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PostPosted: November 13, 2018, 2:07 pm 
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Hello everyone, My name is John Chesnut. I'm passionate about the old sports racers. I've built a few cars from scratch and have sold some as kits. Building a car is fun for me. It's my therapy. It's my hobby. It's something to do in my retirement years and, for as long as my health holds out.
A couple of years ago I started a build thread for my car. I wanted a sexy looking car that would be a Chevy alternative to the Cobra. The body I created was inspired by the Cheetah. It's a simple 2 piece body. The nose is full tilting. The frame I built accepts C4 Corvette suspension. It's a space frame that gets skinned with aluminum panels. The frame accepts SBC or LS engines.
I had to have molds made to get a usable body for me. I'm working with a fiberglass company that will produce any needed bodies. I have a nice jig for the frame. At this time I'm going to build the frames and tack them together. I'll have a certified welder finish them.

The molds are almost complete. I'll have complete bodies in a couple of weeks. I have materials and supplies to build a couple of frames. Once, I get the body I'll build a complete car. I hope to have it on the road in the spring. My goal is to drive the heck out of it and have fun. I'm going to set up a website to offer kits for sale. I don't know if I'll sell any. If I do, cool. If not my son, a friend, and I will each have one.

I thought that I'd jump the gun and offer a body frame kit here. The price is $6800 and includes the body in white gel coat (It will need final body work on the seams and paint), (I will sell a body only for $3400.) an unpainted frame, cut and fitted aluminum skins, coil over shock mounts, steering shafts bearings, u-joints, and a quick release steering wheel hub. A parts list will be included. An MGB windshield is used but not supplied.
Pictured is the frame. The red lines indicate additional bracing that I'm adding for the final version.
Pictured is the final body plug mounted on the frame.
Pictured is the final mock up in blue. I wanted to see how the shape was coming so I used spray cans to paint it and set it outside to view it. Final body work was then done to finish the plug.

Feel free to make any comments. I would also appreciate any thoughts of the best way to market the components. I'm planning on sending out a press release in the spring to car magazines. (Print and online). And, attend a few car shows a year.

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PostPosted: November 13, 2018, 5:29 pm 
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Not certain that any of the U.S. print Kit Car magazines have survived.
You will want to get in contact with Curt Scott, I think he still has a kit car site.
You also need to know that print magazines have a minimum three month lead time.
Paid advertising is scarcely worth the cost but a feature article is gold.
Paid advertising works better after a feature article.
You will need a completed car to obtain a feature article.
Any remaining magazines will be desperate for something fresh, they have run Cobra articles to death.
Is the Knott's Berry Farm AHA show still going on?

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PostPosted: November 13, 2018, 5:30 pm 
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Hey John.. I've been a fan of these since you started posting this project some while ago- so cool to see it get to the point where you're bringing them to market :cheers:

The thoughts I have on marketing are these (take this as you will.. I spent 20 years doing morning radio (terrestrial), and I majored in communications, but I've been out of it for a while now, and media is always evolving)..

Maybe build a website that's exclusive to this car, and include all of your relevant details, pictures, prices, and most importantly, video.. It's my observation that in this day and age nothing ignites a passion for cars like video- the average person is not easily held with just paragraphs and pictures.. Also, I no longer underestimate the power of the sound a healthy engine makes, and what it does to stir emotion.. Your car looks like it should make some in your face rumpity-thumpity-thump sounds, so let it sing in your videos (keep the music to a minimum) :twisted:

Having said that, I still post static pictures, and write too-long paragraphs in my build logs.. video production isn't something I've tackled yet, but as I close in on retirement, and when I do a passion project as you have done here, I'm pretty sure I'll have to produce video if I want to market it..

Finally, Podcasters are CONSTANTLY looking for new content/material.. I know a podcast is not a video, but some podcasters have massive downloads, and those that cater to car enthusiasts have a listener base that would LOVE to know about what you're bringing to market.. just reach out to the podcast creator on their site in the app store and let them know you think you'd be a good guest.. be prepared to sell yourself to them a bit, as they get hit from all sides with people selling stuff that they want to get on the air.. no worries though: your car is different enough to jump out, you'll just have to get the podcaster's attention to get on the air (you might have to be a bit persistent).. Also, one podcast appearance tends to lead to others.. Also also, word of mouth will be a big deal with this car; your thoughts about getting a running version of it out on the spring/summer show circuit are dead-on :D

Good luck John, and get ready; this could really take off for you :cheers:

--ccrunner

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PostPosted: November 13, 2018, 5:41 pm 
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My 2 cents worth after building an online fishing forum and a fishing guide service.
Price point looks completely reasonable for what you're offering.

Step 1 buy Michael Hyatt's book Platform and read it cover to cover... two or three times. He offers fantastic advice on how to get noticed in a frenzied world.

Step 2 Create a dedicated website to start building your brand

Step 3 Videos, videos, videos. Build videos, tech tips for home builders, performance videos of completed cars.
Step 3A - PRAY someone notices a video or tow and it get at least sub-viral.
Step 3b - If it goes viral, you won't necessarily get orders, but you might. I'd expect on the order of 1 sale per 5,000-10,000 video views.

Step 4 I hate it, but Facebook generates buzz, leads, and sales.

Step 5 Car shows, cars and coffee, autocrosses, etc.

Personally, I wouldn't spend a nickel on print.

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PostPosted: November 13, 2018, 6:55 pm 
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RichardSIA wrote:
Not certain that any of the U.S. print Kit Car magazines have survived.
You will want to get in contact with Curt Scott, I think he still has a kit car site.
You also need to know that print magazines have a minimum three month lead time.
Paid advertising is scarcely worth the cost but a feature article is gold.
Paid advertising works better after a feature article.
You will need a completed car to obtain a feature article.
Any remaining magazines will be desperate for something fresh, they have run Cobra articles to death.
Is the Knott's Berry Farm AHA show still going on?


