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RonnieFnD
RonnieFnD HalfDork
4/17/24 7:50 p.m.

So my 13 year old daughter and myself have decided we would like to build a hot rod of some sort.  We both like model As, but we are very flexible being as how we both know we no nothing.  My big question is the best way to get started?  Do I buy a kit car from speedway, do I buy a cheap model T, cheap model A US a tall ask but we aren't in a rush.  Our goal is a cool driver that we built together,  not a 100 point show car or race car....just a fun driver.  Has anyone done this before?  What does the hive think the best plan of attack is?  As far as capabilities am a 6g 45 welder with a shop so I can fab,  I can build a drive train, I can do light upholstery,  I can't paint lol 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
4/17/24 8:11 p.m.

I can't offer any help with the technical details, but good on you for doing a father-daughter project!

 

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
4/17/24 8:43 p.m.

I'd say a kit would be easier for a first timer. Most of the fiddley BS is scienced out. With original metal, its approaching a hundred years old and can take years to finish. An alternative is finding a half finished kit or running rod that you can modify to your tastes.

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/17/24 9:00 p.m.

Doesn't Factory Five have a street rod kit? If so, I can't imagine a better starting point.

edit: yes they do:

https://www.factoryfive.com/33-hot-rod/

bentwrench
bentwrench UltraDork
4/17/24 10:29 p.m.

Done right, That's something that would have better resale value than a scratch built. I'd guess.

No Time
No Time UltraDork
4/17/24 11:48 p.m.

You didn't mention budget, so that plays a role in the approach, but unless your set on  t-bucket style hot rod here's what I would do:

- search FB, CL, OU for project cars and see what shows up that looks interesting to both of you.

- once you find some that shes interested in, I'd try to get one that's a simple build first. Something that  could become a driver without major fabrication, but can build skills and provide a sense of accomplishment. Focus on making it your own/her own vision.

That will let her get her hands dirty, practice new skills, and see progress. Too big of a project might lead to frustration and loss of interest. A few small wins leading to a driving project avoids project burnout, and can create a desire for something more involved. 

Some ideas for projects that could fit a smaller scale build while still being a fun cruiser ACVW, Miata, Jeep, mini trucks, classic American cars that aren't subject to the muscle car pricing, or someone's unfinished project.

Get through the first one, flip it and then decide if you want to make the next one a little or a lot more of a build.

lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter)
lotusseven7 (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/18/24 6:58 a.m.

Years back I had a friend who wanted to do a father/son project and asked me the question of "what car?". I suggested an LBC(little British car) and even though it wasn't something on his radar, after a bit of research, decided to buy an MGB to build. They are a wonderful platform, easy to build/rebuild, have great parts support and a large enough engine bay that lends itself to a variety of engine swaps should you like. A Miata 1.8/5-speed swapped MGB is a fun car as is a GM3.4/T5 swap. Once completed, it's a size which isn't intimidating for a new driver and what young lady wouldn't like a fun convertible as her first car? Not the "hot rod" that you're looking for, but a much cheaper option, more availability of cars, parts and more DIY friendly.

 

Just a thought.....

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
4/18/24 7:30 a.m.

Highly endorse the build with your daughter. I built a 31 Ford roadster last year and documented it on this board.

 

The only downside to a traditional hot rod is that they are maybe not the greatest things to drive. The ergonomics end up too compromised by the time we put modern drivetrains in the mix. The upside is that they get noticed a lot while you drive around.

 

A finished car that you can drive and improve  to make it your own vision is going to be the best way to survive the long gap between start and finish of a project. A full build is a years long project and a lot happens in life over a few years. A driveable project is also going to be the cheapest option in the long run.

 

Edit:

From someone who is a few years further down the road with the father daughter car thing. Realize that you are not really building a car. You are building self confidence and problem solving skills. The car bug never took hold in the long run, but 17 years later I still see and hear the experience being applied in how she deals with life.

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) MegaDork
4/18/24 1:39 p.m.

