Exo Car “Ghettocet” Build Guide: Introduction


I love junkyard builds and I have always subscribed to the do more with less methodology. So building an exo car is something I have wanted to do for a very long time. It’s also an excuse for me to brush up on some old skills and hone some new ones.

What is an Exo Car?

An exo car is a low cost, low weight, typically sports car, where everything, and I do mean everything is removed. Modeled after cars such as the Ariel Atom and the Exomotive Exocet. We affectionately call them ‘ghettocets’. Body panels and doors are removed or cut off the car to expose the bare chassis. Then a crash structure is welded around the car in the form of a roll cage. The result is a dramatically lower weight and wild power to weight ratios. 10 to 1 is on the conservative end with extreme builds reaching 3 to 1 and beyond. That’s one 1hp per 3 lbs., or supercar territory. All at a fraction the cost of traditional builds.

Example of a well build exo car aka ghettocet
An exceptionally well executed exo car. You can read more here.

Choosing the Chassis

I am fortunate enough, or maybe not, to have a few cars around as a result of my racing carnage. Although virtually any chassis will work, I picked the donor car for the Super Touring Miata that I race with NASA. This is a car that had damage resulting in a chopped front end. I picked it up for $500 dollars as a contingency plan during the wiring fiasco last year. It was a steal as not only is it VLSD equipped, but the engine and transmission still work.

The starting point of the exo car build. A 1991 Mazda Miata.
The starting point, a 1991 Mazda Miata that has seen better days. It will be one hell of toy when finished though.
Exo car miata, ghettocet, inspiration photo.
One of the inspiration pics for the build. Credit: unknown

Up Next

I plan to document this build like I did in the old days, but with the wealth of knowledge I have now. First up will be a baseline of the car such as starting weight and build considerations. Then I will start chopping weight before detailing the build plan for those that want to follow along. This is going to be fun!

By Chris Simmons

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