of torque wrenches and got to work. It was like building a big Airfix kit and with everything being new, it was a very enjoyable experience.

Possibly join the L7 club or ask around on forums such as this one and there is always plenty of advice an offers of help if you need it. You may need to bring in an engine hoist or 41mm socket and torque wrench for the 200b nuts to hold the driveshafts on but again ask around and I'm sure someone will help out with kit for a few beer tokens.

Definitely give it a go as its a very rewarding experience



374 posts

71 months

Monday 8th February
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I had my 420r kit delivered 4 days before the 1st lockdown, admittedly I had a double garage to build it in, and used car stands with wheels so could spin it round whenever I liked, but it was very simple job to build.

I used the supplied instructions and a build blog by Chris Collins,

It had been a bucket list type thing for me for a long time.

It was excellent and the sense of satisfaction when it went straight through PBC and IVA without any hiccups was huge.

Just waiting for better weather now to get some use from it.


1 posts

60 months

Monday 8th February
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Since it’s my blog that’s referenced, I thought I had better comment. Building a Caterham, yes I would 100% recommend. But it’s a emotional rollercoaster, so expect fantastic highs as well as some lows along the way.

The blog shows how my car was built in a single 70s garage. The biggest bit of kit I recommend is the wheeled axle stands. If you don’t get them (or an alternative) then placement of the chassis will be critical. It will be a fair length of time before it can be moved easily.



14,879 posts

175 months

Monday 8th February
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I'd forgotten that I borrowed a neighbours garage to store stuff in, so that's important!


5,466 posts

109 months

Friday 19th February
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I do think you would have to be very well organised to build one in a typical single garage. I would dearly like to build another, but I'm sure the air would be blue in my garage - and at my age apoplexy could not be discounted. That said, I found it very satisfying, even though there really isn't that much skill involved.

However, looking at the configurator, the financial gain from buiding it yourself is not as great as it once was.

Edited by bcr5784 on Friday 19th February 19:22