Al kit cars are cheap and nasty? Think again. Premium kits can be just as good as the original for a lot less money.
A well-sorted kit car will only ever be as good as the time and effort put into it. Put in the hours and the sky is the limit. Naturally, an older classic sports cars are the most common kits available. Legendary road and track machines are popular choices where rarity rules out gearheads. Of these popular and most copied designs, Carroll Shelby’s AC Cobra joins the GT40 in desirability.
Yet for every good kit, there are shockers masquerading as Supercars. The classifieds reveal dozens of house builds that have no chance of fooling anyone. No amount of Bondo or fiberglass can make a Fiero look as good as a Ferrari, Lamborghini or any other supercar.
Still, the biggest appeal of kit builders is the buzz of building a car you couldn’t otherwise afford. Kits make dreams come true.
10/10 Superperformance GT40 MK.I
The Ford GT40 has faced and beaten Ferrari at Le Mans four years in a row. Despite successes on the track, production stopped at 105 cars, 31 of which are MK.Is. In their home state, these runners fetch up to $10 million.
Lots of money, but there is a cheaper option. Opting for a Superformance kit comes with the assurance that the details are top notch. This includes a galvanized steel frame and a stamped steel body. Almost ready to run, this GT40 tribute comes assembled minus a proper engine for $125,000.
9/10 Factory Five 289 Roadster
Just entering its stride, the Cobra 289 was a marked improvement over the AC Ace it is based on. Produced from 1963 to 1965, approximately 528 MK.II cars were built. The low numbers put this one out of reach for most gearheads with prices up to $1 million.
For a mere fraction of that asking price, Factory Five has you covered. Starting at $22,000 you get a basic kit with everything you need, backed up by a long list of “options”. All budding automakers need is a proper 289/302 cu-in V8 engine and transmission.
8/10 Delahaye Pacific
Six years in the making with just over 700 cars made, the Type-57 is a rare pre-war classic. With rarity, as in most cases, comes high sticker prices and, in the case of the Bugatti, multiple body styles. Depending on the model you’re looking for, these could cost you up to $10 million.
Rather than a blatant copycat, Delahaye’s Pacific simply draws inspiration from those vintage Bugatti legends and can come in either a coupe or a convertible. Whichever option piques your interest, it’s sure to turn heads. In a nod to practicality, Delahaye added a few inches to the total, so even taller gearheads can fit. More interestingly, self-builders are not limited in their choice of engine. The Pacific can accommodate a V12.
7/10 DAX Coupe
Call it the Midas touch, but anything associated with Carroll Shelby turns to gold. On the heels of the Ford and Cobra ties came the Shelby Daytona Coupe. Like its predecessors, production numbers are low and command with money. Of the six cars produced, auction prices peaked at $7.5 million.
Enter JK Sports Cars, current custodians of the much cheaper but no less gorgeous DAX coupe. It is a faithful replica based on a stretched 427 De-Dion chassis for more cockpit space. Other than that, distinguishing the DAX from the original six is a difficult task. Designed to fit V8 engines from various manufacturers, kits start at just $23,000.
6/10 Counter Prova S Design
Coming much cheaper, the Countach is a more realistic proposition. It’s a crazy dream fueled by pin-up posters throughout the 70s and 80s. Dreams don’t come cheap, so don’t expect much change from $500,000.
However, Countach’s drama can be had for much less. UK-based Prova Designs offers two kit options. A bare-bones basic chassis and body for less than $15,000. However, the $27,000 Provas Stage 2 is the most comprehensive package, excluding only the engine. Even then, Prova can, for a fee, supply a suitable Audi R8 engine.
5/10 DDR Motorsports Grullon GT
Gordon Murray, Peter Stevens and the best creative minds at BMW have taken supercars to a new level. The McLaren F1 was a halo moment in automotive design, which still looks fresh today. Sparing no expense, F1 used a carbon fiber tub, gold heat shield and a 6.1-litre V12 engine. Any McLaren F1 will cost you millions.
With no official mention of F1, the DDR Motorsports GT8 kit bears more than a passing resemblance. And at $19,000, these might be the closest reducers to owning the iconic supercar. Designed to accommodate less exotic engines, the GT8 owes a lot to the Corvette C5.
4/10 Type of DioCars
Supplied to private races, Maserati’s Tipo 61 or “Birdcage” appeared in 1959 in a series of 16 cars. Constructed from an intricate web of steel tubing, the Tipo was a lightweight racer. Prices today reflect its rarity and reach seven figures.
DioCars has a cheaper option. Using Alfa Romeo donor cars with a chassis length of 88 to 102 inches, the Dio sits at the cheaper end of kit cars. More of a bolt-on body kit than a complete build, the Tipo is surprisingly cheap at $6,500 for a base build. Despite being one of the cheapest kits out there, the end results are quite compelling.
3/10 Intermeccanica International Model D
It’s crazy that the Porsche 356 evolved from the Volkswagen Beetle and attract exorbitant prices. Earlier 356As are the most desirable, more so in Carrera spec where buyers are happy to pay upwards of $600,000.
Intermeccanica offers some interesting updates. Most notable are the Model D cars fitted with modern engine upgrades. Popular among buyers, Subaru Boxer engines develop up to 265 hp. For purists, the air-cooled six with 300 hp output is a possibility. In its simplest form, a Model D will set you back $45,000.
2/10 Pagano sports cars
Classic Ferraris remain a dream with gearheads pandering to nostalgic hopes. The Mondial is one of Ferrari’s rarest cars, with Pininfarina and Scaglietti making 29 cars. Despite the split production facilities, all Mondials were fitted with a 2.0-liter engine.
Instead of the $5 million asking price of the original, Swedish automaker Pagano is offering a kit for $20,000. Boasting a huge parts list, the Pagano can be as detailed or customized as the gearheads desire.
1/10 ZTrix Velo Rossa 250GTO
Ferrari’s most sought-after sports cars attract prizes only Powerball winners can dream of. Currently, the record stands at $70 million set at an auction in 2018. Only 36 of these V12-powered front-engine cars were made for FIA homologation purposes.
There will certainly be disgruntled Italians at the Ferrari factory in Maranello. Copying any Ferrari, let alone the 250 GTO, is automotive blasphemy. The risk of Mafia reprisals did not prevent the American company ZTriix from deploying its Velo Rossa. As the name suggests, at the heart of this Italian lookalike is a humble Nissan 280Z donor. When it comes to price, a very little Ferrari like $7,190 gets you a full body.