Top 10 Classic Kit Cars
The kit car has been around since the dawn of the 1950s. Here are ten of the more memorable DIY chariots
This hardy perennial began life as a Crosthwaite & Gardiner project, employee Rick Stevens being responsible for the car’s design. Stylistically, the Sports was meant to evoke the Frazer Nash Le Mans Rep and cycle-winged HWM, and it originally featured running gear robbed from the Jaguar S-type (plus MGB steering rack). The Cougar (soon changed to Kougar so as not to upset Ford) was officially announced in July 1977, and was initially produced under the Storcourt Wells Ltd banner with Buxted Motors of Sussex handling the marketing – although the car was still being built by Stevens during the 1980s.
AutoFact: Kougar also produced a beautiful 1950s Ferrari-esque kit but the Monza sold in tiny numbers.
Peter Pellandine was a pioneer of the kit car art. Formerly of Mulliner Park Ward, he blazed a trail at Ashley Laminates before setting up Falcon Shells at Waltham Abbey, Essex at the end of 1956. The firm offered the Competition at just £65 in bare shell form, which was remarkably cheap. Looking not unlike a scaled-down Jaguar XKSS, and closely related to an earlier Ashley product, the outline was also employed by Elva (with only the one door) and even made a Le Mans appearance atop an Austin-Healey Sprite platform in 1960.
AutoFact: The outline remains available via the highly-capable Autotune Gemini.
The Westfield Eleven was – and remains – that rarest of things: an accurate physical facsimile of a highly-regarded classic that also drives much like its inspiration. The brainchild of Lotus restorer/racer Chris Smith, the Eleven wasn’t originally intended for volume production. However, following its launch in 1983, interest in this Lotus Eleven clone was such that it soon became a relatively big hit. Nor was it particularly cheap at £3235 before you acquired the Midget/Sprite donor car. However, demand for the firm’s more mainstream Lotus Seven-esque roadsters was such that production of the Eleven ground to a halt in 1986.
AutoFact: The Eleven was revived in 2004 and is still technically available.
Ford (USA) Mustang GT Fastback S Code 1968
390 4bbl. C6 Automatic, w/factory AC, 3:51 9” Posi rear. VIN# 8R02S1xxxxx Authentic GT S Code. Have Marti Report - all is correct, except color was changed. Was Candy Apple Red w/red interior. Car runs very strong - purchased 10 years ago in Tucson, AZ., and was going to restore, but found other distractions, and never got around to it. Car has been garaged for the duration, and has been dFor Sale | 22 May 2018 | Tucson, AZ, USA$ POA
1998 BENTLEY BROOKLANDS R MULLINER LWB
The Bentley Brooklands is a full-size luxury car introduced for 1992 as a replacement for the Bentley Mulsanne and Bentley Eight models. The Brooklands continued Bentley’s relatively angular design theme, which was also used on contemporary Rolls-Royce vehicles, throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. The exterior design featured the classic Bentley waterfall grille as well as dual headlights withFor Sale | 22 May 2018 | 5500 N.Tamiami Trail, Suite B, Sarasota, FL 34243$ 26,900
1998 FERRARI F550 MARANELLO
Blu Nart Exterior. Cream Leather Interior. 5.5 Liter V12 (485 HP) 6-Speed Manual Gated Shifter. Fresh full belt service completed February 2018 Books and Tools. Clean History Report. 47,000 Miles. Enthusiast owned and well maintained example. Very clean and ready to use. This is a great driving and one of the best priced F550 Maranellos on the market. Sold new in France. Imported to US in 4/98 witFor Sale | 22 May 2018 | 5500 N.Tamiami Trail, Suite B, Sarasota, FL 34243$ 119,900
1979 FIAT ABARTH AUTOBIANCHI A112
Capri Blue Exterior. Black Abarth Front Scooped Hood. Tan Velour and Vinyl Interior. 5 Speed Manual. Twin Two-Barrel Carburetor. 13″ Campagnelo Magnesium Wheels. 43,000 Original Miles (69,000 km.) 2 Spoke Abarth Steering Wheel. This A112 was Imported to the States 6 Years Ago by a Dutchman in Texas. The Autobianchi A112 is a supermini produced by the Italian automaker Autobianchi. It was developFor Sale | 22 May 2018 | 5500 N.Tamiami Trail, Suite B, Sarasota, FL 34243$ 13,500
1936 AUBURN 852 PHAETON
