Poll: How Long Before Kit Cars Disappear [View Results]
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Only in low numbers
The end is nigh
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Author: Subject: How Long Before Kit Cars Disappear
chris mason

posted on 18/9/11 at 07:30 PM Reply With Quote
How Long Before Kit Cars Disappear

A discussion for Kit based cars, not self built chassis (they generally work out cheaper, somewhere around £250 iirc )

Some of the older builders on here will remember when Kit cars were a cheap alternative in to a performance car,
Back in 2004 (and earlier) you could build a nice kit car, with some fancy parts for around 6k, car engines were very cheap and bike engines were not much more (most under 1k, i paid for £600 for a 9 year old blade engine and £900 for a 2 year old R1 engine)

Most kits were 2k or less and although the quality could be said to be lower than most kits today, the competition was less too.

What were the realistic options back in 2004 for a performance car under 6k that could rival a kit car, not much iirc

But as we draw close too 2012 the competition has increased, the cost of a nice built kit car with the option boxes ticked has climbed over 10k now, that's not too say it can't be done cheaper, but it also says for a stock 1000cc bec you could spend a further 2-5k on top of that figure.

So what else could you buy for fun motoring in 2012 at that budget, Open top motoring would see heading for a 2004> Porsche Boxster, or what about a Z4M, lower the budget considerably and you could be driving a 2004 Honda S2000 or even lower an Mx5!

Fancy a track car, then there's plenty of previously raced tin tops, some of which have there own classes and cost over 20k a few years back, some even have sequential boxes.

Now there seems to be more choice for a 2nd/3rd car than ever before.

I'm sure some of you are thinking about running costs, it's a valid point, and i'm sure most mainstream production cars will cost more to run than a kit car, but if you only keep the car 12-18 months and buy wisely, there's no reason for any maintenance costs other than a service.

I know a lot of people build a kit car for the enjoyment of building, and this is something that you can't really achieve with a production car, but have a look around, the kit car market is reaching saturation point, as a result the prices are tumbling for 2nd hand kit cars, plus with the economy being poor for the near future and with winter looming the outlook is pretty bleak

Then there's the Iva and future Euro legislation to contend with, let alone the forward thinking of the current vehicle manufacturers, how long before a bike engine ecu will not run without a key, how long before they go in to limp home mode because of disabled safety systems (traction control, abs etc)
It won't be long before nearly every engine you install in a kit car requires an aftermarket ecu, add on the RR time and you can add anywhere up too 2k on the price of a build!

Take a look at the current line up of kit car shows, the price to attend, the lack of anything inspiring from the manufactures, is this really a market that is geared up to weather the storm?

They'll always be kit car builders, so long as the kit car manufactures survive, but how long before some of these start shutting their doors? the increasing costs of overheads for them, the fact no one wants too work for minimum wage, the profit in kit cars isn't great, and most of some companies profits come from spares, but with the likes of ebay and many other sites, how many kit builders return to their manufacturer for all the required parts?

So what's your verdict, is it all good and nothing to worry about or could this be the start of the end?

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zilspeed

posted on 18/9/11 at 07:47 PM Reply With Quote
There will always be a market, but how large ?

The winner will be the person wwho guesses correctly and manages to have a product right for the times.

Certainly, the market for cars based on the lotus seven idea has been beyond saturated for a long time now.
Maybe that's why any manufacturer with an eye on the futurs appears to want to diversify.

Getting back to the original point.

£500 quid buys an MX5 - MGF

£5000 buys a Boxster.

There's other stuff in between, but the incentive to put a load of effort into a kit car in the current environment is difficult to justify.






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Agriv8

posted on 18/9/11 at 07:53 PM Reply With Quote
While there are men in sheds they will not die though the Government will throw the rul book at them one day.

For me it wa one of the things on 'MY' list to do before I get old the 40 th was this year and the car has just been sorned for the 3rd year but I have 2 Sons that are my project at the moment (One 4 and one 8 months ).

Never really been on for sitting watching fottie on the tv, grown out of going to the PUB every night got no real cordination to play team sports.,

But in MY garage with the radio on swearing at somthing that should take 5 minuts 3 hours later it makes me happy cost do not really apply if I wish to do somthing I will save until I can

REgards

Agriv8





Taller than your average Guy !
Management is like a tree of monkeys. - Those at the top look down and see a tree full of smiling faces. BUT Those at the bottom look up and see a tree full of a*seholes .............


