For many motoring enthusiasts, kits cars and replica cars fill the gap between the dream of owning a state-of-the-art sports machine, and the financial reality of the cost of buying and driving one. Not all kit car fans are lured in by their need for speed, though. Nostalgia plays a big part in the kit car world and many popular models are classic car copies.
Buying a kit car might be a cheaper way to get your hands on the sleek lines or classic shape. Specialist kit car insurance may also save you money but building a car from scratch is a labour of love and requires a lot of time and effort.
A basic DIY package will generally include the chassis and body panels, along with a massive instruction manual, but will leave you to find your own engine and gearbox. Assembling a kit car is not for the faint-hearted as a result, while an understanding of how cars works is also a definite plus. The good news if that sounds scary, however, is that for about 50% extra, most kit car manufacturers will assemble the car for you.
Here, we reveal five of the best kit cars available today and look at why they are so brilliant.
Caterham 7 This stunning classic kit car was originally introduced in 1957 by manufacturer Lotus, and was offered as a kit car to allow motorists to avoid the car tax that had just come in. Made by Caterham since 1973, the Lotus 7 – now known as a Caterham 7 – is only available in kit form. However, you can pay a dealer or recommended local builder to put it together. And whether or not you choose to build it yourself, the driving experience will be well worth the time or money it took to get it on the road. What’s more, unlike many kit cars, the pack you receive when you buy a Caterham 7 includes an engine.
SDR V-Storm WR3 If your interest in kit cars stems from a love of speed and racing, the SDR V-Storm should be right up your street. The V-Storm gets its go from either an Aprilia RSV1000 v-twin or an unnamed Subaru engine in the back of the car, and just enough room for you (and potentially two very close friends) in the front. People in the know also rate this fairly simple kit car for being easy to make – certainly in comparison to some of the more complex models.
Noble M12 If it’s real ease of building you are looking for, however, the slick-looking Noble M12 is hard to beat. These kit cars, made in South Africa, arrive part assembled, meaning that the only thing you have to add before you can start enjoying it is a suitably powerful engine. Known as the “snap-together” kit car, the Noble M12 is a great choice for drivers whose enthusiasm outweighs their mechanical knowledge.
Cobra Cobra manufacturer Factory Five has been selling kits and turnkey assembled cars for years now, so it knows what it is doing. And the finished article is a joy to behold. Cobras can take almost any engine out there, and will move very fast if fitted with a powerful enough motor. Just remember to take it slower sometimes to appreciate the impact this lovely looking kit car has on other drivers and pedestrians.
Ultima GTR If the Cobra is the coolest looking kit car out, the Ultima is the king of outright speed and handling. It holds a variety of records for speed, and laps like a real pro, not to mention looking like a mini 1990s Le Mans prototype. You can choose what engine to add for maximum effect.