IN A sobering tale for anyone with plans for a home-built “project car”, a Virginian man has been killed after crashing a Honda Civic-based buggy he constructed in his garage.
Anthony Dillard, 24, died from injuries sustained when he lost control of his vehicle, drifted into the on-coming lane and was struck by a Pontiac on the rear passenger side. The force of the impact crumpled the makeshift rollcage and Dillard was ejected from the buggy.
According to reports, the husband and father of two’s custom car was a beloved project vehicle, with registration plate “KART LYF” and multiple videos on social media chronicling its construction. In what some may view as a tragic omen, Dillard had dubbed his vehicle the “Deathkart”.
Police are investigating incident, specifically the fact that the Deathkart’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) still identified it as a Honda Civic; a spokesperson told the Virginian Pilot it should not have, as it was too modified from its original form.
It’s likely a true Civic would not only have been more predictable to drive but would have protected Dillard much more effectively, possibly saving his life.
Dillard leaves behind a wife and two children.
Reporting on the story, motoring website Jalopnik offered the following advice for those thinking of building their own project cars:
“Don’t mess with the crash structures underneath your car’s body unless you know what you’re doing. Use strong rollcage-grade steel that won’t bend in a crash that’s properly triangulated and tied into the car with sufficiently large spreader plates. Toss out anything that doesn’t have a good, fully penetrating weld or isn’t bent properly.
“Or better yet, take your project to a professional cage builder who already knows how to build a roll cage. There’s no shame in consulting the pros over a vital safety component.”
The article also pointed to a Facebook Marketplace “feeler” ad for Dillard’s car, in which he admitted to not being skilled in this area:
“*Disclosure* im not a profession fabricator to yes the welds might not look like dimes but unless you were born a professional welder i dont want to here it.”
Brits who build their own project cars are required to register them with the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency. If a car has been “radically altered” from the original, it will receive a “Q” registration, meaning its history is unknown… but only if it complies with the road vehicles regulations for use on the road.