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MakeEverything

posted on 18/9/11 at 08:00 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Agriv8
While there are men in sheds they will not die though the Government will throw the rul book at them one day.

For me it wa one of the things on 'MY' list to do before I get old the 40 th was this year and the car has just been sorned for the 3rd year but I have 2 Sons that are my project at the moment (One 4 and one 8 months ).

Never really been on for sitting watching fottie on the tv, grown out of going to the PUB every night got no real cordination to play team sports.,

But in MY garage with the radio on swearing at somthing that should take 5 minuts 3 hours later it makes me happy cost do not really apply if I wish to do somthing I will save until I can

REgards

Agriv8


I'd tend to agree.

Even if kit cars were banned, or shed builders have the book thrown at them i think i will still be building something. If its not a car, then likely a boat or motorbike. If not that, then something as equally challenging.

The advantage of my "thousands" of pounds of kit car over a ready built OE sportscar is that i know almost every inch of it and can repair anything that goes wrong with it, let alone servicing and running costs being lower.

The OP outlines the same story for every industry in the UK, potentially. Its economics, and absolutely out of our control, despite what the lying thieving politicians say.





Kindest Regards,
Richard.

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adithorp

posted on 18/9/11 at 08:08 PM Reply With Quote
Christ, you're in a cheery mood today, Chris.





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mark chandler

posted on 18/9/11 at 08:16 PM Reply With Quote
As we embrace european law then it will be killed off, for instance you cannot pas the German equivilent of an MOT unless the car is completely standard... This then allows manuafacturers to double the price for fast versions as you cannot tune anything unless your name is brabus or the like

Kits will then just become track day toys unless they get crash tested formally, and the only choice you will get is 'what colour sir would you like your caterham in....

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chris mason

posted on 18/9/11 at 08:19 PM Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by adithorp
Christ, you're in a cheery mood today, Chris.


Never been happier Adi

But when i reflect back on all the fun cars i've owned over the past 7 years (8 in total) it's been a tin top in the 1st 3 positions for all round pleasure during the ownership, and not just that, they all were cheaper to own and run throughout the time i owned them

Looking at what to do next, build another kitcar (number 6) or buy another tin top, it's at this point i wrote the thread, a kit car can no longer offer me what i want, and to be fair neither does a tin top
But on the flip side, i have been researching building a custom chassis to house a home made jet engine

Like others have touched on above, if kit cars cease to be, then the tinkerers (is that a word?) will just move on to something else.

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Alfa145

posted on 18/9/11 at 08:19 PM Reply With Quote
I think the kit shows all need a kick up the arse, having taken a few trips to other types shows this year I found the Game fairs and Steam rallys to be far better attended by exhibitors, trade stall and the public, a million times better organised and have lots of things going on to occupy every member of the family. As far as the kit shows go you have the same traders and manufacturers in a hall and a big carpark outside. Year after year the same old thing. And prices are getting very expensive to go.

I paid £17 each for us to go to the Midland game fair, but i came away thinking I had value for money for a geat day out and I think I actually ran out of time to see everything. If I had paid £10 to go into the hall at stafford would I have felt the same? Nope. Even Stonleigh being a well attended show could still improve alot with more organisation.

[Edited on 18/9/11 by Alfa145]

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Ninehigh

posted on 18/9/11 at 08:21 PM Reply With Quote
Kit cars aren't mass produced... Just like the modding scene hasn't entirely died out neither will kit cars. It may become more subtle and tighter in regulation..






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INDY BIRD

posted on 18/9/11 at 08:40 PM Reply With Quote
I would say I have to agree the prices now are not what it was all about when I started building in 2002 my first kit a jc locust,

Then 6 k got you a good car I had 2 pinto engine cars one had 186 bhp and still was only 6 k

Prices now have gone a litle high and was only questioning myself what to spen my hard earned on tin top or kit etc always wanting performance but possibly a bit of luxury but still love them on track and my next project sec would be into serious money, I spent 20 k on the dad I built and although it was hyper car quick it's a lot of money, and on 2 wheels I can go that fast for about 3 k,

I kept my self happy by buying a Harley street bob but thats not satisfying me now,

Just love the building of cars so I hope they stay around but price wise I wish kits would be back to the 6 to 7 k Mark, we can only hope.????

