Sl-C or a finished car?

I've been debating a build for years, but now I'm really tempted to start. However 5 years ago, there were not many mid engine factory cars for sale. now used R8s, are plentiful and can be had for 60-80k on the used market. So I'm curious if anyone has gone through the same analysis and decided to build anyway. Would love to hear some comments.
An R8, or any "normal" mid-engined car really isn't a competitor for an SLC, IMO. If all you want is good or very good performance in a mid-engined car, the best value is always in a production car.

I like to think that most people build a car like the SLC because it represents a way to be very different from a production car. For example, you can't buy a production car that is as powerful AND as light as an SLC. Or, for that matter, as light, period.

You can't buy a production car that can be as simple as an SLC (safety, emissions and the plethora of nanny rules make that impossible).

You can't buy a production car that has your choice of drivetrain if you want something different (want a 20B turbo rotary? Too bad, in a production car).

You generally can't get a production car in any color you choose, as you can with an SLC. Or with your choice of brakes. Or Interior. Or suspension tuned your way right from the start.

And most importantly, you have to build an SLC, which means you will truly have a one of a kind vehicle. No SLC is exactly like another as they are all expressions of the individual owners' preferences, budget, and aspirations.

If all of the above is important to you, an SLC can be a great choice. OTOH, if all you want is a good performing car for a low price, the 2020 Corvette beckons.
My advice has always been that if you can even consider buying a production or pre-built car, then you should. Building a car from scratch takes an immense amount of dedication, time, and energy. The people who build them are people who love to build the car as much or more than drive it, and can't stand the thought of buying something that isn't exactly the way they want it down to every nut and bolt. There are a lot of half built cars in garages around the world from people who thought it would be fun without understanding exactly how much work it takes. If you think that you would buy an SL-C already built if it came up for $35K because that is cheaper than the cost of the kit before you even start building... then you should not build one. People who should build one are the people who would never buy one already built, because they want to build it their way.

Perhaps my views are a little on the extreme side, but I just know way too many people with half finished projects and it is sad to see them collecting dust.


I will offer my POV which aligns with both Will and Alan but with a slght twist -- I am having Fran build a turnkey car for me. All of what Will said is exactly true for me AND most of what Alan is also true to for me. The one tweak that I would make to Alan's is that I am building exactly what I want (but using Fran's expertise to make it better than I would be able to do myself and most importantly in a fraction of the timeframe). I chose this route because I am OCD (Fran even referenced my energy / persistence [e.g. OCD) earlier this week when we were talking :D ) and given this I know that I wanted to direct my Obsessiveness towards designing those aspects that matter to me. To Will and Alan's points, we each don't want to settle for bland and what everyone else has. We want our SLC's to be a reflection of certain aspects of our top 3-5 dream cars that we admire.

For me, It is the:
  • Body styling - I love most of the lines on the SLC but I am customizing the hood, the wheel vents, the side skirts, and the paint to match aspects of the Ferrari P80/C and Koenigsegg Agera
  • Interior - I am planning to have a very nice / custom interior. I am having that professionally done to make it look and feel like a supercar just completely designed to exactly match my tastes
  • Engine - You have to make concessions somewhere. This is where I decided to concede. Ideally, as a life long Mopar guy, I would have wanted a Hellcat or Viper V10 engine. But I quickly learned that would have been an extreme cost that would have also impacted much of my other design. So I am going with a very high performing, reliable and yet cost effective LS3 525HP engine which I am total fine with.
Personally - my wife who isn't a car person all … said it best. "If you are going to spend that much money I think you would feel a lot better getting a very unique car that when everyone sees it they say, 'WOW - Look at that amazing car...what is it!!'"

So a Ferrari P80C and Koenigsegg Agera would definitely fit that bill but I can't afford nor justify spending $1M (or even over $200K) on a car. So the SLC is exactly the right car for me. I am getting the quality, performance and uniqueness all wrapped in one. I chose the turnkey route as a forcing function of ensuring the car is completed AND so that I can enjoy it in months not years. :cool:

