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fuoriserie

4,257 posts

153 months

[news] 
Tuesday 17th April 2012 quote quote all
dom9 said:
Interesting question...

I am a lurker in the Kit Car forums and (when I'm living in the UK) buy all 3 of the 'big' Kit Car mags (are there 3 left?). I've been doing this for probably around 15 years now, so I've seen quite a bit change.

I don't think the increase in 7 clones was a bad thing. It drove the price down and quality up (in many cases) and made them accessible to more people. The BEC revolution also gave a shot to the arm for the Kit industry, in my opinion. If you wanted that rush of bike power (which many did) you kind of had to have a kit car and it reached a new audience.

Car engines seem to have taken a sudden leap forward now though and BECs appear to be yesterday's news (though I still want one) to some extent. Or maybe they're not, we are just all used to them now?!

But, why don't I own a Kit Car? I think it's a combination of things:

  • A Porsche 996 (I own a heavily modified 996 for trackdays), Boxster, Lotus Elise, MX-5, MR2, BMW E36 M3s, Renault Clio V6s etc etc are all now under GBP10k and offer excellent levels of build (in most cases) and everyday practicality/ weather protection but also great track pedigree.
  • I think the fact that most kits are still not everyday practical/ weather protected (ok, there are a few like the Phantom Vortex, GTM Libra, which are great) means that they will be a 2nd car at best and most likely a 3rd car. Do many people have either the money or space for a 3rd car, in a recession? Can we justify this to the missus, let alone the bank?
  • I went to the best engineering university in Europe (get me) but when asked (in '97) how many of us wanted to be engineers, I was the only person to put my hand up. I went on to work for the Ferrari F1 team and Lotus Motorsport and they all went on to make millions at banks (and they actually made profit with no tax payer money, honest). I don't regret that but it does mean that I am the only one in my peer group who could build a car (which I did, from scratch, at 19). The same thing is happening to the video game generation. Like another poster said - Why build a 130bhp kit when you can drive a 500bhp Ferrari round the 'Ring every night?
  • I own a place in central London and although I am lucky to have parking and space (covered) for spare cars, I am probably in the minority. To build a kit car (despite some of these single garage builds we see) generally requires space and tools. Especially if you are a first time builder, so you have confidence and can get everything out and move it all around. Space is at a premium in the UK and people just don't seem to have double garages these days.
Some of these points just can't be changed.

Yes, the Kit needs to be cheap to attract buyers, but to stay in business the manufacturer needs to make money. Are you going to get a car as 'good' (it's a relative term, I know) as say a Porsche Boxster for 10k? I just don't see it and I think this is why there seems to be more interest in these small cars, trikes, exos that are cheaper to build and produce - they do offer amazing performance per pound and may be cheap enough as a 2nd/ 3rd toy.

I actually wonder whether the Kit industry might/ should move more towards the modifying end of the spectrum. I don't mean like a Nova crashing through Halfords before a trip to Max Power, but look how well Z Cars have done. I like the idea of a mid-engined Mini, 205 GTi etc I like the idea of a Skyline powered TVR Cerbera. These are also all cars that would appeal to these younger people with the Max Power imaginations.

I would really like an AJPV8 4.5 from a Cerbera in the back of my 996 as it's lighter and more powerful. I ought to be able to do this myself, but wouldn't it be cool if this was offered as a 'kit'? I wouldn't need a garage probably - maybe cack it out over a summer's weekend. Could it be done for 10k or less? Probably. Then I get something fast and unique but with all the Pork comforts. Lot's of companies do this sort of stuff in the US and do very well. I have a lot of threads on other forums bookmarked, such as a Subaru Turbo powered Boxster race car and the enthusiasm is enormous.

I don't want to see the Kit Car industry die! I would love an Ultima in Kawasaki green with a unique engine or maybe one of Fran Hall's offerings but what these have in common, for me, is they offer full weather protection and are probably 'keepers' for life.

Right now, my perfect kit would something small, light, mid engined and with full weather protection. The engine need not be big. I am effectively describing a Lotus Exige. Can any small manufacturer make a car as 'good' (relative again) as the Elise/ Exige for 2nd hand Elise/ Exige money? I very much doubt it and is there the audience who is willing to build it anymore? Unique is fine, but do people have the money to pay for unique in the numbers a manufacturer needs to sell to survive? I love, love, love the GTM Libra (an updated V6 version ticks many of those boxes but is likely to be expensive) but I would find it hard to justify one over an Elise.

