Kit car

Kit car

A kit car is an automobile that is available in kit form, which means that the client buys a set of parts and needs to assemble the car himself / herself. Usually many major mechanical parts such as the engine and transmission are taken from one or more donor vehicles. Kits vary in completeness from as little as a book of plans to a complete set of all the components required.

The definition of a kit car is usually taken to mean that a number of kits are produced by a manufacturer for sale to the public. A car built at home as a one-off to the designs of its builder is termed a Special.


Car body styles have been around from the earliest days of the automobile. The Englishman Thomas Hyler White developed a design for a car that could be assembled at home in 1896 and technical designs were published in a magazine called The English Mechanic. [Alan Sutton, "Mr White and his Motor Cars", "The Automobile", June 1986 ] In the United States the Lad's Car of 1912 could be bought for US$160 ($3000 in 2006) fully assembled or US$140 ($2600 in 2006) in kit form.cite book | author=Georgano, Nick (Editor) | title= Beaulieu Encyclopedia of the Automobile | id=ISBN 1-57958-293-1 ]

It was, however, not until the 1950s that the idea really took off. Car production had increased considerably and with rust proofing in its infancy many older vehicles were being sent to breaker yards as their bodywork was beyond economic repair. An industry grew up supplying new bodies and chassis to take the components from these cars and convert them particularly into sports cars. Also, in the UK up to the mid 1970s, kit cars were sometimes normal production vehicles that were partially assembled as this avoided the imposition of car tax as the kits were assessed as components and not vehicles. The Lotus Elan, for example, was available in this form. Often the cars could be taken home and completed in only a weekend.

Current kit cars are often replicas of well-known and expensive classics and are designed so that anyone with a measure of technical skill can build them at home, to a standard where they can be driven on the public roads. [As per the survey of nearly 600 kit car owners in the USA, England and Germany, evaluated by the author Dr. Ingo Stüben, 100-1500 hours are required to build a kit car, depending upon the model and the status of the semi-finished product that has been acquired. Published in: Bausatzkraftfahrzeuge (Kit Cars) als ein Beispiel technischer Freizeit- und Mobilitätsinnovation, Tectum Verlag, Marburg 2000] During the 1970s many kits had bodies styled as sports cars that were designed to bolt directly to VW Beetle chassis. Examples including the Bradly GT, Sterling, and Sebring were made by the thousands and many are still around today. The AC Cobra and the Lotus 7 are particularly popular examples, the right to manufacture the Lotus 7 now being owned by Caterham Cars one of a handful of Lotus 7 dealers in the 60's and early 70's who bought the rights to the car from Colin Chapman in 1973. These replicas are conceptually like the original, but their bodies are usually made of fiberglass mats soaked in polyester resin instead of the original sheet metal still used on the Caterham Cars. These kit cars enable vintage or classic car enthusiasts to possess a vehicle of a type that, because of their scarcity, they may not be able to afford, and to take advantage of modern technology.

Many people are unaware of such vehicles although the Volkswagen based dune buggy appeared in relatively large numbers in the 1960s and 1970s. [Volkswagen Buggies are based on the chassis of the Volkswagen Beetle, often shortened. To use this, the old body is separated from the chassis and a GRP-body from the kit supplier shop is fitted] [ Cf. also the publication: Ingo Stüben, Kit Cars. Ein Weg zum neuen Volkswagen,, Hamburg 2004] Many car drivers react sceptically when they first hear about kit cars as it appears to them to be technically impossible to assemble a car at home and also use it on the public roads. They may also be worried that such a car would not subsequently pass the mandatory quality control (road worthiness test) that is required in most countries. [To obtain permission to use a kit car in Germany, every such vehicle with a speed over 6 km/h without a general operating license (ABE) or an EC type permission (EC-TG) has to undergo, as per the § 21 of Road traffic licensing regulations (STVZO), a technical inspection by an officially recognized expert of a Technical Inspection Authority. See also § 16 STVZO and § 18 (1) STVZO.

In the United Kingdom it is necessary to meet the requirements of the SVA (Single vehicle Approval) regulations.]

Several of today's sports car producers such as Lotus and TVR started as kit car makers.

Kit car manufacturers


* Roaring Forties []
* Alpha Sports
* Bolwell
* Pellandini Cars
* Purvis Eureka


* Badland Buggy
* Lemans Prototypes
* Pigeon Performance
* Spex Design Corporation


* Burton
* Charon
* Dakar
* Deauville
* Voglietta


* ESTfield
* Rexer




*Unidiseño Mastretta

New Zealand

* Almac
* De Joux
* Fraser Cars Ltd


* Super Replicas []


* EAS Sterniccy []


* K-1 Engineering []

South Africa

*Kit Car Centre


Technically, kit cars are not allowed in Sweden, but provided that most of the components and material are sourced by the builder personally it is possible to register them as amateur built vehicles. Before the law requiring a mandatory crash test in 1970 there was a booming kit car industry in Sweden with most companies basing their kits on the VW Beetle chassis. When amateur built vehicles again were allowed in 1982 all kit car companies in Sweden had disappeared.

The inspection (SVA equivalent) in Sweden is handled by the car builder's association SFRO who make two inspections. One when the car has reached the rolling chassis stage and the other when the car is finished. Amateur built cars are limited to 15 kW (20 hp) per 100 kg. Earlier the limit was 10 kW (13.4 hp) per 100 kg so for very light cars (like a Lotus 7 type car) it was a problem to find a suitable engine.

