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When I was looking into my kit, no-one offered a build manual from my shortlist (GBS, Tiger and a few others). But I was looking at the Caterham website recently (never considered them at the time; too expensive and they did too much for you) and saw they have a manual. 

Downloaded it and started going through it; very impressive. Clear diagrams, descriptions, even tells you when to take a photo.

But then, it stopped. There were about 2 pages for fitting the engine, 1 page for the steering column, 3 or 4 pages (1 picture per page) for the rear suspension etc, etc. 

There was NOTHING in the whole manual about wiring (except for fitting the battery) - unbelievable! I knew they did a lot of the build for you but I just didn't realise how much. They reckon 150 hours to do the build! I reckon you could do that lot in a week! 

Not dissing Caterham owners - great cars BUT not sure why you would ever buy one to build - hardly worth the effort 😏. I now understand why it only costs about £2k more to get your car fully factory built. 

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I think originally when lotus and others offered cars in kit form to by pass paying purchase tax they were not allowed to give a build manual, so they supplied information on how to take it apart. So you started on the last page and worked backwards

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A friend of mine purchased one 2 years ago as part of the caterham academy. He opted to do the build himself. I popped in just after it was delivered and the chassis came with engine and box installed all brake lines ran side panels all fitted and most of the wiring installed. It took him around 3 weeks to complete the full car. I must say it is easier when you attach part D to F using supplied fixings XYZ. there was no thinking how the hell am I going to make that fit and where and with a non existent bracket that needed fabricating. 

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27 minutes ago, magh said:

A friend of mine purchased one 2 years ago as part of the caterham academy. He opted to do the build himself. I popped in just after it was delivered and the chassis came with engine and box installed all brake lines ran side panels all fitted and most of the wiring installed. It took him around 3 weeks to complete the full car. I must say it is easier when you attach part D to F using supplied fixings XYZ. there was no thinking how the hell am I going to make that fit and where and with a non existent bracket that needed fabricating. 

Yes, I vaguely recall that when I went to the Caterham dealer (5 miles down the road from me) - but at the time, with no experience whatsoever, I didn't realise how much they had done. And it is a great manual - like an Airfix kit. Imagine how big the manual would have to be if you repeated that for the whole car (well, almost a Haynes manual, I guess)?

I guess if you've got enough cash, it might be nice to do a Caterham first as practice and then decide if you want to risk doing the whole thing? 🙂 

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It's the difference between assembling a car ( not a lot more taxing than "paint by numbers ") & building a car. ( which involves lots of metal bashing, skinned knuckles & swearing)

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