Nowadays, there are just two options for creating your own sports car: either you have the financial means to persuade a large manufacturer to develop a model just for you, or you take matters into your own hands and purchase a kit car. The primary benefit of purchasing a kit vehicle is that it provides far greater customization options than purchasing a standard sports car.
Moreover, there’s pride in knowing that you constructed your vehicle instead of purchasing one, which is an achievement even wealthy collectors who order customized models cannot claim. Not to mention, purchasing a kit vehicle is usually far less expensive than purchasing a similar turn-key sports car. Many kits start at less than $25,000 and provide stunning appearances and performance fit for the racetrack when completed.
Top 18 Affordable Kit Cars
18. Westfield Mega S2000 – $24,900
Although Porsche introduced the Super Seven 2000 as an entry-level vehicle in the United States in 2022, its starting price of approximately $45,000 makes it too costly to be included in this list. Other British kit car makers produce similar kits that may be brought to America for around half the price. Just like Caterham, Westfield has been producing kit cars since 1983. Their most popular design is based on the Lotus Seven.
Even though the Mega S2000 has a Honda F20C engine, it is not much heavier than 1,200 lbs (544 kg). Manik Sportscars, a Texas-based specialty importer, offers it for $24,990, including shipping. But an engine, transmission, alternator, and a few other items are not included at this price because they need a donor Honda S2000.
Westfield, like many small car companies, has had trouble with its cash flow. In June 2022, it went into administration. But in September 2022, the company got new investors, and it is reportedly planning to resume manufacturing on a small scale. It’s unclear how this will impact the kits’ availability in the United States.
17. Carolina Vaydor – $23,800
The Vaydor was a sensation in 2016 due to its role as the Joker’s car in the film “Suicide Squad,” and fans can get one even now. Unlike many other kit cars here, it utilizes the donor car’s factory chassis and most of its interior components, using an Infiniti G35 Coupe as a donor.
The kit comes in separate parts; the basic body kit costs $16,000, and several additional items may be purchased, such as unique interior components and scissor door hinges. People who don’t want to buy the inner upholstery kit will have to pay a pretty high price, $23,800. Compared to most other kit vehicles, the kit has features like a head-up display and 360-degree cameras to make it more driver-friendly.
Carolina Vaydor advises upgrading from the donor car’s engine or using the G35’s LS, 2JZ, or LT engine bay. However, the company predicts that most builds will cost around $40,000 for skilled builders and may cost more if they need support. Still, with enough technical skill and a cheap donor G35, builders can make a unique car with supercar looks and performance at a fraction of the cost.
16. Factory Five Type 65 Coupe – $22,990
The original Shelby Daytona Coupes are so expensive that it is nearly impossible to own one, let alone drive one. However, Factory Five provides a solution: the Type 65 Coupe is the closest to the actual thing available to those without an eight-figure bank account.
The kit has two variants available; the less expensive version costs $17,990 and requires a Mustang donor car. A “complete kit” is offered for an additional $5,000 that just needs paint, wheels, and an engine. The entire kit is compatible with Ford small block 302, 351, and 5.0-liter Coyote engines, with several aftermarket power enhancements available for each engine type.
Builders can select between period-correct styling and contemporary comfort with a selection of historical or modern gauges and switches. Factory Five offers worldwide shipment upon request and is available in both left- and right-hand drive versions. Even though the typical enthusiast will never get to drive a real Daytona Coupe, they can enjoy the next best thing with a kit car like this one.
15. Factory Five ’33 Hot Rod – $20,990
American kit car builder Factory Five is well-known for a reason. The company offers cheap kits, such as the ’33 Hot Rod, which is truly classic. The ’33 Hot Rod doesn’t use a donor car and costs $10,990 for two stages or $20,990 for the whole kit. Factory Five builds the chassis, body, suspension, and interior in-house, allowing the builder to select the drivetrain.
Factory Five President Dave Smith said the Hot Rod Kit was designed to boost performance and drivability over a traditional hot rod construction and simplify things by putting all the elements in one spot. The design made its debut at the 2008 SEMA show, and now you can get the second-generation kit from Factory Five’s website.
14. Factory Five Mk4 Roadster – $20,990
Real Shelby Cobras are very hard to find and very expensive. The most sought-after ones have been sold at auction for more than $5 million. That makes them unattainable to all but the wealthiest collectors, but a thriving replica business lets enthusiasts drive their own Cobra for much less.
Popular replica kits include Factory Five’s Mk4 Roadster, which costs $20,990. The engine, transmission, wheels, and tires are sold separately, like with most kit vehicles. Builders can choose between budget and performance, but most will pay more to make their Cobra as fast as it looks.
Factory Five provides detailed instructions for building the vehicle with standard tools. Unfortunately, the Mk4 Roadster cannot be purchased turn-key, but the kit builder can help customers find a shop to assemble it.
13. Arma GT – $18,150
Even though the Arma GT kit supercar has been around since 2022, only a few units have been sold thus far. Still, that’s not bad, especially for those seeking a truly unique build. It costs $18,150, but like most of these kits, the buyer has to pay for the powertrain, tires, and interior upholstery. Even if it’s not the cheapest build, it’s still far more affordable than purchasing a supercar from a reputable manufacturer.
