A Dream or vision, when embarking on the journey of building a custom car it always starts as a vision in your head, or a car you have seen somewhere and a dream, dreaming about what you want, what you want to do and visions of you tearing down the freeway, shredding the tyres off, or unveiling it at a car show, whatever it may be it always starts this way, the difficult part is getting it out of your head and successfully building it, building a car that fulfills your expectations and does exactly what you want it to, whatever that may be.

So you’ve chosen the car, a basic outline on what it will look like and what you want to do with it, whether it be a show car, a driver, a burnout car or a bit of an all rounder.

Stance, wheels, engine and colour are usually the first thing you rattle off to your mates, and usually everything is built around that, then it comes time to consider what is involved to build you dream car.

First up you have the budget and time frame, work out how much you have to spend, how much your willing to spend, and what sort of time frame you want to build it in. This dictates everything, if you have a small budget there will be sacrifices you’ll have to make, it’s up to you what the priorities are for your build.

If you have a large budget, well it makes it a lot easier to achieve that top-level car with everything you wanted. You also need to set a realistic time frame, which works with your budget; this applies to home built and shop built cars.

Ok so you have a budget/deadline, the style and what you want to do with your car, it’s now time to do some research, and make the plan to build your car.

Let’s just say you want to go all out and build an award-winning car that is as very much a performer as it is a looker, make a scrap book or have a file with all of your thoughts, pictures etc. and talk to an engineer or a builder (i.e. like Down Town Kustoms *shameless plug*). We will give you the facts straight on what is required legally and if what you want is achievable in the budget you have allowed yourself.

This is where you look at Rego, will it be a modified production vehicle?, Individually Constructed vehicle?, or a Street-Rod Registration?, usually the biggest factor that dictates the categories it falls in, is the year of the car and the factory construction. For example, is your car mono construction where the chassis structure is a part of the floor pan, or is it a full chassis vehicle where the chassis unbolts from the cars body?

If it is mono construction and you are going all out, looking for big power, performance, handling and award winning looks, it will take a lot of work and there will be a lot of changes to the overall construction of the car, it will more than likely be in the ICV category.

If it is mono construction and you are doing mild mods, like 4-link coils, tubs etc. and a paint job, you will be looking at modified production. It is mostly the same for full chassis vehicles, however you do get away with a bit more with a full chassis vehicle rather than a mono construction vehicle.

Ok, so you have the style, what you want to use the car for, the budget and a plan on which way your beast will be built to achieve what you want considering all of these things. One of the most important things at this point and right through to the end is the Style/Theme and the plan, you have to stick to these, once you go making changes it not only cost’s money but can confuse the overall styling of the car, and before you know it you have a jumbled up, confused looking thing that you probably wont be happy with, so stick to the plan and style!!

Another very important thing to think about is proportion and over doing the car. You don’t need to have the biggest wheels you can fit or do the biggest chop you can for the car to be its very best, all of these thing alter the proportion of the car and it doesn’t take much to go too far and ruin the proportions, and, when I say over doing the car, I mean don’t go doing every modification you can think of, choose the ones that are beneficiary to the cars looks and performance, more mods doesn’t always mean better.

For me though when building cars, some key words I use for inspiration on our builds are: CLEAN, SIMPLE, STRONG, TOUGH, SERIOUS, REFINED, CLASSY and TIMELESS.

Graeme Brewer, Managing Director, Down Town Kustoms, Car builder and enthusiast.