Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
2/23/09 8:50 a.m.

Steve McQueen didn’t wear replica Persol sunglasses. He had the real thing. His Porsches, Cobras and Ferraris were also all genuine.

Big difference between McQueen and the rest of us: He was a world-famous movie star with some fairly deep pockets. He also lived during the heyday of sports cars, when the latest and greatest were as close as the local dealership.

Today’s enthusiasts have to face some different realities, thanks in large part to the law of supply and demand. Take the legendary Cobra as an example: Most of us would love to own one, but Shelby only built a few hundred copies. End result? Prices are through the roof. Logical solution to this situation? Replicas.

Replica cars have faced some tough opposition through the years, ranging from mild indifference to full-fledged disdain. What’s the reality of the situation? Does going with a replica mean getting a less desirable car? Does owning one make you a second-class citizen? Will young children drop their Wii controllers when they point and laugh at you?

Read the rest of the story

GLK
GLK New Reader
5/14/19 7:33 p.m.

Keith Martin used to call them Tupperware Cobras, but Carroll Shelby legitimized Cobra replicas with his cleverly named, “Continuation Cobras.” Most Kit cars especially those that mimic Ferrari’s and Lamborghinis are a joke, but the Caterham 7, Most AC Cobras, and all Meyers Manx kits, not to mention the old 50s kits like the Devin Roadster (I’m sure I’ve left some out but you get the idea) are legitimate cars that should not warrant any disdain by so-called purists. 

RMVR53
RMVR53 New Reader
5/14/19 9:51 p.m.

Don’t forget the Westfields and Lynx. The Westfield 11 is an excellent "rendition" of a Lotus 11. The body could be had in fiberglass or aluminum, and the chassis while similar was properly gusseted in all the right places while running MGB drivetrain/brakes/etc. The Lynx D Type?...a class by itself at a fraction of the original - if you can find one.

Another company thats been around a long time is RCR (Race Car Replicas). Started in the early 80's as Marauder Cars building replicas of the GT40, Lola T70, McClaren M6GT, Chevron B16 and a few others they were available from a "15ft replica" on a VW chassis and running gear/etc up to a full tube-frame and aluminum monocoque chassis running V8 power and independent suspension at all corners. The new compant with their modern construction techniques and half a dozen new/different cars makes them a stand-out in the replica field. If I remember correctly, Lola even granted them "continuation" status on the T70's they are building. 

wspohn
wspohn Dork
5/15/19 11:47 a.m.

I have nothing against replica and kit cars per se, but I have no time for badly done cars of that ilk.  Not everyone does as good a job as Factory Five.

In fact most of the kits that were used to rebody cars in the old days cut corners in quality to promote sales, ending up using poorly chosen windshields from other cars that looked simply wrong in a replica, or torturing specs like the wheelbase to fit a rebody on something not meant for it.  Take a look at a Countach with stock Fiero interior some time....

Having said that, they did get it right, even in the early days (the Jamaican bodied MGA I own is one of the very few from the 60s I'd even look twice at) and quality has risen in later products like the 350 Porsche replicas and Factory Five models.  As the article points out, they are a valid alternative for those who can't afford a real classic (I knew I should have sold the farm to buy that $20K real Cobra back in the 70s....)

 

 

terracer
terracer New Reader
5/21/19 5:51 p.m.

Great article.  The first time I saw Gumball Rally I was bitten with the Cobra bug.  However having become a Porschephile, a 356 replica seemed the perfect car for me.  After doing my homework on the company in Tenneessee which made the Subaru powered bathtub replicas, I sent them my order along with eighteen grand to begin the build.  I was assured that leather samples for the upholstery were forthcoming along with a few other choices I had to make.  They never showed.  My eighteen large were gone - never to be seen again.  The guy declared bankruptcy and I was one of many left hanging.  I was told several buyers in Florida had paid for their dream car in full...   A while back I saw where the guy had reestablished and actually had a youtube channel trying to once again attract speedster replica buyers.  That just doesn't seem right to me... SO the lesson here is do your homework before you write a check.. (I am in NO way trying to associate Superperformance or any of the top line guys with the ones who take the money and run-)

Avalanche325
Avalanche325 New Reader
5/23/19 1:04 p.m.

Nice article. Great information for anyone that is considering the replica journey. I own a Factory Five MKIV roaster (Cobra replica). Bulding it was an amazingly fun and rewarding project. There are forums that help you through any issue, question, or opinion that you can imagine. I drive my Cobra several times a week, do Cobra club long distance cruises, autocross every month, and am now tracking the car. None of those would be happening with an original. There are guys that still race them, which I have mad respect for. However, most originals hardly ever move, and I get it. WIth a replica, you can get out there and enjoy the million dollar car experience at an affordible price. As mentioned, there are just about ready to run cars, or build it yourself. Customizing is not a sin and neither is driving the piss out of it. I do have to answer "Is it real?" just about every week. But so do owners of originals.

frenchyd
frenchyd UberDork
6/16/19 4:04 a.m.

In reply to Avalanche325 :

There are a lot more Devin bodies out there now than Bill Devin ever made. In the 80’s & 90’s a whole series of Echidna’s was put together ( Devin Body on to of a 1955/56/57 Chevy chassis. ) 

i made a set of Devin molds to  replace the badly damaged and frequently repaired DeMar  and that opened the floodgates.  Then I dug a couple of them out of barns etc.  and flogged them off when I realized I wouldn’t have any time to do them properly. 

Making a mold from an existing body is very cheap and quick.  Yes there is a little to learn but it’s anything but complicated.  

Welding up a vintage chassis is simple and straightforward.  Add a few vintage pieces and for a modest cost you too can go vintage racing  

 

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