Find Your Make

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

The Automotive Chronicles

Monthly newsletter published by McLellan's Automotive History. Dedicated to literature collectors, restorers, museums, publishers, manufacturers and investors who collect and preserve automotive literature
HOME | Articles index | media | use of content | contact us  
December 2003 Issue
 
ARTICLE
 
Kit Cars & Replica Cars
By Sharon McLellan
 

Cruising along a deserted beachfront you glance in your rearview mirror and realize that you are being overtaken by an elegant old car — a 1937 Jaguar SS-100 Roadster. Or is it?

Further down the road you catch up with the car when it stops at a service station to fill up and you get a chance to talk with the owner. She graciously opens doors and pops the hood and talks with you about the fiberglass bodied Squire, a 1937 Jaguar SS-100 replica car sold by Auto Sport Importers, Inc., in the 1970s.

According to Arthur Stahl, on "The Squire SS-100 Registry" home page, "The Squire SS-100 is an almost exact, full size replica of the 1937 - 1939 Jaguar SS-100. The car was commissioned by Auto Sport Importers, Inc. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and made by Automobilli Intermeccanica in Trofarello, Italy between 1970 and 1975, reportedly by Fiat technicians who were moonlighting evenings and weekends."

Replica cars were assembled by the manufacturer and you purchased a completed car which was made to look like a vintage car model such as a 1937 Jaguar SS-100, 1927 Bugatti 35B, 1929 Mercedes-Benz SS, 1939 Alfa Romeo, 1935 Auburn Boattail Speedster, 1934 Frazer-Nash or any one of a number of replica cars that were produced.

 

   
 

On the other hand, a "kit car" was exactly what it sounds like. It came disassembled and you put it together yourself, usually using an engine and frame that you already owned. Volkswagen "Beetle" engines and frames were inexpensive and very easy to obtain. For higher powered models you found a wrecked Chevrolet Corvette and pulled the engine. The kit came with instructions on how to modify nearly any engine and frame to accept the body and a few weeks (or months depending on your level of expertise) later you were showing off your new car. Companies such as Almquist helped you with advance preparations with their "Plan-A-Car" information packets (B17094).

Kit cars might look like vintage classic cars, but they also showcased designer's concepts of what a luxury sports car should look like. Names such as Aquila, Astra, Auriga, Banjo, Condor, Fiberfab, Gazelle and Invader, among others, bring to mind low slung roadsters, many with gullwing doors, the dream cars of many young men and women.

 

   
 

In the 70s, when sportscar prices were rapidly rising, people who dreamed of owning one suddenly found that they could not afford to buy, or drive, their dream cars. Kit cars which were sold on a small scale in the 1950s and 60s suddenly became a very popular means of driving a "look-alike" and having a lot of fun.

- - - - - - - - - -

Literature on kit car and replica car models is available here.

 
 
 
The Automotive Chronicles, December 2003
 
 
 
 
 
Spacer
Spacer
 L I T E R A T U R E
I N D E X
Click here
Spacer
separator
Spacer
Spacer
separator
Spacer
separator
Spacer
Spacer
separator
Spacer
Literature for
OVER 600 MAKES
Sales literature