How to Build a Custom Car Bodyby Tim Anderson
Building custom cars is a hobby that has grown over the years into a worldwide phenomenon. Finding and restoring old cars, along with modifying existing frames and body styles to create custom vehicles, is a passion for many. If you are someone who has been struck by the bug, there are a variety of avenues you can pursue. Customizing a car body is a challenging task that requires specialized tools, but the end result is an automobile unlike anything else on the road.
Plan your design in advance of actually building the frame. Start with sketches drawn by hand or on the computer, and polish them to perfection so that they can be used as a frame of reference for the preliminary design stages. Further the design process by creating fiberglass molds and cutouts to test against the frame, once you have it.
Pick a frame that will help you find the contours you need for the body work you have in mind. Different frames have different styles, and since the frame is the foundation, you have to make sure it is something that can adapt to your particular vision. Customize the frame if necessary to refine certain areas such as more angle iron mounts on the front and rear of the vehicle for custom bumpers, using a cutting torch to cut the metal and the welder to weld them in place.
Purchase pre-fabricated panels to mount on the frame of the vehicle and modify them as you see fit. Create your own panels with sheet metal, fiberglass or whatever other material you choose, and mount them to the frame of the vehicle as you finish. Weld everything in place, and grind all of the rough spots off the body.
Sandblast the entire body of the vehicle to scour the surface as clean as possible prior to painting. Apply your desired paint (and primer if necessary) and let it dry. Finish detailing the car and add any logos, custom hand-painted designs or otherwise.
- Creating a custom body for a car is a lengthy process that in most cases requires the use of a fully stocked, professional garage. Access to a welder, cutting torch, car lift and other accessories is mandatory.
Tim Anderson has been freelance writing since 2007. His has been published online through GTV Magazine, Home Anatomy, TravBuddy, MMO Hub, Killer Guides and the Delegate2 group. He spent more than 15 years as a third-generation tile and stone contractor before transitioning into freelance writing.