The car’s mid-engine configuration and low-slung design are inspired by Ferrari and McLaren, however, production should use a domestic powerplant. Arma suggests using an LS2, LS3, or LT4 engine with at least 400 horsepower to match the car’s looks, depending on the price. According to the manufacturer, the kit may be modified to operate with electric motors and battery packs.
12. GBS Zero – $17,430
If you think the Westfield is a touch too expensive, another British manufacturer offers even more reasonably priced Lotus Seven kit cars. The Zero package is available from Great British Sports Cars (GBS) and may be shipped directly to the United States.
With the 5% export tax included, the Zero kit comes to about $17,430. Buyers in other regions can also purchase a turn-key version, although this is not available in North America. The Zero kit is made to fit American standards and can be installed on either the Mk1 or Mk2 Mazda Miata.
Like other Miata-based kit cars, the factory engine can be used for assembly, but modifications are easy. Although the Zero shares certain similarities with its competitors, it differs from previous Lotus Seven-based designs in that it has a unique front-mid engine configuration that achieves a nearly perfect 50:50 weight distribution.
11. Factory Five 818 – $13,990
Factory Five designs the 818 sports car and makes replica kits of America’s best cars. It comes in three different configurations: roadster (818S), racing (818R), and coupe (818C), with the coupe being arguably the most versatile. The 818, like all the company’s cars, emphasizes performance and handling, but it’s also one of the best-looking kit sports cars.
Although it uses Subaru Impreza/WRX running gear, the 818’s lightweight chassis and panels keep its curb weight under 1,800 lbs (816 kg). The package costs $13,990, and Factory Five claims the 818 can be driven for under $15,000 with a cheap donor car.
The 818 can use Impreza/WRX’s front and rear spindles, steering rack, and pedal box. The Impreza’s original engine fits nicely into the 818’s engine room, but builders can use the Subaru aftermarket to maximize Boxer engine horsepower.
10. Bauer Catfish Roadster – $13,900
According to company founder Cord Bauer, the Catfish Roadster is a track-day car that owners should “take care of to put it together right.” It’s only sold as a kit; hence, this article considers it a decent kit car. The base-spec Catfish Roadster starts at $13,900, and a safety cage authorized by NASA and the SCCA adds $2,000 to the price.
The sub-frames need a donor NA or NB Miata with a large engine bay for an LS V8 and 1.8-liter Miata engine. Bauer manufactured and distributed the kit until 2020. The kit is presently produced by Race Car Replicas, a kit car builder known for its genuine Ford GT40 reproductions, over 28 of which were used in the 2019 film “Ford v Ferrari.”
9. Vintage Motorcars Speedster – $12,500
The Porsche 356 is one of the company’s most iconic models, with over 76,000 units produced. Even though over 50% of those cars made it to the US, most of them have already been discarded due to rust, the worst enemy of classic cars. As a result, there is a thriving market for 356 replicas; for example, Vintage Motorcars of California offers a Volkswagen Beetle chassis that is visually identical to the original.
The Speedster is a convertible sports car that comes in two flavors: a DIY kit and a turnkey version. The DIY kit for Stage 1 costs a mere $12,000. There’s a lot of extra work for builders because the initial kit only includes the fiberglass body, steel sub-frame, doors, and bumpers.
But it’s still possible to find a cheap donor Beetle, and the Speedster is built to support multiple engines to minimize costs. The kit can be installed on a standard Type 1 engine, but it can also be used with Subaru water-cooled and Type IV (Porsche 914) engines.
8. AC Autos ’32 Ford Sedan & Delivery – $12,490
Although hot rods have always been a popular method to create a one-of-a-kind vehicle, finding inexpensive historic cars to customize is becoming increasingly difficult. Rather, a kit car, such as the AC Autos ’32 Ford Sedan & Delivery, is presently the most affordable and easiest way to construct a hot rod, provided the builder has some knowledge of cars.
The base frame costs $3,495, and the fiberglass body of the kit can be ordered separately for $6,995. Another option is to purchase a rolling chassis with all the necessary accessories, such as shocks and brakes, for $8,995.
Buyers should budget a total of $12,490 for a body and a rolling chassis. Although the responsibility for the engine and transmission remains with the buyer, a muscular V8 would be a good choice for a vehicle with such a menacing appearance.
7. Urban Gorilla 4×4 Bodies – $9,995
Many people can’t afford a Hummer H1, but Urban Gorilla sells a kit that looks much like one for far less money. The 4×4 Bodies package comes with Combat or Slant Back bodywork options, and it may be ordered in two-door, four-door, or six-door configurations. The kit, in its most affordable version, only costs $9,995.
The optional fiberglass doors add $995 to each kit. The brand’s website states that standard-cab, long-bed pickups from any major American manufacturer are generally okay to use as donor cars. Buyers can equip their build with the newest technology and opulent upholstery, or they can keep it simple and built in the military aesthetic.
