Kit cars

John Alvarez

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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.
 

KurtEP

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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.
 

Mort Corey

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

Mort
 

Eric_L

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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.
 

Dennis Nicholls

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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.
 

KurtEP

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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.
 

Inspector Hammer!

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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'.

 

Buzz Foster

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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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