Self Build Chesil Kits – Build your own Speedster

Although we are widely known for our factory-built Speedsters, we are also a leading kit car manufacturer, in fact described by Which Kit? Magazine as ‘a proud standard-bearer for the British kit car industry as a whole’.

For the technically-minded enthusiast a self build Chesil project is the only way to attain ownership with a real sense of achievement. For the novice builder a Chesil self-build project can be a surprisingly straight forward task, with the added assurance of Chesil’s unrivalled level of advice and support.

For the uninitiated below are the basic outlines of the two most common approaches to a self build Chesil project.

Self Build Chesil Starting With a VW Beetle Donor Car

Starting with a suitable donor Beetle you will need to strip it down to the bare chassis.

This involves removing the engine, interior, steering column and fuel tank before unbolting the bodyshell and lifting it off. This will leave you with the rolling chassis from which you remove the front suspension assembly, gear box and associated parts.

The bare chassis will require precise jig-mounted shortening at the Chesil works. Once shortened and prepared/painted you will be able to build it back up to a rolling state with all transmission, suspension and steering components fitted.

At this stage the Chesil bodyshell is fitted to the rolling chassis, followed by engine, fuel system, steering column, electrical system, lights, body trim, carpets, upholstery and hood.

A complete self build Chesil kit is also available.

A Self Build Chesil Speedster incorporates several improvements which make ownership an even more attractive proposition.

Self Build Chesil Speedster Kits
Self Build Chesil Speedster Kits

Upgrades in safety and performance can be found in the engine, electrical and braking systems.

Self Build Starting With a Chesil Full Rolling Chassis

This self build approach is ideal if you are not working to a tight budget.

Starting with a Chesil Full Rolling Chassis you already have what in effect is the bottom half of a Chesil factory-built Speedster, minus its engine.

As with the donor car route you will then fit the Chesil bodyshell to the deluxe rolling chassis and finish the project in the same way as described above. The difference between this and the donor car route is that you will require to purchase all the parts that would have been retained if you had started with a donor car. Items such as the engine, fuel tank, steering column and wiper motor fall into this category.

Customers following this route nearly always finish their project with components that match the quality of the Full Rolling Chassis. We can supply all the additional parts required which are prepared to a factory-built standard.

The Individual Parts page details additional items that you may require for your self-build project.

Some of these parts are related to the donor car and some are individual accessory items not included in our main finishing sets.

There is no set route to follow for your self-build project. With Chesil you have the flexibility to pick and choose with our parts and services.

We can supply any part that you may require for your project and also offer a flexible range of services, allowing you to specify the exact stage of completion for your kit, from a bare shell to an almost complete car requiring only minor tasks to complete. This will still allow you to claim all credit for having built it yourself!

To find out exactly how good a self build Chesil body kit is, how we can shorten your chassis to the highest standards, and to learn more about the Chesil in component form, see below.

  • Full Body Kit
  • Finishing Sets
  • Full Rolling Chassis
  • Chassis Shortening
  • Individual Parts

Chesil Full Body Kit - Our most comprehensive body kit....

The Full Body Kit is Chesil's most popular body kit and provides an excellent starting point for your project, as a lot of the assembly work has been carried out for you. The kit comprises:
  • Bodyshell/sub-chassis unit in a grey gel coat finish, ready for painting.
  • Front and rear bumpers.
  • Bonnet - fitted using powder coated hinges and latched with interior cable release, complete with bonnet stay.
  • Engine cover - fitted using powder coated hinges and thumb latches, also latched with interior cable release.
  • Doors - hung and latched using replica hinges, complete with inner and outer door handles. Option to fit wind-up windows or sides screens .
  • Full Windscreen assembly supplied (Not fitted)
  • Engine sealing panels - to fit between the VW engine and Chesil sub-chassis, complete with rubber seal.
  • Battery tray - to fit behind rear seat area.
  • Rubber weather seals - for bonnet, engine cover and doors.
The Deluxe Body Kit has optional side windows, fitting either the wind-up window assembly or the side scren assembly.

Chesil Finishing Sets – The final stages before completion…

Once you have built your chassis to a rolling stage and fitted the Chesil bodyshell you will be ready to fit the finishing sets. These sets are supplied in the most convenient groupings that allow you to complete specific categories of your Speedster’s specification.

Electrics - The central nervous system...

The Electrics Set is normally the first of the sets to be installed, after the Chesil bodyshell has been fitted.

This set comprises the following parts:

  • Special Chesil Speedster wiring loom.
  • Complete wiring loom fitting kit including all body grommets, battery leads and terminals, headlamp dip relay, cable fixings, flasher relay, battery retaining clamp, headlamp connectors, all terminals and crimper.
  • Electric windscreen washer kit, including electric pump, water bottle and bracket, chrome washer nozzles, T-piece and valve, water hoses and push button switch.
  • Headlight switch, including all fittings.
  • Wiper switch, including all fittings.
  • Horn, including all fittings.

