RightHandDrive.ca/blog Canadian Right Hand Drive News and Thoughts


Right hand drive conversions

ur doin' it wrong

RHD conversion?

It's about time this topic comes up.  I'll state, right off the hop, in general I think this is a large waste of money. There is a case for doing a right hand drive conversion in a few cases

  1. The front of your existing car is 'written off' and you need to redo the whole thing anyway
  2. You really really want a right hand drive and this is the only way to get one
  3. You have too much time and money and you're doing this to stay out of trouble.

But, let's get to the meat of it.

What is it?

It's taking a car that is a left hand drive and turning it into a right hand drive. Hence, conversion.

How is it done?

a front clip

S2000 Front Clip

There are a few ways of doing this. The easy way (and as far as I'm concerned, the right way) and the hard way.

The easy way

Basically, buy the front end of the same car and merge them. The front end, or front clip, usually,  has the engine, dash, steering wheel, suspension, and occasionally even wheels. Basically, it's a the front of a car.  Usually it was a car, and the front was removed, so the motor has mileage on it.  The history of these clips is usually super vague.  Some of the cars could have been rear-ended... some just old and then chopped. If you can get a history, you should.


Civic with Integra front end

So, you have a car dashboard-forward from one car, and your existing car. Now... make one car. That's it. Cut off the front of your existing car and add the front of another. Some people do weird things like put the front of an Acura Integra onto a Honda Civic. Although it's cool and unique it looks like the bastard child of 90s Japanese cars. (Nabbed from Stance is Everything - no offense to the owner.)

At any rate, it's still a lot of work. Check out the video below (credit to Duc) to get a glimpse of how much work it is, and see the parts and tools you'd need.

The hard way

Do it yourself. This could go a thousand different directions, so I can't really get into it.  Some people fab their own dashboard, steering everything... it's kind of crazy.  There's some really neat stuff people do, but it's a lot of hard work.  The difficulty depends on what kind of car you have.  Look under your hood and see where the steering column is, and where you could put one.  There's conversion parts available for various models online, again, check out what there is for your model.

Purchasing a Right Hand Drive that's a Conversion

This question comes up a lot.  The main reason why, is that there is no good answer to this question. Every car that's been converted has it's own story and is done by someone with a different skill level.  Some might be Joe Shmow in his garage, and it could be horrible. Some might be Joe Shmow in his garage and be perfect.  There are some shops that specialize in conversions, even those could be hit or miss.

Overall, if you're interested in one, look it over in detail, especially at the welds. The welds will be by the A pillar and in front of the doors on the chassis. Look under the car, if you don't know what you're looking for, ask the dude that's selling it.

If a job is poorly done, the car will look like it's sagging.  The extra force on the A pillar will put pressure on both the windshield and the top of the car doors.  If the doors 'shut really tight on the bottom', that's a bad thing. If the glass is starting to unexplainably crack in weird places.... that's a really bad thing.

Is it Dangerous?

It sure as hell can be.  Even if the car isn't sagging and is done pretty well, you're driving two cars that have been frankensteined together.  If you get in an accident the welds might not hold up like the factory welds, because they're not as thoroughly tested as a regular car. Conversely, if the person knew what they were doing it could be better, and up to racing standards. Each one of these cars is so unique it's impossible to say.