Full Rebuild Options / Costs

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Last seen: 6 days 19 hours ago
Joined: 19/05/2022
Full Rebuild Options / Costs


My 2008 metric 1.6 K Series Caterham was used as my every day car for ~5 years, in which time I did around 50k miles in all weathers. It was great fun at the time, but has taken its toll on the chassis powdercoating and bodywork, despite efforts to touch up the chipped powdercoating over the years.

For the past ~ 8 years it's been a garage queen, covering only ~2k miles per year in the summer, so the condition hasn't significantly worsened - but I've got bubbling powdercoat around the windscreen mounts on the scuttle, and more worryingly bubbling paint at the lower edge of the side panels, along with surface rust on a fair amount of the exposed powdercoated tubes. There are also some small dings and dents from various mishaps to the ali panels.

I believe all the corrosion is superficial so I'm not immediately concerned, but it's to the point now where I don't enjoy driving the car as much - as all I see is the scruffy state the car is in (despite being mechanically sound and as reliable as it's ever been!) - which just takes the edge off the ownership experience.

I've toyed with the idea of taking the easy option, chopping it in (what's a 66k miles 120bhp 1.6K S3 worth?! - £12000-£14000?) and buying a new 420R kit - but with options this would end up at ~£45k, so at least £30,000 on top of trade in.

So I'm considering a full nut and bolt rebuild, to end up with the car in close to as-new condition as possible.

I'd like a bit more power whilst I'm at it (~170bhp would be nice) and an LSD - and inevitably end up doing lots of other little bits - wide track, rear anti-roll bar, watts link, etc whilst I'm doing it. Seats and tunnel cover and various other parts would also need to be replaced as they're badly worn.

So I'm in the initial stages of investigating the following options:

1. I'd Strip back to a bare tub and have Caterham/Arch/someone else? re powdercoat and re-panel the chassis, paint it a new colour, then I would reassemble and upgrade/replace as I rebuild. Who's best placed to do this on a metric chassis?

2. As per option 1 but rather than having it powdercoated, hand paint / spray with POR15 in the hope that this is more durable this time around than powdercoating. Has anyone tried this? The logistics would inevitably be more complicated as I'd have to organise the blasting seprately then paint it my self, prior to getting Arch/Caterham to re-panel. Are there likely to be issues with rivetting new panels onto a chassis painted with POR15?

I'd appreciate any insight from anyone who's done something similar.




Golf Juliet Tango
Last seen: 5 hours 3 min ago
Joined: 17/04/2014

Firstly, I commend your 50,000 miles in 5 years. Similar use meant mine needed a chassis up rebuild after 110,000 miles.

It is up to you when "proud road warrior" becomes "rather shabby". 

As mine is a 1996 Arch chassis, the decision to send it to Arch was easy, there is absolutely nowhere else worth considering.  I assume that Bruce & Phil will take a metric/welded chassis (i.e. not one of their's) for tidying up, you will have to ask. 



Democratic dissent is not disloyalty, it is a positive civic duty

Last seen: 9 hours 39 min ago
Joined: 27/09/2019

In relation to a power increase, I've recently had a DVA upgrade on my 1.6K which I'm very happy to discuss Rob. PM me if you want any info.


Geoff Brown
Geoff Brown's picture
Last seen: 15 hours 57 min ago
Joined: 17/04/2014

'and more worryingly bubbling paint at the lower edge of the side panels' 

As with old property renovation once one starts to strip back then the true horror could, I say could, be exposed.

The bubbling at the bottom of the side panels is telling you something but the extent only by removing the panels.

A wise decision to bite the bullet & go for a chassis strip & referb you just have to have faith. If you elect Arch for the work you will get an honest appraisal after strip & a quality rebuild even if the chassis is a Westbury one.


anthonym's picture
Last seen: 14 hours 24 min ago
Joined: 17/04/2014

I think you will find Arch's powder coating more resilient.  ‭+44 1480 459661‬ ask for Bruce or Phil (both Robinson)

Their eye for stuff that needs fixing is invaluable.

Painting: Tony at TSK Paint ‭+44 1732 750256‬ - also car rebuilds.

Engine rebuilds

Dave at Boss Racing ‭+44 1474 702892‬

Rob at Ratrace ‭+44 1707 645040‬ - also car rebuilds

Gearbox and diff rebuilds /service 

Phil Stewart at Road and Race Transmissions ‭+44 1959 525105‬

and don't forget the propshaft, Rob at Boss Racing sorted someone to do mine for me.

and so on. My advice is talk to everyone. 

Obviously there are several who can be recommended by others here.


Tony P
Last seen: 2 days 6 hours ago
Joined: 13/06/2017

As said, above - talk to Arch; they are friendly and fair and won't 'upsell' you stuff that you don't need.

In my experience, Arch liaised with, and delivered the chassis to, TSK for painting, and Tony there arranged receipt of any new fibreglass - and predrilled the rear wings to fit the drillings and rivnut positions on the chassis with a jig/template (which is a pig of job to do at home in small single garage). And arranged return of the finished chassis (in fact, Tony delivered it himself, with great care).

Tony Pashley

Cookie Monster
Last seen: 6 days 22 hours ago
Joined: 17/04/2014

Recently been through a similar - although not as extensive - rebuild earlier this year
Phil at Arch did a new rear panel, Tony at TSK a fantastic repaint and reassembly at a fair price. I trailered the car around to everyone to save them the hassle.

I'd have no hesitation recommending both.


Kimble's picture
Last seen: 3 days 7 hours ago
Joined: 21/06/2021

Could anyone give me a really ballpark figure for what a full strip down, re-powder coat and respray might cost, with someone doing the strip/reassembly work?

simon_h's picture
Last seen: 8 hours 4 min ago
Joined: 17/04/2014

That's a hard question as it really depends on how bad the car is to dismantle. If you are paying an hourly rate of circa £45 it would soon add up. Then if you are going that far do you also replace all the suspension bushes, the hard brake lines and so on. I can see it easily getting to and above £10k if you pay someone to do the whole rebuild on a drop off and pick up basis. Labour being the killer. Doing everything yourself obviously makes it better but to pay probably is borderline not cost effective. Better off selling and getting one less far gone.

It would be worth seeing if you really need a full strip and re coat or if the frame can be repaired/derusted and painted as a localised area as that saves a lot of the work needed