YEAR: 1936 MAKE: AUBURN MODEL: 852 PHEATON SERIAL: 5817 H ENGINE: 005469 EXTERIOR: SILVER/MAROON INTERIOR: MAROON AMERICAN PRE-WAR ICON RELIABLE DRIVER EXPERTLY RESTORED & LOVINGLY MAINTAINED COMPANY HISTORY Established in 1903, the Auburn Automobile Company matured into a well-respected builder of reliable cars, but it was not until E.L. Cord assumed the company’s presidency in 1924 that its maFor Sale | 22 May 2018 | CONTACT USVintage Motors of Sarasota Inc.5500 N.Tamiami Trail, Suite BSarasotaFL 34243941.355.6500Email£ POA
1937 “BUG-NAUGHTY” CUSTOM BY DELAHAYE USA
Auburn Boat-tail Speedster/Type 57S Bugatti/1935 Figoni & Falaschi Type 135 Delahaye. Inspired by combining classic Auburn, Delahaye and Bugatti* styling, the Bugnaughty incorporates the timeless designs and features of the world’s most beautiful cars onto a single platform. The original 1929-’36 Auburn Boat-tail Speedster body designs came from Alan Leamy and Gordon Buehrig’s unheralded claFor Sale | 22 May 2018 | 5500 N.Tamiami Trail, Suite B, Sarasota, FL 34243$ 299,900
1981 MARAUDER GT (LOLA T70)
1981 Marauder GT Lola T70 Fiberglass Recreation White Exterior Black Interior Chevrolet 350 Small block 5-Speed ZF Transaxle Transmission Knock Off Racing Wheels (2 pictured on front but 4 are included) Rack and Pinion Steering Chassis: Aluminum and Steel Monocoque Can-Am Style Suspension Fiberglass body built on original LOLA Coupe T70 SL 76152-69 body mold by Randy Berry in Potomac, Illinois undFor Sale | 22 May 2018 | CONTACT USVintage Motors of Sarasota Inc.5500 N.Tamiami Trail, Suite BSarasotaFL 34243941.355.6500Email$ POA
1958 PORSCHE SPEEDSTER REPLICA BY VINTAGE SPEEDSTER
Olde English White Tan Interior 1900 cc VW Air-Cooled 4-Cylinder by CB Performance 4-Speed Manual Transmission Built by Vintage Speedsters in California 10,800 Miles AM/FM Radio Speedster Style Seats Speedster Style Black Canvas Top Side Curtains Porsche Banjo Steering Wheel Chrome Wheels and hubcaps Titled as 1965 VolkswagenFor Sale | 22 May 2018 | CONTACT USVintage Motors of Sarasota Inc.5500 N.Tamiami Trail, Suite BSarasotaFL 34243941.355.6500Email£ POA
1971 STUTZ BLACKHAWK
4 Door Prototype. Known as a Duplex. Coachwork by Padane of Italy. White Exterior. Navy Blue Leather Interior. The Stutz Blackhawk was an American luxury car manufactured from 1971 through 1987. The very first Blackhawk sold was purchased by Elvis Presley on October 9, 1970. Other famous owners included Dick Martin (1971), Lucille Ball (who got her 1971 Blackhawk as a gift from her husband Gary MoFor Sale | 22 May 2018 | 5500 N.Tamiami Trail, Suite B, Sarasota, FL 34243£ POA
A leftfield choice perhaps, the Opus is here because it pioneered the concept of the hot rod in the UK. While not in the least bit accurate, the pseudo Model T outline was the work of racer-turned designer Neville Trickett. Going on sale in 1966, the body/chassis kit cost just £99 and it employed an assortment of Ford parts including front suspension from the E93A ‘Pop’. A wide variety of engines were employed, too, ranging from pre-crossflow four-bangers to Daimler V8s via Lotus twin-cams and 427cu in Ford V8s. Around 220 kits were sold, although survivors are scarce.
AutoFact: A reworked Opus appeared in Roger Moore film Crossplot.
Arguably the most famous kit car ever made, the Nova was styled by Richard Oakes and engineered by Phil Sayers. While not the first VW Beetle-based ‘exotic’ kit car, it helped establish the market for such machines (for better or worse). Launched in late 1971, its concept car styling ran to a one-piece canopy for access to the cabin. Interest was such that the design was licensed all over the world, appearing in the USA (as the Sterling), in Australia (as the Purves Eureka) and beyond. While its original makers went under in 1975, the Nova has lived on under various guises ever since.
AutoFact: A heavily-modified Nova appeared in the terrible Disney flick Condorman.
Dutton was very much at the bargain bucket end of the kit car industry. Nonetheless, marque instigator Tim Dutton-Woolley was arguably the savviest man in the business in the 1970s, having spotted a gap in the market. If you wanted a Lotus/Caterham Seven, but couldn’t afford one, there was little alternative. He came up with one, the embryonic P1 morphing into the B-type of 1971, which in-turn led to the Malaga and finally the Phaeton in 1977. Here was a cheap chassis/body kit which, while predominately Ford Escort-based, employed all manner of engines. Kit production ran into the thousands.
