Avenger, FiberFab | Sat, 29 Apr 2006 Posted by : Shannon Larratt
Dave Harvey owns own of the first FiberFab Avengers — serial #61 from 1966 — and when I last talked to him he had over 60,000 miles on the car.
Kelmark | Sat, 29 Apr 2006 Posted by : Shannon Larratt
Brian McRae built his terrifyingly fast red Kelmark GT (or “Kelmark Liberator” depending on whose naming convention you want to use) around a tube chassis and a V8 mated to a Corvair tranny… I have almost the same car sitting in a barn right now, but trust me, Brian’s is about a zillion times nicer! Last I checked this car was in Nepean (near Ottawa, Canada).
FiberFab, Valkyrie | Sat, 29 Apr 2006 Posted by : Shannon Larratt
Jerry Ryginski has got to have one of the sweetest looking (it just looks so “finished”) Valkyries around. For those of you who don’t know the car, the Valkyrie was the Avenger for people who needed a little bit more power, as it was a V8 based car rather than a VW based one.
Manta Mirage | Sat, 29 Apr 2006 Posted by : Shannon Larratt
Back to the exotics!
One of the most famous Manta Mirages out there is Neil Albaugh’s, which spent the better part of its life as the second car Manta ever built and the factor demonstrator that was all over the magazines at the time. After Manta Cars of Santa Ana, CA went bankrupt, this car and it’s “MANTA 2” license plates spent a few years sitting in the dirt as a cut-up, mostly disassembled “basket case” before it fell into Neil’s hands.
As you can see, the two years he spent restoring the vehicle paid off well. It’s street legal and last I heard is running Arizona plates.
Dutton Cantera, SIE Triad | Sat, 29 Apr 2006 Posted by : Shannon Larratt
Most kits are either weird looking, exotic looking, or are replicas of existing respected vehicles. However, there have been a small number of kits built in the mid 70s (and always, really) that had a rather mundane look — although you may disagree with me.
Let’s begin with the Triad, made by SIE out of Santa Ana, California. Built on a shortened (by 4″) beetle chassis, it sold for under three thousand dollars and was quite advanced in design. Although it could be built using only hand tools (not including shortening the VW chassis) in about eighty hours, rather than being a single piece body like most kits of the time, it was made of of ten outer panels attached to a set of inner panels which bolted to the chassis.
A specific top speed was never claimed, but it was said to be capable of — and stable at — speeds in excess of 185 kph, even on a stock VW engine.
A very similar car (just a touch smaller) was manufactured by Dutton Sports in Sussex, England. This one is front-engined though, built on a custom chassis (designed to be a simple bolt-together operation with the other components) with Triumph front suspension, a Ford read axle, and a wide variety of engine options (BMC, Triumph, Ford, or Alfa Romeo). It even contained basic safety features to protect drivers in the case of collision, rare in kits even now.
Both of these cars were marketted under the “practical yet sporty” meme. I can’t say I entirely agree with either point, but they do have a certain charm about them, don’t you think?
One-offs | Fri, 28 Apr 2006 Posted by : Shannon Larratt
Bill Carter was an employee of Ordinance Maps that had designing these crazy cars made part of his job. On the left, the “Top Cat”, and on the right, the “G-WHIZ“. Both are built using V12 Jaguar bits with radical cab-forward designs, and both are reliable, driveable day-to-day vehicles rather than relatively non-functional show cars.
Sofia | Fri, 28 Apr 2006 Posted by : Shannon Larratt
I recently showed you the wild Bentley EXP Speed 8 that my friend Joe Lee in Bulgaria is working on. On his home one day recently he caught a picture of this incredibly rare Sofia kit car, of which her writes,
This is a fiberglass kitcar, called the "Sofia". It was constructed and produced during the years of socialism, with the first prototype completed in 1981, the second in 1985, and production began a year later. Between 1986 and 1989 about six cars were made, and during the 1990s there were another 6 or 7 cars made. During that period this kind of hidden headlight was also disputed.
This particular one is is a "Sofia type B" on a custom chassis with a Lada gearbox (without the engine) and a Lada interior (from a 70s model). The hidden headlight is opened by a manual crank. It looks like this one was made at the end of 80s. The owner asked about $600 for it.
Here are some photos of the one he spotted:
And for reference, a couple other models:
One of the rarest kits in the world. Thanks again Joe!
Shelby Cobra | Fri, 28 Apr 2006 Posted by : Shannon Larratt
How could I not have mentioned arguably the most popular style of kit car, the Shelby Cobra… Probably more companies make this replica than any other vehicle out there.
He’s sold it since, but Mike really had a gorgeous Everett-Morrison Cobra 427 SC. It’s built on a round tube frame with a black leather interior, double roll bar, soft-top, tonneau-cover and many more options, such as:
- Super-high perfromance engine featuring Lunati cam, LeMans rods and TRW pistons, rare Canadian heads (C8OE-N) with flow- and porting job and a 2*4 intake with twin Holley 660 center squirters delivering incredible power.
- C6-automatic transmission by A1 Transmissions Canoga Park, California with lower 1st and 2nd gear set. (Automatic transmissions are more reliable for high performance cars. Clutches of stick-shifted transmissions have tendancy to wear down in a short period of time!)
Ford 9″ rearend by Mark Williams featuring aluminum thirdmember and locker unit. (Only this rearend can handle that kind of HP and torque!)
- MSD Distributor and MSD-6A Ignition Unit
- Aluminum radiator and oil cooler
- Holley Professional fuel regulator and pump
- Braided lines
- Double oil-filter
- HB Compomotive rims
Anyway, on to the pictures:
At the time the asking price was $39,500.
Laser 917 | Thu, 27 Apr 2006 Posted by : Shannon Larratt
No point in breaking the habit now. Again, if you’re reading this and one of these is or was your car and you’ve got an update, please write me with some pictures. Let’s start with Bill Barker’s in-progress Laser 917C #592:
Here’s another C-series, #636:
Here’s one with a mystery owner; it was spotted by a friend in Kingston, Ontario, Canada:
Anyway, I’ve got tons more Lasers to post… but I’ll leave them for another day.