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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Replica car construction can officially commence

Consider the door officially open for road-legal turnkey replica cars. After years of arduous waiting, small-volume manufacturers are now able to start selling replicas built to resemble the makes and models from 25 years ago or longer.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/news/replica-car-construction-can-officially-commence/
99 REPLIES 99
OHCOddball
Advanced Driver

Depends on what you are trying to build. Many build replicas with almost all new parts using an original VIN from a frame or cowl tag for a model that didn't have the numbers stamped all over. How much needs to be 'original' to qualify? So many people are putting late model drive trains in old cars so the requirement for emissions doesn't seem like too much of a problem. Most want the old car looks with modern stuff underneath. I don't see anyone building reproduction Model T's with all the original underpinnings. It's all a rich person's game anyway. 'Joe Average' can't afford one anyway.
Michaelmotorcyc
Intermediate Driver

This seems especially true in the “classic” Bronco market. Often see trucks on the auction sites with nothing original but the VIN going for $200k. I guess if you can by an modern OEM crate motor with ECU and catalytic converters it could work.
TA76
Detailer

Would not say most.
uweschmidt
Instructor

Really great News for the small Manufacterers and Enthusiasts that appreciate the wonderful Aethetic Styling of thgose Beautiful Machines of the Past one small problem though :How do you make a modern Engine sound Like a Flathead cruising for Girls??????
Lightning1
Advanced Driver

What I can also see is original cars don't get butchered up by restomoders. Why cut up an original 67 mustang fastback when you can start with a car that has large wheel houses, flared fenders, reshaped firewall and new sheetmetal everywhere to make your Elanore look alike.
OldCarMan
Instructor

Easy!
Because it is only a Mustang!!! 🙂
JBBearcat
Detailer

Great, they're legal...but now we can't afford the gas. 🙂
flowney
Intermediate Driver

If you can afford the car you can afford the gas. Revology sells their '67 Shelby GT 500 for $289,245.00. High test gas even.
Jeryst
Pit Crew

They will be replicas but not classics, and the price will probably be way more than buying the actual classic vehicles. Seems time to be a nich market for cars that are now priced at $500k+, or vehicl
MATTMERICA
Technician

I am not really sure this "decision" has any impact on me whatsoever. These autos will NOT be cheap - and they will not be true classics - they will simply be like many things in today's world - a fake that is paying homage to the Original. I have seen several stories about the "DeLorean Motor Cars" - I certainly hope the new company is better than the original, because the original DMCs were not very good. Ask me how I know.
Autocar
Pit Crew

Be soon saving scrap metal for the war effort. Don't need to save fuel. "Ain't got any"
OldCarMan
Instructor

A great improvement almost!
When the pencil necks do this, iot is not a win!
"Any replicas made and sold must adhere to modern emissions standards, according to NHTSA. Additionally, all low-volume manufacturers must register with NHTSA, EPA, and CARB before selling vehicles."
So much for crate motors or independently built ones... Now they also have YOUR number and can track you anytime, anywhere.
flowney
Intermediate Driver

The kit cars (Factory Five Racing for example) have evaded these requirements because they do not assemble the vehicle, the buyer does. Still, you have to get a VIN for it because it is all new. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMphRp4de9I YMMV from state to state.
I see aa lot of great related articles following up on this in greater detail and exploring the many ways an enthusiast can acquire special vehicles like these.
bblhed
Instructor

I have a feeling that the 325 unit limit is going to keep a lot of buyers out of the market. I would love a Duesenberg and this scheme could make that a reality. I can't afford the millions for an original, but I might be able to afford a reproduction. Also, can we try calling them "reproductions of classics" I believe that sums them up nicely.
AirCooled70
Pit Crew

I'm not counting my chickens, the production limit will keep prices high. If Duesenberg started producing again, even asking 1/2 million per car, I think they would sell a few years worth of production very quickly. Even 3 years doesn't quite reach 1,000 units. Look at how fast the new Corvettes sold and how backlogged they are. And those are cars which will absolutely be worth less in 5 years (probably much less).

