Kit cars are an oft overlooked segment of the performance market, providing owners with the opportunity to put their own blood, sweat and tears into building something which bears their mark, without having to be Henry Ford to do so. There are dozens of options available, with countless tiny manufacturers having produced a few kits here and a handful of parts there. Sometimes these stars of the kit car world burn brightly but collapse all too soon, though, and in those cases would-be owners must turn to the used market.
That's the case with the today's Spotted: the CC Cyclone. Produced by family business Car Craft in the mid-nineties, one early reviewer described it as, "quite possibly one of the best kit cars I've ever driven." Yet the tiny company only ever managed to produce thirty-two cars before the Cyclone blew itself out, leaving the surviving examples as cherished machines to those in the know.
When design began back in 1994, it was decided that the majority of the Cyclone's mechanical components should be borrowed from Vauxhall, including the engine, transmission, brakes and instrument panel, with other parts pinched from the likes of Mini and Fiat. The 2.0-litre turbocharged engine is reported to have put out anything between 170hp and 220hp, with some cars fettled to put out even more and today's Spotted claiming a massive 265hp.
Despite the positive reviews, trouble with the molds set production back by over 12 months, costing Car Craft precious time and money. When you consider that each of the prototype car's 14 fibreglass body panels cost around £2,000 to fabricate, it becomes clear why establishing an early market for the car would be vital to its continued success. The project limped on until time was finally called in 2000, when it was sold to a company called LG Engineering. Unfortunately things were to go from bad to worse when, according to the CC Cyclone website, a "big falling out" between the owners resulted in the moulds and jigs "being destroyed in a fit of anger."
The Cyclone was no more, but those who had taken the plunge were at least still able to fly the flag for the kit car that could have been. The styling won't be to all tastes, of course - then again neither will the idea of purchasing a car built by a complete stranger - but there's something about the angular lines which appeals to me. The Cyclone is unapologetically different, with its wedge-shaped body and big square headlights; some cars have been modified in recent times with slimmer LED items, but I prefer the original, retro items. Oh, and it featured Falcon doors 20 years before the Tesla Model X.
Of those thirty-two Cyclones produced, two are known to be destroyed, with an unknown number still roadworthy, that leaves today's Spotted a very rare car indeed. It has its flaws, of course; the ventilation apparently isn't the best with the roof on, particularly on a hot day, but owners still describe the Cyclone as being perfectly usable even in adverse conditions. With a totally rebuilt gearbox, new flywheel, clutch and cambelt, and a completely re-trimmed interior, then, this example ought to be one of the best left around. Don't knock it until you've tried it, after all it might just blow you away.
SPECIFICATIONS - CC CYCLONE
Engine: 2,000cc, four-cylinder turbocharged
Transmission: 6-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 265
Torque (lb ft): N/A
First registered: 1997
Recorded mileage: 14,000
Price new: N/A
Price now: £7,995
See the original advert here.