Are kit cars cool? After I was a child, I assumed they were the good, akin to the last word Lego set.
But as time went on and I got my license, began driving, after which eventually began having fun with different facets of automobile ownership and so-called automobile culture, kit cars were pushed far into the recesses of my mind.
Nonetheless, after cruising around on this Alpha 1 GTO-bodied 280Z — for a Bring a Trailer shoot for my friends at Artdeshine — my childhood dreams of kit cars got here swirling back.
Not only was it awesome to have those bodacious bulges of the bonnet framing the view of the road ahead, but I used to be also sitting in the identical seat that a famous actor once sat.
This exact ‘GTO’ was utilized in the 2001 film Vanilla Sky, and was driven by – yep, you guessed it – Tom Cruise.
As such, the automobile is being sold with a bunch of memorabilia from the film, including cool film slides, a scale model, documents from production, and a signed print of Tom Cruise and Penélope Cruz.
Way more importantly, the proportions of this automobile are nearly as right as you could possibly hope for. The length, width, height, wheelbase, and track width of an S30 are all inside around a couple of inches of the Ferrari 250 GTO that this 280Z now imitates. So, crucially, the automobile looks ‘right’ to the attention at first glance.
The L28 and its primitive fuel injection system are long gone in favor of a Chevy 350ci V8, and the inside has been reworked to some extent as well. Recently, Artdeshine Studios brought the outside back to its former glory with an in depth paint correction and ceramic coating application.
Mechanically, the automobile is a smooth cruiser, but when I picked it up I’d need to chuck a manual transmission into it together with some aftermarket suspension to assist put the facility down. But really, you could possibly do whatever you would like, and that’s the great thing about a kit automobile.
On condition that GTOs have been multi-million-dollar collector models for a long time, I’m surprised I haven’t come across one in every of these replica builds in person before. So what happened to the glory days of kit cars?
Full kits never gave the look of actual, viable cars to me; their designs unsophisticated and the standard of their execution widely varied. Production car-based kits were generally even less appealing, with off-putting proportions and tragically unaligned performance specifications. I’m you, Fiero-based Ferraris…
Exceptions all the time existed, after all. Cobras are an important example of a kit automobile that will be great when done right. Living proof: this Fiberfab-based construct I spent a while with around a 12 months ago. This automobile really drove home the purpose that not all kit cars are created equal — and this is applicable to the kit itself, in addition to the alternatives the owner or builder makes along the best way.
One other kit automobile that stands proud in my mind is the Ultima Evolution, which features supercar specs in a package where form meets function. After riding along in my friend Will’s Ultima for a feature a couple of years back, I became entirely convinced that one in every of these is value every penny you’d spend constructing or buying one.
But value is all the time the kicker. Gone are the times when you could possibly discover a Z-car for affordable, or, relatively speaking, even an honest Fiero, and modern cars are generally too expensive and too complicated to make use of as a base.
In case you want an honest final result, you’re more likely to be unable to construct the automobile entirely in your personal garage, and labor costs — not to say the worth of an honest paint job — have risen exponentially over the past a long time. This implies your ‘low-cost’ kit automobile would actually be an expensive endeavor that you simply couldn’t dream of getting a fraction of your money out of.
Thus, many – if not nearly all – kit automobile corporations have fallen by the wayside over time. You actually couldn’t call up Alpha 1 today and ask them to ship over a GTO body shell to drop onto a Z-car next week. Good luck finding an S30 that is smart to tear up, too. They aren’t a dime a dozen anymore.
This begs the query, where will this Z-based GTO find yourself when the hammer falls next week, and what is going to the brand new owner actually do with it? Or perhaps the higher query is, what would you do with it?
This Article First Appeared At www.speedhunters.com