There are a large number of small companies that make replica or “kit” versions of classic cars and unique cars in their own right. Some can be dodgy, but some are actually worth looking at.
Rehash of classics to cottage-made originals
There are replica and kit cars for just about every type of need out there. There are legitimate road-worthy daily drivers, toys for the track, dune buggies and supercars.
A whiff of track
A very popular type of kit or replica car is one that replicates a vintage racing car. Usually they are light, small, low-slung coupes with an open roof, which are fantastic toys on the track.
One of the most famous cars along these lines is the Caterham Seven, which has been available since the 1970s, according to Automobile Magazine. The Caterham Seven is a near-identical copy of the Lotus Seven, a popular race car made by the legendary sports car firm. The Caterham may look to some like a glorified go-kart, but the R500 version, which costs $61,507 for the base package, will do 0 to 60 miles per hour almost fast as a $2 million Bugatti Veyron, the fastest road car in the world. All the customer needs supply is a 2-liter Ford Duratec engine and the transmission. The base model starts at about $29,000.
Numerous companies, such as Factory Five and Superformance, make replicas of Shelby Cobra race cars from the 1960s. An original Shelby is highly expensive. The replicas are often called a “Mark III” or a “427” to identify it as a Shelby copy without incurring legal trouble from Carroll Shelby. They’re not great for daily driving, but they scream down the track.
Ferrari killer reborn
In 2009, Car and Driver reviewed a Superformance replica of the Ford GT40. The GT40 is a legend; the car was built in 1965 to embarrass Ferrari and did just that, winning the Le Mans Championship four years in a row. The replica comes without an engine or transmission. Car and Driver clocked a Superformance replica with a Ford 427 engine, the same as the original GT40 Mark II, going from 0 to 60 in 3.4 seconds.
The replica costs $80,000, and the car in Car and Driver’s review cost $125,000 with all the parts, but one of the 100 original GT40s will easily cost 10 times that amount. The original also didn’t have air-conditioning, which Superformance’s GT does.
Back from the past to the future
Fans of the “Back to the Future” series and the iconic DMC-12 may have noticed that a new company called the DeLorean Motor Company, unrelated to John DeLorean or his company in any way, has been around for some time, making DeLoreans again. Like other replicas, it’s a licensed version of the original DMC-12, and the company manufactures parts to Original Equipment Manufacturer specification. A brand new DeLorean, according to the website, starts at about $57,500, with warranty.