Forget Kit Cars, Here Come the Repli-Mods


If you could flip through the annals of automotive history and bring back a modern version of any car within their pages, which car would you choose?

That’s a question that may receive an answer in the coming years as a new kit-car law could spawn an entire automotive sub-industry.

The Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act of 2015 allows manufacturers to apply for an exemption from NHTSA safety and crash-test standards for up to 325 “replica motor vehicles” each year. These modified replicas, or repli-mods, would still have to meet current-year emissions standards, which will require modern EPA-certified production engines and emissions controls.

The reality of buying a modernized classic could be just around the corner. Here are some we’d love to see.

First, it’s important to know that only automakers that produce fewer than 5,000 cars annually will be permitted to apply for the repli-mod exemption. That means the Fords and GMs of the world have to sit this one out and allow the smaller companies to have all the fun. One good example is:

The DeLorean Motor Company


DeLorean has been in business in its modern form since 1997, selling parts to maintain and restore old DMC-12 gull-wing coupes. With the new law, however, the company can use its stash of millions of parts to assemble brand-new cars with a modern powertrain and new instrumentation. We don’t know what engine will power the new DeLorean, but it’s expected to produce somewhere between 300 and 400 horsepower. The company expects to build about 300 cars priced around $100,000 each. If all goes well, we should see the first by the end of the decade.

It’s unknown what other companies might take advantage of the new law, but we hope to see:

The Shelby Cobra


Cobras are still sold, but typically as kits that need engines installed after delivery. If an American company can give us that classic body shape along with a modern, powerful, and efficient engine in the form a GM LS crate engine, or even a Ford EcoBoost, selling 300 per year should come easy.

The Tucker 48


A rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive modern Tucker–with that directional third headlight–would be a thrilling addition to the repli-mod market in the United States while also honoring Preston Tucker, a true pioneer of the auto industry.

The Ferrari 250 GTO


Ferrari would have to license the rights to the 250 GTO to a small automaker in order for this dream to ever come true. That’s highly unlikely, but it can’t stop us from dreaming.

Ferrari only made 39 of these cars, most of which were powered by a 3.0-liter V12 engine. We think a modern turbocharged V6 would do just fine.

The Jaguar E-Type


The 250 GTO was created to rival the original Shelby Cobra and the Jaguar E-Type. The Jag is still considered to be one of the most beautiful cars ever built, and a modern run of the classic would look great in the garages of wealthy Americans.

What classic car would you like to see brought back as a repli-mod?


Find Certified Pre-Owned Cars and Used Cars in your area at CarGurus.

Used Delorean DMC-12
Used Shelby Cobra
Used Jaguar E-Type

1 Comment

  1. I fell in love with my Uncle Tom’s 1973 Capri. I know they were a BIG seller in Europe and just so-so here in the US but if I had the chance to buy a new one in that classic styling and maybe a new powerplant under the hood I’s jump at the chance!!

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