Reproductions of classics seems like a good term for them, I like that.
mtgibby
Pit Crew

One could draw a comparison to the Studebaker/Altman-Newman Avanti's of the sixties.

The "true" Avanti's made by Studebaker (62-63) are more valued than the Altman Avanti's, even though the later were bespoke, luxury models, fitted with modern (for the day) Chevrolet Corvette powertrains.

But, that said, if I were to pick one to modernize/modify, I would choose a later non-Studebaker shell, and spare the original that fate. (Picture an "EV-anti"!)
Bruceski44
New Driver

Does upsizing a Cobra or 32 Ford by 10% make it able to fit an average human? Doesn't sound enough to me.
calvingmccartne
New Driver

I happen to own a 1987 Mercedes Benz 560SL which is rather rare considering the beautiful condition it is. The value has behaved much like a rollercoaster over the many years under my watch. Now this whole new thing about a replica possibly coming to light will be a distraction to say the least especially if one could be had for much less than the appraised value of mine.
427sc
Detailer

If the market will bear the significant investment it would take to build a "replica" of your car, those would never detract from your car's originality.
The thing is, who would want a replica of your car when they are fairly easy to afford an original in? No offense intended, but your ego is the only issue here.
Tim
Technician

I would love a company to create a 246 GT/S Dino as a replica. These cars have a beautiful design yet have reached stratospheric prices such that even if I already owned one, I'd be afraid to actually drive it and enjoy it.

I could think of a number of other cars that would make great replica choices, but the cost is enough that the original needs to be expensive enough to allow a replica to be made at a price significantly lower than buying an original.
Buzz
Detailer

Well, Dynacorn stock just tripled and went public! Prices for new, full bodies is pretty outrageous right now, considering that they need hours of body work to get right. The Beauty of capitalism is that once the floodgates open, demand is going to create competition, supply will go up and the price is going to shoot down. This means great things for everyone. That handful of guys that decide to open shops and build 300 1970 hemi challengers a year going to drop the price of a Dynacorn body for the individual hobbyist.

And for the record, ANYONE who decries what the replica industry will do to the market value of an original not only has zero clue about how the antique market works, but they can SHUT IT. You aren’t a hobbyist and you never will be. Get out of the way of the rest of us Mr. investor and let the car guys live their dream.
BMD4800
Gearhead

Bingo.

The “investors” are everywhere. A relative, by marriage, asked what he should buy in Scottsdale this past sale. We discussed what he was looking to buy, none of them were about passion, memories, or even just to drive. Purely an investment. I asked some questions about maintenance and upkeep, explaining they can’t just sit. If they do, additional steps must be taken to protect the investment. Deer in headlights. I said better ROI to invest it, not buy a car you don’t have passion for, don’t want to drive, and have no desire to maintain.
The “look at me” folks bid up garbage. A car used in Tommy Boy, not even a good one, sold for stupid money.
1fastcat
Intermediate Driver

It will really help all the enthusiasts who have the money but no talent to get the car they want .Unless the builders charge more than regular car shops charge to put together a replica .
4501Safari
New Driver

I wonder if I could make a 1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special from a Solstice Donor and one of the straight eights I have, either vintage 4-speed hydramatic or modern 5/6-speed. Would definately throw the weight balance off but what about emissions? Only oil tube venting to atmosphere with an optional "filter" if ordered that way. I see no way to make that engine comply to modern emissions standards if indeed that is what is being said. Oh well, this stirred the pot for some. "No" is always easier than "How" when it comes to doing something.
BMD4800
Gearhead

A car like that, you’re going to get most of the original body work. You can build a custom chassis and not have to register it as a “new” classic, just use the old cowl tag and vin from your old body. If you’re using an old straight 8, in a similar age body, you’re going to be okay. This is for people who build brand-new 32 Fords, 68 Mustangs, with little to no old parts. For them, they are low volume manufacturers.
Redhorse1958
Pit Crew

