index of the KTUD pages

British specialty cars

Here You can find links to the KTUD pages and to others on the Net which cover British specialty (otherwise called specialist) cars

Latest change: 8 October, 2005.

Created: November, 1995


Comments, questions:


The term specialist cars or kit cars or more vaguely homebuilt cars areapplied to cars which have been built from various pieces mostly using components of some mass-produced car. Rarely they have their own chassis. They are made in small numbers and they are heavily depend on the state ofthe economy due to the fact that these models are for fun. There are people who are so die-hards that they are using the kitcars for everyday transport.The whole craze started back in 1900. A magazine, titled The English Mechanicand World of Science and Art launched a weekly series of articles on how to build your own small car. At least two English Mechanics are known to survive.

"It was the cyclecars which were probably the first ture kit cars ever made".- states Chris Rees. He is quite right. Right before the 1st WW and afterwards people assembled cars from various pieces (from bicycles to wood-boxes) so it was the first great age of home-built cars. If I have to name a car which marks the era I'd pick the American buckboard type vehicles: basically there was a wooden panel with 5 wheels (each corner + the middle of the rear). On top of the 5th wheel there was a small engine. They placed bicycle-seats to the panel + a steering wheel + a little gearbox and thatw as all! An updated motorized bicycle.

At the height of post-World War 1 cyclecar craze Austin introduced its Seven which was the first true people's car. Dozens of small firms offered special bodies on the base of this car.

After the 2nd WW the material which revolutionized the whole industry was born: glassfibre reinforced plastic.

The 1950s specials were mainly steel bodied, while in America GRP-craze has launched. Soon it happened in the UK as well.

Since then the base of these cars are changin' but the idea is the same: design a new form, or copy an old one (these are called replicas) and bolt it onto a mass-produced car and You're in business.

Historical tomes on British specialty cars:
Chris Rees: British specialist cars. Postwar low-volume production cars and kit cars.Windrow & Greene Automotive 1993. ISBN 1 872004 22 9
Chris Rees:Classic Kit Cars. A comprehensive buyer's guide to every kit car produced between 1953-1985. The Filby Files - Vol. 2, 1997.ISBN: 1 901860 00 0

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