Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!
GC asks: What do you think the economics would be if there were a kit pickup truck available? The individual purchasers might be the types most able to complete a build without help and would appreciate a lower cost than the (luxurious) factory trucks, if basic truck kits could actually be sold for significantly less. Many of the potential buyers (young people working in the trades) I envision are laid off at times, have tools, and the knowledge to use them. Keep up the good work!
My reply: I think the economics are very favorable; the problem is – as always – Uncle. It is very difficult to get around the federal saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety and emissions ukase which all new vehicles are required to “comply” with. There are exceptions for low-volume/kit vehicles . . . the operative words being low volume. Once a certain threshold is reached, “compliance” becomes mandatory. The problem, then, is how to make money selling low-volume. I wrote an article a few months back about this. The gist of it is that you charge a fortune for the handful of vehicles you sell; in effect, making such vehicles for-the-affluent-only.
A more practical option for the less-affluent is to buy an older truck (or car) and rehab it according to your preferences. $10k or so should be sufficient to buy a very solid/rust/damage-free body; spend another $15k on mechanicals and so on and – voila – you have a “new” old vehicle; it can have many of the features that make a car modern without all the crapola that has made modern cars so unappealing.
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