If you love the thrill of building something from scratch with your own two hands and are looking for an ambitious project to get stuck into, there can be few more satisfying challenges to take on than building your own car.
Alternatively, you could be in need of some tips for building and modifying an existing car.
Whatever kind of plans you need, to save you some time, we’ve scoured the internet to see what other people have been attempting – so here’s a selection of our favorite 21 car building plans to help inspire your creativity and fire your imagination.
1. Rebuilding a classic car
As this post explains, rebuilding a classic car is in many ways somewhat akin to raising a child. Sometimes you will love it, sometimes you will be pulling your hair out in frustration, but in the end, when it’s all done, you will be able to stand back and admire what you have created. If that sounds like something worth trying, this plan will tell you everything you need to know about how to get started.
2. Build a car in 400 steps
Ok, so this is not technically a plan for building a car but rather an article detailing the experience of building a car from a kit. The author talks about the advantages of opting for a kit car rather than just buying a regular car from a dealer and gives you plenty of useful information about what to expect. So not exactly a “how-to”, but still essential reading for anyone thinking about taking on building a car as a DIY project.
3. Build an electric go-kart
Here’s a fun plan you might like to try – it’s a YouTube video that explains how to go about constructing your own electric go-kart. It’s a lot simpler – not to mention cheaper – than building a full-sized vehicle, and once it’s done, you can have a great time whizzing around on a kart you built yourself. Great vid and well worth checking out.
4. Building a car – how to start planning
This is another general info piece about building a car, this time talking about how to start planning. It gives you plenty of useful tips about topics such as planning the budget correctly and also gives you pointers on the logical way to proceed. That way, you won’t forget any steps as you prepare the groundwork. Building a car isn’t the same as building a DIY set of shelves, for example, and you’re going to need to do a certain amount of research before you begin – and reading articles like this will help you get off to the best possible start.
5. Build your own car YouTube video
Here’s a YouTube video we found that is likely to be an invaluable resource for anyone who is thinking of building a car themselves. The video is a few years old, and it feels a little dated now, but there’s loads of useful information in there from a guy who’s actually done it. It’s only 15 minutes long, but it’s well worth watching all the way through. And for those who are still thinking that building a car yourself is a step too far, maybe this video will convince you otherwise and inspire you to try.
6. Soapbox derby car
After looking at some of these plans and seeing how much time, effort – and money – is involved, some people might reasonably decide that building an actual car is not going to be possible. In that case, you can still try something a little more modest and build a soapbox derby car instead. This plan is taken from the Instructables website, one of our favorite resources for DIY inspiration, and building one of these could be a worthwhile project to take on if you have kids.
7. A go-kart from PVC pipe
Here’s a great video that’s sure to inspire all true DIY fans who hope to build a car – or at least a go-kart. For us, the essence of DIY is building something useful, functional or just downright cool out of stuff you probably have lying around at home, and in this video that’s exactly what they do when they build their DIY kart from, well, not much at all. Definitely fun to watch and very tempting to try.
8. Build a car from scratch – how long?
Apart from the financial side, one of the most important things you will need to consider when building your own car is how long it’s likely to take. If you start the construction phase and realize it’s going to take way longer than you expected, there’s a good chance you might never finish. This video addresses these kinds of problems, allowing you to work out more accurately how much time you should budget for the build.
9. Mousetrap car
This is another plan from the Instructables site, this time for a cute mousetrap car. Again, it’s not quite the same as building a real car that you can drive, but it’s a fun project if you want to make something with your children, and it will give you – and your kids – a real sense of achievement. As with all plans on Instructables, there are clear instructions and plenty of photos to show you exactly what you should be doing at each step.
10. How to build your car the right way
This video is not about how to build a car from scratch – this one is about how to modify a car and change it from the basic, boring factory model into the car of your dreams. If you have a project car you want to start modding, you can’t just throw parts at it with no plan – and this video will show you how to do it the right way. Make sure you check it out – as the presenter says, it will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
11. Build your own electric car
Here’s one more plan from Instructables, but this time it’s a shows you how to build a real car you can drive – and in this case, an electric car. Most of the electric cars on the market nowadays are extremely expensive and for many people, out of reach financially. However, if you have a decent dose of DIY acumen and are willing to try something a bit different, you can make your own for a fraction of the cost. And here’s the plan that shows you how.
