Kit cars have been around from the earliest days of the automobile. In 1896 the Englishman Thomas Hyler White developed a design for a car that could be assembled at home and technical designs were published in a magazine called The English Mechanic. In the USA, the Lad's Car of 1912 could be bought for $160 ($3000 US in 2006) fully assembled or $140 ($2600 US in 2006) in kit form.

It was not until the 1950s that the idea really took off. Car production had increased considerably and with rust proofing in its infancy many older vehicles were being sent to breaker yards as their bodywork was beyond economic repair. An industry grew up supplying new bodies and chassis to take the components from these cars and convert them into new vehicles, particularly into sports cars.

But nowadays kit cars are mainly used as replica cars. Normally a replica of a historical car built from a store bought kit and fitted to the frame of an already existing vehicle.
While classic cars are popular, modern cars such as Dodge Vipers, Lamborghini Diablos and even original designs can also be kit cars. Other such kit cars are the class 5-1600 Baja Bugs which use parts from donor VW Type 1 Bugs to build an off-road dune buggy.
To build a replica you usually use the chassis of an old car then mould and build the shape you desire on top of it (or buy it pre-build). A descent pre-build kit car (fully working) costs around 30k $ and usually the cars that they imitate cost more than 100k. Sounds like a bargain, Eh?

Mazda MX-5 to Westfield SDV

Spiritually related to Caterham's Seven 160, the Westfield SDV is the more intensively DIY option. The idea here is to combine the kit with a single donor vehicle (hence 'SDV') to produce the home-spun sportster of your dreams. In this case, we're talking gen one Mazda MX-5 giving up its soul so that you might drive something seriously exciting. The Mazda's 1.6-litre lump knocks out over 100hp, which is serious power something as flyweight as a Westfield.
Price: £8,445

Toyota MR2 to F430

Supercar looks with affordable reliability. That's the DNA sales pitch. This model apes Ferrari's F430 supercoupe. Underneath, it's actually a humdrum Toyota MR2. Then again, at least the MR2 is a genuine mid-engine sports car. Some Ferrari kits are based on front-wheel cars. Whatever, your overall investment in getting a DNA 4Thirty on the road ain't gonna be cheap, what with the kit costing £13,300 before you've bought the donor car or done any work.
Price: £13,300

actual replica

source: T3 jalopnik

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