The $10,000 EBay Formula One Car

In Johnny Cash’s hit, One Piece At A Time, an underpaid Cadillac assembly line worker devises a way to obtain his long desired ride. By liberating a single piece at a time in his lunchbox, our hero eventually amasses enough parts to build his own Cadillac.

Since it takes him 21 years to do so, the finished product is somewhat asymmetrical. It has two headlights on the left, but only one on the right, and only a single trademark tailfin in the rear.

Reading about the efforts of Brighton, England’s Kevin Anthony on Wheels Blog, it’s impossible to not envision the Johnny Cash song. Anthony, you see, is trying to do almost the same thing by clobbering together a Formula 1 car from eBay and swap-meet-sourced parts.

In fairness, Anthony is paying for his parts, not smuggling them out of a factory in his lunch pail. He’s getting some good bargains, too, like the 2001 BAR tub he snapped up for just $5,000, or the Lucky Strike livery decals he found online for only $30.

Like the hero of the song, Anthony is encountering fitment issues. The nose of a Force India car wasn’t meant to bolt smoothly to a BAR tub, which itself is mated to a BAR floor from a different year. Then there’s the issue of the BMW engine cover, which had to be cut and patched to fit. At least he doesn’t have headlights or tailfins to deal with.

Everyone needs a hobby, and we suppose assembling a Formula 1 car from cast-aside bits is healthier than most. It’s certainly educational, since Anthony now has working knowledge of Formula 1 chassis assembly, literally from the ground up.

He estimates that he’s invested some $10,000 in the project so far, which hasn’t quite produced a rolling chassis. If all goes as planned, the chassis will be completed by next year, and future plans include the addition of a more modestly powered engine, likely from a Formula Renault.

Image credit: Wikipedia poster Morio, CC 3.0

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