Kit Cars and Autos
This section provides access to the cars and autos
What are Kit Cars and Autos?
The definition of a kit car is an auto that is sold by a manufacturer in parts which are then built and assembled by the buyer - meaning that the buyer (or a third party appointed by the buyer) effectively builds his own car! Some or the complete set of parts can be bought. The kits are often referred to a glider kit in the United States of America. The engine and transmission are often bought new from other sources or from another vehicle. A much safer and reliable form of kit car is a re-body which is a car that doesn't require quite as much technical knowledge as the car has a new body on the running chassis and its mechanical systems will have been tested as well as already designed and built by the car manufacturer.
Who can build a Kit Car? Safety and Road Worthiness
Kit cars are designed for technical minded people to assemble at home, to a road worthy standard which can be licensed for public roads. Kit cars are often replicas of very expensive, modern or classic sports cars. Depending on which country the car is built, it has to pass different quality control tests to be deemed to be safe, road worthy and fit for purpose.
The History of Kit Cars and Autos
Thomas Hyler White designed a car in 1896 that could be built from home. A magazine called 'The English Mechanic' published the designs.
An American single seater car was made available in 1912, named the Lad's Car and this could be bought as a kit car.
By the 1950s, the demand for cars in general started to grow, the kit car became increasingly popular. Ideas of redeveloping old vehicles from breakers yards by using their components and supplying them with new chassis and bodies were put into action, and many of the cars were given a sports appeal. The use of fibreglass was also beginning to take off and made the production of kit cars and autos more economical. It was cheaper to buy the parts and components in order to assemble a car yourself rather than buy one already assembled. Some people could build a kit car in a matter of a few days, however, it is suggested that the average kit car can take anything from 100 hours to 1500 hours to assemble properly!
One of the most popular donor cars of the 1970s was the VW Beetle as the old body was easy to dismantle and work on. Kit cars which were designed with the VW Beetle body included the Sterling and Bradley GT.
One of the most popular kit car manufacturers in the United Kingdom was Robin Hood Engineering - this company began in 1984 by building a replica of Ferrari Daytona based on a Rover SD1.