Why You Should Buy a Kit Car this Summer
The sun is here, so we’re writing this quickly before it goes again. With dryer, warmer weather in the offing, we’re eager to indulge our love of kit cars once more.
Kit cars are brilliant fun on the roads or on the track – only improved by the knowing smile you get to give to other enthusiasts you spot. “This is our club, the others don’t know what they’re missing!”
So in a bid to tell you what you’re missing, we’ve knocked up our top five reasons you should look into kit cars.
Need for speed
You want a super-fun sports car that you can take out on country B roads and maybe even the odd track day. You don’t, however, have the bank balance of a Premier League footballer.
Then kit cars are for you. Lightweight and low cost – often no more than the cost of an entry-level hatchback – you won’t find a better way to get some sports car bang for your buck.
Add to the joy of driving
Aren’t things just more satisfying when you’ve made them yourself? From the meal you make from scratch to building that IKEA flatpack with only a cursory glance at the instructions, doing it yourself is immensely satisfying.
Kit cars are the same – but as a driving enthusiast, you then get even more benefits from the fruits of your labour. Understanding the mechanics of the car you’re driving, and how to make adjustments to affect driveability, makes driving an even more joyous experience.
You’ll certainly learn more about cars and your own driving from a kit car than you will on the school run.
Fulfil a dream
The term ‘kit car’ stirs up images of the classic Caterham 7. There’s good reason for that – for decades it’s been extremely popular simply because it’s extremely good; it handles beautifully, corners nimbly and accelerates like a scalded cat.
But despite this impression, it’s not fair to say that all kit cars have that stripped-down look. In fact, you can buy a kit car replica of all kinds of classic cars.
The Ferrari 250 GTO, Ford Mustang GT 500, Lamborghini Murcielago – think of the car that adorned your bedroom wall as a kid and you’ll probably find there is a replica kit car body out there.
So while you save for a real one, why not drive a replica Jaguar E Type convertible with the sun on your face and the wind in your hair?
Start where you want, finish when you want
You don’t have to be a qualified mechanic to undertake a kit car build. Some build guides are so comprehensive you can tackle them as long you know your way around a ratchet set.
As with anything you want to learn, it depends where you feel comfortable starting; some of the replica kit cars involve straightforward exterior modifications to functioning donor cars, while other kits will see you tightening every bolt from the chassis up.
Just remember this is your project to be taken at your own time – a kit car is for life, not just for summer!
One of the most common fears among wannabe kit car builders is that they’ll barely get to the end of their road before a wheel pops off, the engine drops out and the steering wheel comes off in their hand. In short: “How safe can it be if I’ve built it?”
Thanks to the Individual Vehicle Approval Test (introduced in 1998 as the Single Vehicle Approval Test), if you want to drive a kit car on the road, a qualified DVSA assessor has to say it’s safe.
All kit cars have to conform to a minimum safety standard, which should give you confidence in the materials provided as part of the kit as well as your own handiwork.
Now it’s your turn
So that’s why we love kit cars, and we urge you to do find out for yourselves. Feel free to share your kit car experiences, and we’ll see you out there in the sunshine – we’re looking forward to a few more knowing smiles in future.