There are those of us that lust for cars that no one else has and my own personal lust worthy vehicle is the Jaguar XK-180. This car was slated by Ford to be the new F-Type but it was replaced by the car that is currently in the market about 14 years later by Tata. Well an outfit in Europe called JePe Specials has stepped up to the plate and built a new exact replica, granted it’ll cost you a whopping $360K but you’d be in an owner of a car that will likely never make it out of double digits in terms of total sold. Well a change taking place next year in the US DMV law will make it so many more of us can buy new versions of rare cars and many are updated to current standards making them very drivable.
The law that was changed back in 2015 provides that starting in 2017 replica cars can be sold as turnkey cars much like any other car. Up till now you had to do a lot of the work yourself, or hire an independent shop like The Car Factory in Florida to put it together for you but the builder is likely learning on your car and the end result could be a mess depending on the experience and work ethic of the shop. By the way one of the cars they assemble is the Vaydor which was the car The Joker drove in Suicide Squad.
The rules are that the company can’t make more than 5,000 cars total and they can only sell 325 replicas a year but for most small shops the production is likely less than 12 making this last requirement pretty easy to meet.
The cars that this applies to are replicas of cars produced at least 25 years ago.
Another way around this is to start with an approved car and just modify it. This is what JePe did with the XK-180 they basically took an early 2000s XKR, which was what the XK-180 was largely based on, and modify it to match the show car.
Now there are a number of folks who are resurrecting old British cars and, as you’d expect, most appear to be in Europe. One of the best of this group is Eagle. They create a car called the Eagle Speedster which is an updated XK-E with stunning looks and performance but, also, a price of around half a million dollars. They do beautiful work and you can get a more stock E-Type they have restored for between $200K and $260K depending on year.
In the end though you still have a car that was designed to sell in the 1960s and 1970s which means, from a standpoint of handling and safety, it is well below a more current car.
The XK-180 is old too but only around 15 years not over 50. The end result is that it is far more powerful, you can still get part for it, and it has things like anti-lock and 4 wheel disk brakes. Since this was a show car you don’t get a radio or GPS navigation but since most of us use our phones for this stuff anyway and this won’t be a car you’d drive to work those trade-offs are minimal. Of course, given this was a show car, it actually doesn’t really have roof so, if it rains you’ll have a different meaning for the term “Car Pool”.
However, when it isn’t cloudy and you do drive this to an event be prepared for a crowd because folks tend to gravitate to the car. The car is hand made very similarly to how the show car was made, metal body panels, largely out of aluminum, and all. The engine is done up in a show car level as well and you can see the impressive hand assembled detail once the hood is open.
Wrapping Up: New Old Cars
I’m actually looking forward to 2017 as, I expect, we’ll begin to seen an increasing number of well turned out and updated cars on the road. I’m also a big fan of Resto Mods, or old cars which are brought up to current technology standards but actually remanufacturing a car brings us up to a level of quality we just don’t see that often anymore. Of course the car I also lust for is the very rare Phantom Corsair which also never made it into production but kind of looks a bit like what Captain Nemo from Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea might have driven.
Who knows, someday, someone might actually build me one. Could you imagine that car with a Tesla powertrain? I can only hope that Tesla figures out they could sell their drivetrain to these replica shops and the result could be amazing. Until they watch for an increasing number of brand new older cars and one off show cars coming to a street or garage near you, if you’re lucky it could even be your garage.
And you’ll be able to own a legend just buy buying it like any other new car. Crap, for some reason, my wife has hidden my checks and credit cards again…