Which donor - Disco/Vitara/Frontera for kit business ?

  1. Wightsparks

    Wightsparks Forum Supporter

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    My Sandrail is done and running great, I just sold my business and will be selling the 'rail shortly, so looking for both a new project and a new business (I get bored when things are working!).

    I have been kicking around the idea of a mostly open frame, off-road/mad max styled road vehicle as my next project for a while, specifically thinking of using a ladder chassis based vehicle that I can re-body to comply with the 8-point rule and avoid the complexity and cost of an IVA - plus keeping the build simple.
    Something like this:

    Road Rail v1a.jpg

    loosely based on the look of this style of US rock bouncer.

    12_16.jpg


    It occurs to me that there might be a market for kits to make up that sort of vehicle, so it is important that I get the choice of donor right from the start in case I want to turn it into a business - as oppose to just buying whatever turns up on the island. This would be a strictly production business not a custom build business, so one donor, one kit. Yes it has/is being done with Beetle floor pans but now way too expensive for donors.

    Ideally the donor should be plentiful, not likely to acquire classic status any time soon, or have a "scene tax". Must be separate chassis of course and cheapish around the 300-1000 mark for whole cars (MOT failed/crashed/rusted body etc) but with an active spares market for re-sale of unused bits.

    At the moment, with previous ideas from @Baloo who knows loads about these things, and wading through lots of on-line information, I am looking at-

    Vitara - up to 05 (the little Jimmy's seem to be too popular!)
    Frontera - not sure how plentiful these are but priced well.
    Range Rover / Discovery - which I read is a low spec Range Rover on the same chassis - not sure.
    Land Cruiser
    Kia Sportage
    Any other suggestions or useful info please - I don't know much about old 4x4's but I know that some people on here know loads!
     
  2. CompoSimmonite Member

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    4,181
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    Werrington, Stoke-on-Trent
    I had a Vitara and reckon the chassis would be a good starting point for a kit car. Independant front suspension might be unsuitable though for your idea. Disco and Range Rover Classic chassis are the same. Ford Explorer is cheap and has seperate chassis. What about pick-up's like L200, Navara (and fit chassis repair kit) & Ranger ?
     
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  3. armalites Member

    Messages:
    4,030
    Herefordshire
    Land Rover is the obvious choice. 300tdi Discovery with rotten bodies can be bought for a few hundred quid. Disco 2 tend to go in the chassis but galv replacements are available and there are V8s around and the TD5 motor goes pretty well when mapped plus the axles are strong. Support is excellent, spares back up is excellent and there is always a market for all the unused bits.

    Disco 3 with issues are heading downwards still and you get fully independant suspension and the market for used bits is strong. Big issue will be the electronics and the fact the cheapest ones will have knackered engines. This may not be an issue you are re-engineing and only need the chassis.
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019
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  4. Wallace

    Wallace Member

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    Staines, Middlesex, England.
    Nissan Terrano II?
     
  5. dobbslc

    dobbslc Forum Supporter

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    (I get bored when things are working!).
    Get a Frontera then!
    Seriously the petrol engines are crap and the diesels not much better.
    Cheap but if you're sell to customers then you want reliable.
    Land cruiser will be very tough but you'll pay more for that.
     
  6. Kayos

    Kayos Member

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    Second on the landrover, cheap and parts are very cheap and easily obtained
     
  7. lincoln2013 Member

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    49
    South west UK
    Nice idea & I will be watching with interest. I think you need to research which vehicles are plentiful & I would consider going with as late a model donor vehicle as possible so may be upping the budget a little. Problem with the likes of landcruiser Terrano etc all have a good export value & are not easy to find.
     
  8. steviec_lj

    steviec_lj Rust Welding Professional

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    Pajero..I can supply you a rolling chassis FOC
     
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  9. 8ob

    8ob Forum Supporter

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    Another vote for mitzi:thumbup: bomb proof, cheap, available and reliable running gear.Get the right one and they have diff locks back and front which for a kit mud plugger has to be a big saving over aftermarket.

