I remember visiting New York City as a junior high kid and being mesmerized by two things: the height of the twin World Trade Center towers and the guys in trench coats selling Rolex watches.
Of course it wasn’t until later that I realized the watches weren’t genuine and that Rolex isn’t spelled “Rolecks.” That was my first experience with cheap replicas of a nice product, and I think of those trench-coat guys every time I hear the word “replica,” whether in reference to watches or copies of exotic cars.
Replica cars today aren’t quite as shady as those NYC watches, and some of them even look pretty darn good! Keep reading for some shining, but kinda horrifying, examples of everyday cars turned into exotics.
Finding a pre-owned Ferrari F430 can be a time-consuming, expensive endeavor. Finding a cheap used Toyota Corolla can be done in under 38 seconds. So if you have a hankering for some Italian flair but lack the budget, check out this “F430,” which sits atop an old Corolla chassis.
Unbelievably, this may be one of the best replicas I’ve seen in a long time. Sure, the space between the fenders and the tires gives it away, as do the brightly painted small front brakes (seen above), but overall I’m actually impressed.
Apparently Toyota-to-Ferrari isn’t as uncommon as we might think. Take the MR2 below dressed as a 360 Spyder, for example. While not likely to be confused with the real deal, it looks like a nicely done project. It even has Ferrari-labeled floormats and brake calipers!
The Mercury Cougar that surfaced in the 1990s was, to put it simply, a joke. The original Cougar was one of the best muscle cars ever, but this version was an underpowered, front-wheel-drive afterthought. So it comes as a surprise to see it used as a base for an Audi R8 replica and, get ready for this, a Bugatti Veyron replica.
Copying Ferrari, Audi and Bugatti kind of makes sense. But no one would dare take on the Holy Grail of car design, right? Doing so would be a disgrace to all that is Aston Martin. Yet it seems a company in Orange County, Calif., has done it, and is selling it for $35K. Judging from the picture, it actually does Aston incredible justice.
Owning a replica watch is one thing, but would you ever buy (or build) a replica of an exotic car?