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Thread: Are Kit Cars Starting to Die?

  1. #1
    Senior Member DeLorean00's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004

    Are Kit Cars Starting to Die?

    I have been in to kit cars for years, it all started as a kid reading kit car magazine. I bought my first IFG 355 in 2002, and later bought my AD 355 in 2004. Back in 2003-2004 it seemed like 355 kits where really booming, but now it seems as if everyone has kinda giving up on them. Once in a while someone will pop up and post some stuff then disappear. It also seems this way about all the other kits, very few people are building 512's, 355's, 308's, Countachs, Diablos (although I know there are still a group building Diablos).
    So the questions I then ask, are kits cars fading out? What happened to all the builders, 355's and others? I'm kinda scared to think that this might be the beginning of the end for kit cars. Or at least a dramatic slowing compared to 1990-2004.
    Anyone have some thoughts on this?


  2. #2

    Re: Are Kit Cars Starting to Die?

    You are just noticing this now ;D

    Look at the disappearance of the magazines, the turnouts at the Carlisle events - remember they combined this with the tuner cars back - was it 5 years ago now? (they have since dropped them)

    The kit car magazines go on and on about how there is nothing out there but Cobras. They feature a lot more one-offs, and wan-a-bees for example the DDR. Great idea, nice prototype but still not available as a kit.

    That is one reason I have not bothered to put my site back up (

    The cars out now are more of a speacialty, high-end market - 100k+ Diablos, GT40s, Porsche ( and Cobras inching up there too..

    Part this goes to the fact the big donor car, the Fiero, has long since gone and building anything on a ~20yr old car just seems like a bad idea. Sort of like the fading away of the vw kits when their pool of donors became too old.

    So we are still in search of a good donor car and a cheap and easy kit to put it on.

    Say bye to the kit car market, hello to the Replica and Turnkey market.

    Visit My KitCarOnLine Blog<br /> and Links Site at

  3. #3
    Moderator FunnyWheels's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Tampa, FL

    Re: Are Kit Cars Starting to Die?

    I think there are a lot of cars sitting out there like Jerry Dorr's 512. It is a lot of money to get them done correctly. I think time and money have more to do with building a car than anything else. It takes a lot of talent to build a complicated replica as well. Most of our blue collar talent is gone. It is now in Mexico or China. Think about it for a moment. In the good old USA, we don't fix stuff anymore, we buy it new. That is why when a beautiful woman wants a man, it isn't because of hot sex, it is because he can fix stuff. A rare talent these days. My lovely wife put up with me having a mess in the garage for the past eight years. There arenít that many patient wives out there anymore either so I keep her happy or fix stuff for her too. Then we have the con artist people like DKOV, Mad Mike etc. The people who have to purchase services to put their cars together and get them on the road have their pockets cleaned out by these unscrupulous people. That was the beauty of John Watson's kit. It is a car that the average guy could purchase then build in a few months. Then he or she could paint it or work with Mr. Mike on an interior while they were having some fun with it. I have had a lot of fun with mine (except for the top thing). Times are changing; people are fighting wars, raising families etc.

    That is my take on the topic. I have been building cars all of my life and more than likely will not change that anytime soon.


    If you're not confused, you're not paying attention.

  4. #4

    Re: Are Kit Cars Starting to Die?

    We keep banging the drum of these 355 kits -- being oh so easy -- but alas, there are many (if you can say 10 or so is "many") that are still uncompleted with very few examples of finished cars. Back in the 80's they were poping out those pinto/mustang kits but the dozens.
    How many 355's made it to Carlisle? How many made it to Knotts? How many made it to the bbq? vs How many make it to the various
    Cobra factory reunion get togethers.
    Visit My KitCarOnLine Blog<br /> and Links Site at

  5. #5
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Re: Are Kit Cars Starting to Die?

    It seem's like a slow death that is gaining momentum. All my wife
    requires is that I can get her suv back in the garage at night. But
    I know after 4 years, sooner or later she is going to want all my
    car stuff out of the garage. She would have every right to do so
    but with hardly enough time in the day to do the things that are
    required you cant get much done on a project car. In this day and
    age, you have to pay inflated prices for everything. I'm doing a
    scratch build Countach and I'm getting close to laying up the body
    in fiberglass. I toy with the idea of making a mold to make the body
    but I think I may just go with a one off to save time so I can spend
    more time with the wife and our little one. I think that this could be
    one of the big reasons why along with dealing with emissions issues
    and mid-engine car chassis that are very hard to come by. Sorry for
    the long post but I had to say something on this topic.

