If you’ve ever watched Overhaulin or Iron Resurrection, then you know that these master builders take rusty wrecks and transform them into jaw dropping masterpieces. These engine makers put a piece of themselves into the aluminum castings and polished rotating assemblies that make up a car’s heartbeat.
They’re passionate about creating one-of-a-kind cars that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Here’s everything you need to know about this specialized profession.
What They Do
Car builders work closely with engineers and designers to create vehicles that meet their clients’ specifications. They use a variety of materials and tools to construct vehicles, including metal, fiberglass, and carbon fiber. Car Builders must have a good understanding of automobile mechanics, as well as the ability to design and create vehicles that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.
Nick Blakeney, a master builder for GM’s CT5-V, describes the feeling of putting his name on one of LT4 small-block V-8s as “putting your heart into it.” He makes no bones about how important it is to him to get it right, and he is clear that, “if it doesn’t measure up, it won’t leave this building.”
Even though the takumi at the PBC liaise with the engineers on every new engine line, they must still rely on feel as much as data when assembling a car engine. Schiller calls the tactile response to a rotating mass an acquired skill and says that it’s hard to put into words; it’s something you have to experience.
While some automakers ship the cars they build directly to buyers, most send them to a dealership for final delivery steps. The dealership handles the vehicle’s registration, insurance, and financing. This type of delivery system is becoming increasingly popular with automakers because it allows them to avoid paying storage fees on models that don’t sell and avoid having to discount their cars in a recession.
Car builders often have no formal education, but they do need to have a strong grasp of the basics. Most learn from the many resources available online, including enthusiast forums, YouTube videos and automotive databases. Additionally, high school courses in art and computer science are helpful, as well as math and physics. Students should also take shop classes, as these provide practical experience with hand and power tools.
Those who decide to earn a college degree should major in automotive technology or other relevant field. The most common degree level for car builders is an associate degree, with 26% earning this. The next highest degree is a high school diploma, with 25% of car builders holding this certificate.
While Aaron Kaufman may be leaving Gas Monkey Garage and Fast N’ Loud, he’ll never stop being a car builder. He’s got a lifetime of knowledge to impart, and we can’t wait to see what he does next.
Car builders are responsible for the construction of the external bodies of vehicles such as cars, buses, trucks, fire engines and caravans. They work with the vehicle designers and engineers to draft layouts of various components that are to be incorporated into the vehicle’s body. They also carry out inspections of the vehicles to ensure that they meet safety and quality standards. They are also required to make sure that they follow a specific plan, creation or blueprint when carrying out their tasks.
Other job duties of a custom car builder include working on the design, manufacture, distribution, sales and after-sales care of automobiles (including racing cars) and motorbikes. They use their engineering and creative skills to create unique designs that are both visually appealing and highly efficient. They may also be required to conduct tests on prototypes in order to improve the performance of the vehicle or its parts.
In addition to the aforementioned job duties, custom car builders are also required to operate basic or specialised sewing machines in order to sew pieces of fabric, vinyl or leather for the purposes of manufacturing or repairing wearing apparels. They are also expected to purchase the necessary materials for their work and keep their working area clean and tidy at all times. They are also required to take a certain amount of training to become proficient in their work.
ZipRecruiter estimates that the average salary for a Car Builder is $45,680. This is before taxes. Taxes are estimated based on federal and state income tax rates for a single filer.
The top ten best paying cities for a Car Builder beat this national average by between $10,394 (29%) and $12,767 (28.0%). These figures therefore suggest that changing locations in order to earn a higher salary would be a worthwhile option. However, this is not a guaranteed result and salaries vary greatly between cities.