Is a GT40 replica a reasonable weekend car?

Hi folks

I'm in the market for a GT40 replica. Just getting started in my research. One thing I am having a tad bit of difficulty discerning from forum posts and build reports is how livable are these cars as weekend drivers?

How reliable are the replicas? What kinds of things should I look out for when buying a replica? Seems like there are 2-3 really reputable kit makers out there. Are these cars the drive-once-repair-twice type of vehicles that require lots of maintenance or can I look forward to many maintenance-free miles of hop-in-and-drive enjoyment?

How easy is it to source parts like brakes, tires, and other maintenance items? I'm mostly concerned about tires since most of the replicas use vintage-style rubber. Are these tires still in production and easy to obtain or is it a forum-scouring effort to find a set?

Are these cars easy to work on at home?

I used to own a Noble M400 and no issues registering it in my state. Are GT40s similarly easier to register?

That's prob enough for now. Appreciate any help or guidance, even if it's a URL to a forum post that I've missed.

Cheers
-Dave
 
Hi Dave,
I completed my CAV GT40 about 9 months and have put 2 thousand miles on it so far.

If you go for around 400 hp car and do a good job installing the motor (purging all of the air out of the coolant system etc.) you would find these cars are very reliable. As for tires I went with 17 inch knock offs so I could get modern tires. If you are driving a lot I would recommend 17 inch wheels.

Weekend car - here is were it gets subjective… there isn't any space for luggage so taking anyone with you is difficult for an overnight stay. I'm lucky living in CA so rain isn't so much of an issue but the cars do leak here and there so that can be an issue.

Working on the car is so easy and a lot of fun. I installed the motor myself and made it a project for my son and I.

Overall it's been a blast driving this car, totally exceed my expectations.
 

Jim Rosenthal

Supporter
You send your luggage ahead, unless you are the type of chap who fancies weekends off alone. :) Or you pack light. Or go to a place where they don't ask you to wear clothes.

They are very drivable and reliable cars once sorted. That said, there isn't much ground clearance and you want to stick to smooth roads and be very careful going in and out of parking lots and up ramps. If your traveling companion enjoys cars and answering a lot of questions, you'll be fine.

PS- they do leak in the rain. Even the best replicas seem to. There's something about those doors that makes the roof leak......
 
Ditto on everything that has been said above. Super fun cars with amazing performance, creating a thrilling driving experience. But weekend driver? Not really. Overnight get away car with your gal? Definitely not, unless your gal is deaf/mute and/or likes to drive without talking for hours on end....or she loves confined/cramped spaces...likes the smell of engine oil and hot exhaust....rain water dripping on her feet and a cold draft up her skirt, etc. Any gal who likes all this probably is, well, probably not actually female.

A sorted GT40 replica is not comparable to an f-car or corvette or porsche....as far as creature comforts not by a mile. But, it's a more thrilling driving experience, by far. At the heart of it, you're essentially driving a race car on the road....and not only that, a 50 year old race car with the minimal creature comforts a race car of 50 years may have contained. An f-car or corvette or porsche is road car with all the modern creature comforts of a sport-oriented road car.

I think the longest trip I took in my CAV was about 45 miles.....it was a fun and thrilling 45 miles, but at the end of it I was happy to get into the family SUV with the (screaming) kids.
 
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Glenn B.

Lifetime Supporter
Maybe I'm an oddball, but I try do 100-150 mile loops every time I take out my GT 40 or the Lola. I drive one them every weekend, weather permitting.

My wife loves the 40, but the Lola scares the s___t out of her. We really enjoy going out to dinner in downtown Austin with it on a Saturday nights. It's an absolute hoot to to roll up with open megaphones in front of a nice restaurant and set off all the car alarms in the valet spaces...and then, watch one of the guys move a Ferrari or Aston out of the "show space" in front for your car. Life is good!

I always check the weather satellites, but not because of the leaking...I have no desire to drive either of these cars in the wet. I'll leave that to the pros like Kenny Brack.

I'm 61 and have owned many sports cars and replicas including a Superformance Cobra Daytona and a Superformance S1 (Lotus 7). I just bought a Westfield Lotus 11. My fave of all...the GT 40.

Go for a drive in one. You'll be hooked.
 
I have driven my SPF 600 miles to Reno from San Diego and back plus numerous other trips of several hundred miles. It is very streetable and reliable. These cars are very simple and if you go over it once in a while to make certain that everything is tight and the fluids are all staying inside the various components, I think you could drive one anywhere.
But, there is no place for luggage, everything goes in trash bags jammed in the passenger footwell and behind the nostrils.
Dave
 

Doug S.

The protoplasm may be 70, but the spirit is 32!
Lifetime Supporter
Regarding luggage...I've heard it said many times here....pack a smile and a credit card, that's about all there is room for.

....well, at least that's the word on the street :cussing:

Doug
 

Larry L.

Lifetime Supporter
But, there is no place for luggage, everything goes in trash bags jammed in the passenger footwell and behind the nostrils.
Dave

Two words with regard to luggage...especially when traveling with another person: Federal Express. 'Word'...unless you want to fabricate/install a rack over the rear body section somehow.
 