Dash - Driver information...

The Dash set is normally fitted after the Electrics Set.

The Dash set comprises the following parts:

  • Speedometer (mph or km/h).
  • Tachometer.
  • Combined fuel level/oil temperature gauge.
  • Voltage stabilizer.
  • Temperature & fuel senders.
  • Dash warning lights - LEDs.
  • Speedometer cable.

Lighting - The eyes of your Speedster...

The Lighting Set is normally fitted after the Electrics Set.

The set comprises the following parts:

  • Headlamp units, including side lights.
  • H4 halogen light units.
  • Front indicator units.
  • Rear number plate light/reversing light unit.
  • Rear teardrop light unit, including bulbs.
  • Rear reflectors.

Heater - Keeping you warm...

Visually the Heater Set isn't very exciting, so it is advisable to restrain yourself from dancing around and singing too much when the parcel arrives, as you may end up regretting your actions. The Heater Set should be fitted after the carpets and dash top upholstery because the heater slides and vents cover parts of those sets.

The set comprises the following parts:

  • Heater slides, stainless steel (pair).
  • Dash top demister vent grilles (pair).
  • Demister hoses (pair).
  • Heat exchanger hoses (pair).

The standard Chesil heating system uses the sub chassis integral heater channels which run down both sides of the body, below the doors.

Carpet - Luxury underfoot...

This is the second least visually exciting set behind our Heater Set, but at least you can dress up in it. The Carpet Set can be fitted at any stage before the Heater Set and Upholstery Set.

The set comprises the following parts:

  • Bulkhead carpet.
  • Footwell carpets, including pockets and "kicker strips".
  • Tunnel carpet (please state chassis type).
  • Floor carpets, with driver's rubber heal mat.
  • Sill carpets.
  • Rear seat base carpet.

For your Chesil Carpet Set you have a choice of colour from our wide range of options. The carpets are bound along all exposed edges, so you could choose a contrasting colour for the binding.

Upholstery - Comfort and style...

The Chesil Upholstery Set is normally the final set to be installed.

The standard set comprises the following parts:

  • Front seats, bucket type (pair)
  • Rear seat (single base)
  • Rear panels (three pieces)
  • Door panels, complete with pockets
  • Dash top upholstery, including covering material, eyebrow piece, two pads, piping strips and fittings.

Please Note: The door tops supplied in the upholstery set are the same as those supplied in the Full Body Kit (apart from the upholstered finish). When you order the upholstery set, it will be supplied complete with door tops, so you will need to return the bare set from your existing kit.

For your Chesil Upholstery Set you have a choice of colour, material and style from our wide range of options. The seats are piped along all exposed edges, so you could choose a contrasting colour for the piping, possibly to match the body colour.

The standard upholstery set detailed above features the classic Chesil bucket seats, but an option is available for our popular fully-adjustable seats, complete with reclining mechanism, adjustable lumbar support, headrests and more. These are a popular option on our factory-built Speedsters.

For those building an authentic replica we have available our Speedster replica seats. These fixed-back bucket seats have slotted back supports and carpeting on the rear.

Body Trim - The finishing touches...

The Body Trim Set is normally the final set to be fitted and provides those essential detail items to mark the end of your self-build project.

The set comprises the following parts:

  • Front bumper deco strip, inc. rubber seal.
  • Rear bumper deco strip, inc. rubber seal.
  • Side deco strips (pair) inc. rubber seals.
  • Horn grilles, chrome (pair) inc. gaskets.
  • Bonnet handle, aluminium, inc. gaskets.
  • Speedster emblems, gold plated (pair).
  • Waistline trim set (6 pieces) & clips .
  • Engine cover grille, aluminium.

Chesil Full Rolling Chassis - Built to our highest standard...

For those who want the best possible basis for their Speedster, we offer our Full Rolling Chassis which can be supplied as either Swing Axle or IRS.

Your Full Rolling Chassis will be prepared to the highest specification using our full list of modification and preparation options. New parts are used throughout, except for the gearbox which is rejuvenated with new mountings, gaiters and oil seals (for gearbox options see below of right hand column).

We only build to one standard and the Full Rolling Chassis is used as the basis for our sought-after factory built Chesil Speedsters. Do not confuse our Full Rolling Chassis with similar appearance, but lower priced rolling chassis available elsewhere.