* Boes Motor & Mekanik []
* Dala7
* Esther
* GOX Teknik, make a Ford GT40 copy []
* Hult Healey
* Mania Spyder
* Mascot
* Ockelbo
* Pagano
* Racing Plast Burträsk (RPB)
* Roadline, Porsche Speedster and Porsche Boxer RS replicas []

United Kingdom

Vehicle regulations in the UK allow the production of up to 200 vehicles a year without the extensive regulation and testing requirements applied to mass-market vehicles. This has led to an expanding industry of small producers capable of offering partial and complete kits, some for export, and finished vehicles for domestic use.

According to figures given to the magazine Total Kit Car the most popular kit in the United Kingdom in 2005 was made by Robin Hood Sportscars who sell 700 kits a year. [ [ List of the top ten selling UK Kit Cars in 2005] ]
* AKS Continental
* Arkley SS
* Ashley Laminates
* ADD Nova
* Banham Conversions
* Beauford automobiles
* Buckler Cars
* Burlington Cars
* Car Craft Cars
* Caterham Cars
* Clan
* Covin
* Dakar 4x4
* Dax
* Davrian
* Diva
* Dutton Cars
* Elva
* Fairthorpe Cars
* Falcon Shells
* Fisher Sports Cars
* GCS Hawke
* Gentry Cars (replica MGTF)
* Ginetta Cars
* GTM Cars
* Heron Plastics
* Hustler
* Jago
* JBA Cars
* JZR Trikes
* Kougar
* Locost
* Locust
* Lomax Motor Company
* MAC#1 Motorsports
* Marcos
* McCoy
* Midas Cars
* MK Sportscars
* NG sports cars
* Onyx Sports Cars
* Opperman
* Peel
* Peerless / Warwick
* Piper Cars
* Quantum Sports Cars
* Raw Engineering
* Robin Hood
* Rochdale
* Sylva
* Spartan Cars
* Tiger Racing
* Tornado
* Trident
* Turner
* Ultima Sports
* Unipower
* Westfield Sportscars
* West Mains Automotive

United States

A glider kit is a term used in the US for a kit used to restore or reconstruct a wrecked or dismantled vehicle. Glider kits include a chassis (frame), front axle, and body (cab). The kit may also contain other optional components.

A motor vehicle constructed from a glider kit is titled as a new vehicle.

Examples include:

* Blakely Auto Works
* Bradley Automotive
* Devin Cars
* Factory Five Racing
* Fiberfab
* Frese Motorcars
* Sterling Sports Cars
* La Bala
* La Dawri
* Lad's Car
* McBurnie
* Meyers Manx
* Brunton Automotive - V6 Roadster originally based on the Chevy S10.
* Superformance

Kit vehicle

A kit vehicle is a wider concept than a kit car. A kit vehicle is a motor vehicle (car, truck or motorcycle) that is built by an individual instead of a manufacturer. [ [ Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles : Salvage ] ]

ee also

* List of Mini based cars
* Coachbuilder
* Manufacturer's Certificate of Origin
* Vehicle inspection
* Vehicle registration


External links

* [ Price of his Toys Kit Car Blog]
* [ Video Clips of Kit Cars]
* [ Kit Car Links mailing list]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • kit-car — kitˈ boat or kitˈ car noun A boat or car put together from standard components by an amateur builder • • • Main Entry: ↑kit …   Useful english dictionary

  • Kit Car — Para otros usos de este término, véase Kit Car (desambiguación). Peugeot 306 Maxi Kit Car. Los Kit Car se refiere a una serie de regulaciones para vehículos derivados de la producción en serie para su adaptación en competencias deportivas. Son… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Kit Car — Sehr beliebt waren in den 1970er Jahren Buggy Bausätze auf Käferbasis …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kit car — Para la homologación de coches de rally, véase Kit Car. Kit car sobre un chasis de un VW escarabajo. Se llama kit car a aquel automóvil disponible en forma de kit, un paquete de construcciones, es decir, se compra un conjunto de piezas que deben… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Kit-car — FIA Groupe A Le Groupe A est la catégorie relative aux voitures de tourisme modifiées, dans le règlement FIA. Cette catégorie a été créée en 1982 pour remplacer l ancienne catégorie Groupe 2. Sommaire 1 Présentation 2 Classes 3 Championnats …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Kit car — FIA Groupe A Le Groupe A est la catégorie relative aux voitures de tourisme modifiées, dans le règlement FIA. Cette catégorie a été créée en 1982 pour remplacer l ancienne catégorie Groupe 2. Sommaire 1 Présentation 2 Classes 3 Championnats …   Wikipédia en Français

  • kit car — car that is assembled (often by the DIY enthusiast) from its constituent parts; usually with a GRP body shell …   Dictionary of automotive terms

  • kit car — /ˈkɪt ka/ (say kit kah) noun a motor vehicle that is purchased unassembled so the purchaser can take on the task of assembling it …   Australian English dictionary

  • Kit Car Center — ist ein ehemaliger, von 1980 bis 2003 produzierender Automobilhersteller aus Boksburg, Südafrika. Hauptsächlich orientierte sich die Herstellung auf Replicas. So entstanden der KCC 356 Speedster Classic, KCC Cobra V8, KCC 550 Spyder, KCC Sports… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kit car (desambiguación) — Esta página de desambiguación cataloga artículos relacionados con el mismo título. Si llegaste aquí a través de un enlace interno, quizá desees corregirlo de modo que apunte al artículo apropiado. Kit car …   Wikipedia Español

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.