Since I’ve been talking about the Astra and the early Aztec models, I thought I’d toss up a bit more classic kitcar history, starting with what I think may be the first car of this general style.
You could argue that alongside cars like the Devin, the Ferrer GT is the car that started the American [kit] sportscar trend that dominated the late sixties through the mid-eighties with cars like Fiberfab’s Avenger. Frank Ferrer, at the time an aircraft parts salesman, bought a VW-based kit to build with his sons, but the longer he got along in the project, the more he realized it had serious design flaws — and I believe the literal quote that followed was “I know we can build a better one”.
So Terry and his kids (22-year old son Gary was put in charge of the body design itself) went out and bought a big collection of his favorite cars — the GT40, the Porsche 904, the new ‘Vette prototypes, and so on… He picked what he saw as the best features, and with the help of Dick Buckheit, they had a finished car within eight months and showed the car in Miami. The public went wild for it!
The car was well designed, with good visibility, comfort, entrance and exit, and so on, and about three hundred were produced between 1966 and 1967 — and were it not for this car, one has to wonder whether the kit car trend would have gotten quite as big the way it did.
Tyson Ferrer (Terry’s other son) with the car at a show
Here’s some more pictures of my friend Karl’s unfinished Ferrer GT that he sold in the late-nineties after other commitments forced the sale (I think he let it go for just $1,000). He actually thought it was an Avenger when he first bought it — because the Avenger ultimately became one of the best selling kits of all time, I think this is actually quite a common misconception.
Karl was, by his reckoning, the seventh or eighth owner of this car (his brother being the previous one, and before that it hopped around Wisconsin for a while). Even though it was over thirty years old and in rough shape by the time Karl got it, he described the fiberglass thickness and quality as better than we see on most modern kits.
Anyone else got one? There must still be a few on the road! Send in your story and pictures please.