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80sFast
80sFast Reader
4/7/21 7:50 p.m.

What's the general opinion on kit cars? Just been" internetting" and looking around at them. What models do you all like? What's the pros/cons of kits?

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
4/7/21 8:10 p.m.

Both the pro and the con is that the finished product will be built to the builders skill level and standards.

You will be the only person who can service the car.

 

Chances are, if it is a car that you would use on the road everyday, the performance will already be provided at a fraction of the cost by the OEM builders. For less $$$

Gonna take years to build and life happens along the way. 

 

The corollary is that you can build some serious road roller coaster/rough sex level stuff that will actually scare you. Fun factor 15. Question is "how often would you get on a ride like that if you had a pass to ride everyday?"

You are going to get wet, so why not just buy a sports bike?

Would you fly in an aircraft that you built? Would you put your kids in the passenger seat? Not quite as lethal, but worth thinking about.

On the pro side, I like to build stuff with friends in the shop. Raising the skill level is a good goal for any build and kit cars will do that by necessity. 

 

Mike (Forum Supporter)
Mike (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/7/21 8:16 p.m.

I mean, that's a big topic. I'm not going to hate on someone else's car, but there's a lot of stuff out there that I'd put in the "not for me" pile.

I'm generally not into restyling more pedestrian cars to look like something exotic. There are a bunch of Fiero rebodies that fit into this. 
 

I'm also generally not into the restyling kits that merge different years of styling cues.

Replicas that share engineering and overall design with the prototype look a little better in my book, and some are downright desirable. That'd be some of the nicer Sevens, Cobras, GT-40s and the Beck Spyder. 
 

I also like original designs that are minimal near track cars that can't get on the road any other way. Examples might include the 818 from Factory Five, Ariel Atom, Exocet, and yeah, Sevens. 
 

There are a few things that I just like against all reason, like the Smyth Ute kits. 


 

Edit: pix

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
4/7/21 9:06 p.m.

"kit cars" is a mighty broad brush. My primary experience is with variations on the Lotus 7, and in short they are a blast. With a couple hundred horsepower and 1400 lbs of weight, they'll whup on practically anything until their lousy aerodynamics come into play. The cost is comfort. Think of what it feels like to ride a fast motorcycle for hours...

After that, I almost don't know where to start. There are so many variations on the theme. Here are a couple that I'm involved with:

 

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE Dork
4/7/21 9:35 p.m.

In reply to Kreb (Forum Supporter) :

Odd question that's only tangentially related: what "Kit car" out there is like the Lotus 7 that DOES have aero? Midlana?

Mike (Forum Supporter)
Mike (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
4/7/21 9:43 p.m.
GIRTHQUAKE said:

In reply to Kreb (Forum Supporter) :

Odd question that's only tangentially related: what "Kit car" out there is like the Lotus 7 that DOES have aero? Midlana?

Caterham 21 maybe?


 

edit: img

Racingsnake
Racingsnake Reader
4/7/21 10:01 p.m.
Kreb (Forum Supporter) 

More details on this one please!

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
4/7/21 10:09 p.m.

Well in England there's several outfits that make nice fiberglass bodys for 7esques. Here not so many options: There's the Catfish, Lotus 11 kits and Kinetic Vehicles has got an aero package as well. The Midlana's a wonderful car, but it's no paragon of aerodynamics either. 

The 500 lb Gorilla of American kit car manufacturers is Factory Five. Not cheap though.

 

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
4/7/21 10:14 p.m.

In reply to Racingsnake :

Sadly that's  a stalled project. My partner and I have got the molds and the first body, but haven't gotten around to building the rest of it, much less marketing it. It's a tiny thing. Think 1st generation MR2. One of the tricks will be figuring out how to fit people larger than slim-hipped, 150 lb. Italians.

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
4/7/21 10:14 p.m.

I was just thinking about that sp1000. Are you making bodies now?

jmc14
jmc14 HalfDork
4/7/21 10:31 p.m.

The SP 1000 is such a beautiful car!  Tiny toosmiley

I built a kit car back in the late 90's. I couldn't comfortable fit it in it and it had some other issues.  I sold it and started on my journey of building my own cars.  I have fun building and driving them.  It's my hobby.   

I call her Ruby.  Like Dorothy's slippers it transports me to another place.