Full Rolling Chassis Specification:

  • New front torsion beam including adjuster
  • New steering box and drop arm
  • New track rod ends
  • New front brake disc assembly
  • New wheel cylinders (rear)
  • New cables throughout
  • New rubber handbrake gaiter
  • New pedal covers
  • New "Baby Moon" hubcaps
  • Reconditioned transaxle (gearbox) with new mounts and gaiters
  • New steering damper
  • New shock absorbers (F&R)
  • New callipers and pads
  • New rear shoes and fittings
  • New marine grade floorboards
  • New quick-shift gear lever
  • New chrome replica wheels
  • New floorpan gasket
  • New inner and outer rear torsion bar bushes
  • New steering coupling
  • New brake master cylinder
  • New rear brake drums
  • New brake pipes and hoses
  • New chrome handbrake lever
  • New gear linkage
  • New 195/60 15 tyres
  • New body fitting kit

When basing your build project on our Full Rolling Chassis, you will require all of the following additional parts, which would have come form your donor car if you had started your project at that point. The following parts are from the earlier type swing-axle Beetle:

PETROL TANK - Standard type (not 1302/1303), to be connected to external filler pipe fitting kit (supplied by Chesil) and to external wing fuel flap.

STEERING COLUMN - reconditioned (single stalk or twin stalk columns from all Beetles except for the two-piece CV jointed column from the 1302/1303 Beetles can be used)

NEW INDICATOR & DIP SWITCH - to suit the single stalk steering column.

BRAKE FLUID RESERVOIR AND HOLDER - New reservoir with dual chamber and low level warning light (IVA compliant) reservoir holder.

Chassis Shortening - Essential precision alignment...

We carry out all chassis shortening and modification on our purpose-built jig. This ensures correct alignment, leaving you with a sound basis for your build project. All chassis are shortened to the following specification:
  • Jig-checked for distortion or accident damage prior to shortening.
  • Jig-mounted shortening, to ensure accurate alignment.
  • All cable conduits are shortened at one end, avoiding cutting and rejoining.
  •  Gear change rod shortened and refitted with a new bush.
  • Relocated seat belt anchorage points.
  • New pedal cluster support & accelerator support fitted, if required.

This is the standard range of services we offer

  • Shortening of your supplied chassis.
  • Fitting of new floorpans.
  • Fitting of new framehead to swing axle chassis.
  • Conversion of framehead on IRS chassis.
  • Additional preparation stages:
  • Sandblast & prime chassis.
  • Seam seal, spray stone chip & spray paint chassis.
  • Waxoyl treatment of enclosed sections.
Whether you have got a donor chassis or want to buy one outright, we can meet your requirements. If you have difficulties transporting your chassis to us for shortening, please ask for details of our collection and delivery service.

Individual Parts - Parts for your Chesil build project...

All parts of the Chesil Speedster are available individually, so if you have any specific requirements please contact us.

To build and complete your Chesil Speedster you will find everything you need in our body kits, chassis options and finishing sets. The finishing sets are compiled to allow you to finish your project in convenient and logical stages. Follow the link to the left for further details.

If you are starting to plan your project, first read the information in the right hand column. This covers the basic parts required from donor car.

In addition to the body kit and finishing set contents you may require some of the following items. Prices for the following can be found in the Kits price list under Accessories.

Interior Accessories

  • Dashboard Clock - analogue electric type, to match the Chesil replica gauges
  • Door Check Straps - vinyl, choice of colour
  • Handbrake Gaiter - vinyl, choice of colour
  • Gearlever Gaiter - vinyl, choice of colour
  • Handbrake and Gear lever Gaiter in Black Leather
  • Dash Grab Handle - chrome finish
  • Inertia Reel Seat Belts

STEERING WHEELS We have got a wide range of steering wheels from Mountney, Moto-Lita and Nardi. Types available are standard sports type and wood rim with plain or rivetted rims and spokes with slots or holes.



Exterior Accessories

Continental style bumper overriders - including four tall overriders and high level bar.
Luggage Rack - replica type, chrome finish, including all fittings
Bumper Overriders - polished cast aluminium, set of four
Aero Mirror (door mounted) - chrome finished, to fit either side

TONNEAU COVERS Available in a range of colours to match your hood.
FULL TONNEAU COVER (two types available, please ask)
HOOD COVER (two types available, please ask)

HARD TOP We are currently developing the Chesil removable hard top to fit our wind-up windows. This will be supplied in a gel coat finish as standard and features:

  • Large side and rear windows
  • Suspended headlining

There is no set route to follow for your self-build project. With Chesil you have the flexibility to pick and choose with our parts and services.

The Chesil Motor Company

Customer support is a priority in Chesil’s complete service.

From initial advice to after sales back up, you can be sure of the support required to become, and remain, a satisfied customer.

The Chesil Motor Company proudly holds the position of being the leading Speedster replica manufacturer, whilst the Chesil Speedster has been described as ‘a leader in its class and a proud standard bearer for the UK kit industry as a whole’. The Chesil has full IVA compliance.

The Chesil's GRP body construction ensures that corrosion will never be a problem, and owners can feel well protected within its integral sub-chassis, giving incredible rigidity and safety.