12. What’s the best way to build your project car?
As we’ve already mentioned, building a car is a big project and you’ll need to gather as much info from various sources, so here’s another useful site that will help you a lot with the planning phase of your project. As they explain, building a car is going to be a time-consuming job that’s likely to cost you quite a bit of money too. However, at least by planning and budgeting properly, you’ll know what you’re letting yourself in for.
13. Before you start, know how to finish
Here’s some vital information you’ll need when building your own car. If you decide to construct a car, you’re likely to want to go your own way rather than follow somebody else’s plan step-by-step. However, when you’re deciding how to go about it, it’s important that you don’t try to be over-ambitious or you risk never finishing the project once you start. So rather than set yourself up to fail, check out this site first – and then start a project you will have a better chance of completing.
14. Build a solar-powered car – science project
Here’s another one you can try with your kids, but this time, it’s something slightly more advanced: this is a plan to build a solar-powered car. Again, it’s not a car that you can get in and drive, but it is a great way to get your children involved in science as well as nurturing their creativity. And who knows, one day they might grow up to build something even more impressive – like a car you can drive.
15. Build plan for a project car
As anyone with experience in modifying cars will tell you, there’s a lot of planning that goes into the perfect build – and if you don’t do the groundwork and preparation beforehand, there’s a good chance you’ll be disappointed with the results. In this video, watch carefully what these guys are doing, benefit from their know-how and take lots of notes. It’s true that you learn best from your mistakes – but if you can avoid some of the more expensive errors, it’s got to be good, right? We love this video for the team’s enthusiasm and passion for cars, but above all, we appreciate their skills. An essential video that green novices can learn from.
16. Homemade car project
Here’s a video we enjoyed that’s sure to inspire you to get building if you’re hesitant over whether you should really attempt such an ambitious project. There’s not much in the way of explanations, just a series of images and a chilled soundtrack. However, this will give you a good idea of the kind of things you can achieve if you set your mind to it – so why not give it a go?
17. Rookie mistakes when building a car
If you want to modify a car for the first time but you’re worried you’re going to mess it up, it’s a good idea to learn from other people’s mistakes. If that’s a sentiment you agree with, you should check out this video that lists the most common rookie errors – so you can avoid repeating them yourself.
18. Planning a car restoration
If you don’t want to build a car from scratch but are looking for plans that will help you with a restoration, here’s something you should check out. It talks about all the factors you should be taking into consideration when rebuilding a car, it breaks down the cost and sourcing of parts and gives you plenty of useful tips, too. This is part of a series, so you might want to check out their related pages, too.
19. Top 10 tips for a successful build
This is another video about building a car in the sense of modifying it and adding to it. This video explains 10 of the most important tips for building your project car the right way so you don’t end up overspending or creating a Frankenstein’s monster of a vehicle that just doesn’t feel right. For anyone interested in modding, this video is a must.
20. Building a project car – just have a go
The thing we love about the guy in this video is his “just try it” attitude. As he tells his viewers, he didn’t really know everything about how to build his car before he got started. He just went ahead and did it and worked things out on the fly. For anyone who is reluctant to start tinkering, it’s good advice – and just check out the results in the video!
21. Hand made cars
If you are looking for a car that will turn heads, but you don’t have the money to buy the kind of supercar that’s favored by the rich and famous, another option is to build your own customized car. If that sounds like an intriguing option, check out this video for further details.
Loads of plans for you to try
Whether you want to build a car from scratch, modify a car into something unique and special or just create a model car for a school project, there are loads of great plans out there to inspire you.
We love searching the internet for plans like these because it always reminds us of how many creative and immensely talented DIYers there are out there.
Finding plans like these always inspires us to get in the workshop ourselves, so we hope you’ve enjoyed reading and watching these plans as much as we enjoyed finding them for you. Now it’s time to go and get creative yourself!