From an early age model cars and kits play a crucial role in every gearhead’s life, assembling, painting, and proudly displaying our latest Airfix creations, while we dream of owning a real sports car.
Unfortunately, most of the cars we dreamed of owning are either out of reach financially or just don’t exist at all, that’s where the lucrative kit-car market comes in. Replica kits are big business, model kits that separate the men from the boys, fueling our wildest dreams of rare exotic machinery and custom-builds, imagination and cash are the only limits.
If the mention of cash brought your dreams crashing down, then take a closer look at these awesome kit cars that can be yours for less than the average sedan.
10 Lister Bell Lancia Stratos
This is a full kit with everything you need to build a modernized working Lancia Stratos rally car complete with a 2.5-liter Alfa Romeo engine, although other units are available at a price, of course.
9 Factory 5 Cobra Mk IV
Anyone can drive around in a late 90s Ford Mustang and go relatively unnoticed, but for a small investment of $11,000 and a decent set of spanners, you could be cruising the boulevards in one of these jaw-dropping Cobra replicas.
US-based kit-car maker Factory Five are among the best when it comes to Cobras, their Mk IV kit is identical to the original while adding a few improvements for safety and strength. Sounds too good to be true? We thought so too, but this really is a home build project that doesn’t have the huge prices of the original attached to it.
8 Race Car Replicas RCR40
Ford’s legendary Le Mans racer was only produced in small numbers with even smaller numbers of road-legal cars produced at a later date, this has only served to fuel the number of home-built replicas. Can a replica be taken seriously? Yes, if detailed correctly, as this RCR40 kit shows, heading to auction with an estimate of $140,000.
US-based Race Car Replicas offer their RCR40 kit in three levels, the complete option laden kit setting the DIY mechanic back $46,000 plus a suitable donor car. The results are only going to be as good as the effort you put in, this one finished in period-correct colors looks stunning.
7 Caterham Seven
Wind in the hair retro-styled motoring doesn’t get any better than the Caterham 420R, but don’t let those old school appearances fool you, this pocket rocket can crack 60mph in 3.8 seconds.
As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, the Seven 420R can trace its origins back to the Lotus 7 from the 1950s. Simply designed and built makes it a popular choice among home mechanics. Available in turn-key guise, or the more desirable home-build form from around $38,000 is a great way to spend your weekends.
6 Autotune Aristocat XK120
The post-war European sports car market belonged to Jaguar, starting with the 1948 launch of the XK120 the UK-based carmaker produced a run of not only the most beautiful cars but the fastest also.
Early production models were time-consuming hand-built affairs using aluminum panels over ash frames, but demand and success forced the carmaker to revert to more traditional construction materials. Why build a replica? Firstly price, a complete Aristocat kit costs $20,000, added to which, the XJ-series donor engine is the same unit with more power. A faster XK120 for less cash.
5 Bauer Catfish Roadster
One of the biggest risks of any home build is reliability, having spent hundreds of man-hours toiling away only to find that once complete your pride and joy refuses to start. Sure a lot of potential worries can be alleviated with the right donor car.
What better place to start than a Miata MX-5? Using the Mazda sports car to form the backbone of Bauer’s Catfish makes perfect sense, as it’s both readily available and cheap to source. Adding the surprisingly cheap $14,000 Catfish kit makes this one of the cheaper kit cars on the market.
4 Factory Five Daytona Coupe
We think complete kits offer the best value for money for the average home builder, everything included in Factory Five’s Daytona Gen 3 kit is guaranteed to fit together removing any niggling doubts, besides it’s incredibly cheap at $22,000.
This being a Factory five kit means quality isn’t compromised, using a custom welded steel chassis and handcrafted composite body that would fool all but the most knowledgeable gearhead. If anything the biggest single expense is the engine, suitable for a range of small block motors, including Ford’s Coyote lump.
3 Pilgrim 356 Speedster
Forget the flashy complex builds! Go for something simple, and the results can be stunning. UK-based Pilgrim Motorsports has been producing 356 kits for years, and provide a complete kit for just $6,800.
Of course, you will need to provide a donor VW Beetle, but any swing-axle version in decent condition will be suitable, Pilgrims kit uses the chassis and original running gear to create a faithful recreation. And what could be better than a simple air-cooled Porsche replica to get that first taste of home build motoring?
2 Prova Design Countach
Building a replica of one of the most famous 70s supercars is a risky move, get the finish wrong and everyone will assume you have a cheap Fiero-based clone. We think the best move would be a complete custom-built chassis and body package like the Prova Designs Countach we have here. Sure, it’s a bit pricey at $20,000, but then the real deal will set you back over $400,000.
Without question, this is a kit for the serious gearhead who doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty. For those who want the Countach without the effort, Prova also offers a turn-key model complete with Audi V8 running gear.
1 DF Goblin
Two cars in one, DF Kit Cars Goblin series offers gearheads the choice between getting down and dirty at the weekend or burning rubber on the local race track. That’s the great thing about the Goblin, using a custom tubular chassis and humble Chevrolet Cobalt mechanicals makes this one of the most flexible kits available.
Who knew kit-cars could be so much fun for so little money, the complete kit and donor car should come in under $10,000.
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