  6. #6

    Re: Are Kit Cars Starting to Die?

    Another reason the kit car market is dwindling is that the young guys would rather put their time and money into modifying their Honda Civics and other Japanese cars. With all the performance mods, body kits, and stereo upgrades, they can see the fruits of their labors almost immediately, instead of spending a couple of years building a kit.

    As for the demise of the kit car magazines, you can thank the internet for that. You used to wait for that magazine every month to see the latest kits or to get building tips, but now you can get that and a lot more on the net. I haven't looked for a kit magazine in years...

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Re: Are Kit Cars Starting to Die?

    guys I have had a few days to think about just this thing with not a lot else to do. Strepp throat gives you that! Anyway, I read here and Kitcentral. About a year ago, maybe a little more I started my own design by hiring a young man to do the actual modeling. My first idea was to use a small type sedan fwd GM car as donor except with a tube chassis because I though it would make a safer vechicle. Then reality set in and I started looking at the $$ to build this car and realize the only, and I mean only way, I will ever be able to afford to build this car will to build 4 or 5 bodies and chassis sets and sell them for more money than I think they're probably truely worth, sad but true. I think this is the problems for the manufacters as well. Things have goton so expensive...everything, that it just begins to add up.

    Anyway here's where my thinking came to something that might be of use. What if there was some sort of co-op that dealt with all things kitcars. In addition what if that co-op did a new kitcar based on original problems from other's attornys, maybe every three years? Each car would be contest design driven and would only be based on donor designs. Construction of tooling would not start till enought units had be "hard' spoken for, something like a deposit. These deposits would paid to a escrow account that would send seed money to start the project and then the balance on stage achievement as the project.

    The co-op would actually have only one employee. A director, who's job it would be to oversee the construction of the project car, notify the excrow account manager at the bank to make payment to xyz company for services rendered to point abc, etc. All work would via contract in attempt to keep cost those wishing to buy the kits. These could be bought as kits or parts.

    Ok, it's long but I did put some thought in this. What do you think?


    ps I have a car that would like to submit as #1 ;D ;D ;D

  8. #8

    Re: Are Kit Cars Starting to Die?

    the market needs more original designs,not just replicas
    see a UK forum about Kitcar industry outlook: 8)

  9. #9
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004

    Re: Are Kit Cars Starting to Die?

    Id say the typical Fiero turned Diablo is finished. More kits are comming with there own chassis and now more turnkeys are being built. Plus more orginal designs like the K1 attack and DDR, Noble and the Ultima GTR are selling like crazy. I think the replica market is the one who is starting to die because i have notice the decrease of lambo builders from the mid 90's till now. before there was like over 40 diffrent exotic replica builders out there and now there are only a handfull of them out there. D&R just went bellyup along with most of the ferrari replica builders.

    Why spend over 250k for a real ferrari or lambo or do a typical tunner car when you can have something much more exotic like an Ultima or Noble that can even give the Mclaren F1 a run for its money and cost about as much as a new Z06.

    I just hope the kitcar industry can hold out until i can get my hands on a few kits. Im not into this Import crap and im sorry but id rather spend my money on a lambo or ferrari replica than a Honda Civic with an ugly body kit with turbo. That will suck if kitcars are starting to die.
    So whats wrong with a replica?

  10. #10
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004

    Re: Are Kit Cars Starting to Die?

    well, I guess that its the generation that have changed. old 60's & 70's lovers have long since gone. the current generation wants these stuff:

    1- Modren, stylish, practicale and can be driven every day. but in the same time simple and not with too many design complex.
    2- Easy to build. Since they have little or no experience in mechanics.
    3- Doesn't cost much to build and to run. Young people don't get paid much.

    It should be built like kitcar but feel like a reliable car. even if it is very basic car... something like the vw EcoRacer. Yes, it is not a kitcar but how hard is it to build something like this as a kit?

    note: sorry I don't have my spell checker installed

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