I thought that replicars and kit cars deserved their own thread, since they are somewhat different from classic cars.
In the other thread, I said that I like the Porsche 550 replicar. It uses a VW engine (as did the original, after all), but is more powerful than the original 550 was. I also mentioned the 1965 Cobra Daytona, which is awesome!
But I’m of two minds when it comes to replicars. Porsche 550 Spyders aren’t cheap, but they are available. It seems to me that it’s ‘dishonest’ to have a replicar. I might feel like a poseur. But the racing version (whose name still escapes me) is darn-near impossible to get. And it’s not as if we’re talking about putting a fiberglass shell on a VW frame; these kits are built like the originals. In many cases, they’re better than the originals.
And take the Daytona. When was the last time you saw an original for sale? And the replicar in the magazine does have 445 horsepower!
But what about the Italian Designs Lamborghini Diablo replicar? It has fake castings to make the engine look like the original. It seems designed to deceive.
I think, for me, the difference between the Daytona and the Diablo is that everything on the Daytona is functional, and the Diablo contains fakeries. Original Daytonas are virtually impossible to find, but anyone with the money can go out and buy a Lamborghini. Maybe it’s splitting hairs, but a car like the Daytona seems ‘legitimate’ to me while the Diablo (again, to me) is like a fake Rolex.
And then there are the kit cars that are not replicars. These are for people who want a unique car, but don’t want to masquerade as something they’re not. I’m not well-versed enough to discuss the many, many designs of kit cars; but I can point to the cars of Jim Kellison. Another is the Meyers Manx, the quintessential ‘dune buggy’ of the '60s. (Incidentally, does it seem that the heyday of kit cars was the 1960s and early-1970s?)
A kit car seems to make sense in much the same way a kit-built airplane does: They can provide higher performance at a lower price than factory-built cars. The builder can use exactly the components he wants, from a VW Beetle frame to a special tubular ‘space frame’. He can build an inexpensive car that looks nice, or he can build something like the Daytona that might require a second mortgage on the house.
So let’s hear about your favourite kit cars. Do you find replicars reasonable alternatives to expensive factory cars, or do you dismiss them as fakes? Do you, like me, draw a nebulous line between difficult-to-find classics and newer cars that are just too expensive?
As for kit cars, there’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I’ll never do it, but…
I’d like to have a space frame fitted with a really tight front end. In back, I’d bolt on a 1000cc-or-greater Japanese motorcycle (Yamaha, in particular). The fiberglass two-seat body would be as functional as it can be, and also stylish. Not sure how I’d fit a reverse gear. Such a three-wheeler should get decent economy, have plenty of power, and I could even use the HOV lane (since it would legally be a motorcycle).