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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was wondering if anyone has scratch-built or purpose-built a vehicle that was deemed street-legal in every aspect of it? I collect MatchBox and HotWheels cars to play with (with my grandson) and one that I purchased is called "RollCage" pictured here.



I was thinking that I might be able to build a real version of this car (rear-engine, two wheel drive dune-buggy) and use a transverse mounted engine / transmission to power it (thinking of pulling the drive-train out of a front-wheel-drive car), build up the tube-work, fasten body panels, put a licence plate on it and drive it around.

Any thoughts from people who have looked into this, or, completed something like this before?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I have met quite a few people who have re-bodied existing titled vehicles (think of the Volkswagon -> Porcshe conversions or the Fiero -> Farrari conversions) or even built "made-for-movie" cars / trucks.

I am basically wondering that if I took a vehicle (Chevy Cavalier for instance) and licenced / insured it as a Chevy Cavalier - how much of it would I need to keep in existance before it becomes a kit-car and needs to recieve a new VIN?
 

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It varies. I don't know how it works in Alberta but in the U.S. each state has a rule on what parts of the car are used as the basis for registration and title. It is usually a part that has the VIN number on it. Sometimes it's the motor. Other places it's the cross member that holds up the motor. There have been people who have pulled rusted Superbirds out of lake beds and used a single piece of the original car to build a so called "restored" car by just using the piece needed for registration and building the rest from NOS and fabricated parts.

A shop that does frame off restorations might now. For the most part movie cars start off as some kind of regular car and are heavily modified. Though I'm sure you can make a car completely from scratch (tubing, bender, welder etc.) I have no clue how you'd register it or how to make it street legal. I'm sure it has been done but it is very unusual.

Alberta has a bigger car culture than Toronto so I bet there's someone local at a hot rod shop who would know. Perhaps a rat rodder? They chop their rides down to almost nothing and put parts on from a million other cars. They might know?
 

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I know in the US lots of people make sand rails and they start with just simple tubular chassis. I'm pretty sure to make them legal its like a $100 dmv feel plus a brakes/lights check. I'll my buddy, he's made like 5, he'll know the details. But I don't think they are highway legal, only the street.

They make enough parts for the vw based sand rails and buggies that you can buy every part for the car brand new shipped to your door. Some of the stuff is actually pretty cool; the instance the brakes have a petal/reservoir/master cylinder all in one that just bolts to where ever you need it.
 

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.... Some of the stuff is actually pretty cool; the instance the brakes have a petal/reservoir/master cylinder all in one that just bolts to where ever you need it.
Not that special... very common in racing applications. Whole pedal assembly that mounts to the floor (or wherever you want)... clutch pedal + m/c, brake pedal + m/c (and dual master-cylinders with balance-bar for adjustable front/back proportioning), and gas pedal.

I have no idea what the rules are regarding custom-built vehicles on the road. Depends a lot on your location, and just how crazy it looks.
 

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Well I built this...

This chassis was bent and welded by a friend. The engine/trans/t-case are from my doner '87 XJ(Cherokee).

The front axle is custom built by me. A 1990 Dana 30 center section with 2001 Dana 30 outer knuckles, and cross over steering. It is full welded diff.

The rear is from a ford explorer. It's an 8.8" with limited slip diff. mounted by a four link suspension and nitrogen gas shocks.

Picture of buggy is as before I bought it. I lost my recent pics in hard drive crash. Previous owner/builder used it for competition with a V8 and Dana 60's.

Legal in NYS with lights. Clean title from 1972 Jeep CJ-7 of which only 3 feet of frame rails remain in the very front of the tube chassis.




 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
xj35s - sweet unit there!

What I see is a "CJ-looking vehicle" titled as a "CJ-vehicle" and when the police pull you over for whatever they can think of to tag you with, they will see "Jeep" on your registration-papers (or title I believe it is called in the US) and the vehicle you are driving looks kind of like one - so they would let it pass.

I guess that the answer that I am looking for is: having a vehicle titled as a "1997 Chevy Cavalier" that doesn't look anything like a Cavalier in any aspect of it, would I need to keep major parts (like the engine cross-member, firewall, steering-wheel, badges, tail-lights) to hold onto the status of that car?
 

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yup

Szabotage. You are right. That's Brian Whaley in competition at neuroc and that pic is at Paragon. I sure miss that place. Rousch Creek is allot further for me.