Definitely not worried about luggage concerns. By weekend car I was more meaning "that's how often I'd use it" not necessarily that I'd take weekend trips. But ya, if I ever do, I pack light. I'm coming from an Exige, a Murci, an M400, and now my Superleggera so I'm quite used to tight storage accommodations. :)
 

Alan Watkins

Lifetime Supporter
... everything goes in trash bags jammed in the passenger footwell and behind the nostrils.
That's luggage... :)

And just for the record the Mk II's were required in the day to have "FIA Luggage Boxes" which can hold weekend-size luggage. Just don't pack any chocolate.

ALIM0130.jpg

And regarding the reliability question: this is strictly determined by the skill and care of the builder and by the quality and frequency of on-going maintenance. Probably the worst threat to reliability of an SPF (the case I am familiar with) is use in adverse conditions (heavy rain or dust) without cleanup afterwards. Wheel bearings are not as well protected as in a mass produced car; the suspension pivots are all open ball joints, rain water leaks into the vehicle unless it is carefully sealed and can leak into 60's-era electrical connectors, etc. The car needs to be kept mechanically clean and dry. It should not be "put away wet (or dirty)."

Regarding "high maintenance" the short answer is "yes" assuming your baseline is a modern mass-production car (including, for example, a Lamborghini or Lotus). You probably will not successfully drive it 10,000 miles at a time with no mechanical attention. There are no computers or lights to tell you when fluids are low or old and as above there are items that need to be cleaned and/or lubricated frequently. The SPF is a quite accurate reproduction of a car who's designers expected it to be carefully attended to before and after every race and I think you can infer from that what the maintenance requirements are like. Roughly speaking they are like 60's British cars. Oh wait... they ARE 60's British cars. :)

Are they easy to work on at home? That depends on what you intend to convey by "at home" and how your home is different from a professional race shop. If you mean using only a 20-piece craftsman homeowner's took kit, no. If you successfully build a kit yourself then essentially by definition at the end of that you are equipped to "work on it." If you buy a roller and quickly drop a drivetrain in, or worse pay someone else to, your ability to execute any interesting operations on the car have more to do you with your skill set, experience and tool collection than the car itself, so it's not really a question any of us can answer, I don't think. What's the most sophisticated mechanical operation you've ever done on a car all by yourself?
 
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Changed a clutch, installed a cam in a chevy small block, helped a friend do an LS swap, road tuning ECU, and plenty of exterior motor work stuff, and I do all my own maintenance on my cars. I have a 4-post wheel lift in my garage and lots of tools.
 
A GT40 can have comparable luggage capacity to an Exige or Noble. The FIA luggage bins in Alan's photo do hold enough for weekend travel. Things have to be packed loosely and get warm, but it worked for me on a 5 day Mile High Cobra Club drive. Reliability is better than a Lotus too!
 

Alan Watkins

Lifetime Supporter
Changed a clutch, installed a cam in a chevy small block, helped a friend do an LS swap, road tuning ECU, and plenty of exterior motor work stuff, and I do all my own maintenance on my cars. I have a 4-post wheel lift in my garage and lots of tools.
Then you shouldn't have any problems.
 

Ian Anderson

Lifetime Supporter
I would say yes
I did Le Mans classic in 2008 single drive but took all my camping stuff in the car for a 4 day camp and 800 mile plus round trip

I have also been to Liverpool to visit relatives with my wife as passenger and a desktop PC for their son. 200 miles each way and other than fuel strops no problems this time we packed in ziplock bags and squeezed the air out and filled the door pockets with our clothing

Ian
 
They're as reliable as you build them. Build it half-ass and it will fall apart every 5 minutes.

All of my cars have held together fine, minus manufacturing failure of parts. I love driving them in the country and outskirts of the city, but absolutely hate going into town and avoid it at all costs - people are always trying to drive into you (because they can't see you) and anytime you stop you're virtually guaranteed to be accosted by nut jobs who think you want to spend 10 minutes letting them take pictures, sitting in your car, or telling you about how their brother's uncle sister's has a this or that or how they modified a fox body mustang 20 years ago. The first time or two it's funny, after that it's bloody annoying - I don't even go to gas stations anymore, I fill up in my garage.
 

Mike

Lifetime Supporter
Better responses to be had by asking those who actually do drive them as weekend cars rather than those with garage toy/project cars :)

You guys need megaphones… scares the crazies away. I've had a couple bad experiences out and about but I've also lost count of the thumbs up I've got and the little kids I've had sitting behind the wheel at the gas station and around. Driving a car like this one should impart respect for others and an appreciation with being blessed to even have one of the fantastic cars in our possession.

With my SPF I guess for every eight hours I drive it I spend an hour or two doing clean-up & maintenance. If you enjoy turning a wrench now and then you will like it.
 

Rick Muck- Mark IV

GT40s Sponsor
Supporter
Define "weekend" and "reasonable".

It all depends upon what your definition of "is" is!

Can you stash enough clean skivvies to survive a weekend? Yes, Can you pack enough to last weeks, no.
 

Michael Holmes

Lifetime Supporter
Yes they can be a great get out and tool around town, get a bite to eat or take a 2 hr drive up the coast. Mine is nearly a daily driver, I keep it parked inside my office when at work.
 
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