My young son. He's almost 27 now.  This car has an aluminum semi monoque frame that C5 Vette suspension cradles bolt into.  LS 6 engine.  Shortened torque tube by 23 inches, 6 speed transaxle.  I first made it with a Tbucket looking body and drove it like that for awhile.  Really fast and great handling.  The day after I put this body on  it and got it finished a guy saw the car, asked to go for a ride, and made me an offer that I couldn't refuse. I needed the money.  Wish that I hadn't. 

I bought the body from Shell Valley.  I built an aluminum frame and used an LS6 engine, T56 trans, and C5 Vette suspension.  I had an adapter made for the diff that allowed me to use a driveshaft with the C5 Differential.  I like this car but It was too "common" looking for me.  :)  When I got an offer for it I sold it.

This car weighed under 1700lbs.  The fuel tank was in the center of the car, U shaped and bolted up around the shortened torque tube.  Fun to drive.

This is my last build.  Inspired by the Cheetah race car.  I like this one the best. It drives and handles great.   I'm building a second one now.  LS engine, TKX Tremec 5 speed, C4 Corvette suspension with 3.07 Diff.  I'm building a different frame for this one. Attempting to improve and simplify the frame.  I think this car could be sold successfully as a kit.  I don't want to have a business at my age. I'm thinking of putting the molds and the jigs up for sale.  Hard decision for me. 

Having fun

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
4/7/21 10:33 p.m.

Edit: That's so darn funny. John posted just seconds before I did. He's a hell of a guy and his kits are a very good value. If all my cars and projects disappeared and I just wanted to buy something awesome for not a lot of money, I might very well contact John Chestnut and try to get him to sell me a Cheetah:

https://www.rcnmag.com/garage/quest-cheetah

 

 

NOT A TA
NOT A TA SuperDork
4/7/21 11:06 p.m.

 As No Home mentioned, life can get in the way. I've been working on this one for someone at his home for years whenever he wants me to. Sometimes I'll work on it a lot, sometimes not for a long time. Factory Five GTM LS engine with Porsche G-50 trans.

[URL=https://app.photobucket.com/u/NOTATA/a/9431e992-e7d7-4375-ab32-667aefbfe51c/p/40eb8d11-ec59-41b8-ad33-5b98f467f0c8][/URL]

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/8/21 2:07 p.m.

In reply to NOT A TA :

Oh, wow. Yeah, you gotta finish that. 

accordionfolder
accordionfolder SuperDork
4/8/21 2:31 p.m.

Yeah, "Kit Car" - that's a broad spectrum. I wanted something roughly street legal that I could beat to hell and back on the track. My exocet took <1 year to have driving, but I dare say it's not the prettiest car in the world. It's proven it's worth beating up on expensive cars and giving me a good time on track while keeping the costs low. 

I don't quite agree with the "would you fly an airplane you built" analogy- putting together most company based kit cars is no more risky than servicing your own brakes or putting on suspension. If you're building the frame yourself, sure - it gets more complicated quickly, but the hard part is usually body work/panel fitting/etc. Not the running gear.

wspohn
wspohn SuperDork
4/8/21 3:10 p.m.

Most kit car bodies just look wrong somehow. Plus all the other issues that were mentioned - bitsa cars that have a bit of this a bit of that.

There are a very few it cars that do look right, and I'd put Factory Five at the top of the heap today, but they had an easy ride because they largely copied existing cars that looked great - the Cobra, the 33 Hot Rod based on existing examples, Type 65 after the Daytona Coupes, the GTM after ...what, perhaps a GT 40,?  Their new kit, the 818 looks good and doesn't look too much like an existing car.

One of the big reasons that kit cars look  'off'- is that they have to use existing glass. When you walk up to a Ferrari or Lambo kit cars and the inside is a Fiero interior and the rake angle on the windshield is obviously wrong, that's game over.

Very few kit cars succeed in that - the Datsun 240Z based Ferrari GTO kit is one exception, and I think my Jamaican body is another. It used a 1960s Corvette windshield, a 911 rear window  and Karmann Ghia side glass - all of which somehow comes out looking as if it were a regular car, not a bitsa. 

 

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
4/8/21 3:45 p.m.

In reply to 80sFast :

Kit cars?  As street or race cars?  Street,? Simply cannot match the effort a factory puts into getting thing right.  
Race cars?   Heck yes. Lots of horrible old suspensions out there can be massively improved. Same with brakes and chassis etc. 

gumby
gumby Dork
4/8/21 4:23 p.m.
wspohn said:

Most kit car bodies just look wrong somehow.
...
There are a very few [k]it cars that do look right
...
and I think my Jamaican body is another. It used a 1960s Corvette windshield, a 911 rear window  and Karmann Ghia side glass - all of which somehow comes out looking as if it were a regular car, not a bitsa. 