If it were me and my grandsons, I'd be looking at something along the lines of a locost fitted with a model A body. You could get modern suspension and drive train from a Miata, a taller cockpit than a locost, and still be a cool looker.  Think Factory Five roadster on a Challenge budget. I like hot rods, but I also like modern handling.

Noddaz
Noddaz PowerDork
4/18/24 2:55 p.m.

If you are lucky, you can buy someones elses unfinished project cheap and finish it the way you want it.

And Ronnie, you can paint.  You just don't know it yet.

914Driver
914Driver MegaDork
4/18/24 4:22 p.m.

Rootlieb makes a pretty comprehensive Speedster kit.  Taking on something like a '49 Mercury may intimidate a 13 year old girl.  A Speedster is something mor relatable, and living in Florida, why wouldn't you?

Find a good frame; I'm weird but I would go with a Pinto engine, and learn together how to do brakes and stuff involved with a car project.  She'll get her license the same summer it's completed.

  =~ )

barefootcyborg5000
barefootcyborg5000 UltimaDork
4/18/24 4:38 p.m.

If you want the classic "hot rod" look, I'm not much help. If you want the classic hot rod method, find something cheap that has desirable features. RWD? V8? Whatever you want. Then figure intended use. Weekend cruises are a very different thing from autocross or drag focused builds. 
What do you want it to look like? What do you want it to sound like? Do you want a comfortable cruiser or something high strung that is a punishment to drive far? There are no wrong choices, it's all up to you. 
 

Im a big fan of panther cars. Dirt cheap, uber-reliable. Remove weight as desired, add some bolt on stuff. Maybe chop the roof since you have a full frame. 
Four-eyed Fox cars are also cheap and have a million possible recipes. 
S10 or ranger chassis with whatever tub you want is also a classic choice that's pretty high on the value/$$ scale. 
 

Lastly, just have fun. Remind her to just have fun. Frequently. Avoid getting caught up in what you don't think you can do. Avoid needing things done a certain way because that's how everyone else does it. 

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
4/18/24 4:54 p.m.

A T-bucket is a lot different than a Model A which is a lot different than a later 1930s or early 1940s Ford, so narrow in on what kind of car you want.  Also, even though old Fords are the typical choice for a hot rod, don't overlook other brands.  You may be able to find something that's already partially or completely built, being sold by someone who's moving on to their next project (or sadly has passed on, like many other aging hot rodders these days...) Watch the various online classified ads to see what's out there, the HAMB board is one such resource.  If you can, try to find something that comes from a dry southwest state to avoid overwhelming rust issues.  For inspiration, this is a long (112 pages so far!) discussion started by a guy in San Francisco documenting the build of his Model A roadster.  https://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/building-my-first-roadster-in-san-francisco.1204990/

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
4/18/24 5:24 p.m.

Any chance that an MGB would fit the bill? Or an MG midget or Sprite? Still affordable classics that can be used comfortably on today's roads.

RonnieFnD
RonnieFnD HalfDork
4/18/24 6:27 p.m.
NOHOME said:

Highly endorse the build with your daughter. I built a 31 Ford roadster last year and documented it on this board.

 

The only downside to a traditional hot rod is that they are maybe not the greatest things to drive. The ergonomics end up too compromised by the time we put modern drivetrains in the mix. The upside is that they get noticed a lot while you drive around.

 

A finished car that you can drive and improve  to make it your own vision is going to be the best way to survive the long gap between start and finish of a project. A full build is a years long project and a lot happens in life over a few years. A driveable project is also going to be the cheapest option in the long run.

 

Edit:

From someone who is a few years further down the road with the father daughter car thing. Realize that you are not really building a car. You are building self confidence and problem solving skills. The car bug never took hold in the long run, but 17 years later I still see and hear the experience being applied in how she deals with life.

