What to Look For in a Base Car
Building your own custom car can be a lot of fun but it can also be a lot of work. The best plan of action is just that—make a plan. It’s easy to walk into an auto shop and fantasize about a specific exhaust or lip kit. However, before you start buying the finishing touches, you need to choose a base car to build upon.
Let’s go over some important things you’ll want to consider when choosing the right car for your project.
When considering the right project car for your customization project, you’ll have to think about how you’ll use it. Do you want to race, drag, or just cruise around town? Are you interested in drifting or are you more interested in power? Each use requires different chassis, drives, and more. Knowing how you’ll use your finished car should help you decide which base car to choose. For example, Honda Civics are great all-around project cars, but aren’t the best when it comes to drifting.
For most of us, cost is the most important factor when choosing a project car for customization. An unlimited budget would be ideal, but it’s usually not the case. What’s more, is that project cars can quickly turn into money pits.
You should always choose a base car that is within your budget. Consider hidden costs like insurance, parts, and maintenance. Remember, the more of your budget you can allocate for customization and modification the better. Preferably, you should choose a car that you can maintain yourself.
Ideally, the base car you choose will come with a stock turbo. This allows for relatively simple customization in project cars. However, if you choose a base car without turbo you may need to consider adding a turbo kit to get the most out of your customization. If you decide to add a turbo kit, you won’t want to purchase intake, exhaust, boost control, or other mods until you have the turbo kit installed and tuned.
Suspension is a big part of car customization. Some base cars will need more work to the suspension than others depending on how you plan to use and modify your car. Depending on the look and performance you want, you may need to add lowering springs, a coilover kit, or new shocks.
If you want bigger rims you may not want to lower your vehicle at all. For example, a Monte Carlo looks dope on 24s, a Honda Civic…not so much.
It’s Up to You
When it comes down to it, there’s no right or wrong way to choose a base car. That’s because project car customization is about personal preference and individuality.
The best advice is to have a plan. Know what you want your car to look like and how you want to modify it before you buy your base car. Choose a car that fits your budget, allows you to make all the mods you want, and don’t forget to have fun.