Wednesday 24 November 2010

Getting Close Now

Well, I had a busy weekend, clearing the garage out and getting it ready for the arrival.  I have a nice new tool box and a few new bits and bobs, but I still have a few things to get.  I have told the Vectra that she won't be able to stay in the garage for much longer, and she seems OK about it.  I will miss not having to defrost her on cold mornings but these are the sacrifices you have to make if you want to build a kit car.

Anyway, I spoke to the factory on Monday and was told that my GBS Zero kit will be ready for collection the week starting the 6th December 2010.  We agreed on a collection day of Wednesday 8th, just to give the guys chance to get everything together, although I was told they have everything in stock that I am having in the first delivery.

I have opted for the 2468 kit with the following little additions.  I have chosen the lowered floor and also to have the chassis and all suspension parts powder coated.  To me, this was a no brainer and will be a lot tougher than any finish I could apply, painting the chassis myself.  I have also had louvres put in to the bonnet as I think that really helps the look and I have also opted for a new factory wiring loom to save any electrical issues later on.  Finally I have ordered a donor pack as I just don't have the time, space or inclination to strip an old Sierra on my drive!  I have also asked for them to get it all shot blasted for me as, again, I don't have the facilities to clean the parts myself.

Colour wise, I have opted for white GRP panels.  I am very lucky that my son-in-law is a vehicle paint sprayer by trade and he has very kindly offered to paint the car for me so the white GRP probably won't stay white very long.  I still have to make my mind up what colour I am going to have it.  I keep looking at pictures of other builds and also other cars in the same mould (7 style clones) to get some inspiration.  At this point, I am erring towards a dark metalic blue, but that could change.  Fortunately I don't need to make a decision just yet but at some point the panels will need to be taken away to be painted before I fit them to the car.  Well that is the plan at the moment.  I need to talk it all through with the son-in-law to get his opinion as he may say it is better to paint them once they are fitted.

The last thing I can do before collection has also been done i.e. the van has been booked (£55 from Europcar for the day, LWB LDV van),  so all I can do now is wait.

Tuesday 9 November 2010

And so it begins!!

So, where do I start?  Well, if you have found this page, there is a very strong possibility that you are either building, have built, or are considering building a Great British Sportscars Zero.  Looking for sites like this was exactly what I did .... looking for build blogs about the car to try and find out the pros and cons of building one.  Looking for answers to questions like, how easy are they to put together?  How good is the factory with support?  How much will it cost me in total?  How long will it take me?  Do I have the required skills to pull this off to a standard I will be happy with?  Can I build it to a standard that the IVA inspector is happy with?  I have asked these, and loads more questions over and over, and I am sure I am not alone in doing that.

So why blog it?  Well, for 2 reasons.  It gives me a logical place to keep a pictorial record of the build that I can refer back to and also where an IVA inspector can see that it really was me who built the car.  Second, to help anyone else that may decide to build a GBS Zero.

So where did it all start for me?  Well I am not exactly new to the kit car scene, but I am very much out of touch.  15 years ago I embarked on the build of a Westfield SE.  2 years later I was 60% of the way through but finances got the better of me and I had to sell her on.  I was, as I am sure you can understand, rather upset to see my pride and joy disappear on the back of a trailer and on that very day, I swore that one day I would build another.

Fast forward to November 2010.  I had already started thinking about building another car and had spent many a happy hour trawling the Internet and looking through kit car magazines trying to decide what to build.  We have all been there.  Cobras, Lambo replicas, Porsche Speedsters and so on, but to build any of these to a good standard is not cheap.  I know, I've seen the signs too ... "Build this car from a little as £12,000" ... yeh right ... who are they trying to kid!!  I am not rich and don't have a bottomless pit of money so I had to be realistic.  I didn't want to run out of money again in the middle of a build.  I had settled on a Seven replica before and there was nothing new on the kit car scene that made me change my mind.

Exeter 2010

Off I went to the Exeter show.  There were a few manufacturers I wanted to talk to and to get the low down on the cars and the costs.  Most were there, some weren't.   I wanted to consider them all and then narrow it down to a couple to go and visit.  You had both ends of the spectrum from the Westfields to the Locosts and all the derivatives in between.  There really are a lot of companies to choose from so it is not easy.

I was looking for a car that was not too expensive to build but still had the back up of an established brand.  After a day of speaking to various people I settled on the GBS Zero and Tiger Avon.  The next thing to do was a factory visit.

5th November 2010

This was going to be a busy day.  I set off early for the 135 mile trip to Boughton Nr Newark to the GBS factory.  I was met by Richard Hall and the first thing I was offered was a coffee (always a good start).  Richard showed me round the factory so I could see where they build the cars, the showroom and the parts department.  It is all very well laid out and a very professional set up.  We looked at various aspects of the car and Richard was constantly pointing out new developments and where improvements are being made.  It fills you with a lot of confidence.  Next was a run out in the demonstrator.  All I can say is wow!! I am no expert in this field but to me the car was excellent.  Plenty of power, plenty of grip and plenty of excitement.  A final look around the factory and loads of photos later, I thanked Richard for his time and was on my way.

Next stop was 70 miles away Nr Wisbech and the Tiger factory.  I was met by Jim Dudley.  He is really open and friendly and what he doesn't know about the business isn't worth knowing.  He showed me the Tiger Avon chassis and also a development car that they are trying to get type approval for.  You wouldn't believe the number of tests they have to go through!!  There was no pressure to buy a Tiger but he had some words of wisdom about what I should look for in a car and in a company.  From the main factory site he took me to the manufacturing and stores site where I met the manufacturing manager (sorry I can't remember his name) and Laura Dudley (Jim's daughter) who looks after the stores and orders.  I discussed figures with Laura and then set out on the 150 mile trip back to Gloucester.  Now all I had to do was make a choice between the two!!

9th November

After much deliberation, number crunching, sole searching and more questions, the deed is done and I have placed an order for a GBS Zero 2468 kit and a deposit has been paid.  I am going to go the Zetec route with reconditioned drive train (the one concession from the IVA test) so I can, hopefully, get the car registered on a new registration when it is ready.

All I can do now is wait.  Richard thinks it will be 4 to 6 weeks but should certainly be before Christmas.  I will start clearing out the garage and sorting through my old tool box to see what is missing and what else I need to buy.