Apparently all the U.S. Kit Car mags have bit the dust. The closest thing that I can find now is "ReinCarNation Magazine". Primarily, high end replicars.

I believe you're right about Curt Scott still being out there somewhere. The AHA may be able to help you out with this one.

The last Knott's Berry Farm AHA show was almost 10 years ago. They moved to the LA County Fairplex for a while, but the last of those was in 2015. The AHA has since gone to a springtime potluck picnic at Frank G. Bonelli Park in San Dimas, Ca. For more info, http://www.replicarclub.com

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PostPosted: November 13, 2018, 7:10 pm 
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As I predicted when the Fed. took over auto design and mandated overly complex systems. :(
"Style" and "Aero" kits are still common but full build kits are now somewhat rare, leaving the magazines with little to report on.

There is a group in No. California as well but I'm unsure who they are.
There is a Cheetah forum, not sure how they will react to the modified version?
Being a new interpretation I'm not sure what Forgotten Fiberglass may think of it either.
There are still several forums that might appreciate it beside this one, GRM being one.
A web search will likely turn up other sites as well.
Need a complete car to show off ASAP.
At least with the web "Literature collectors" will be less of a pain. :)

Interesting to see how this goes as I still have some desire to produce a few of the Tatum street kits.

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PostPosted: November 14, 2018, 3:47 pm 
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Thank you to all of you for your thoughtful comments and suggestions. I definitely use them.
- I've secured the domain name: Chesnutmotorsports.com. I also got Chestnutmotorports.com. (Everyone puts a T in the the middle of my name.)
-I'm going to have a dedicated website built. It will have lots of pictures and some videos too.
-I definitely will get the recommended book and read it.
-I will be sending out a press release to not only Kit car related publications but to all of the car magazines that I think might be interested. I'm hoping to get some free press and a story done here and there.
-I'll put together a professional looking info kit to pass out at shows and to send to anyone that wants one.
Any marketing that I do will be "Grassroots".

I need to come up with a name for the car. The son of the creator of the Cheetah trademarked: Bill Thomas Cheetah. I won't use Cheetah in the name. I haven't thought of a good one yet though. The ones that I have thought of have been used.

I think the price for my components is reasonable. Someone would be able to put a really nice example together for less than or equal to what a Cobra kit would be.

Now I'm killing time while I wait for the first bodies. The only problem is that it's cold in the Adirondacks and it's going to get colder. I want to winter in my old stomping grounds of southern Arizona!

Thanks again. John


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PostPosted: November 14, 2018, 4:33 pm 
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If you act quickly I think "Bengal" may still be available. :)
A fairly recent designer spotted cat breed, also from Bengal Tiger.

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PostPosted: November 14, 2018, 4:55 pm 
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Thanks Richard. Bengal is one of the names I've been considering. Another one is "Serval". Its a small wildcat that has long legs and resembles a Cheetah. I like the sound of it but I don't know if people would know what it was.

I've also thought of simply: Chesnut RTR. (Road and Track Roadster) Or, Chesnut Type63R.


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PostPosted: November 14, 2018, 5:20 pm 
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stinger wrote:
I need to come up with a name for the car. The son of the creator of the Cheetah trademarked: Bill Thomas Cheetah. I won't use Cheetah in the name. I haven't thought of a good one yet though. The ones that I have thought of have been used.

How about "Gepard"; German for Cheetah

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PostPosted: November 18, 2018, 11:07 am 
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Thank you for the suggestions. I looked at Cheetah in different languages.

Too Busy: A side note. I love to fish. When my kids were young I made them a fishing system that eliminated exposed hooks and tangles. I ended up selling it on the shopping channel QVC. I sold as many as 5000 every 8.5 minutes I presented it. That was a lot of fun to do.

I found a name that I like. I've submitted an application to obtain the trademark "PANTHERA" (sounds like Panther with an uh at the end). It's a classification of Big Cats that have the ability to roar. I'm pretty sure that I'm going to use it.

I've been working on a layout for a website landing page. Of course I'll have professional pictures, videos, and webdesign. Here's what I have in mind.

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PostPosted: November 18, 2018, 3:25 pm 
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You want a 3/4 front view as your main image.
There is ALWAYS some fiberglass work required!
Your price may a bit too low?
Similar bodies without a chassis are $5K.

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PostPosted: November 18, 2018, 4:41 pm 
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Hi Richard, I'll need to be clearer about the fiberglass work. Body work will be required. (Even that will be minimal though) I'm trying to say that the builder won't have to glass anything together. The way the body is made the 2 pieces will line up perfectly with each other. I'll ship the body mounted and hinged to the frame.

I agree about a 3/4 view.

I don't know if there is any market for this car. I'm setting the price as low as possible to see what the demand is. At this price I make a reasonable profit. The advantage I have is that I don't have any overhead. If there is good demand at this price I can always raise the price accordingly. It wouldn't be good to have to reduce the price. This is my thinking anyway.

Thanks for your input.


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PostPosted: November 18, 2018, 5:14 pm 
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No overhead?
WOW, I'm jealous!

You probably do not want your main image to be Ford Blue when your main competition is Cobra clones. :wink:

I would lean toward White with Orange racing stripes, Red always looks good.

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PostPosted: November 18, 2018, 6:08 pm 
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I agree about not using Blue. It's going to be Red or a deep Ruby color. If Ruby maybe with a single silver stripe beginning with the hood bulge and continuing down the center of the rear end.


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I plan on leaning the windshield rearward a little. The seat can go 2 inches lower.


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