The Cost of Admission

Most professional mechanics maintain a tool kit with a total cost of around $10,000 -- often more. A person embarking on building a kit car can expect to invest at least that much in tools.

For instance, Sears sells a 1,468-piece tool kit suitable for just about every task on a car for $8,700. Of course, this doesn't include a tool chest for storing the collection, an air compressor to power the impact tools, a jack or jack stands, a creeper and a large first aid kit, all of which will easily push the price well over $10,000.

And don't forget: you still have to buy the car and the kit.

Finish Assembling Your Car

Assembling your own car is a possible, yet daunting, undertaking. Vern Hance began working on cars when he was young and had the training of a mechanical engineer, plus the other members of the club, to help him through the builds. Steve Graber, who started a kit car company himself based on his La Bala in 2007, often brings in help from outside experts when faced with a particularly knotty problem.

Here's some advice from those experts on getting through your own car build:

Hance: "You should start with a good self-assessment of your skills, and start a project that you think you can finish. Today, they have kits geared for most levels. This is not something to do lightly; you need real stick-to-it-ness."

Graber: "If you're willing to make the sacrifices you can build your own car, but most people have families, too, and that should be balanced out. Every problem can be solved with a little time and thought, but don't count the hours it takes."

And the reward for what amounts to literally years of effort? "Man, I just grin from ear to ear every time I drive this car," Graber said. "It's a great feeling." Hance said he has a similar feeling. "We have a 'coming out' event every year at the club," he said. "All the members who finished their cars come out and show them, and I know that feeling. You did it yourself and you just can't help smiling and showing off."

If you'd like more information about building your own car and other related topics, follow the links on the next page.