A kit car is an automobile that is available as a set of parts that a manufacturer sells and the buyer then either assembles into a car themselves, or if they are really lame, retains a third party to do part or all of the work on their behalf. The engine and transmission are usually sourced from donor vehicles or purchased from other vendors new. These kits vary in completeness ranging from as little as a book of plans to a complete set with all components included.
There is a sub-set of kit cars, commonly referred to as a “re-body”, which is a new body put on the running chassis. Most times, the existing drive gear and interior is retained. Think Pontiac Fiero faux Ferraris as an example. These kits require less technical knowledge from the builder and as the chassis and mechanical systems are already complete.
So, into the mine field of this Automotive sub-culture we go, to see if two Craigslist semi-complete kit cars will entice you to go out and complete the car of your dreams.
Let’s start with this gem which is a 1974 Puma. Pumas were sporadically imported to the U.S. during the 1970’s and 1980’s. Although the Puma was not designed as a kit car, the cars were imported in kit form. The “kit” was actually a complete car less the front suspension, transaxle, engine, wheels, and tires. The missing components were available from the distributor, or the buyer could supply the needed parts. According to the listing there is no motor or transmission, so this leaves you with endless possibilities as far as a powerplant. The asking price is $1,500. See the listing here.
Or second contestant is a 1970 Sterling, that seems to be complete, with a VW engine of non specific dimensions, an open top (which may or may not close), and everything works fine (until after you drive it over the curb!). The classic, original Sterling was an almost exact copy of the Nova Sports Car from the UK, altered for left hand drive. Over the years, the basic body design changed very little. As with variations of the Nova, the main differences among Sterlings can usually be seen as subtle differences in the hood, headlights, taillights, dash, and accents like side scoops. The price for this prime example (with the Craigslist one-image-itis) is $5,000! See the listing here.