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Which Kit Car?


Peter 'Fossil' FilbyNot been much of a summer so far, has it? Although I’ve seen the occasional Cobra or Seven-inspired car out on the road, I should imagine most kit cars have so far covered a pretty low mileage in 2005. Personally speaking, apart from a couple of demonstration drives for potential customers, I’ve hardly even got in a kit car so far. Hmm… it can only get better.

The weather didn’t even play ball for the Cheshire Kit Car Show on Sunday 22nd May. Held at the very grand Capesthorne Hall near Macclesfield, this fine outdoor event is often bathed in sunshine. This year, it wasn’t too bad in the morning but started to turn unpleasant towards the end of lunchtime. Yet there was no shortage of kit cars in attendance, a few hundred making the effort to grace the historic home’s rather large front lawn – large as in several acres!

AUTOTUNE SPOTLIGHTAs ever, the show was superb, at least until the weather closed in. Apart from wandering around, enjoying the cars and lapping-up the atmosphere, my job was to man the Which Kit Car? stand and sell magazines and books. Er… yes… well, I also needed to photograph a few cars and choose the annual WKC? award winner. Tough job but someone has to do it.

For 2005 the WKC? award went to Danny Almond in recognition of his amazing work and effort in creating a superb Bramwith limousine from a Vintage Motor Company kit. This magazine no longer deals with VMC due to much hassle in the past over bill payment, and we’ve heard other people voice concerns about the company. No worries for Danny, though, and despite being a first-time builder, he cruised through the project with few hitches. A great job he’s done, too, and you’ll be able to see the car in Which Kit Car? soon, probably in our August or September cover dated issue.

AUTOTUNE SPOTLIGHTAnother car which caught my eye at Cheshire was Dave Weed’s extraordinary Pilgrim Sumo based Cobra special. Not wanting to use the Pilgrim chassis, Dave fabricated his own tubular frame, then fitted a 2.9-litre injected Ford V6 engine with 5-speed gearbox. Starting with a Sumo body he modified the arches and bonnet scoop before embarking on an amazing self-designed, GRP hardtop with rear flying buttresses which leave the bootlid unaffected. Clever. This is another car you’ll see in the magazine soon.

Right, now for a quick look at what’s in the June issue currently on sale…

AUTOTUNE SPOTLIGHT Most of us love Cobras but apart from the big cost of building them (£15,000-£25,000), they take parts from a number of sources – Jaguar rear axle, steering components from Ford, Triumph, MGB or wherever, various radiators and, of course, engines from Rover, Ford or Chevrolet.

The new RV Python, which gets Ian Stent’s full test treatment in this issue, is different. It uses almost ALL its donor parts from just one car, the BMW E34 5-series. That means the full BMW suspension and braking systems (including ABS), the engine, gearbox, power steering, radiator and more – even the wheels if necessary, although they don’t really suit the Cobra image.

Best news of all is that you can genuinely build a Python for around £10,000 and upwards. Donor vehicles can be bought for anything between £250 and £1750 while the body/chassis unit retails at just over £3500. It’s easy to see that the job can be done on quite a tight budget, yet the end result is a car that drives as well as a BMW – in other words, it’s a big step up-market from the Sierra based versions. As Ian Stent says: ‘BMW underpinnings remain hugely appealing both in cost and quality.’


BURTON DRIVEN Something the kit industry is rarely short on is an abundance of new models. Which Kit Car? reveals five more this month, including none other than a 1938 Bentley 3½-litre replica based on the ladder frame chassis, running gear and diesel engine of a taxi. Yup, a taxi! It’s called the 356 Peregrine and it’s really not bad – much, much better than it sounds.