That's the car right there.  We did some Google image surfing and decided we are willing to sacrifice modern driving for looks.  Beam axle is a must so that rules out the modern type kits but still leaves speedway as a option.  We want a weird engine like a slant six with triple carbs or something.  We've already done a midget,  Fiat spider,  and a bodied, bagged ram so hot rod is the next one. Budget to start is 30k so that can buy a nice car to start or a hell of a jump on a kit.  Soooo many good suggestions here and that speedster 914driver posted is cool as hell too.

DarkMonohue
DarkMonohue SuperDork
4/18/24 7:43 p.m.

In reply to RonnieFnD :

You have plenty of budget and some pretty well-defined goals to start with. That's more than a lot of traditional hot rods were built with back when squirrely kids were building them.

Any ancient straight six on triple carbs will be cool. A 198 slant would be a riot, as would an OHC Pontiac. I am not smart and would give a Toyota 5M-GE or 6M-GE some serious thought. Triple SUs could be a sweet setup if you want extra weirdness. 

 

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) MegaDork
4/18/24 7:51 p.m.

In reply to RonnieFnD :

Want a ford rod with a difference? You won't see another one at the car show.....Marketplace - 1934 Ford English Ford Model Y | FacebookProduct photo of 1934 Ford English Ford Model Y

Product photo of 1934 Ford English Ford Model Y

RonnieFnD
RonnieFnD HalfDork
4/18/24 8:05 p.m.
DeadSkunk (Warren) said:

In reply to RonnieFnD :

Want a ford rod with a difference? You won't see another one at the car show.....Marketplace - 1934 Ford English Ford Model Y | FacebookProduct photo of 1934 Ford English Ford Model Y

Product photo of 1934 Ford English Ford Model Y

That's actually really cool.  It's like a model A had a baby with a mgtd

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) MegaDork
4/18/24 8:11 p.m.

In reply to RonnieFnD :

A 3/4 scale hot rod.

VolvoHeretic
VolvoHeretic SuperDork
4/18/24 8:36 p.m.

I'm going to go out on a limb and state that by the color, it's an army field car?

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
4/18/24 11:06 p.m.
DeadSkunk (Warren) said:

In reply to RonnieFnD :

Want a ford rod with a difference? You won't see another one at the car show.....Marketplace - 1934 Ford English Ford Model Y | Facebook

For some reason their ad says it has an automatic transmission, but obviously it doesn't.  They had a little 933cc four cylinder flathead engine.  The Model Y was a neat car, they were never officially sold in the US although a few have been imported.  There was a company that made a replica fiberglass body for a little while back in the 1980s or 1990s.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/18/24 11:26 p.m.

There are a lot of "t bucket" projects floating around on marketplace. And I do like the idea.

I'd really think hard about what kind of time commitment you both can make however, and tailor the project to that first and foremost.

Stampie
Stampie MegaDork
4/19/24 9:26 a.m.

One thing to consider is how the project car is titled.  Is it going to be a home built title with an assigned VIN?  Check into how much that will cost for insurance.  If it's going with an original title/VIN do you own the engine that it came with?  The older cars used the engine number as it's VIN so would suck if someone else owned your engine.

RonnieFnD
RonnieFnD HalfDork
4/19/24 7:16 p.m.
Stampie said:

One thing to consider is how the project car is titled.  Is it going to be a home built title with an assigned VIN?  Check into how much that will cost for insurance.  If it's going with an original title/VIN do you own the engine that it came with?  The older cars used the engine number as it's VIN so would suck if someone else owned your engine.

Good info, I didn't even think about that.   My buddy's wife works at the tax collector,  I'll ask if she has any pro tips on what angle I should take on getting s title for a potential title less or kit car.

ClearWaterMS
ClearWaterMS Reader
4/19/24 7:47 p.m.

you can fabricate, why not a locust? not exactly the safest car in existence but lots of options for cheap 4 cyl / 5 speed combos (miata 1.8 /w 5spd)  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locost

staying the miata family you could also do an exocet

https://exomotive.com/exocet/

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