There's always been something special about driving a car that you built yourself. While there are probably as many reasons why you build your own kit cars as there are people who build them, I think its down to the same spirit of adventure that the very first car builders such as Karl Benz, Henry Ford, and messrs Rolls and Royce possessed in abundance. However, the modern day kit car builders have technology on their side, from wind tunnel testing through to rolling road performance tuning, right up to Computer Aided Design software to ensure everything works together for optimal road holding.
The process of selecting a kit car to build is right at the start of the road to owning and driving a car you put together yourself. While this seems a little obvious, it is worth bearing in mind that it is at this stage that you are usually most excited and enthusiastic about the whole idea. Below, I showcase a few popular options just to whet your appetite!
One of the main considerations before you even buy a kit is where you are going to source the parts needed to complete the build. While some manufacturers design their kit around a single donor car, many are now choosing to rely on parts sourced from a number of vehicles, often off the shelf from specialist scrap yards or aftermarket suppliers.
Once your cherished kit car is delivered, you have to put it together. So you will need to decide ahead of time where you plan to assemble your kit as you will need space for the car as it progresses plus extra space for the parts as they are delivered. It goes without saying that even more space will be needed for tools and lifting gear as you work.
The indestructible Dakar 4x4 is a tough, no compromise sporty off-roader based on a Range Rover chassis, yet it weighs in at a fraction of the original donor, making it as happy on the open road as it is axle deep in mud. So when sane kit car owners tuck their prized sports cars away for the winter, the Dakar owner comes out to play!
Cobra replicas are every bit as popular now as they have been at any time in the last few decades and it's easy to see why. The combination of raw power and stunningly good looks coupled with great handling ensure that cobras will be high on the list of many kit car builders for many more decades to come.
Beauford cars have been much sought after by kit car builders and wedding car businesses for what seems like forever, with around 2000 cars on the road. They can be rightly proud of this uniquely stylish 30s design that shows no signs of slowing down just yet.
Tiger Sports cars are a UK based business manufacturing a number of Lotus Seven styled kit cars in various stages of completion, from a washer to a rolling chassis right through to race capable turnkey vehicles. Their range includes the entry level Tiger Avon and the twin-engined Tiger 100.
The Grinnall Scorpion is a sleek and stylish three wheeler kit car based on the BMW motorcycle. I have to admit that I like the Grinnall Scorpion. Yes, I know that many people wouldn't even consider a three wheeler, but I'm pretty sure that after they try a Grinnall, especially on the road, they will change their mind.
The Jago is a popular off road and utility vehicle that is as much fun to build as it is to drive. Based on an escort donor, this rugged car is relatively simple to put together with spares still widely available. A Land Rover model named the Sandero was also produced offering superior off-road ability.
There are a growing number of sporty kits now available that are little more than a motorcycle type external frame to house and tame an eyewateringly powerful engine. The main benefits are:
Overall, it's easy to see why these kits are quite literally flying out of the factory as they combine all the fun and performance of driving a thoroughbred sports car with the practicality of regular road use. Just don't expect too much boot space for shopping!