When kit cars look “normal”

Most kits are either weird looking, exotic looking, or are replicas of existing respected vehicles. However, there have been a small number of kits built in the mid 70s (and always, really) that had a rather mundane look — although you may disagree with me.

Let’s begin with the Triad, made by SIE out of Santa Ana, California. Built on a shortened (by 4″) beetle chassis, it sold for under three thousand dollars and was quite advanced in design. Although it could be built using only hand tools (not including shortening the VW chassis) in about eighty hours, rather than being a single piece body like most kits of the time, it was made of of ten outer panels attached to a set of inner panels which bolted to the chassis.

triad1.jpg triad2.jpg

A specific top speed was never claimed, but it was said to be capable of — and stable at — speeds in excess of 185 kph, even on a stock VW engine.

A very similar car (just a touch smaller) was manufactured by Dutton Sports in Sussex, England. This one is front-engined though, built on a custom chassis (designed to be a simple bolt-together operation with the other components) with Triumph front suspension, a Ford read axle, and a wide variety of engine options (BMC, Triumph, Ford, or Alfa Romeo). It even contained basic safety features to protect drivers in the case of collision, rare in kits even now.

cantera1.jpg cantera2.jpg cantera3.jpg

Both of these cars were marketted under the “practical yet sporty” meme. I can’t say I entirely agree with either point, but they do have a certain charm about them, don’t you think?

3 Responses

  1. Companies like dutton, quantum cars and brooke Banham all made a number of very practical, if pedestrian, original design kits throughout the 70’s and 80’s. Dutton even made an SUV of sorts.

    BTW- that Triad is obviously a re-bodied nissan/datsun 1st gen z-car (probably 240 or 260z); at least if the pic is any indicator. A possible photo mix-up?


  2. penski says:

    The TRIAD looks very mk1 Ford Capri…


  3. cathy hughes says:

    I have an original Bradley GT kit car in good condition. i drove it year arround one of the years i had it. I have had it for 8 years. Its blue with a white racing strip lown the middle with a #1 on the front, and sides. it could use some Tlc. only adking $2,000. sorry no picture because i do not haave a digital camera. phone # is 620-449-2181
    If you know anyone intrested?

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