Many kit car projects are born as a result of an existing vehicle becoming unroadworthy. So rather than scrap it, they search for a kit car that uses their particular wreck as a donor vehicle.

Unfortunately this all too common scenario is completely opposite to what you should be doing. It’s easier and a lot more cost effective to sell your old banger, search from a far wider range of kit cars and then buy a donor vehicle to suit.

OK, you have settled on a particular kit car as your project. The first question you need to ask yourself is…do you actually need a donor vehicle at all? Many kit cars today don’t rely on a single donor vehicle, preferring to source parts from a number of vehicle makes or models.

If your project takes parts from a single vehicle, discover just how much of the vehicle is used. Quite often, only a few parts are required, even less if you decide to use some new or factory refurbished parts for essential safety reasons, such as the braking system. If only a few parts are required then buying a complete donor car may prove expensive.

Single Donor Kit Cars

So you have discovered that your particular kit car uses a lot of parts from a single donor vehicle and you need to acquire one. How do you go about it? As always, there’s a number of ways. Let’s take a look at some of them.

  • Local Newspapers
    Yes, I know it’s SO 20th century to browse the newspaper classifieds, but for many people, they are still the first place they think of when selling an old vehicle. The local newspapers and free sheets such as Loot are still worth a look, even if only to gauge local prices.
  • Breakers Yards
    Now you have a market price for your donor vehicle, it may be worth pricing up the individual parts you need at a breakers yard. Now while haggling over price with a scrapyard dealer isn’t my idea of fun, it may be worth a shot. As you see, there’s more than one way to get hold of a reasonable quality donor car without making too much of a dent in your budget.
  • Government Auctions
    There has been a rapid growth in government auctions, thanks to the current policy of selling a criminals property to help pay for their crimes. This can often mean that a perfectly good vehicle can be found at a ridiculously low price. After all, criminals generally have good cars! There are a number of websites that list the stock and location of these auctions.
  • Local Vehicle Auctions
    There are a number of vehicle auctions held around the country where motor traders offload unwanted stock. They can often throw up some unexpected bargains and as you already know the market price for your donor, you now have a target to beat! Don’t forget to include the auction fees though.

As you can see, there’s no shortage of good, cheap donor cars so don’t be tempted to pay over the odds if you see one you like. There will always be another one that’s just as good and just as cheap right around the corner! Remember too that for many kit cars, a single donor is just not possible, which means that you need to weigh up the cost of the donor car compared to buying off the off-the-shelf parts you may have salvaged from it.

For some kit car projects it may be substantially cheaper just to buy the odd spare part from a scrap yard rather than invest in a full donor with few salvageable parts on it.