Post by Jeff Nix 

I have heard the whole "kit car" marginilazations since my earliest involvement with cars. Back in the day when the kit cars were true low budget DIY creations all manner of snicker abounded at shows whenever one of these things would ride up.

In the days when I showed a trailer queen at the ISCA circuit, it was near impossible for the kit cars of that day to get a placement on the show floor due to the bad rap they had. It’s a different temperament now and allowances are much broader wherein most [forgive the broad brush ] of what you see in the ISCA and the pro show circuit are in fact very evolved versions of the old kit cars concept.  But wait before we jump… I realize the quality now is miles apart from the old Sebring and Bradley GT days and the Kit car contempt we see today doesn’t even regard these examples as current. That said, it is the spirit of the discussion I am attempting to set out, not the letter of the actual differentiation of the vehicles.

Truth be told  - and using the strictest of definition, most of what we see today are kits of some stripe. Good kit, Bad kit, whatever, Parmenter is correct in his assertion, It is a matter of taste… there are obviously some folks who won't like it.

I couldn’t agree more!! 

Nevertheless the silliness continues by those who will never accept glass, in any form or finished product. I attended a show recently where someone showed up in one of those very nice Alloway Marcel Delay bodies ( 33 Ford I think )  It was absolutely gorgeous but it received the same old kit car hacks that  were once reserved for the Excaliburs and anything that rode on a VW frame. Was this jealousy? Was it ignorance? I couldn’t figure it out at all but I knew instinctively that the perception was grossly misplaced.

Amidst the angst… I do feel that there is some  well deserved credibility coming to the Rodding world in terms of acceptance of the new era of “kits”. Call em “turnkeys “ or “nearly finished rollers” or whatever the evolving identifications become. An example of this credibility has to be Street Rodder mag’s “Street Rod of the Year 2002” which went to a DOWNS 37 Ford truck...  nevertheless someone out there will still call this a kit car. 

Noteworthy also is that DOWNS has a version of this body designed to “graft” onto the S-10. They are obviously very proud of their creation and with the SRM award, it should achieve great strides helping to legitimize glass and hopefully marganilize glass detractors.

Then again, I suppose there will always be something to fuss about. I just hope the greater Hot Rod family realizes that all comers are welcome to the party and the glass you bring is equally as acceptable as the glass anyone else brings. To do otherwise is to but split hairs and rest firmly in the column of the argumentative, combative and generally disagreeable.


That said, Modern Hot Rodding may never totally shake the “kit car” moniker but at least we can lend sophistication and world class craftsmanship to this ill-deserved label. If the 1939 Studebaker is really nothing more than a kit car, It rides proudly alongside the Downs 37 Ford, the Alloway Speedstar and the Boydster II.



For More commentary on the subject of  "Kit Car or Custom Rod", see the following posts as selected from Club Hot Rod
Controversy... Kit car or Not ? - from Club Hot Rod
Controversy... Kit car or Not ? - Page 2 - from Club Hot Rod