Top 10 Vintage Kit Cars
I cant believe I have never taken the time to create a list of the Top 10 Vintage Kit Cars. It may be because there are so many really cool kit cars that came out of the 60s-80s that it is nearly impossible. Well today I change that. Of course I need to point out that this list is what I feel are the top 10 and not that of our readers. Your opinion may be very different……
10. Bradley GT – The Bradley GT was sold by Bradley Automotive. These kit cars were easy to build and required little more than basic mechanical ability and tools. The main body was very thick and very heavy but the kit contained very few parts making it ideal for a first time builder. Later in the company history they introduced the Bradley GT2. The GT2 had much more of a production car feel and look. You can still find the Bradley GT all over the internet and a very good condition one very rarely sells for over $4000.
9. Classic Motor Carriages Gazelle – I bet you are wondering why this fits in my Top 10 Vintage Kit Cars list. I know that this is not a kit car that we feature on the website often and CMC was not known for having the best quality cars on the market.Chances are when you bought a kit you did not get all the parts. But what they did when they bought out a little known kit car company and started selling the car as the Gazelle is astonishing. CMC was a marketing machine. The Gazelle is what got me on the path of being “Kitcarguy”. Had it not been for me walking with my mother in Orlando International Airport in the early 1980s and seeing the CMC “WIN THIS CAR” Display I would have never known what a kit car was. It was almost immediately after seeing the display that I picked up my first kit car magazine. To be honest I like the gazelle. I think the 1929 Mercedes is such a great looking car. I am not sure why I have never owned one but it is on my short list. You can still find these cars in big numbers for cheap money.
8. Fiberfab Avenger/Valkyrie – The Fiberfab Avenger/Valkyie Kit Car is high on my list for a number of reasons. First is they did not look very good. I know that might seem harsh coming from someone who has always been a fan of Fiberfab as a company and the cars they created. The Avenger/Valkyrie kit cars always looked odd to me but they certainly hold a place on a top 10 list just for the shear number they sold. It should be mentioned for anyone who may be thinking of purchasing a Avenger/Valkyrie project that they are also known for being a very difficult kit car to build. This is also another kit car that you can find all over the internet for various prices.
7. Elite Enterprises Laser 917 – The Laser 917 was a “loose” interpretation of the Porsche 917 race car. It was a very popular kit in the day and still has a big following. In addition to to the Laser 917 Elite Enterprises also sold the laser gt, Mini 18, and laser 49er. The laser 917 ended up being sold by several companies after Elite Enterprises but not in very large numbers.
6. Dick Dean Shalako – The Shalako was the brain child of Dick Dean. Dick Dean was a well known designer and from what I understand did some work for (or with) Jim Kellison at one time. The Shalako is not really what I would classify as a Kit car. It was more of a dune buggy. But either way it was way cool. A few of them came up for sale last year for pretty cheap. There is also one on The Samba right now. If you want something very few people have this is the car.
5. Seltzer Automotive Willow – The Willow kit car was another can-am style kit car. These cars were light and with the Ford Pinto 2000 OHC 4 Cylinder they were quick. Eric Seltzer was the designer of the car and I have had the pleasure of emailing back and forth with him . He sold the company in 1983 to S&S Race Group but it is unknown if they ever sold a car or if the molds and tooling still exist.
4. Amore Cars Cimbria SS – What Top 10 Vintage Kit Cars list would be complete without the Cimbria SS? I could have just said the Sterling, the Viper 2000, the Bernardi, Eagle SS, Ect. Any of those kit cars can be lumped into this one. I always thought Joe Palumbo took everything good with the Sterling and made it even better with the Cimbria SS. This Kit Car was aggressive looking, had sweet gull-wing doors and was just bad ass. All you needed to complete it was a Miami Vice type wardrobe and you were good to go. I love this car (and all the variants of it) Greg in Oregon loves the sterling kit car so much at any give time he has 50 of them…lol. Ok well not 50 but enough to make your mouth water thats for sure!
3. Voegele Industries Amante GT – The Amante GT (Also known as the Gazelle) was a very sporty looking kit car for its time. Originally the car was called the Gazelle and sold by Hebina Plastics of California. It had roll bar protection molded into the body as well as other re-enforcement’s,a cool headlight set up, and a minimal but classy interior. From ground to roof it was just short of 4 feet high and would fit any vw bug chassis (minus bus) There has been a white Amante GT with a tube chassis for sale for some time now. It was on both craigslist and The Samba.
2. American Fibre Craft Aquila – Whats not to like about the Aquila? Even today it is a great looking car. It was produced in the late 1970s and used a standard vw bug chassis. It has been said that the Aquila Kit Car was inspired by the BMW M1 of the day. It is a great looking car with Gull Wing doors. I have seen production numbers all over the place. Some say 50 were made, some say 150, some say more. The amount made means very little in terms of value . There is one on craigslist now and others that have sold recently did not get the price that was being asked. If anyone has has one of them and wants to give it to me I will not complain in the least bit…LOL
1. Loring Design Mantis Ageon – I know most of you have no idea what this car is . In fact there are only 2 of them around that I know of . I have tried on several occasions to buy one of them but the owner would rather let the car rot than to see it restored. We wrote a story recently about David Loring and his kit cars and we think it is worth the read. He was an innovative man building cars that where not conceivable at that time. And it all started from Clay. I was just recently informed that David Loring still has the molds that can create one of these. I am not sure what it would cost but if you want something that you can bet not many people have this is your best bet.
Well there you have it . My Top 10 Vintage Kit Cars list. Feel free to comment below and let us know what your top 10 list is. I will also be posting my Top 10 WORST Kit Car list soon. That should be a treat.
:-) You know where I stand on this, Donnie. The Willow… nah, how can that be in the top 10? There is only one car that has been in production, even today, since it’s inception in 1973….. that should have been your #1..
Now in all fairness there was more than 1 willow made. I have spoken to Eric who designed it…lol
This yellow Mantis is very interesting, I have mixed emotions about it. Reminds me of the Invader a little bit but is far more intense.If I saw it coming up behind me, I’d move over fast. Do you have anymore shots of this yellow missel? Since it has teased me a bit, I now demand to see everything on this car. Please?
Hey Seth. Here are a few more pics of the Mantis https://fiberclassics.org/mantis-ageon-targa/ . The reason it looks like an Invader is because the Invader was ripped off. David Loring created a car called the Mantis Targa (this was a modified mantis targa) History says Bruce Weeks created the Invader, but he actually stole the design via a splash, and modified it to create is the Invader.
Yes Donnie I can see the stolen lines that was put into the Invader from this car, as I had an Invader GT1 for 20 years, also reminds me of an Adams probe step-in.
I have to agree with rick on this one.
Thx for the time/info you put into this, and I really wish companies would get back into it. How about a streetable Offenhauser Midget?
What about adding the Magnum GT to your list. I own one and far as I can tell there are only 3 or so of them around.
Great looking cars but not on my top 10 .
What did the gazzelle kit go for in 198s’?