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My past rule of thumb was to not go north of $2800 for a so called complete kit , at a minimun, the body, doors, deck lid and hood, with entire windshield package all in VG condition. Today these same parts maybe $5,000. So many of the basic CMC FF items items need to be upgraded from the basic kit, with the ever rising cost for interiors, tops, wheels and tires , gauge set and all electrical items. Then sublet the  body and paint work. Even if you build it as a keeper one has to be a bit of a tight wad. Tally up the cost of a complete chassis engine trans and suspension.    Just today I passed up a super deal on a used custom fiberglass dune buggy body and full roll cage , that a year of so ago I would have grabbed it, building a car is a hell of lot of work and those 10 to 12 week build times are now behind me, it's just not fun anymore.


Last edited by Alan Merklin

 I've never backed away from a pending car project deal but after sleeping on it overnight and without hesitation I did so morning. I may do some casual light work on the right speedster but as previously mentioned, the monumental hours it takes to do a full build are just not much fun anymore. My mind say's.... "Oh yes you can" but my tired aching bod tells me otherwise.  With the help of two life long friends we  totaled up to the best of our memories every build resto I have done since I was 17 y/ is totally mind boggling. 

Last edited by Alan Merklin

It was probably more fun thinking about all those projects than it was actually working on them.....    

You're so right Gordon....every one of them carried their own story, met some wonderful people from Florida to Wisconsin...some that have remained friends and a few loose noodles too.  Here's one particular thing that stands out, I had stumbled on a red CMC  run and drive speedster in SC. From New Jersey I drove all night dragging a trailer up to the gates of a very nice estate home. The red CMC was beautiful was all that was advertised,  all it needed was the new, never installed top put on the car but was missing the header bow …. I needed to get the car done and to the Carlisle Car Corral that was just a week away.  Some guy in California ( Vintage speedster's Kirk) was out of stock on header bows so I got on a new to me Speedster Site ( the old Theron speedster site) I asked if anyone had a header bow they could ship asap to my home asap and included my home address. Three (3) new header bows showed up on my door step in the next few days from people I didn't even know ..two I returned shipped and the third, I had Kirk ship a replacement bow the following week .

I still have the CMC invoice for my black classic body Speedster bought back in Nov 1988 - end of year sale price of $6495 for kit, $150+ for black, $225 crating, $120 bumper over-riders, and big $1400 (1250 # from Miami to No VA) shipping charge.  (I shipped through my brother's company for $520). Mine include crappy options - Vintage gauges, monza exhaust, AM/FM radio, alum valve covers, chrome air cleaner, top/tonneau and car cover.  Deluxe pre-assembly pkg was hung doors - just hinges not latches. 

Suggested retail was $8995 (plus for some colors) for classic and $9495 for California wide body.  Rollup window option was another $1695 but offered at special rate to me of $995 (I passed).  Super Beetle conversion kit was $125 (probably a great deal).  All included the massive steel bonded in subframe.

So - the $7k for an un-molested kit still in crate is a good deal.


Last edited by WOLFGANG

Based on the last kit I found up in New Hampshire, Alan is absolutely on point.  I would never go above $3K for an unstarted kit these days, and would be looking for a salvageable, rolling pan included at that price, too.

The trim that CMC sent out with their kits, especially after 1990 or so, was of poorer quality.  On my first build (received in 1993, so one of the very last shipped) I ended up trashing quite a few of the trim items and bought new repro stuff from Kirk Duncan, Automotion,  Stoddard's or Int. Mercantile.  It just wasn't worth the fight, to me, to try to get better quality stuff from AutoResolutions (the bankruptcy holding company for the CMC sale).  I fought for months to get delivery of a windshield wiper assembly from CMC til they finally caved and drop shipped to me a much better quality unit from Specialty Power Windows but it was a big hassle (Janet Reno, AG of Florida at that time, actually stepped in for me to get them to deliver).

My second kit was originally shipped in 1986 and had better quality trim parts (and a surprisingly well crafted Super Beetle conversion kit) so I'm convinced that they started cutting corners just after that or maybe that buyer got lucky.

My first build, in the 1990's, was without benefit of this group for reference and tips and I was on track for about a $14K build but got blind-sided by the cost of body work and paint so I came in a little over $16K all done (the VW donor cost me $375 and I re-sold the engine/transaxle).

The second one was 2010 - 2012 and was on track for a $16K build when I sold it to Alan to finish and suspect that it ended up right about that cost point - The trim bits were pretty good and the roller was brought back to new CX.  

Of course, if George in Texas built one it would come in between $9K and $11K.

And it would look it, too.

My high school friend, Hot Rod Ron ('34 Dodge street rod) once worked on a local farm near his neighborhood.  The farmer, Wes, was more than a little eccentric (one would probably label him a "character", especially when he showed up at town meetings) but he never repaired anything that he broke, he just "fixed" it.  

If Ron was out on a tractor and something (inevitably) broke, it would take him three times longer to repair it because he had to get through several prior ersatz "fixes" before he got to the root of the problem and figure out a way to really repair it, not just patch it.

That's what "George" reminds me of.  Spit and baling twine instead of taking a few minutes more to get the right stuff and make it like new.

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