The Good Old Days of kit cars – They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To!

Why is it that the North American kit car market is dominated by Cobras, Ferrari, and Lamborghini? Sure, they’re pretty cars, but are they really what kit cars should be?

If you read a kit car magazine from the early 80’s or older, you’ll still see plenty of replicas, but the market wasn’t dominated by any specific design, and there were also plenty of original creations. Yes, it meant that there were a lot of ugly cars, but there were also plenty of exotics that held their own when put up against any design house from Italy.

The Good Old Days of kit cars – They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To!

A production car, even an exotic is designed to meet market needs — the company needs to turn around a lot of dollars to break even. A kit on the other hand was usually built around the whims of the individual designer. They built it for themselves at a minimal cost and made it available to others as a hobby. With a small number of exceptions, kit cars has never been a high-profit industry.

The question is: do you want to own a car that will always be a low-budget copy of a real super car, that snooty people will always laugh at you for owning? Wouldn’t you rather own an original design, a rare super car design that you know is far more unique, and far more exotic than any Countach will ever be? I for one vote for the originals. Kit cars let designers express themselves with cars that would never make it to market in any other way. They allow the public to buy a custom built one-of-a-kind super car at a reasonable price. Can a Cobra do this?

Most replicas are highly inaccurate when put next to the real thing. Do you really want to be in a situation where you sink $30,000 to finish your car and then get made fun of by every kid that knows what the real thing is? Wouldn’t you rather have a car that no one else in your state has ever even seen?

**This post is from our archive from 1998 and was part of our original website. The information may not be current to today’s prices**