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Kit cars

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7 replies to this topic

#1 of 8 OFFLINE   John Alvarez

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Posted April 10 2007 - 09:34 AM

Has anyone done a kit car? A friend of mine got a custom Cobra that's about 80% complete. He spent 60k on just that. I'm curious if anyone has a from scratch experience? I keep looking at the Labroghini Diablo kits.

#2 of 8 OFFLINE   KurtEP


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Posted April 10 2007 - 12:56 PM

I don't have any direct experience, but I've looked into kits at various times, so I can give you at least some ideas.

First, good kits are expensive, and even doing a simple kit can be very expensive if you have to hire someone to do it. If you do it yourself, you'd better be very good with a wrench and have a great set of tools and a well stocked garage unless you want endless trouble. I see partly completed kits for sale a lot, indicating that people either lost interest, gave up or ran out of money.

Second, licensing requirements vary by state. It's a good idea to know the local rules before you build something that you can't get titled.

Third, some kit builders have a well established reputation, like Caterham with their Super 7 (basically an updated Lotus, they bought the tooling from Lotus). There are some that make Cobra replicas that have been around for a while too, I think Superformance is one. I'd look very hard at the reputation of a company before I dropped money on it, especially concerning their service.

Lastly, like your friend has discovered, you can sink a lot of money into a kit if you do it right. When you are spending $60k plus, there are a lot of interesting cars you can buy that are real and not kits. A lot of these might end up being good investments, unlike some kits. It's worth flipping through a Hemmings for some ideas in that department, plus you can get an idea of the resale value of kits.
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#3 of 8 OFFLINE   Mort Corey

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Posted April 11 2007 - 04:29 AM

As well as possible registration problems you'll probably find it difficult to insure....should you decide to drive it on the road.


#4 of 8 OFFLINE   Eric_L



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Posted April 11 2007 - 10:37 AM

There used to be a kit car catalogue which was published annually back in the 80s. I haven't seen one in years but it was sure nice to see so many options in just one place.
I like the Labroghini kits and the Cobra kits. I wish there was a kit that wasn't quite as flashy as a Labroghini but more interesting than a Mustang. I'd love to have a daily driver but a Labroghini parked in front of my office would turn off my clients.

#5 of 8 OFFLINE   Dennis Nicholls

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Posted April 11 2007 - 10:58 AM

I built a Westfield 7 (Lotus 7 clone) from a kit in the late 1980's. The kit cost me $6K and I got it on the road with Spridget running gear for about $8,500. But boy getting it titled properly in California was a major pain. That and the smog test people could never give me a straight story. I finally sold it to some guy in Texas that was going to use it as a track car.
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#6 of 8 OFFLINE   KurtEP


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Posted April 11 2007 - 11:05 AM

I once wanted to re title a salvage XJS with a chevy V8. You would have thought I was asking about killing the governor when I called the BMV about it. I could have easily made it a less polluting vehicle over the old V12, not to mention more fuel efficient. I'll stick to pre smog vehicles for any future projects.
Lay down your law books now, they're no damned good -- The Eagles

#7 of 8 OFFLINE   Inspector Hammer!

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Posted April 11 2007 - 02:57 PM

I once built a kit car but I just couldn't get the darn thing to talk or drive by itself.

Oh wait you said 'kit" and not 'KITT'.

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#8 of 8 OFFLINE   Buzz Foster

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Posted April 11 2007 - 04:55 PM

I want to rebuild a mid-eighties MR2. You can get the things for a grand, and they are like a go-kart. No engine hoist required...just unbolt the motor and pick it up.
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