Hope your well chris not spoke in a while

Sean

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hobzy

posted on 18/9/11 at 09:08 PM Reply With Quote
While I have enjoyed every moment of owning mine, and fettling it (lets not mention repairing it ahem), I think it will have to go once its through the MOT this time. I just can't justify going out for a drive on my own on enough weekends to make it worthwhile. I've a V8 land rover project in the offing, and that should keep my hands busy enough to make up for it.

It was something I always wanted to try, and regret not having the chance to build my own, but I know I couldn't have done a better job than the original owner.

I don't regret buying it for a moment, but as the OP said, the plethora of top down sports-cars for under £10000 now that I might actually persuade the wife or kids to go in is very tempting - 3.2 boxter, z4, 350z, slk, m3 convertible, Chimeara etc!

I don't think they'll die until the EU kills them - blokes will always want to do it, but once our generation stops building/selling them as often the generation gap will build and perhaps that will be the death knoll.






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Duncan Mould

posted on 18/9/11 at 09:26 PM Reply With Quote
I just dont think youngsters are intrested in building cars when they can go out and buy a saxo or 206 etc...
Thats not tarring all of them with the same brush but there are fewer and fewer new buyers and can only see them dissapearing slowly over the years.

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mistergrumpy

posted on 18/9/11 at 11:00 PM Reply With Quote
I tend to agree with above. Engine tuning and car tinkering just isn't as popular any more which I tend to put down to cars going all electrical so there's less to tinker with so the next generation have gone towards bodykits and looks, encouraged by Fast and Furious type films.
For me the kit car is a luxury item, a second car for people with second car money and the difference in buying a kit and scratch building, for me, is that when the price of a kit rivals that of a tintop, then the tintop wins. This is a huge part of the reason I went for scratch build. Okay the build quality is nowhere near at all but it's a car that I built.
The other part is the whole IVA. The price is massively off putting. The whole logistics of messing around renting a trailer, borrowing a car to tow it and arranging all this around the normal working day, or worse the shift workers, and then the family can just be too much.
These and for me, through my personal experiences, some manufacturers just don't inderstand customer service. Sloppy work, missing deadlines, rude and in other cases just not answering phones. They're doing theirselves no favours.
Another private view of mine is that the government just doesn't like them and are starting things (see IVA prices) to see kit cars off.
All these things for me tend to make me think that the industry is going massively downhill and it'll be interesting to see it in 10 years time. I suspect that there will only be a very small handful of available kits costing a huge amount of money and the humble 7 will be simply priced off the road one way or another.

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RK

posted on 18/9/11 at 11:32 PM Reply With Quote
I completely agree with Grumpy. People don't fiddle with things, or build them anymore. Expectations and standards for things have gone way up, so the built yourself things don't look as good next to the bought things. With kit cars, everyone thinks the digital dash with datalogging is the norm (I got it for other reasons, mainly lack of room for wires under the dash), and that costs a lot more than old Triumph Spitfire gauges. So then the cost of building goes way up fast.

I saw a car at the autoslalom yesterday that a guy built entirely from scratch (McSorley plans) for $4000, using MX5 running gear and engine. My Deman (bought chassis, arms, side panels, dampers, I sourced the rest) has cost about $35,000 (I am not exaggerating this), but looks 1000 times better. Yes, he beat me by 4 seconds on a 1 minute course. Then his right front lower arm broke in half...

[Edited on 18/9/11 by RK]

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Mr Whippy

posted on 18/9/11 at 11:43 PM Reply With Quote
I think cost & crash safety will be the killers. In a few years from now production cars will be so sophisticated in terms of their survivability and safety devices, which all manufactures are being forced to install at great cost. That kit cars will just seem nothing more than dangerous death traps that the government will just outlaw just as have other EU countries already.

Add to that the rapidly increasing cost of owning and running a second car. A toy for the weekend or nice day is just not practical or affordable to most folk. Young drivers can barely afford to get a basic tin top shopping trolley on the road, what use is a 2 seater fair weather sports car? Zero.

As a result of the rising costs I have seen a huge increase in numbers of the only affordable fast form of vehicle, that old fall back, the motor bike... apparently bike schools are up to their eye’s in record numbers of new riders.