    Bob
     
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  10. Wightsparks

    Wightsparks Forum Supporter

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    Thanks for the input so far! Just to clarify as a business it would be a kit so the customer finds their own donor - which is why it is important not to base it on something rare/expensive. It is likely to end up as low mileage "toy" so preferably a petrol engine - the lower height wise the better. Switchable or convertible to RWD would be good too.

    @CompoSimmonite thanks, took a look at the ones you mentioned - some good options there - the Vitara was a definite possibility, one of the nice to have things would be a low engine and just RWD - baloo found a way round that if you see the thread I linked, not that many LWB ones around though.

    @armalites and @Kayos good info thanks, I thought there was a bit of a scene tax on LR stuff but from what you are saying not so. Rover V8 might be nice. Quite a few seem to have been off roaded so probably a good after market for the suspension parts needed.

    @dobbslc noted - thanks, not enough of them anyway!

    @steviec_lj Thanks for the offer! and @8ob I just took a look at the Pajero option (ebay: sold, cheapest 1st) out of all of them they do seem to be plentiful and cheap. Seems there is V6 option too.
     
  11. indy4x

    indy4x Forum Supporter

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    I
    Always surprised at the digs at the Frontera, the 2.8TDi were bomb proof but then it wasn't a GM engine, 2.5TD was pretty good too. Yes avoid the petrol and 2.3,diesel

    Essentialy its an Isuzu Trooper with less rust, especially the chassis

    However, the A Series are getting harder to find and off road parts in the UK are almost non-existent
     
  12. julianf

    julianf Member

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    The chassis on discos rot too.

    But they are cheap. An not failure 300tdi disco is about £500. But the chassis would probably be stuffed too.

    I think discos are just comming into the galvanised replacement market, but that would likley add a lot of cost to your kit.

    Would you be able to build up a original spec chassis to go with the kit? (Note that I say original spec, to comply on the points)
     
  13. julianf

    julianf Member

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    Ps new pattern parts for discos are so very very cheap compared to other cars. That could be a real bonus. If you could do the chassis, then your buyer could source all the stock parts required very cheaply, new.
     
  14. bricol Member

    Messages:
    755
    N.Yorks, UK
    I would investigate a little further - the 8 points doesn't necessarily mean you don't need IVA.

    And over the last 30 odd years I bet I've lost count of the number of manufacturers that popped up making kits for 4WD chassis - strikes me it's a really good way to make a small fortune, but only if you start with a large one. Only Dakar is still around that I recognise.
     
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  15. armalites Member

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    4,030
    Herefordshire
    I can see the benefits with all the suggestions but from a spares backup/support point of view i can't see any possible argument in favour of anything other than a Land Rover.

    There are numerous really big players who sell nothing but LR spares and unless you start looking at USA vehicles then the aftermarket/upgrade supply is second to none.

    Some of the vehicle mentioned are pretty scarce.

    A quick search on ebay lists 23 for Nissan Terrano, 13 for Vauxhall Frontera,Mitsubishi are a bit better but Land Rover Discovery shows 2500+ in cars.

    The LR tax these days mostly revolves around Series and Defender.
     
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  16. armalites Member

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    4,030
    Herefordshire
    I'm pretty sure it would come under "Radically altered" and would need an IVA
     
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  17. Wightsparks

    Wightsparks Forum Supporter

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    Can you expand on that? I have investigated it quite a lot and it seems to be well clarified on the page I linked.
    It would be Radically altered, but retains the 8 points https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-registration/radically-altered-vehicles - if you radically alter it more than that you need IVA
     
  18. Wightsparks

    Wightsparks Forum Supporter

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    Ok thanks - that clears it up!
     
  19. armalites Member

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    Herefordshire
    All the 8 points will do is allow you keep the original registration and not have a Q plate.
     
  20. Wightsparks

    Wightsparks Forum Supporter

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    Correct. A Q plate needs an IVA, an already registered vehicle doesn't.
     
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