Kit car

related topics
{car, race, vehicle}
{company, market, business}
{@card@, make, design}
{ship, engine, design}
{area, community, home}
{work, book, publish}
{law, state, case}
{math, number, function}
{style, bgcolor, rowspan}

A kit car is an automobile that is available as a set of parts that a manufacturer sells and the buyer then either assembles into a car themselves, or retains a third party to do part or all of the work on their behalf. Usually, many of the major mechanical systems such as the engine and transmission are sourced from donor vehicles or purchased from other vendors new. Kits vary in completeness ranging from as little as a book of plans to a complete set with all components included.

There is a sub-set of kit cars, commonly referred to as a "re-body" in which a commercially manufactured vehicle has a new (often fiberglass) body put on the running chassis. Most times, the existing drive gear and interior is retained. These kits require less technical knowledge from the builder and as the chassis and mechanical systems were designed, built and tested by a major automotive manufacturer can also lead to a much higher degree of safety and reliability.

The definition of a kit car usually indicates that a manufacturer constructs multiple kits of the same vehicle which they then in turn sell. This should not be confused with 'hand built cars' or 'Special' cars, which are typically built from scratch by an individual.



Kit cars have been around from the earliest days of the automobile. In 1896 the Englishman Thomas Hyler White developed a design for a car that could be assembled at home and technical designs were published in a magazine called The English Mechanic.[1] In the United States the Lad's Car of 1912 could be bought for US$160 ($3000 equivalent in 2006) fully assembled or US$140 ($2600 in 2006) in kit form.[2]

It was not until the 1950s that the idea really took off. Car production had increased considerably and with rust proofing in its infancy many older vehicles were being sent to breaker yards as their bodywork was beyond economic repair. An industry grew up supplying new bodies and chassis to take the components from these cars and convert them into new vehicles, particularly into sports cars. Fiber reinforced plastic (aka "GRP," or "fiberglass") was coming into general usage and made limited-scale production of automobile body components much more economical.[3] Also, in the UK up to the mid 1970s, kit cars were sometimes normal production vehicles that were partially assembled as this avoided the imposition of purchase tax as the kits were assessed as components and not vehicles. The Lotus Elan, for example, was available in this form. It was often claimed that the kits could be taken home and completed in only a weekend.

Full article ▸

related documents
Lada Niva
Ford Pinto
Ferdinand Porsche
Segway PT
Broad gauge
DAF Trucks
1948 Tucker Sedan
Dune buggy
Nationwide Series
Yacht racing
Greyhound racing
Porsche Boxster
Romney, Hythe and Dymchurch Railway
Ducati Motor Holding
Ironman Triathlon
Thoroughbred horse race
Porsche 944
Sleeping car
Indoor rower
Open wheel car
Rack railway