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Stoneleigh Show
That is probably another part of it.

Also, there are now a lot of 2 seater sports car options on the market from mainstream manufacturers. Things like early Boxsters are now very attainable with early high mileage examples starting at just over £3k on AutoTrader, but around £8-10k would buy something quite tidy looking with a lower mileage. Building a car suddenly looks a lot less desirable - and it is probably why there is the interest in Porsche bodykit conversions.
I noticed on the Tiger stand their Avon kit with an asking price of c. £16,000 if I recall correctly and it brought to mind buying my first 'new' car in the early '70s.

Having a reasonably well paid job in the computer industry and being single, I splashed out a sum equivalent to a little over half a year's salary on a TVR 2500 in 'kit form'. Of course, the 'kit form' was just a ruse to avoid paying purchase tax and the build process simply involved removing the bonnet, installing the engine & gearbox, bolting on the front suspension uprights, installing the radiator (I think), making some connections and re-attaching the bonnet. From collecting the 'kit' from the factory in Blackpool to taking it to the local dealer for its PDI was 4 days.

Now it occurs to me that if the afore-mentioned offer from Tiger is typical of the sort of expenditure for a complete 'Seven type' kit with all new parts, then we are talking about a similar half year's salary by today's standards (forgive me if I'm out of touch on such matters, I'm a pensioner!). The difference is, however, the TVR was on the road in days rather than months and it was my every day daily driver – commuting in all weather conditions throughout the year as well as taking me on holiday and providing a cosy if uncomfortable and cramped 'trysting place' in quiet country lanes!

Perhaps, therefore, the kit car market is in danger of pricing itself out of existence. New factory built cars are a similar price to 'classics' (TR6 and the like) making them the preserve of people with a certain level of wealth. A kit car must be deemed a luxury item by virtue of the fact that we don't actually need them, they are an indulgence – and we still need additional daily transport! Buying a kit even with used donor parts requires a substantial commitment of cash and time; a commitment fewer people have – particularly younger individuals struggling to access property ownership.

I love my pre-built, pre-owned, used and abused Cat but I'd be hard-pressed to ever consider buying new. Stoneleigh, the last bastion of kit car shows, appears to be reflecting the trend.

Overdriver makes a good point. I concur with his appraisal of the average salary percentage required to buy a new “Sevenesque” kit car, which is most unlikely to become a “Daily Driver” and is therefore a discretionary buy in modern parlance.

I'm not sure that it's a deliberate attempt by manufacturers to “get rich quick”, it's more likely to be as a result of today's regulations, liability insurance, raw material costs, salaries, business rates etc. As a result they probably have to broaden their services into spares manufacturing or classic car refurbishment. The reduction in venues may also be a result of broadly the same pressures, particularly public liability insurance and the H & S issues involved and it's much easier and free to look at on line “venues” than actually visit anywhere these days.

Nevertheless even if there is a downturn I'm sure that there will always be enough people taking an interest in the practical aspects of mechanical and electrical engineering and of motoring generally, whether it be internal combustion or not, to continue building or modifying and improving their own cars in whatever way they can. These things go in cycles and I remain optimistic!