These bespoke metal cars take 2,000 hours to make by hand — see the step-by-step process

  • Chris Rünge makes bespoke cars in this home workshop using a metal-working technique called English Coachwork.
  • His Porsche-inspired designs are valued at $US275,000.
  • The most impressive thing about these cars is that they have never seen an assembly line. Each car is handmade and takes at least 2,000 hours to build.
  • Watch the video above to see how Rünge builds his cars.

Narrator: This isn’t your average car. It didn’t come from a factory, it’s never seen an assembly line, and it doesn’t have your typical paint job. While most car enthusiasts get excited by horsepower, handling, and other performance metrics the most impressive thing about these cars is that they’re handmade.

Meet Chris Rünge of Rünge Cars. His bespoke automobile company operates out of his small workshop in Minnesota. Chris uses various metal-shaping techniques to build his cars to customers’ specifications. Engine options vary based on customers’ desires. But most of the mechanical components are repurposed from older Porsches. Each car takes at least 2,000 hours to build. Currently, Rünge cars are valued at $US275,000. Chris will show us how he takes sheets of aluminium and turns them into drivable works of art. This is how Rünge cars are made.

Chris Rünge: So, I start my build process with a concept and usually, that starts with a sketch. Once I have the body design down, I then build a wood buck like the one you see here. Now, the buck acts as a guide for the body panels that are going to be made later on.

Narrator: The wood buck can take up to three weeks to make and it’s a crucial part of the design process. Chris builds the buck from scratch around the chassis of the car. It’s ultimately responsible for the shape of the vehicle though, customers can still make changes at this stage.

Chris Rünge: Once I have the buck designed, I then start building a tube buck like the one you see down here. The aluminium tubes stay in place on the finished car and the aluminium bodywork that you see actually gets bonded to it.

Narrator: After the tube buck is complete, Chris builds the internal paneling and integrates a steel safety cage into the frame of the car. Now he can begin his metal-shaping process for the exterior. Chris uses four tools to shape the metal. The English wheel, reciprocating hammer, radius brake, and the bossing mallet and shot bag. He uses these tools to shrink and expand the metal. Chris uses the tube buck as his guide for shaping the metal. Here you can see him carefully lining the raw aluminium to the body of the car. He marks off the point where the metal should bend. Then, he uses the radius brake to get the desired bend. He cuts off any excess metal and uses clecos, or temporary rivets, to temporarily hold the panel in place.

Then, he moves on to the fenders. Chris starts by laying out paper and cutting it into the shape he wants. On this particular model, he uses the English wheel and reciprocating hammer to match the aluminium with the paper template. These steps are completed for every inch of the tube buck until the body of the car is complete. He then removes the clecos and bonds the panels to the tube buck. Finally, Chris dresses the metal. Dressing means to smooth out welds and rivets then polish the car to a perfect shine. Now, it’s time for a test drive. Would you get behind the wheel of this metal masterpiece?

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