AutoFact: Plans to produce the Phaeton in Poland – in alliance with Polski-Fiat – died after only a few prototypes had been built.
While perhaps not the most stylish of cars, the Spartan enjoyed massive popularity during the 1970s and early ’80s. Designed by Nottingham’s Jim McIntyre, and based on Triumph Herald/Vitesse running gear (later Ford Cortina), it featured an aluminium body with glassfibre wings. Introduced in 1972, it effectively kickstarted the market segment for ‘nostalgia’ cars, with more than 500 kits being sold in five years. For reasons that were never entirely clear, McIntyre gradually distanced himself from the kit car industry but, nonetheless, production continued until 1994 by which time an alleged 4000 Spartan chassis/body packages had been sold.
AutoFact: Spartan also lent its name to an unconvincing Model T hot rod kit.
Conceived by glassfibre expert Nigel Whall, the Lomax was brilliantly simple. In essence, it comprised a Citroën 2CV/Dyane floorpan and running gear, along with a simple double-scuttle bodyshell and bonded-in plywood floor. The first model, the 224, was a four-wheeler, but the three-wheeled 223 spin-off proved to be the monster hit. It was made into a trike by the simple expedient of fitting a lightly-modified single reversed Citroën rear trailing arm to the rear end. More than 3000 were made from 1983 to 2008, along with 50 altogether prettier Lambda 3 models.
AutoFact: Lomax also built a 1543cc V-twin car, but the Supa Vee remained unique.
Engineer Nick Green had previously beavered away on a mid-engined, Rover V8-powered supercar dubbed the Tycoon before introducing the rather different NG TA in 1979. Vaguely reminiscent of pre-war Aston Martins, and equipped with MGB running gear, it proved an instant success. Other, rather sexier models followed in its wake, the TA project being taken over by the TA Motor Company in 1987, and then to Pastiche two years later before GTM in 1991 and John Hoyle from 1993 to ’95. Around 400 were made, the NG being a cut above most kits of the day in terms of build quality.
AutoFact: Green also produced a panel kit than turned chrome bumper MG Midgets into near clones of rubber bumper ones…
Renowned designer William Towns conceived what became known as the Hustler in July 1978 for JSP Engineering (formerly Jensen Special Projects), the intention being to create a car for Third World markets. He envisaged a Mini-based machine that could be assembled by seasoned mechanics with access only to hard standing and a toolkit. It was a brilliantly simple design: a chassis/perimeter frame anchored the body parts, the lower portion of which comprised a series of glassfibre ‘boxes’. The upper half consisted almost entirely of flat bronze-tinted glass, including the doors which slid back for entry to the cabin and a one-piece lift-up tailgate.
AutoFact: Endless permutations followed with four or six wheels including the mighty Jaguar XJ12-based Highlander.
Pictures courtesy of Rota Archive
Classic Cars for Sale
MGB roadster Mk 1 pull handle numbers matching 3 bearing engine and 3 syncro gearbox MOT Sep 2018 45000 miles Restored in 1980's with all receipts. Super Bodywork Lovely patina on interior. Hood & Tonneau cover. Overdrive (on 3rd & 4th Gear and it works!) & correct painted wire wheels. Drives lovely...ready for Summer now. Toolkit & unused spare wheel. Many bills a
A complete bare shell restoration of a dry, rust-free car. Body and paint by Apex Autobody in Denver, Colorado. Outstanding panel fit, with original floor pans and upper body sheet metal. Engine and transmission rebuild by Brad Berry in Denver. Full suspension rebuild, all instruments, wiring, brightwork, full interior from A to Z. An outstanding, correct, matching numbers example restored from a
THIS DEFENDER HAS HAD A FULL RESTORATION, IT LOOKS AND DRIVES AMAZING. MECHANICALLY A1, BODY WORK IS EXTREMELY CLEAN FOR THE YEAR AND IN MY OPINION IT'S MINT.IT'S HAD A PROFESSIONAL OVEN BAKED PAINT JOB AND A NEW PUMA BONNET WHICH SET THIS CAR OFF A TREAT!!! ITS FULLY FITTED OUT WITH KBX GRILLS AND VENTS, THIS FULL KIT IS NOT CHEAP AND COSTS OVER £700 ALONE. INTERIOR IS AGAIN IN GREAT CONDITI
This is one of the best 356C series Porsches anywhere. Rare and beautiful colors, matching numbers, full-factory options, and numerous show awards. A restoration to this level costs well over $125,000. A California black plate car. Very hard to duplicate Restored by Porsche 356 expert, Don Emory, of Fallbrook, Calif. A bare shell, full restoration of all components. Has original upper body shel