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.

History

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, editiononline.de, 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

Australia

* Roaring Forties [http://www.roaringforties.com.au]
* Alpha Sports
* Bolwell
* Pellandini Cars
* PRB
* Purvis Eureka

Canada

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

Netherlands

* Burton
* Charon
* Dakar
* Deauville
* Voglietta

Estonia

* ESTfield
* Rexer

Germany

*Apal

Mexico

*Unidiseño Mastretta

New Zealand

* Almac
* De Joux
* Fraser Cars Ltd

Panama

* Super Replicas [http://www.supereplicas.com/]

Poland

* EAS Sterniccy [http://www.easer.com.pl/english/]

Slovakia

* K-1 Engineering [http://www.k1-styling.sk/main_en.php?id=0]

South Africa

*Kit Car Centre

Sweden

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 [http://www.boesmotor.se/]
* Dala7
* Esther
* GOX Teknik, make a Ford GT40 copy [http://www.sportscar.se/]
* Hult Healey
* Mania Spyder
* Mascot
* Ockelbo
* Pagano
* Racing Plast Burträsk (RPB)
* Roadline, Porsche Speedster and Porsche Boxer RS replicas [http://www.roadline.se/]

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. [ [http://www.locostsweden.se/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=32&Itemid=2 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
* GKD
* GTM Cars
* Heron Plastics
* Hustler
* Jago
* JBA Cars
* JZR Trikes
* Kougar
* Locost
* Locust
* Lomax Motor Company
* MAC#1 Motorsports
* Marcos
* McCoy
* MINUS
* 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. [ [http://www.dmv.ri.gov/inspections/kit%20vehicles.php Rhode Island Division of Motor Vehicles : Salvage ] ]

ee also

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

Notes

External links

* [http://www.priceofhistoys.com/ Price of his Toys Kit Car Blog]
*
* [http://www.premierkitcars.com/ Video Clips of Kit Cars]
* [http://www.kitcarlinks.com/mailinglist.htm#subs Kit Car Links mailing list]


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