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What is a Rolling Chassis?

Meaning | Concept | Definition:

The term rolling chassis is used to describe a vehicle without an engine, transmission, and usually no rear gears. However, the vehicle has tires and wheels and can be easily rolled and towed. The rolling chassis may include a body and interior, or may consist of a bare chassis or any stage in between.

On motorcycles, a rolling chassis may include a bare frame with tires and wheels or it could also include a gas tank, oil tank, and other small bolt-on parts. Commonly used when selling or buying race cars and hot rods, the term designates a project that will require a driveline.

The advantage of purchasing a rolling chassis for many consumers is the freedom to install the engine and driveline of their choice in a vehicle.

The advantage of purchasing a rolling chassis for many consumers is the freedom to install the engine and driveline of their choice in a vehicle. The average hot rodder is capable of assembling an engine and transmission in their garage using common hand tools.

This allows the builder to create an engine that meets all of their performance needs and is also visually appealing. However, restoring a rusty body and subsequent painting of the vehicle is beyond the skills of many home mechanics.

Purchasing a rolling chassis saves time and money in many cases by allowing the consumer to purchase a vehicle that has already had the body and paint job completed.

In some circumstances, the consumer will purchase a bare metal rolling chassis. This simple chassis will be used to assemble a replica of the fiberglass body of a very rare vehicle that would otherwise be out of the manufacturer’s budget.

Commonly called kit cars, these body and interior kits are assembled onto a finished rolling chassis and the builder then installs an engine and driveline to complete the build. Most of these kits are installed on specially designed chassis, however some of the kits require a specific production year and model of vehicle chassis to complete the build.

In racing vehicles, a rolling chassis is commonly purchased from a reputable chassis manufacturer and finished in the consumer’s garage. Most racing classes are filled with vehicles built by a small group of chassis builders.

These constructors have designed and built a winning chassis and offered it for sale to racing teams that want to be top contenders. The competition chassis can be purchased as a single chassis or as a rolling chassis to better fit the customer’s budget.

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