In NY it is perfectly Legal to register any vehicle as "Homebuilt". It has to pass NYS Inspection at a NY authorized Facility. It has to be trailered or towed to the location and if it passes, you get papers for DMV for title. Then you register it. takes 2 months at best.

My loophole is having a clean title old enough to not need to pass all the emissions requirements. It's exempt. It's okay to put a new engine in an old car. you can't put an old engine (carb) in a new car. Laws go by date of manufacture not date of modification.

I've seen allot of racers with Honda's and Toyota's that look nothing like a production car. LED taillights and ground effects. Rattle can mufflers. Over size rims/tires.

I know the Cavalier is a strong car and reliable. Mine ('03) goes almost anywhere in the winter with good tires. Trust me....

 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The reason why I got into 4x4's was because of my 1995 Cavalier. We had a dump of 17" overnight here (other areas were 24" and 30" that same night), buried the car and it took me 7hrs to dig it out (started to dig out at 5am) - and - I finally got enough snow moved that I was able to drive to work - only to be told to go home, the city was shut-down.

At that point I started to hunt up a 4x4 - and since then, have always had one.

I would like to try something different for a vehicle - hence the tube-car or sand-rail idea. When I saw the Ariel Atom, I knew that I wanted something like that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
And I was afraid to admit playing with toy cars with my son !! LOL
Never be afraid to admit to playing with toys with the little ones.

I have no TV to "entertain" or "baby-sit" my grandson - I play with him on his level. We read books, play with cars, trains, puzzles, and I am slowly introducing him to some board games and crokinole (he loves crokinole).

I am also teaching him how to cook and bake. He helps me put the ingredients into the bowl for pancakes, stir up the mix (all by hand) and I take care of the cooking because it is too hot for him (he is almost 5). Grandma helps him put the butter and syrup on the pancakes and we have our Saturday-morning breakfast that way.
 

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My car is a 2002 Cavalier. It has jumped curbs, burned plenty of rubber, and even help me evade capture on several occasions. Still going strong. Apart from fluids and a new set of tires it has not cost me a penny. I'm hoping it makes it to at least ten years old. If it gets past ten years I might restore it instead of getting a new car.

I never use snows. In Toronto they plow and salt like crazy. I also enjoy getting the car sideways on a nice snowy night. I've never gotten stuck or in an accident for lack of snows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I never use snows. In Toronto they plow and salt like crazy. I also enjoy getting the car sideways on a nice snowy night. I've never gotten stuck or in an accident for lack of snows.
Try waking up to snow half-way up the doors and the moment you try to move the car, it is high-centered on the snow in the middle of the road. Being high-centered sucks! I am not knocking the Cavalier - I loved it to pieces, but, I found limitations in it that I was not willing to deal with.
 

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gotta love driving in ontario winters. I especially hate that salty slush on warm days that make the roads like driving on grease.

well, I thought I'd show some pics of my recent build. it's kind of a scratch built vehicle, moreso a purpose built vehicle specific to my needs.

some before pics:




and after I pulled the motor for another project and sold the front axle



ready to go under the knife:



interior gutted



new motor



making room for the new powertrain (toyota W56 5speed, top shift 23 spl. transfer case modified to reduction box, with a D300 adapter)





this truck will also be part jeep (modified D300 for true twinstick)



and for now, I'll be running a set of toy axles (building some 609's but realizing how expensive they are to build)

 

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the plans are to turn the body into a pickup cab, extend the frame and put a 7-8 ft flatdeck with storage space underneath. a removable roof rack to store more goods or my canoes, and a place to set up my tent, I'll be running a york AC compressor off the motor for on board air into a 16 gallon air tank, and compartments to store basic hand/air tools, recovery gear, and certain bug out survival gear (minus firearms).will eventually want an on board welder, and possibly a hot water shower.

this thing was my daily driver for 5 years with no more than a SPOA, hi steer, panhard bar, 29" BFG's,traction bar and a cammed n headered 1.6 8V EFI. worked well on and offroad and gas was pretty cheap but after a while the short wheelbase ride got to me. also there wasn't enough power to pull a trailer or when fully loaded. I'm hoping the new motor, wheelbase and wider axles will help make this a more desirable daily driver yet won't lack on it's offroad capabilities.
 
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