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The Fast & the Spurious

by Jamie Arkle
27 March 2018 4 min read
The Fast & the Spurious
MR2 F40

Ah, the kit car. Seldom has a genre of car served to divide opinion to quite the same degree as those often cooked up in sheds, lock-ups and lean-tos the length and breadth of the land. Kit cars have been part of the very fabric of the automotive scene from the very beginning, or at least since the invention and subsequent mass-adoption of fiberglass, and perhaps that’s not so surprising; after all, what is the point of car modification if not to allow an individual to stamp their personality onto a particular make and model? More to the point, kit car based replicas are the closest many of us will come to being able to own the exotic models we lusted after while in short trousers.

With this in mind, we thought we’d delve into the annals of automotive history to deliver you this, The Fast & the Spurious – the weird and wonderful world of kit car replicas.

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1) Hawk Stratos

The Lancia Stratos came to symbolise all that was magical about Group 4 rallying in the late ’70s; it was brash, loud, immensely tricky to drive at the limit – and has since become one of the most expensive Italian classics out there. The modern value of the scant few Stratos built by Lancia has created a burgeoning replica industry, none more effective than the Hawk Stratos. Indeed, were it not for the lack of a Ferrari Dino engine in the middle (most Hawk builders make use of the glorious Alfa ‘Busso’ V6 instead), even the most ardent of Strato-philes would struggle to differentiate it from the real deal.

Perhaps one of the best things about Hawk’s take on Bertone’s gravel-chucking wedge is that, depending on your choice of engine, it’s as fast (if not faster) as the original. Indeed, Alfa Romeo’s ‘Busso’ has very nearly as much character as the Ferrari mill in the ‘real’ cars and can be made to sound just as special, perfect for those weekends spent pretending to be Sandro Munari (other rally drivers are available).

2) Seduction 550 Spyder

You know a car’s worth a considerable sum when it makes supercars like the Ferrari F40 and Enzo seem like utter bargains, and this is very much the case with the Porsche 550 Spyder. The original cars were built to enable Porsche to go motor racing in the mid ’50s, something they proved very good at. Factor in its association with James Dean, that Stuttgart pedigree and the fact that less than a hundred were made, and it’s easy to see why genuine 550s command 7-figure sums when they come up for auction.

The 550’s value has spawned any number of kit-based alternatives, with those offered by Seduction Motorsports being among the most expensive, sought after and authentic. Either way, a replica is just about the only hope us mere mortals have of attaining 550 ownership, short of a Brink’s-Mat bullion heist, of course!

3) Elite Enterprise Laser 917

Another attempt at paying homage to one of Porsche’s most iconic motorsport offerings, in this case the Le Mans-smashing 917. Of course not every replica can be quite as well executed as the 550 shown above, and Elite Enterprise’s Laser 917 is probably one of the less faithful creations on this list – but then it is based on a humble VW Beetle. You could also argue that no production car underpinnings would ever be able to do the original 917 justice, largely as very few production cars can sprint 200mph with ease, but hey, at least the good folk over at Elite Enterprise gave it a go.

4) Tribute Automotive MX250/MX250C

The Ferrari 250 GTO is the single most expensive car ever sold at auction, with the most recent example selling for an eye-watering £25.1 million (and with a Hagerty Price Guide value of, wait for it, £41 million and upwards). Those lucky enough to have that kind of cash to splurge on a ’60s car will be getting one of the most beautiful machines to ever be powered by an internal combustion engine, but, as you’re here to learn about kits, we’re going to assume that you aren’t one of them. The good news is that the replica car world has any number of ways of getting you access to an approximation of 250 GTO ownership – the better news is that many of the base cars can be picked up for buttons.

One of the more successful of GTO replicas, certainly in terms of looks, is the Tribute Automotive MX250/MX250C, a series of cars based upon the Mazda MX-5. This means that while your finished replica won’t bellow and howl like Satan stubbing his toe in the manner of the original, it will at least handle well. We’ll leave you to judge whether the conversion is a success from an aesthetic point of view, but you can’t deny the workmanship involved.

5) Toyota MR2 Ferrari F40

We couldn’t put together a blog post like this without also touching upon on one of the most commonly recreated cars, the Ferrari F40. On the one hand it isn’t hard to see why the F40 is so commonly selected for such treatment – it was the first production car to nail the ‘double ton,’ after all. It has since gone onto become the archetypal bedroom poster supercar, an immense slice of Italian exotica and one lent added symbolism for being the final car to be approved by Enzo himself.

