10 Awesome Kit Cars Based On Real Machines We Could Never Afford

10 awesome kit cars based on real machines we could never afford

10 Awesome Kit Cars Based On Real Machines We Could Never Afford

To be completely honest, kit cars started as a way for carmakers to lessen taxes and sell more cars. Colin Chapman, founder of Lotus Cars started out this way with the iconic Lotus 7. Other carmakers have since followed suit. In more recent times, the only way for US gearheads to buy Ultima Sports Evolution cars was in kit form.

What makes kit cars so appealing is the opportunity to buy, build and own a car that couldn’t otherwise afford. Anyone dreaming of exotic machinery on a compact car budget is in luck. As good as the latest Ford GT is, we’d much rather have the original 1964 Ford GT40 with a big V8 slung out back. We think Ford should have left the GT40 as an icon, and not interfered with its legacy.

Kit cars are a cool and cheap way to transform dreams into reality

Factory Five Type 65

Facing off against Ferrari (again), Carroll Shelby produced a handful of Cobra-based coupes. Six to be precise. Anything bearing the Shelby name in low numbers is sure to be expensive. Think millions and you get the idea.

Fast-forward a few decades, and Factory Five has a third-generation Type 65 Coupe kit for less. We’d recommend the complete kit package at $22,990 containing a host of new factory parts. Under a multi-layer composite shell lies a steel chassis ready for a multitude of engines. Engine options include Ford’s latest 5-liter Coyote motor.

Lister Bell STR

Finding an all-original Lancia Stratos HF could set you back a cool $500,000. In anyone’s book, that’s a high asking price for a flawed Italian exotic with handling issues. This thing was a savage beast back in its day and is a collector’s dream.

A much-improved option can be had for less. UK-Based Lister Bell takes the risk out of the equation with a semi-built kit faithful to the original. How close? Purists seeking the ultimate build can opt for a Dino V6 engine. But for the most part, customers opt for either a V6 Alfa or a Supercharged Toyota engine.

Pilgrim MotorSports AC Cobra

Saving yourself a considerable expense, the Pilgrim MotorSports Cobra replica kicks off at $21,000. Naturally, there are dozens of extras and upgrades to tempt you, but the base kit is a pretty good place to start. Unlike other kits, Pilgrim has taken a unique step toward cost and time-saving builds.

Cheap as the full kit is, handing over 20 large ones with no set timescale over if and when you’re ready to run is a risk. This is where Pilgrim’s neatest innovation comes in handy. Gearheads can break down their build into 10 modules. When you’re ready, click order and pay.

Icon 917K

From A-C, Icon917K has your back. In the basic A-spec kit that equates to a chassis and body shell. But with each kit option available comes a greater level of completion. We suspect the mid-level B-spec will be the more popular choice, leaving nostalgic gearheads to recreate one of the greatest racing cars ever.

Irrespective of which kit takes your fancy, it will be time and money well spent. Porsche produced just 25 examples of the 917K for track use. By comparison, the Icon917K with little effort is road legal. Now there’s a Porsche you don’t see every day.


Tested, crashed, and rebuilt the XJ13 offered a hint into what could have been. Sadly, Jaguar canned the project, leaving this desirable cat as a rare one-off racer. Owning the XJ13 is a pipe dream that will set you back $7 million.

Owning a faithful reproduction is a reality, and much cheaper too. Enter Race Car Replicas with a kit price of $54,000, giving you everything you need to recreate this icon. Well almost. DIY gearheads still need to source a V12 Jaguar engine, but these are pretty easy to come by.

Superformance Corvette Gran Sport

Arch rival to Carroll Shelby-prepared Cobras, the Corvette Gran Sport is a hardcore racer. In all, Chevrolet built 125 Gran Sports that currently reach asking prices of up to $8 million. Despite the crazy valuations, the combination of a lightened C2 body and 485 hp V8 is tempting.

Opting for a Superformance tribute replica build is more attainable at $99,000. Unlike other kit cars mentioned here, the Gran Sport comes pre-built minus its engine. All the benefits of a kit without the tedious build? We’d still like to get our hands dirty with the chassis and suspension.

Tornado Sports Cars GT40

With the GT40 Ford took on and battered Ferrari at Le Mans. Ever since collectors and Ford have sought to fill a niche in the market for a road-going version. While the GT40 Mk.1 evolved into, and in some cases adapted for public roads, prices are still out of reach.

While the GT40 kit/replica market is awash with clones we’d go for the most complete one available. The TSC GT40 fills this niche with a Super Pro package for around $58,000 (£48,500). Included in the price Tornado supplies a small block Ford V8 and transmission combo.

Vintage Motor Cars Spyder

Rare tack-focused Porsches come with crazy sticker prices. Understandably, with so few 550 Spyders built, gearheads will need deep pockets. At a Mecum Auction in 2018, bidding reached $2 million and still failed to sell.

For much cheaper, and with the satisfaction of seeing your handiwork come to fruition is the VMC kit. In deluxe Kit Stage II, you’ll be handing over $27,000 leaving plenty in the bank for a suitable engine. Depending on personal choices that can be either a Type 914 engine or a more powerful Subaru boxer unit.

Gardner Douglas T70

Racing cars by their very nature are expensive and complex machines. But that doesn’t stop gearheads from wanting one. The bad news for 70s race car fans the Lola T70 isn’t cheap. At the lower end of our expectations, that can mean $500,000. Don’t buy one; build one instead.

Opting for the Spyder, Gardner Douglas supplies a complete kit minus running gear for $40,999. Pretty neat considering the GD T70 uses a braced steel tubular chassis clad in GRP bodywork. As for engine options, Gardner Douglas supplies mountings for LS3/LS7 motors up to 600 hp.

Backdraft Racing RT4B

More Cobra than the original, Backdraft Racing’s RT4B takes the legendary roadster and makes it better. Better suspension and a lighter and stiffer chassis add an extra kick of performance. But this isn’t just a faster Cobra.

At $54,900, the RT4B is a full rolling chassis kit with a slew of customization options. Choices give gearheads the chance to a unique combination of trims and paint. As for engine options, Roush 327 cu-in V8s are popular.

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