Hooniverse Weekend Edition – Kit Car Showdown

Sadly, these are not the cars in the listings. Top: Sterling / Bottom: Puma

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.

This US version of the Puma is used as an example.

Yes, this is the Puma that is for sale…..

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.
Just an example of an early Sterling….

The Craigslist Sterling

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.
[poll id=”71″]

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  1. buzzboy7 Avatar

    No glutton for punishment. Think about the weather seals on the Sterling….now pick the Puma.

    1. Black Steelies Avatar

      They'll be so mystified by that door they won't notice it smells like low tide and the nice plush green interior.

  2. Manic_King Avatar

    Puma, of course. How much for the De Tomaso Mangusta which is parked next to that Puma?

    1. tonyola Avatar

      The Mangusta wasn't all that far removed from kit car territory itself. Especially in build quality.

  3. ademrudin Avatar

    4-bar linkage FTW

  4. JoeyM Avatar

    Of the two, I like the Puma. I'm partial to the streetrod kits, though
    <img src=http://www.ratsglassbodies.com/images/display_pics/speedstar_vicky2.jpg>

    1. njhoon Avatar

      You can make that two. I went Puma as well but this rod is awesome. I know a guy who as the topless version with a 572 ci in his. It is rightfully insane.

  5. Abe Avatar

    I would pick the Sterling. Better "action hero" looks, massively upgradable with Subaru power/tubular chassis and if anything breaks you can get new parts for it (including the rubber seals) . http://www.sterlingsportscars.com/

  6. jjd241 Avatar

    Looks like fun! Here are my latest "seen on the street" sightings.
    [youtube Q5YC8p9IApU http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5YC8p9IApU youtube]

  7. Feds_II Avatar

    Oh how I love the Sterling. I'd pay 5k for the example Sterling. The actual one for sale is too rich by half.
    But gawd how I desire to pull up to a high end restaraunt valet, pop the top (which has been modified to include an appropriate whoosh noise), and climb out looking like a cross between magnum p.I. And macho man Randy savage, with Mrs. Feds wearing an appropriately slinky and sequined dress, with her hair fro'd up as high as the limits of physics and the roof mechanism allow. Then flip the keys to the valet, and walk in without a word.
    Yes, I have strange fantasies, but they are mine, and that is what gets me through the night.

    1. zsm Avatar

      My oldest son played played youth baseball. One time a Sterling pulled-up to a game. The top opened and a kid from the opposing team popped out and ran over. Then the dad climbed-out. He did have a great mustache too.

      1. dr zero Avatar
        dr zero

        With a ride like a Sterling, you are going to need a good moustache, worn unironically.

    2. Mr_Biggles Avatar

      It took me a minute with the action here reference in the poll question, but I believe Condorman drove a somewhat tarted up version of the Sterling. You could go with the same formula and come up with a catchy superhero name, or just go with the original. No moustache, but he wore some pretty nice duds.
      <img src="http://www.imcdb.org/i003296.jpg"&gt;
      <img src="http://www.moviecatcher.net/images/michael-crawford-as-condorman1.jpg"&gt;

  8. scroggzilla Avatar

    <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3591/3386400388_a8d48bdccf.jpg&quot; width="500" height="317" alt="puma_souza_ramos_interlagos_70" />

  9. dustin_driver Avatar

    The Puma has Datsun Z bits, no? Windshield, at least?
    Anyway, I like the looks of that car. Especially in silver.

  10. Oz Ford Avatar
    Oz Ford

    The Stirling was also sold in Australia as the [b]Purvis Eureka[/b]
    It’s my fav kit car