Building A Beater

I’ve been wanting to build a “beater” car for a long time. Problem is, it sounds easy, but I realize that it takes care to make it look right and not like a mass of junk, which was the result when I tried it in the past. Anyone else tried it?

Haven’t tried it
If I were to try it I would start by selecting a suitable model
and then Google the living h*ll out f the internet to find images of a suitably used car.
Not a junk heap but rather on the level of dull paintwork, some rust around the wheel wells, maybe some missing chrome trim.
Finding photos helps a lot when aiming for specific level of “beat-up-ness”.

Too run down in my opinion:

Could use a bit more rust around the edges, this one is slightly on the neat side:

Maybe, getting close?:

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Thanks, but I was hoping somebody could show me a suitable underside. I know it wouldn’t simply be rust color.

#3 looks like it should have a leaky head gasket or worn rings to provide that special ode du beater.

Whoa, I think there is a policy against those type of pictures here, or at least post those in the ‘Uncategorized’ forum :grin:

Yeah not rusty. My old 33yo daily beater is still black (dark dark grey) but also grimy, road grimy. And yes, as described above, oil leaks around the engine area and drive rod boots, etc.

I did this one years ago for a quick weekend build. I missed a lot of detail like the window trim. Intended to look like a daily ride and not junked in the yard.


Hi Robin,

Underpans are subjective so no right or wrong, really. How most military trucks are weathered underneath is likely similar. Dust, rust and oil etc. What car are you planning?

Many older cars the floors rust through, I had 3 VW Beetles and 2 of them had rotten floors but were drivable.

Regards Jason

Long Tom is thinking about building a beater, I just dredged up a few images to illustrate the point that not all beaters are heaps of junk even if some of them are.
His first attempt seemed to have turned out too beaten for his taste so he was looking at a new attempt.

Hi Robin,

Maybe try YouTube for inspiration. Lots of interesting stuff there, builds and real life.

Regards Jason

Like I said, old but not TOO junky. Rusted through floors would be too much.