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Kitcar and Replica

Kit tips and advice

Kitcars; Past, Present, and Future


In the beginning, was an original design. A dreamers vision brought to fruition. When many observers [of the finished car] saw that it was good, they wanted one made for themselves. Hence, the birth of a new industry. It was hampered with the lack of financial backing, new and unknown materials, and an unskilled group of enthusiasts. The kits in some cases were nothing more than a set of plans or a thin and unfinished body shell. If anyone ever finished one of these kits, it was a major accomplishment. The reputation of the kitcar was marred by these hollow shell-like bodies that had no rolled edges or inner panels. Doors, hood, and trunk lid had to be cut into the body shell along a molded-in line. Only a skilled craftsman could make something presentable from these components.

Along Came the VW

When someone realized they could drive the VW bug without it's body, the dune buggy was born. Then came all of the various kitcars based on the VW pan. This type of kit so propagated that it became the essence of the kitcar. Even though new and original designs came along, because they were made to fit on the VW pan, they were strapped with all of the VW's shortcomings. The VW was powerless, windprone, ill handling, and had problematic brakes. One good thing they all shared was a relative ease of assembly, and a ready supply of donor VW bugs.

There was a revival of the VW kits with the appearance of the Bradley GT. Then came the MG TD kits, Mercedes SS100, Gazelle type of cars, Laser 917, Fiberfab, Kellison, Nova, and all still VW based. When the MG TD was offered with a new chassis of it's own with a modern drive train, it took off in the marketplace. The kitcar industry stagnated for a while until Miami Vice popularized the Ferrari and Lambourghini cars. The kits that were produced as a result, turned out to be a nightmare to build and finish. Many kit companies came and went, some didn't exist but in name only. When a Florida based company turned out to be performing a less than desireable business practice, the industry suffered yet another blow to it's fragile reputation.

Then along came the replica. Everything from Stutz-Bearcats to Auburn Boat-tail Speedsters. With companies cloning everything they could find, Shelby's AC Cobra 427 was splashed and splashed, and splashed again and again. While some kitcar enthusiasts were still trying to finish their [now illegal to manufacture] Ferrari and Lambo Countach, the Shelby Cobra became the Bradley GT of the 90's.


The Cobra 427, this is the present. Taking and holding the majority of the market, there are dozens upon dozens of Cobra-clone kit companies. The kit magazines loved the Cobra as they had nothing to photograph anymore and were dying with the kitcar industry. The real Cobra 427 was a nostalgic dream. It had a mostly undeserved reputation as a world champion racer, a real reputation as a street killer (literally), and it was hard to come by even if you had the ten's of thousands of dollars to buy one. Nothing has changed, this is the "kitcar industry", mostly replicas and very few actual new original designs.



The future looks dim for the auto designer with an original thought. More replicas are in the works. Imagine a '67 Corvette 427 racing a '65 Cobra 427. This is what those nostalgic dreams are made of. You won't be buying a kit, you will be buying a memory, and a mid-life crisis anti-dote. This is just what the kitcar companies stay awake nights hoping for. This is what the future holds for you kitbuyers. Fakes, clones, paper mache cars, with performance equal at best to the original cars. Can you picture it all now, an Aston-Martin DB5 fake tooling around with a nerd pretending he possesses the attributes of James Bond. Want a light, honey?

Shopping for airline tickets, hotel rooms, a new car, even low gasoline prices? This is really big!

Mother's Day 6


Kitcar FAQ

Back to page 4


Some useful links:

Hertz Rent-A-Car

Facom Hand Tools

Send comments or contributions (literary) to 3rdParty, Att: Todd Dixon at

What has been presented could be easily found by anyone interested in learning. There is no information that is off-base, odd, unprovable. Nothing here is anything secret. The truth is out there if you want it. No company endorses or encourages this endeavor. If you wish to discuss in a civil manner, any area related to any of the above, you are welcome to email.

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