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“Suny” Kit Car?1 Comment

Mystery Cars | Wed, 03 May 2006 Posted by :

I’m told this was built for a James Bond film in 1978, around (oddly) a VW Thing chassis… Anyone know any more?

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They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used To.7 Comment

Articles | Wed, 03 May 2006 Posted by :

Untitled-11.jpgWhy is it that the North American kitcar market is dominated by Cobras, Ferarris, and Lamborghinis? Sure, they’re pretty cars, but are they really what kitcars should be?

If you read a kitcar magazine from the early 80′s or older, you’ll still see plenty of replicas, but the market wasn’t dominated by any specific design, and there were also plenty of original creations. Yes, it meant that there were a lot of ugly cars, but there were also plenty of exotics that held their own when put up against any design house from Italy.

A production car, even an exotic is deisng to meet market needs — the company needs to turn around a lot of dollars to break even. A kit on the other hand was usually built around the whims of the indivual designer. They built it for themselves at a minimal cost and made it available to others as a hobby. With a small number of exceptions, kitcars has never been a high-profit industry.

The question is: do you want to own a car that will always be a low-budget copy of a real supercar, that snooty people will always laugh at you for owning? Wouldn’t you rather own an original design, a rare supercar design that you know is far more unique, and far more exotic than any Countach will ever be?  I for one vote for the originals. Kitcars let designers express themselves with cars that would never make it to market in any other way. They allow the public to buy a custom built one-of-a-kind supercar at a reasonable price. Can a Cobra do this?

Most replicas are highly inaccurate when put next to the real thing. Do you really want to be in a situation where you sink $30,000 to finish your car and then get made fun of by every kid that knows what the real thing is? Wouldn’t you rather have a car that no one else in your state has ever even seen?

Judging by the feedback that this webpage gets, there is a market for original designs, but unfortunately the few companies selling them are selling 20 year old designs. Why are there no new ones?

(Originally posted in 1998)

Siva Saluki vs Charger?10 Comment

Mystery Cars, Siva Saluki | Wed, 03 May 2006 Posted by :

My friend Joe Lee sends a few pictures of what he says is a “Siva Saluki” (more information here at this Siva history site), but to me (and to him) it also looks an aweful lot like the UK based Charger kit (slightly more common). I don’t know which is a copy of which. He thinks it’s inspired by the Lancia Stratos (the wild looking prototype, not the production vehcile), whereas I am starting to far less stand by my original theory that it’s inspired by the Aston Martin Bulldog (click the “Mystery Cars” link above to see that Charger). Anyone know anything more or know the source of the pictures? Please email me or post what you know as a comment!

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The leftmost picture is the Lancia Stratos concept. Thanks again to Joe! Here’s what I’ve been able to find out so far:

The car originally came out in 1973 and sold for 395 pounds (just under $6000 in 2006 US dollars). It is of course VW based, only twelve were made, and only one is believed to exist (but I think that may be incorrect).

Another first-gen Fiberfab Aztec9 Comment

Aztec, FiberFab | Tue, 02 May 2006 Posted by :

This actually got sold as a Devin (which it looks nothing like), but of course it’s a 60′s-era first generation Aztec by Fiberfab. This one is built with a three piece body (including a hydraulically actuated canopy) on a VW chassis powered by a Corvair 6-cylinder.

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By the way, take the time to zoom in so you can check out the very cool headers exiting just in front of the rear wheels.

Convertible Fiberfab Valkyrie4 Comment

FiberFab, Valkyrie | Tue, 02 May 2006 Posted by :

I think he ended up selling it (for $6500, a steal!) after owning it for thirty years, but I just love the convertible conversion that Steven did on his Fiberfab Valkyrie. It’s built on a steel ladder frame with Corvair suspension, and a Chevy 350 V8 and Turbohydro 350 auto tranny. As he put it, “more fun and looks than any Corvette!”

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Seriously, I don’t know why people buy things like new Vettes and Mustangs when there are well finished high performance specialty cars like this out there. Not that I’m a normal guy…

Mystery Laser 917D in Toronto4 Comment

Laser 917 | Tue, 02 May 2006 Posted by :

A while back I had a really lucky day when it came to car sightings… first I followed a Pantera down the street, and then a stunning V8-based Manta Montage. Finally I noticed a VW-based D-type Laser 917 in a state of slight disrepair sitting in a driveway near Eglington Ave. West and Jane St. in Toronto… I stopped to see if I could find the owner, but no luck.

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Unfortunately, like too many kits, it’s sitting in the dirt with tailpipes full of mud… I left a note on the car, but never got a call, so if you know anything about this car, drop me a line.

Yes, this means that I have no ethical obligation to trespassing when it comes to seeing kit cars.

A trip to the beach in my Aztec 711 Comment

Aztec 7, FiberFab, My cars | Tue, 02 May 2006 Posted by :

I’m headed off to New York City tomorrow until Friday (I’ll try and post while I’m on the road, but it may be a little slow), where among many other old friends, I’ll see the person who took the photos today from a wonderful day where we drove my “brand new” Aztec 7, the first kit I ever got on the road. It was also the car in which I learned to drive stick (on something other than a tractor or a stolen car that I didn’t really care about wrecking)…

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On the way to the beach (Point Petre in Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada), a Viper pulled up along side us and the owner sort of looked over wondering what the hell weird sort of car he was racing. We weren’t going that fast, but we slowly accellerated together until about 170 kph when he floored it and disappeared over the horizon pretty quickly. Some time on that trip I blew the engine as well and had to swap in the engine from my Laser 917.

Oh, speaking of travel and the Aztec 7, I’ve been thinking I should hit the Carlisle convention this year (later this month) to see more old friends and document the show. I have some shirts made that I was going to give out to people whose cars I like:

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What do you think?

Monster Truck Camaro5 Comment

For Sale, One-offs | Mon, 01 May 2006 Posted by :

IMG_9723.jpgI have to admit that I don’t know much about this car… it just happened to be parked up the street from me so I took some pictures. Obviously it’s an old Camaro body on top of a 4×4 chassis (Bronco, Jeep, whatever, I didn’t look closely because I wasn’t alone and didn’t have too much time). I’m going to guess and say that unless there’s a lot more engine in it than I’m thinking that the asking price is somewhere in the $2000 range, but who knows… sometimes people have funny ideas about what things are worth.

Anyway, here’s a few more pictures. Oh, and it’s located in Toronto, Ontario. If you find out that it’s sold, please drop me a line so I can note that here.

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Hey, it may not be a kit car, but it’s definitely homebuilt!

Classic Yellow Avenger1 Comment

Avenger, FiberFab | Sat, 29 Apr 2006 Posted by :

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.

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