Urban Gorilla advises customers to account for the cost of window and windshield glass in addition to the kit’s price since windows are not included in the package. Despite adding glass and some interior changes, the 4×4 Bodies kit will still be far less expensive than purchasing an actual Hummer and look impressive.
6. DF Goblin – $9,500
DF makes a street racing kit for the 2005–2010 Chevrolet Cobalt, an entry-level automobile. A base-spec Goblin kit costs $9,500 after buying a donor car. DF says the Goblin is “even easier than flat-pack furniture,” using only fundamental equipment.
Most completed projects weigh 1,500 lbs (680 kg) to 1,600 lbs (725 kg), making the base-spec Cobalt’s 145 horsepower engine more than sufficient. The Goblin package works with any Cobalt engine, so serious performance seekers should choose the 260-horsepower 2.0-liter Cobalt SS Turbo.
DF’s website claims a Goblin with a Cobalt SS Turbo engine can go 0–60 mph (96 kph) in 3.25 seconds, faster than a Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat. Its mid-mounted engine and light curb weight should make it quick around turns, allowing drivers to follow cars three or four times as expensive on straights and twisties.
5. Exomotive Exocet – $7,999
Though it’s not the prettiest kit vehicle, the Exomotive Exocet offers inexpensive performance. The base-spec Exocet utilizes a Mazda Miata as a donor car but removes all extraneous parts to create an ultra-lightweight track day toy for $7,999. A roll bar costs $300, and an off-road kit costs $700 for drivers who prefer the trail to the track.
American Exocets are licensed by Exomotive, but Mills Extreme Vehicles (MEV) builds the car for the U.K. and European markets following Steve Mills’ design. Exomotive Exocets require an NA or NB Miata donor car; however, MEV kits are compatible with NC Miatas. The Miata’s original engine powers the Exocet, but there are big tuner parts aftermarket, so owners can easily boost power.
4. Meyers Manx Classic – $5,995
Few cars are as adored as the Meyers Manx, and it was announced in March 2023 that the original would be replaced with the Meyers Manx Remastered kit, which will feature a few significant modifications. This kit has new features, such as a trunk that can be locked at the back and new wiring tubes.
It was redesigned with help from Freeman Thomas, who created the Audi TT. The fiberglass body panels have been fine-tuned with 3D modeling software for an even better fit than before, and there are 64 additional colors to choose from, most of which feature metal flake paint possibilities.
The bare essentials are the same; purchasers are still responsible for sourcing a donor VW Beetle chassis, engine, and gearbox. The Remastered kit starts at $5,995, but adding metal flake paint will bring the total cost up to $1,000 more. You can also get a UV-clear coat for an additional $800.
3. Riot Classic – $5,870
Kit car designs often change hands as one business runs out of cash and another buys its assets due to their niche consumer base and low-profit margins. The Riot Kit Car is a good example because it was first made by Sylva Autokits and won Kit Car of the Year from Complete Kit Cars Magazine not long after it came out in 2005.
The design concept was then sold to another small British business, Xmoor Motorsports, which redesigned and debuted the Riot Classic in 2013. Riot sells the Classic starter kit for $5,870, including taxes, making it one of the cheapest sports car kits.
The chassis, body, and wheels are included, with Ford EcoBoost powertrains available for an additional cost. The mid-mounted engine produces 210 horsepower with Riot’s recommended 1.6-liter Ford 4-cylinder. Given the car’s 480 kg (1,058 lbs), that’s plenty.
2. Burton Sportscar – $4,910
The Burton Car Company is a Dutch company that makes kits. Their Sportscar Kit is a great, cheap option for buying a classic British or European sports car. The kit itself costs around $4,910, but a Citroën 2CV donor car is required. While 2CVs may be easy to come by in Europe, finding a cheap one in the US will be much more of a challenge.
But there is another option: Burton also sells pre-built kit cars that can be transported directly to America, with prices starting at about $16,370. The company claims to have sent over 1,300 Sportscars worldwide, including the U.S. This kit may not be as easy to find as others, but the Burton Sportscar’s European style will turn heads, and owners are practically guaranteed never to see another one.
1. Smyth Audi A4/S4 Ute – $3,790
Ever wish you could convert your Audi sedan to a pickup truck? With the Smyth Audi A4/S4 Ute kit, you can do that for a mere $3,790 (that is, if you already own an Audi, of course). The modification is compatible with any A4 or S4 built between 2003 and 2007, and it provides the vehicle with an appearance that is guaranteed to turn heads far more than any stock Audi could.
The rear part of the passenger cabin is eliminated to provide a larger bed than expected for a sedan-based truck. Despite its affordability, the kit requires certain tools to modify the car, making it a difficult task best suited for experienced automotive builders.
In addition, the kit does not contain tail lights, which need to be purchased from an Acura MDX. It may be one of the strangest kits available here, but this is about as eye-catching as it gets for someone determined to make a big change to their Audi car.
Building your own car is a lot of work. Whether you’re in the mood to construct a dune buggy, a replica of your favorite muscle car, or something completely different, there is a replica kit or component car out there for you to choose from. In this article, we have listed the top 18 affordable kit cars. You can get the one that suits your budget best.