Until something more suitable comes along or costs start coming down (don’t hold your breath) that’s the future of the kit car.







[Edited on 18/9/11 by Mr Whippy]






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RK

posted on 19/9/11 at 01:22 AM Reply With Quote
Where I live, bikes are on the way out too, due to rising insurance.
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TheGiantTribble

posted on 19/9/11 at 10:19 AM Reply With Quote
Great...reading all this has made me depressed

Probably because I agree with every thing that's been said.

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Benzine

posted on 19/9/11 at 10:28 AM Reply With Quote
they'll probably get banned the day I get mine back on the road. That will be in about 50 years, though
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coyoteboy

posted on 19/9/11 at 11:18 AM Reply With Quote
As someone working in an Engineering educational institution I can confirm that the number of students interested in, or with prior experience in, tinkering with cars (or anything else engineering-y) is seriously on the decline. There's still a few about, they're generally in the Formula Student teams but even that is going the way of "what can we buy and bolt on" rather than other options, by the structure of the competition more than anything else.

I think this is partly down to the fact that a lot of it has become electronic and people generally regard electronics as a black art - in actual fact it's more accessible in many ways than mechanical eng - need to make a quick circuit to control a fan or monitor something - cost you £20 and a bit of time. Need to make a decent looking bracket or a custom pulley and it'll cost you more in time and tools.

Students often want the glory of racing and not want to put in the effort - we have a huge dropout rate, more than 50%, when it comes to the FS team. "you mean I have to spend weekends doing the design? no ta".

But there will always be this sort of market as long as engine and parts prices remain reasonably low. Currently there are lots of good options at reasonable prices and if you want something more special you can bump up your prices by 50% and get something that will be blisteringly fast.

IVA is a put-off, but really quite necessary.

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David Jenkins

posted on 19/9/11 at 11:52 AM Reply With Quote
The biggest problem at the moment is the state of the economy - no-one wants to risk money on a hobby when prices are rising and there's job insecurity all around. Most people are battening down the hatches and keeping an eye on their cash. A toy car is a luxury for most people, and there's more important things requiring the cash, especially for younger folk who have kids and a big mortgage.

It's not just kit cars though - most country pubs around where I live are struggling to make a living because people aren't going out so often. There are dozens of other examples.





The older I get, the better I was...

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franky

posted on 19/9/11 at 11:53 AM Reply With Quote
I don't know why there's all this doom and gloom. Quite a few of the kits are selling very well. They cost more but that's only because people want more shiny bits and set higher standards for the builds than they did before. With more cars using the donor ecu's some aspects are getting cheaper.

The worlds not going to implode on us.

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fesycresy

posted on 20/9/11 at 12:19 PM Reply With Quote
I totally agree with Chris. Back in the day £6k cars were the norm, but now how much do you realistically need to spend?

Good luck to the manufacturers, but for the limited time I come on this forum these days, there doesn't seem to be nowhere near as many builders with their cars 'mid-build' as there were back in 2004.

How about the weather too? How come you see so many 200 mile cars for sale?





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JonBowden

posted on 20/9/11 at 12:31 PM Reply With Quote
Not one of you is suggesting any form of protest if home built cars were banned.
There must be enough people with an interest to make a significant protest





Jon

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HowardB

posted on 20/9/11 at 12:37 PM Reply With Quote
with respect to death traps, there are many thousands of classic and vintage cars on the road, and the government likes them enough to exempt them from road fund licence.


There is hope, there is a way, and the resourceful amongst us will always look for it!








Howard

Fisher Fury was 2000 Zetec - now a 1600 (it Lives again and goes zoom)

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RK

posted on 20/9/11 at 12:48 PM Reply With Quote
Yes but the classic and vintage cars around tend to be driven at low speeds (in public) to car shows. My uncle recently did an award winning, frame up restoration of a Model A Ford, which although nice and loved by the government, is a piece of crap, as a safe vehicle, compared to my Deman SR7.

I think this is the image the governments have. Kit cars do not have this sort of reputation. The 7 variants unfortunately for some, tend to look like road going race cars, which they basically are. "You can't have a car that is accessible to young people. They will street race and kill someone. We must make it overpriced, and therefore impossible for a normal young person to obtain."

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