I also happen to love the Farboud/ Farbio/ Ginetta G60 - Why can't someone make a 'kit' like that and offer factory finishing for those who don't want to build it? The Ultima needs a reboot in my opinion, or perhaps Italo could sketch a modern, Supercar rebody? Hey, maybe there is money in rebodies? Why not take the TVR chassis (a la Top Gear) for a front engined car or even the Lotus Esprit chassis for a mid engined car? Would that make IVA easier?

Don't start me on IVA... That's another thing that puts me off.

Ok, ok - enough ramblings from me! Apologies if I repeated what others have said as I only skimmed the last few posts!
I agree with your considerations and I also think that rebodies and panel kits could have great potential in opening up a new niche, after Exo's having been the mainstay for the last 10yrs.

Harcore sportscars like the Sevens or Exo trackday cars will keep this market going for quite sometime, but eventually a new concept will replace them...

Maybe the idea of kitcar manufacturers selling their chassis to others and have new start-up companies create new kitcar designs is a very good one....but I don't think this will happen soon enough, the pond is too small and competition is fierce for the remaining fish...biggrin

I had proposed a similar project to a few kitcar manufacturers but went nowhere with the project... I think it says everything...frown

Personally If I'd ever consider manufacturing a new kitcar design today, it would have to be a panel kit or something that would use a single donor, just like an Mx5 or a fwd car..

The only option is to look into rebodying exhisting platform cars and free yoursel from IVA, like Mx5's, Z3, MR2, Boxter, MGF and other, but as someone posted earlier they would need to be styled and look appealing as original and bespoke designs on their own but maybe inspired by some of the past designs. I would love to see new NOVA Kitcar design using and exhisitng platform...smile

Smaller niches, like 3wheelers, Microcars and a few others will continue in the future as they will become the more inexpensive niche market.

Edited by fuoriserie on Tuesday 17th April 16:44


Edited by fuoriserie on Tuesday 17th April 16:48

KDIcarmad

Original Poster:

703 posts

35 months

[news] 
Tuesday 17th April 2012 quote quote all
fuoriserie said:
Personally If I'd ever consider manufacturing a new kitcar design today, it would have to be a panel kit or something that would use a single donor, just like an Mx5 or a fwd car..

The only option is to look into rebodying exhisting platform cars and free yoursel from IVA, like Mx5's, Z3, MR2, Boxter, MGF and other, but as someone posted earlier they would need to be styled and look appealing as original and bespoke designs on their own but maybe inspired by some of the past designs. I would love to see new NOVA Kitcar design using and exhisitng platform...smile

Smaller niches, like 3wheelers, Microcars and a few others will continue in the future as they will become the more inexpensive niche market.
Reading this, I see where the industry could be in 5-10 years. Where I disagree is on the list of car to re-body. Why not a Golf, Astra or any mid size family car (2 door only), you could add a lot to cars like these. After seeing Gadget geeks F1 special, where they ripped a Hyundai down to just its engine and wheels, I see there is a lot that could be done with a re body kit.

I see 3 wheelers becoming more important and mainstream for kit cars. Microcars could also be area of growth for kits, more as commuter cars than any thing else. A micro sports car could be fun but harder to get right. I also hope we will see people a lot more open to new ideas.



JakeR

3,502 posts

153 months

[news] 
Tuesday 17th April 2012 quote quote all
dom9 said:
I would really like an AJPV8 4.5 from a Cerbera in the back of my 996 as it's lighter and more powerful. I ought to be able to do this myself, but wouldn't it be cool if this was offered as a 'kit'? I wouldn't need a garage probably - maybe cack it out over a summer's weekend. Could it be done for 10k or less? Probably. Then I get something fast and unique but with all the Pork comforts. Lot's of companies do this sort of stuff in the US and do very well. I have a lot of threads on other forums bookmarked, such as a Subaru Turbo powered Boxster race car and the enthusiasm is enormous.
Renegade hybrids in the US do LS conversions for Porsches, including 996s. Wouldnt it be fab if someone picked up the agency for the UK? There are plenty of 996s available for reasonable money. Give it death till the Porsche lump pops, then V8 it. Great.

