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Are you planning to build a project car? If so, there are plenty of ways to work with a blank canvas and create something you can be proud of. It doesn’t matter if you’re building a street car, a track car, or a show car; there are plenty of ways to go about it. However, there are also plenty of mistakes that you can make when building a project car. Here are some of the most common ones.

Having more horsepower doesn’t make a project car better

The first thing that most enthusiasts think about when building a project car is adding more horsepower. And why not? The faster the car, the better, right? Not necessarily. For example, if you’re planning to build a street car that you’re going to drive daily, having more power isn’t necessarily a good thing. Sure, it may be more fun for a while, but after the novelty wears off, you’ll be left with a car that’s less reliable and somewhat harder to drive.

David Patterson – a car enthusiast that runs a YouTube channel called ThatDudeinBlue – knows a thing or two about project cars as he’s driven over 1,000 of them. In a recent video, he addressed the notion of adding more power to a project car.

“Power is equivalent to likes on social media,” Patterson said. “Power is awesome, but it has bitter consequences. With most platforms, adding more power takes away some long-term reliability.”

Additionally, by adding more power, you have to upgrade the rest of the car’s components to handle it, which ends up costing more money and effort.

Not installing the proper safety gear can be costly and dangerous

If you’re planning to install new racing seats and harnesses in your project car, make sure to use a roll cage or a harness bar. Patterson notes that bolting the harnesses to the floor of the car can be dangerous in a crash. Also, make sure to use quality safety parts in your car. Because although the stuff on eBay costs a fraction of the cost of the real stuff made by Momo, Sparco, or Bride, they pale in comparison when it comes to reliability and rigidity.

Not buying a quality set of coilovers

A pair of modified Subarus
A pair of modified Subarus. | Getty Images

If you’re planning to lower your project car, then remember to buy a quality set of coilovers. “I’ve driven on some really cheap coilovers and they would have been better on the stock suspension,” Patterson said. “My best advice is to start with the little things, like replacing bad ball joints and control arms. Things you would overlook when restoring a car.” Also, don’t cut your car’s stock springs either; you’re just asking for a terrible ride quality by doing that.

Not buying a good set of tires

A close up of a car wheel
A close up of a car wheel | Getty Images

Always remember that the tires on your car are what connect it to the ground. By cheaping out on a set of tires, there’s a chance that you won’t get the proper grip you need, and your car will perform worse than stock. Always remember to get a good set of tires and have them rotated when needed to ensure they wear down properly.

Mistakes when building a project car

Building a project car is a lot of fun and can be rewarding when you finally complete it. However, if you fall into some of these common mistakes, it can make a project quickly turn into a nightmare.