 

I swear this forum lives inside my head. I was trying to ignore the fact that I was discussing the Jamaican in a couple text threads with friends early this week (before you posted the one in the Clan Crusader thread!), and now here it is again.
One of very few kit cars that I would consider purchasing; front engine version only, not a JamaicanII Beetle kit.

icaneat50eggs
icaneat50eggs Dork
4/8/21 4:29 p.m.

Kit cars that are trumped up cheap things trying desperately to look like an expensive thing?  No thanks.

 

Kit cars that are stripped down and meant to be faster than stock?  heck yeah.

Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) UberDork
4/8/21 4:39 p.m.

My basic performance criteria is that if you are copying the looks of another car, yours needs to be of comparable or better performance. That means no air-cooled VW motor in your Lambo replica, or 2.8 Chevy in your Ferrari (Although by modern standards a lot of those old Ferraris just weren't that fast).

There's some interesting rebodys being made for the Z3 platform. I really like these from Tribute automotive:

accordionfolder
accordionfolder SuperDork
4/9/21 10:41 a.m.

https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/cars-sale/factory-five-818-blown-motor-los-angeles-ca-nmna/182486/page1/

Or you could just get this 818 and engine swap it back to success. Many states will honor the FL title so far as I'm aware. That is a really good deal. 

wspohn
wspohn SuperDork
4/9/21 11:50 a.m.
gumby said:
I swear this forum lives inside my head. I was trying to ignore the fact that I was discussing the Jamaican in a couple text threads with friends early this week (before you posted the one in the Clan Crusader thread!), and now here it is again.
One of very few kit cars that I would consider purchasing; front engine version only, not a JamaicanII Beetle kit.

The Jamaican gets the nod from me because while there were faint murmurs at the time about it being inspired by the Miura, the only thing vaguely Miura-like are the small flats behind the side windows, and they probably just put those in to service the cooling needs of a VW version. They also made versions for MGA, TR4 and Austin Healey. Of the three, aside from being a hard line MGA nut, I also think they had the best chassis/suspension so was unable to resist when an MGA based car came available, even though I had to all but remanufacture it  (I tossed everything but the body, frame and rear end).  They also made them to fit a custom chassis made bt Fiberfab, intended for Chev V8 power.

I also love these -limited because Ferrari went after them for being such a close copy.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
4/9/21 12:11 p.m.

In reply to accordionfolder :

"Would you fly in it" was meant more as statement to workmanship and attention to detail, rather than safety; if it is done right, safety will take care of itself. I first heard the phrase from a Co-worker when I was working in  the field of production test cell automation. I was new to the game and Greg was a detail oriented Formula V racer who treated every assembly task as if his life depended on it.   I on the other hand still used the term "Good enough" when assembling stuff.  The phrase and its meaning has stuck with me in spirit if not always observance.

Greg has since gone on to run Rice Race Prep...a very successful F1600 open wheel stable. http://www.riceraceprep.com/author/greg-rice/

jmc14
jmc14 HalfDork
4/11/21 7:12 a.m.
Kreb (Forum Supporter) said:

Edit: That's so darn funny. John posted just seconds before I did. He's a hell of a guy and his kits are a very good value. If all my cars and projects disappeared and I just wanted to buy something awesome for not a lot of money, I might very well contact John Chestnut and try to get him to sell me a Cheetah:

 

https://www.rcnmag.com/garage/quest-cheetah

Thank you for your kind words and posting the link.   My car is pretty simple.  Just 2 body parts that line up and mount very easily.  It uses readily available parts.  I'm heading to the shop and going to go for a drive today.  Having fun

 

maj75 (Forum Supporter)
maj75 (Forum Supporter) Dork
4/11/21 3:47 p.m.
Kreb (Forum Supporter) said:

My basic performance criteria is that if you are copying the looks of another car, yours needs to be of comparable or better performance. That means no air-cooled VW motor in your Lambo replica, or 2.8 Chevy in your Ferrari (Although by modern standards a lot of those old Ferraris just weren't that fast).

There's some interesting rebodys being made for the Z3 platform. I really like these from Tribute automotive:

And I've got a Z3 with the 2.8, 5 speed and under 50k miles.  If I could get that here reasonable, I'd do it.

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