Kentmagpie

62 posts

28 months

[news] 
Tuesday 17th April 2012 quote quote all
It doesn't help that everyones feeling the pinch. I own a MOT and service station in Orpington and its only in the last 18 months to 2 years that we're starting to see a downturn in business. Our whole work load has changed, people aren't servicing there cars now there just fixing them when they break. Cost is everything these days, not many people have a sense for quality, if it's cheap they'll have it. People say we're not in a recession but apart from the wealthy most are skint or nearly skint. This must be having a big knock on effect to the kit car trade, a kit car is basically a mans toy or hobby and it's difficult to warrant having so much money sitting in a garage for 2 thirds of a year in such hard times.

After that anyone who has spare cash and wants a kit car has roughly 2 options, build or buy. Someone pointed out earlier that build costs are high at the mo. Most 7 style BEC's that I've priced up in the last month or so have ranged from 10-20k. When looking on pistonheads classified's you can pick up a decent 7 style BEC for around 7k. When weighing up it doesn't take a genius to c the issue. Why would I wanna build for almost double wot it would cost to buy and drive?

Is it that kit car manufacturers should be looking at ways to produce their kits at a cheaper price which is difficult and will only produce a loss of quality. RTR and the Exocet is defo a good base to look at. No IVA and cheap to produce, maybe look at the next gen of donor vehicles and wot can be tinkered in this way. The biggest problem is with the economy in such a poor state it's gonna be very difficult to convince people to part with their cash.

I've looked at most possible ways to build my own car and pump some dosh into the trade but the likely hood of it is that I'll be buying one already on the road for a lot less. It's purely down to the fact that I can't afford to build a car at 'todays' costs.


Fastpedeller

583 posts

30 months

[news] 
Tuesday 17th April 2012 quote quote all
Kentmagpie said:
I've looked at most possible ways to build my own car and pump some dosh into the trade but the likely hood of it is that I'll be buying one already on the road for a lot less. It's purely down to the fact that I can't afford to build a car at 'todays' costs.
Where will the Kit Car industry be in 5 years? Kentmagpie has it in a nutshell - "at today's costs.......... Think about the situation........ New cars being overproduced (up until recent years) and most manufacturers (in Europe anyway) looking to downsize production levels to reduce costs with lower demand from customers. New car prices are set to go up drastically in the next few years (maybe with exception of far east product), so the knock on effect is that used car prices will also increase - Maybe we'll see the situation of 30 years ago when I built my first kit (crikey time flies) in order to get a cheap, rustfree fun car?
Unlikely to see a return to those days but it makes you realise how much things have changed.......... Old cars then were rusty, but easy and (relatively) cheap to fix - todays are reasonably cheap to buy, but much more expensive & complex to fix. In real terms new cars have halved in cost compared with 30 years ago (work it out on average annual wage) - that's the biggest factor in shrinking the kit car sales.

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pfedwards

71 posts

109 months

[news] 
Tuesday 17th April 2012 quote quote all
Nikolai said:
To clarify, I meant a car in the image of an Alfa 8C, that kind of style.
You mean like a BMW based Marlin Sportster?


Steffan

9,110 posts

112 months

[news] 
Wednesday 18th April 2012 quote quote all
pfedwards said:
Nikolai said:
To clarify, I meant a car in the image of an Alfa 8C, that kind of style.
You mean like a BMW based Marlin Sportster?

Nice car I particularly like the three sets of wipers, nice touch. Looks classy and old but has real driving potential. Excellent.

Good to see Italo posting earlier I am looking forward to his latest designs. He is clearly a very talented designer with original ideas and I am expecting something really different from Italo.

As others have said and Italo reminded us IVA is the real problem here. The complexities of an initial IVA and the costs and inevitable retest and the costs are without a doubt, the biggest single downside to building Kit cars in the UK today. No question about that.

For that reason I do believe that one donor rebodied cars like the MEVX5 are the future. Stuart Mills has produced three different designs all using the MX5 as a single donor.

His designs of this type can be built and registered without IVA just take a look at his website see: http://www.mevltd.co.uk/mevx5_gallery.htm. for details.

I really rate these cars. The advantages of single donor cars, not involving IVA is a major cost and heartache saving device. Before anyone asks I have no connection with Stuart Mills or MEV. I just rate the cars.

