Dave Loring’s Kit Cars

Note: I’m in Mexico until the New Year, but keep on emailing me your cars to snowrail@gmail.com and I’ll post them on my return!

Schmitty who owns the Mantis Aegean a few entries back sent in this set of amazing brochures from early kit car designer Dave Loring, whose designs are said to have been ripped off by the Invader GT and the Kellison Shark. I especially love the cab that he designed for the Aegeon — I hope someone modifies their Invader to include something like that!

10 Responses

  1. Sidekick says:

    I am sorry, but, Bruce Weeks designer of the Invader made his original car in the mud flats of SF bay as a college project. I was there when he was producing these cars and he did not rip Dave Loring off. If you look at the lines of the Loring cars there are some similarities but, they are way different. The right side of the Invader is off 2 inches from the left side. Kinda hard to get lines straight using card board cutouts to match up sides.

  2. Schmitty says:

    I’m not saying Bruce did or did not rip off his design. Only that Dave Loring claimed he did. The cars do look obviously similar. He may have meant he copied the styling and not necessarily copied the exact body.

    The Kellison shark however does appear to be an exact copy of a Mantis car. Compare the brochure picture with the boats in the background to a kellison shark. The headlights pop up out of those square holes in the bonnet. The Shark has its headlights moved to the fenders but still has those square holes although they are not cut out.

    A friend of mine told me recently that he worked for Bruce Weeks in the 70’s. He said he was known as “Bondo Bruce” around the shop.

  3. Gary says:

    The square holes (over the front axle) are designed for air to exit from underneath, with small spoiler/lips at the leading edge, and lower level of the body behind. Also, on my Shark, they are open.

    What about the information that Kellison bought the Shark from Lincoln Industries ?

  4. Gary says:

    Does the Mantis brochure actually say that the headlights pop out of those holes ?
    (P.S. – I can’t read anything in the Mantis brochure no matter how much I magnify it)

  5. Schmitty says:

    The Mantis brochure does say that the headlights pop up. In the pictures of the Shark body in Michigan a couple pages back on this site you can see those holes are not cut out. What would it need the air exiting from those holes for?

    When I bought the Mantis Brochure it came with a hand written letter by Dave Loring dated 1977 that says someone named “Devin” (no last name) bought his car and copied it to make the kellison shark. Don’t know if it’s true but that’s what he claims. I have know idea about Lincoln Industies.

    It seems there was a lot of copying going on in the kit car heyday, look how many incarnations of the Nova/Sebring/Bremen/sterling there are.

    Gary: Is your Shark one of the ones shown on this web site?

  6. Gary says:

    My Shark is the grayish-white one that was “in the wild”.
    I figure the vents in the hood would relieve air pressure under the front end, or maybe there were plans for a radiator.
    One other thing – between being old and tired and depressed and more tired from Christmas, I was thinking my hood vents were open, but on more thought, I remembered they’re not. But I was thinking how they are clearly designed for that purpose.

  7. Schmitty says:

    Well… copied or not, vent holes or not. You’ve definetly got one cool looking car project. Keep us updated on your progress with it.


  8. The13bats says:

    Very interesting for many reasons,

    So many of these cars one could say are inspired by the Davis Bros Of the UK,
    I always thought that is were Weeks got the idea for the Invader from.

    So many early cars seem to rip off each other, I guess it boils down to who got their product out first so others could copy it, look at the Ferrer it’s a Fiberfab Aztec reworked.

    So which came out first the Mantis or the Shark?

    I am a huge Kellison GT40k fan ( I have two ) and have noticed several different cars that were the same as the Kellison GT40k were being sold around the same time,
    There was the Skorpion which some say was one name Kellison used for the v8 version, then was the Eagle and Le-Mans, and others, the car was reworked twice again, one being the LA Exotics car then the T3

    Did all the clone companies just make a mold off the Kellison GT40k that came out in 65 or did they buy body shells from Kellison? lol I didn’t hear of many lawsuits in those days

    If the headlights of the Mantis came out of the hood it would have looked bug eyed and rotten with the lights on, but I dont really care for the Shark Zcar style buckets either, the cool thing is someone building a Shark or Mantis today could use some very modern and very small headlights and get the cool slick look of the Mantis with its lights off,
    Also some cars like that do need hood or fender vents to keep the nose from lifting or so I have been told.

    So are there any Mantis or Sharks running round?

  9. JIM VALENTINE says:


    CELL:1-541-297-5742 OR HOME 1-541-269-2999

    IN COOS BAY, OREGON 97420.


    17 JUNE 2009

  10. Jim Valentine says:

    Interviewed Dave Loring July 1, 2009 about Prototypes and molds lost in 1982 Port Orford, Oregon shop fire.
    Agean Number 3 was finished. Both and it and the new mold were destroyed.
    However, molds of Mantis Targa and Gazelle were saved. He said a new version of the Agean is still possible.

    Loring also reported that the July 1972 Road and Track article Bruce Weeks Car is based on a Polaroid photo taped to Dave’s studio drawing board cut and stretched from Porsche wheel base to beetle wheel base. Weeks saw this on a visit to workshop then took this idea and ran with it.

    June 2006 Issue of Car and Driver have article on Bruce Myers and his Famed 1964 Manx saga. The same Kellison who cloned the dune buggy copied Loring, Gazelle coupe. It took Bruce over 12 months of trying different various versions of his now famous Manx dune buggy shape both in clay scale model and full scale form to get it right. It took Kellison only hours to copy it with mold.
    After weeks of court battle summer of 69 in Sacramento, Ca. Myers lost legal battle over design.
    In the following months 70 employees lost their jobs, and he lost the business, home and wife.

    Loring Mantis Series evolved from client Peter F. Young – The Elva MK VII raced at Sears and Laguna Seca raceways. This Orange racer won trophy at the Oakland Roadster show. Then ironically fall 1971, Bruce Weeks unveiled the Invader at the same venue as his own design.
    Loring is currently doing HABAU XP II Concept. This car has not been made public yet.

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