BURTON DRIVENA company called GTS Tuning has launched both a Lotus Seven-style roadster and a historic Lotus 11-inspired road racer. Both sit on the budget side of things and thus both have big appeal. Perhaps not as much, however, as the new MNR Tytan, an amazing road and track-going sports racer with stunning styling and either Audi or Honda VTEC power. Not as much, either, as the glorious new Mazda MX-5 MG TF replica from New Zealand company, Alternative Cars International. This all-GRP bodied machine based on the MX-5 chassis is beautifully made and a pleasure to drive. Well worth close inspection, even if it will relieve you of around £17,500 in all. More details in Which Kit Car? magazine.


THUNDER ROAD CARS Nathan Lay is the first private builder to complete one of the many Parallel Torero kits out there. He took two and a half years and 580 hours to do it, but what a result! An exact replica of the famous Lamborghini Diablo, the Torero is unsurprisingly exotic, and this one looks superlative in its genuine Lambo Giallo Orion Mica paint. Power is a 3.9-litre injected Rover V8 producing 230bhp and driving through a Renault 21 Turbo transaxle. A staggering £35,000 is the project’s total cost, £10,000 of which, Nathan admits, was over budget. Take a look and see if you think it’s good value.

OK, don’t get too worried; we’re talking about a Cobra, an outrageous pink Cobra. A monster with about 400bhp of grunt throbbing under the bonnet and waiting to be unleashed. An incredible stonker of a sports car built and owned by one Robin Mitchell, resident of Sanderstead, Surrey.
Completed in 2001, Mitchell’s pink throbber runs 5.8-litre Ford 351 Windsor V8 power and drives through a Tremec 5-speed box to a Jaguar rear axle. Starting with a GD427 kit, Robin reckons the car cost him around £20,000 to build but is worth every penny. Only in Which Kit Car? can you read about a vivid pink replica of a very serious 1960s sports racing car!

Which-Kit Car? is on sale right now in all switched on newsagents at only £3.75, any problems getting the new edition, your best bet is to ring us on 01737 222030.


Which Kit Car?

...a deep mine of information in which you'll find everything you need to know about kit cars.

Written, photographed, designed and produced to very high standards from cover to cover, WHICH KIT? magazine is unquestionably Britain's best and most respected kit car title. It runs to at least 100 pages every month and includes sections on every aspect of the kit car scene - everything from hot news to exclusive features, serious technical info to light-hearted chat, and kit car assembly stories to handy mini-guides covering different car types. We also have a superb classified advertisement section.

Peter Filby is the magazine's editior, publisher and general front man, his knowledge and experience gained over 30 years of specialising in kit cars. There's nothing much this guy doesn't know about his subject.

WHICH KIT? is in the shops on the third Friday of each month and is available at all good newsagents. If you have any difficulty finding a copy, you can always sign up for our super-value subscription (13 magazines for the price of 12) and have your copy delivered to your door. Or, for more information, telephone us on 01737 222030 or 01737 225565.

One stunning aspect of the kit car industry is that it represents a high percentage of the wholly British owned car industry. Sitting at the top of the ladder is MG Rover, taxi manufacturer London Taxis International and Blackpool based sports car maker TVR. After that, it's all kit car companies, biggest of which are of course Westfield and Caterham. So when people talk about the British car industry, little do they realise what a significant part of it is occupied by kit cars.

Because the kit car industry is so under-rated by most people, we at Which Kit? feel it needs the constant boost of a magazine which aims for the highest standards throughout. The more professional the magazine is, the more it reflects and uplifts the reputation of the industry it covers. That means top quality from cover to cover.

Our photography, for instance, is something we take much care with. What point in photographing all those beautiful cars if the results are wrongly exposed, poorly focussed and amateurish? Then there's the quality of our written material. We only use writers who can write good English and, even then, every feature and column is thoroughly edited. When you read Which Kit?, we want you to enjoy a well-balanced, varied and entertaining read.

Page design and layout is also something we take great care with. Not everyone is going to notice this but we feel it's very important to present the kit car industry in a smart, professional manner.

Yes, top quality is what we're all about. As the line in our logo says, we're 'Building a future for British kit cars'. You won't find any hype, second-rate content, short-cuts or nonsense in Which Kit?

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