There is a major advantage in not having to source parts from several manufacturers and since all the components were made to work together by the original manufacturer, a lot of the heartaches of Kit car build are avoided. As I know to my cost over many years of building.

To the point where that is the route I would recommend to any would be builder. You start the build ten points up by following this route IMO. That has got to be good and do I hope that this leads to a renewed interest in Kit Car building.

That is what we all want to see!






Tony427

1,156 posts

117 months

[news] 
Wednesday 18th April 2012 quote quote all
Exposure.

Thats what's needed.

Every week we get Clarkson et al pontificating how well the Lambo konnisegferraMclaren goes around the test track in 1.22.4....

And there's loads of guys sitting at home saying big deal, I'll never be able to afford anything that fast. IOt has no relevance to their world or realistic ambitions.

These disgruntled guys ( and gals) need to be introduced to the world of kit cars.

Where Ferrari beating performance comes out of a garage in the home counties, a bloke called Kevin, a £5000 kit car , and a donor bought from Gumtree as an MOT failure because of rust or ARS light issues.


I've spent all my life playing with cars, I've rebuilt loads( a particular fondness for Jags) and I'm building my 4th kit car.

My brother in law thought I was mad. Until I took him in my Cobra to Stoneleigh last year. An enthusiastic blast along some A roads, an afternoon talking bks with other kit car enthusiasts and he's on the net the same night looking at kit cars.

He's now booked with 6 of his mates with a load of Cobra guys at Le Mans Classic.

Just imagine if the kit car world could get some proper exposure in main stream media.

Remember, anyone can BUY a car.

Cheers,

Tony

dom9

3,605 posts

93 months

[news] 
Wednesday 18th April 2012 quote quote all
JakeR said:
Renegade hybrids in the US do LS conversions for Porsches, including 996s. Wouldnt it be fab if someone picked up the agency for the UK? There are plenty of 996s available for reasonable money. Give it death till the Porsche lump pops, then V8 it. Great.
I've followed the exploits of RH for many years and even emailed them about 3 years ago asking if they would ever do an LSx conversion for the 996 and they hinted that they would and now they have! When the 996 still cost 20k+ it attracted 'Porsche People' and the thought of an engine change would have been disgusting but now that cars are below 10k and something with a blown engine even cheaper, they will appeal to a different audience, one who isn't concerned about having that flat-6.

To keep this topic on track, it's those buyers who the kit industry want to attract... Those who want something unique but it's not all about the badge, it's about taking the best components for the most reasonable price and assembling something that is possibly greater than the sum of its parts.

Nikolai

153 posts

30 months

[news] 
Wednesday 18th April 2012 quote quote all
pfedwards said:
You mean like a BMW based Marlin Sportster?

Nope, this is an Alfa 8c, the marlin style isn't going to win over any new buyers! I would call the Marlin nostalgic, not pretty.


pfedwards

71 posts

109 months

[news] 
Wednesday 18th April 2012 quote quote all
Nikolai said:
Nope, this is an Alfa 8c, the marlin style isn't going to win over any new buyers! I would call the Marlin nostalgic, not pretty.


grumpy
This is a 'real' 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2600

Nikolai

153 posts

30 months

[news] 
Wednesday 18th April 2012 quote quote all
pfedwards said:
grumpy
This is a 'real' 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2600
Haha point taken! There's a couple of replica 30's racer kits around, I've seen a bugatti one that is stunning, but I suppose this thread is more focused on a next generation style of kit and the promotion of it to new people. Either a proper kit or a panel kit inspired by the new 8c onto something like an E46 BMW cabrio would be good and fits in with the brief of appealing to the previously mentionned 'average top gear viewer'.

KDIcarmad

Original Poster:

703 posts

35 months

[news] 
Wednesday 18th April 2012 quote quote all
Tony427 said:
Just imagine if the kit car world could get some proper exposure in main stream media.
I remember a Midas Gold convertable on the front cover of Car. Is this the last time a kit car had that honour?