I am consultant who helps large corporations transform their Product Development capabilities. Much of my work begins by helping these companies with their Strategy and Vision of what they sell and how they position it to their customers. What Fran is selling isn't the Brand & Performance that Ferrari/Porsche/Lamborghini are centered on. Fran is Selling the Dream Car Build to car enthusiast who want to create their unique dream car with an outcome that matches Supercar performance. Whether you build it yourself or do the turnkey build, you get to live your own Dream Car Build.
People who should build one are the people who would never buy one already built, because they want to build it their way.
This is a great point. I have rebuilt a few cars and have had 5 different corvettes, restored 2 camaro's etc. I'm well versed in the LS and all the electronics, do my own tuning etc... but at the end of the day, it wasn't different if you know what I mean. I'm a little MEH on the new corvette but really always wanted a v8 mid engine car. I can build it, I'm not worried about it, but 4 kids I know it will take me a good 4-5 years just to assemble it all.
I'm in a similar boat as Brian. I had intended on building mine, but a kid happened and sent it off. Almost 2yrs later since it was loaded up heading to CT and I still can say I have zero regrets with my decision. Just with 1 kid, I honestly don't know how long it would have taken me to finish. I'm impressed with everyone that builds with kids, that's some serious dedication. I am like most builders on here in the sense I love to tinker as much (if not more) than driving it. I've done neither past few months, but will soon.
Agreed, if there is a production car that fits your wants then buy it. Here in California we have the most restrictive smog laws in the country but, we also have SB100 registration available for self constructed vehicles. Which basically means that if you build it and it never had a vin number on it, you can (specific requirements apply) register it as a pre-smog vehicle.

Since there are very few mid-engine OEM cars that I would not want modify to my specific likes (i.e. I couldn't smog it) an SLC was my choice. Even at that, I modified the hell out of what arrived in a big rig a decade ago. Full front trunk, interior storage, relocated rads, re-engineered AC and the list goes on and on. Although I consider it a toy, with enough development the car has become a reliable tourer with multiple 500 mile adventures under its belt. Currently considering a faster steering rack and electronic power assist, try that on a modern production car.

Joel K

Lot’s of good perspectives here. I can think of many motivations to either build or have a component car built to your specs.

For me, I really just had a desire to build a kit/component car and first hand learn all about the various components and how they work. I never really considered buying a production car vs. building a component car. IMO, the production car will be the better car on many levels if you had to choose between them.

After viewing many build threads and videos I realized it would be a huge effort to complete any kit so I chose a kit that would help fuel my passion to completion and chose the SL-C. The main selling points were the GTP styling, rear engine layout, drivetrain flexibility, and it’s engineering(aluminum tub and suspension). When complete I believe this will be a very unique car that I can proudly say I built.

Being 2 years into the build, so far I can say it’s been very enjoyable and more challenging than I thought. Mainly more challenging due to the custom aspects I’ve added to the build plan. It turns out though the most enjoyable aspect of the build is designing and fabricating the custom parts. I never anticipated that to happen.

Lastly, if I do run out of motivation at some point I would do what Del did and ship the car up to Allan to complete. Either way this SL-C is going to get finished!
I've been debating a build for years, but now I'm really tempted to start. However 5 years ago, there were not many mid engine factory cars for sale. now used R8s, are plentiful and can be had for 60-80k on the used market. So I'm curious if anyone has gone through the same analysis and decided to build anyway. Would love to hear some comments.
I decided not to build, at least not yet, and bought a McLaren MP4-12C. Parts and maintenance are on a different level than an SLC (basic service ~$2k, new brakes ~$15k), and the car older, but I could drive it immediately. I could still be tempted by a roomy single seater (potentially electric) though.

Being in California, an SLC was particularly tempting, as SB100 would allow for engine modifications. For now, 616hp will suffice :)
At a typical car show there are brand new production vehicles of all types: Corvettes, Mustangs, Camaros, Challengers, Lambos, Porsches... All of those are nice vehicles. When I show up with my SLC there is a crowd around my car all night long. Anyone can buy a vehicle, not many can build one. When you see people's reaction to the car, it fills your soul with pride and accomplishment. That feeling is priceless.
a month before i bought my SLC from earl I was test driving a low millage 2017 Porsche c4s at a dealership in San Diego. As I was racing this car up and down the highway I was making a list of all the mods I would make to the car. I was planning to tear the car apart like my last Porsche (04 911 c4s) and build it the way I wanted it. As I got back to the dealership I decided I would not buy another newer machine like this just to wrench on it all the time. On the drive back from san Diego I started looking for a used SLC kit. (I couldnt wait for a new kit to arrive)

I have had some fun toys but I can say this SLC is the best thing Ive played with. I look forward to my nightly 1.5 hours with her.
That said...the C4s would have been a lot cheaper on paper. But in a way I think the SLC is the cheaper toy because she is so wonderful that it keeps you occupied so you dont play with other toys so much.