The only problem with the F40, well, with those intent on recreating it using common or garden components at any rate, is that its proportions are ill-suited to replica work, particularly the example here, one based upon the humble Toyota MR2. In fact it’s the MR2’s dubious honour of underpinning the vast majority of Ferrari F40 replicas thanks to its mid-engined layout, low cost and relative abundance, though they’re very, very rarely a success.

Which ones did we miss? Which are your favourite kit conversions and replicas? Let us know in the comments below.

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Comments

  • North Yorks says:

    Jaguar have built/are building 9 “recreation” 1957 XKSS cars. Aston Martin are doing something similar with the DB4. These non-original “originals” and others like them, costing over £1m each, are at one end of the spectrum. Lynx make a superb XKSS “replica” for about £200K. And you can get an excellent RAM XKSS for less than £75K (I have one). Surely these “grown up” replicas are worth a mention?

  • West Sussex says:

    You missed the Dutton on Sierra, the subject of a lawsuit involving Ford, the monstrosity called the Llama, among a few Imp based items.

  • London says:

    It’s worth looking at and mentioning the ListerBell Stratos too nowadays as it is hugely more popular with kit car builders worldwide over recent years. It has the same external looks but with more up to date chassis design and components whilst replicating original detail in important areas for the enthusiast. It too uses the AlfaV6, or you can go even more up to date with other engines too like the wonderful Lotus Evora V6. A Stratos for the 21st Century!

  • Suffolk says:

    The Laser 917 probably represents the worst of all the replicas. Where most manufacturers have made some outstanding copies and the individuals who have purchased them have gone on to build them up into great cars, nothing on the Laser 917 comes anywhere near an original and should not have been on the Hagerty list !!

  • Buckinghamshire says:

    Porsche 356 speedsters are popular and some look really good. One showed up at an Ace Cafe Porsche night and was very warmly received as a pretty accurate tribute. How could you miss the Cobra and Lotus 7 kit cars!? Again a real mix of quality and accuracy.

  • Dorset says:

    Take a look at the TD 2000 – a replica of the MG TD of 1949-52. Hand made in Malaysia, it’s great to look at, reliable, speedy and excellent fun to drive.

  • Oxfordshire says:

    Three years ago, I built a Westfield Eleven. These were the first kits offered by the now successful Westfield company and were based heavily on the Lotus Eleven sports racing cars of the late 1950s. Now finished and on the road for a year and a half, it is an absolute head turner of a car. With a tuned MG Midget engine only having 530kg to push along (enveloped in a very aerodynamic body), it has strong performance. Having recently read a report of driving a real Lotus Eleven in one of the monthly magazines, the Westfield really seems to mirror what the experience.

  • Maryland says:

    A few “recreations” that come to mind of the UTMOST quality are Pur Sang’s Bugatti’s which are pretty much Bugatti’s in their own right although they are called recreations or more correctly “Continuation” cars I guess since about 95% of the parts are interchangeable with a real Type 35. That’s #1 on my “Want” list. Number two would be a good quality Jag C type or XKSS Recreation from Suffolk Cars or other reputable recreation maker of the original. For an everyday quy/gal or should I more correctly say a wealthier person (which isn’t me by any stretch of the imagination) I would think that the recreations would be much more fun to have. Why…because you can use them every single day if you wanted without the worry of losing your fortune on an original. In fact, why would someone even buy an original anymore other than strictly to have it as an investment. You certainly can’t drive the originals anymore since the value is so high, you wouldn’t even want to risk a crash with one of those multi-trillion-gazillion-gabillion dollar originals. But with a great quality continuation car, about 98% of the people in the world wouldn’t know it’s a recreation anyway and you’d be having the time of your life driving them around and getting all the same stares, and points, and waves you would with an original car. Give me a great quality recreation car any day of the week. I’m not talking a “kit” car here, I’m talking the great quality (almost indistinguishable) recreations or continuation cars.

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  • Ethiopia says:

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I haven used his class, But he came to my school to talk and I found his material very strengthening (And never creepy/rapey like some pick up guys are).Try to listen to what they are feeling as opposed to the actual words out of their mouth. Then address those feelings.could possibly be certain aspects of dating outside your heritage that might worry them or be disappointing to them for example, The thought that their future daughter in law and grandchildren might not be able to get in touch with them or understand their culture. In my case study, Having your gf show interest in learning your culture / language might mitigate those concerns.Not a non Asian dating sites story, nonetheless, if my mother (I mandarin chinese Am) Heard that I was dating a Chinese western girl, She was worried that she might force me to do all the household chores and control me with an iron grip. I had to demonstrate to her that she was very Americanized (And also that that belief isn true).lender: myself personally, Have was involved with many non Asians and non Koreans, at this point dating a white girl.undoubtedly troll bait, But I mouthful. 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We get people to a part of our future only when we actually see a future with them.

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