Nikolai

153 posts

30 months

[news] 
Wednesday 18th April 2012 quote quote all
Lots of talk of rebodies single donor non IVA etc - to clarify this, is it true that the options are:
- complete kit I.e. chassis and body, needs IVA
- rebody, no IVA which means anything retaining chassis so the odd TVR or Mazda MX5 and that's it - pretty limited options.
-re-panel, like the Ferrari kits. Retains benefit of car makers' millions of £ of engineering and no IVA but you're stuck with the normal wear, repair costs and running costs of the base vehicle - fine if its a cheap as chips Ford Couger as per an F430 panel kit but not great if you use a £5k Boxster as the base. There's lots of companies now doing rebodies but you have to buy a new or nearly new mustang/911/Boxster before the conversion, its big money.

So I'm not convinced on panel kits unless the donor has got performance by itself, is under 5k to keep it away from price of the average second hand sports car, and buyers won't mind it essentially being an old car with a body kit? As soon as you start upgrading the suspension and brakes of a panel kit donor, you may as well have a standalone kit instead.

The Black Flash

5,550 posts

82 months

[news] 
Wednesday 18th April 2012 quote quote all
Kentmagpie said:
. Why would I wanna build for almost double wot it would cost to buy and drive?
The build is at least half the fun, for me at least...and I know I'm not alone.

And as said above, the idea of panel kits, or rebodies like the Exocet, doesn't interest me at all. Firstly because it's too easy, secondly for the reasons given above - I'd rather buy an MX5 and modify it to improve its performance, than rebody one.

I think the main thing with IVA is the cost - I'm not sure that people mind the idea of having to take a test - it's the expense and some of the rules which are off-putting.

Kentmagpie

62 posts

28 months

[news] 
Wednesday 18th April 2012 quote quote all
The Black Flash said:
The build is at least half the fun, for me at least...and I know I'm not alone.

And as said above, the idea of panel kits, or rebodies like the Exocet, doesn't interest me at all. Firstly because it's too easy, secondly for the reasons given above - I'd rather buy an MX5 and modify it to improve its performance, than rebody one.

I think the main thing with IVA is the cost - I'm not sure that people mind the idea of having to take a test - it's the expense and some of the rules which are off-putting.
I'm not doubting that the build isnt fun but when u got a budget of somewhere between 7-10k on a BEC kit there's literally no other option than to buy unless u compensate on quality a lot.

The Black Flash

5,550 posts

82 months

[news] 
Wednesday 18th April 2012 quote quote all
Kentmagpie said:
I'm not doubting that the build isnt fun but when u got a budget of somewhere between 7-10k on a BEC kit there's literally no other option than to buy unless u compensate on quality a lot.
I think you mean "compromise" wink
Probably, but then (if it were me), I'd build something cheaper. I mean, I'd love an Ultima but it aint gonna happen, so I'm building a Rush - you have to cut your cloth etc.
But that's just because the build is important to me - I don't want just to own a kit car, I want to own a car I've built.

Pat H

6,446 posts

140 months

[news] 
Wednesday 18th April 2012 quote quote all
The Black Flash said:
I think the main thing with IVA is the cost - I'm not sure that people mind the idea of having to take a test - it's the expense and some of the rules which are off-putting.
In my case, I was considering building a new Caterham.

In the end, I bought a 1977 Caterham and set about rebuilding it.

I couldn't be bothered with IVA, emissions, catalysts, fuel injection, noise regulations, padded steering wheels and putting bits of plastic and rubber over bolt heads.

I ended up having all the fun, at less cost and with none of the hassle.

The classic car market is pretty healthy and plenty of people are buying and restoring old cars and bikes. Less hassle, no red tape and decent residuals.



SystemParanoia

9,696 posts

82 months

[news] 
Wednesday 18th April 2012 quote quote all
this for £10k would do me nicely




mid Busa Engine, 4wd, awesome biggrin

Kentmagpie

62 posts

28 months

[news] 
Wednesday 18th April 2012 quote quote all
The Black Flash said:
I think you mean "compromise" wink
Probably, but then (if it were me), I'd build something cheaper. I mean, I'd love an Ultima but it aint gonna happen, so I'm building a Rush - you have to cut your cloth etc.
But that's just because the build is important to me - I don't want just to own a kit car, I want to own a car I've built.
Id love to own a car I've built but nearly all the manufacturers I've spoke to have said my budget is to small and they were:

Mac#1 motorsports
Mnr
Dax
Raw
Sylva

That basically leaves MK which I have already owned one which although I loved was cheap in places and Aries I think. Unless u can give me a heads up to other kits??? Any help appreciated :-)
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