As a brief introduction, it’s worth considering that almost all mainstream vehicle companies started out life as small car manufacturers, operating from a local factory or, as in the case of Honda, from a shed.
So with that in mind it’s with a good deal of respect that I present to you a selection of kit car manufacturers.
Casting your mind back to the not too distant past and a large number of specialist sports car manufacturers began life as kit car businesses. While they may have outgrown their kit car status, I feel that some are being less than honest by trying to brush their humble origins under the carpet.
This sporting icon produced and sold cars in kit form until the 1970’s when the favourable tax loophole was closed. The Blackpool factory produced some of the most exciting sports cars of the era right up until its demise in 2006. The TVR Grantura as featured in the following video could be bought in kit form and sported a body shell made from glass reinforced plastic (GRP).
The Lotus motor company was founded by Colin Chapman in the late 1940s, yet will be of most interest to kit car enthusiasts as the creator of the instantly recognisable Lotus Seven which was available from Lotus either fully built or in kit form. the rights to the Seven were sold to Caterham back in 1973 and had been copied by pretty much every kit car manufacturer right up to the present day.
While Caterham bought the rights to the Lotus Seven back in the 1970s, they have continued to develop the car, bringing it right up to date with a number of engine and suspension that push the boundaries of low volume sports car performance.
The original blueprint hasn’t been changed; the Seven still sports breathtaking power, a very low centre of gravity and a wide road hugging stance that makes it an uncompromising sports car whether on the road or track.
In conclusion, the small car manufacturers have been responsible for many of the advances in vehicle technology and will continue to do so. They were the first to shoehorn motorcycle engines into their vehicles, providing blistering performance with high revving power. The latest trend will no doubt be in the development of electric cars, something that kit car manufacturers are already pushing ahead with. The future for small vehicle manufacturers looks bright.