While I would not consider myself a save-the-planet greenie, it seems like this legislation presents a great opportunity to not only replicate a classic car, but take it to the next level by it all electric and side stepping the emissions requirements. Although vehicle electrification is still in its relative infancy and thus expensive, one may be able to cost efficiently design an electric power system and realize cost synergies if used for up to 325 a replicas. Also, starting with a classic replica with a chassis that has an original electric design versus designing an electric retrofit for a chassis originally built for an internal combustion engine would save costs and avoid debate around what is the best IC engine for the vehicle. Ideally reproduction body shells already exist that are now available to some extent (Shelby Cobra, Mustang, Camaro, Tri-Five Chevy's, etc.) could be made or slightly modified to accommodate electric power and reduce costs. I realize electrification may be a step too far for the most classic car purists among us who are longing for nostalgia and may be struggling to accept a replica as being "classic".
warrene
Detailer

This is only for the rich, the guy that doesn't care to work on cars, but just wants to have some fun, even if it costs a huge bundle, also knowing it will only lose value as it gets used, replicars being lots closer to a new car, which also loses value.
If ya' got the cash pal ... go for it.
NoahFence
Intermediate Driver

Will they accept counterfeit money in payment?
Flakbau
New Driver

This is a big deal - companies like Caterham, Morgan, Backdraft, Superformance, Kirkham, E.R.A., Shelby American, CAV, Holman & Moody and more can now legally sell complete cars in the USA! No more shipping us "pallet cars" with motor and trans added later, which increases expense, reduces the total number of cars that can be handled annually, and leads to warranty issues. This is HUGE for the enthusiast market and our suppliers. High quality reproductions have a market of their own - they do not reduce the prices for authentic historic vehicles. In fact, it can be argued that high quality replicas stimulate the market, which may marginally INCREASE the value of historics. If I can buy an incredible Ford GT40 for $10,000 less AND obtain a factory built, factory-warranted car, I have indeed reached the Seventh Heaven. In any case, choice means freedom, and I'll take as much of that as I can carry!
MustangJim
Technician

I think this is great news. Especially as manufacturers switch to bevs we will be able to buy beautiful replicas with ice power! Bring it on! Maybe they won't be " classics" but they will be cool and fun to drive.
Springer1340
New Driver

Ok ,so they are now making replicas (copies) of the old classics. Thats cool for someone who wants the look with all the modern safety updates. To each their own. I personally like driving my classic with their pitfalls because that is the way they were back in the day. Quite frankly, the only scary thing about my 50s and 60s cars are the old shoe brakes on all fours. Just be aware of what hey are and enjoy your ride of the past. Love my originals.
MIpilot
Pit Crew

Hmmmm....does this mean Hagerty will start covering replica Cobras and similar vehicles?
TG
Technician

maybe they'll quit butchering up the originals now
erne75
Advanced Driver

Can we get replica R32s and Mkiv Supras now? How about hachirokus?
eighthtry
Advanced Driver

What? No crash testing?
tgd61
New Driver

I think this is great news. Replica options for those who may like the design of a particular vehicle but, maybe can’t afford an authentic one. Or, devalue an original by driving it more than displaying it.
Unfortunately, I’m in the Nazi state of Corrupta-fornia. Hopefully these will be allowed for purchase and registration.
omac
Intermediate Driver

Finally replica cars can be built. I hope the 325 limit is raised in the future. That will help bring costs down if a manufacturer can make more cars. I like the idea of using modern drive trains, steering, and braking with the classic car look.
Verneoz
Intermediate Driver

325 units per year? Why not 2,000 or 5,000? Seems SEMA wanted the numbers low so demand would keep the retail prices high. I like the replica concept though.
farna
Advanced Driver

The simplest way around the emissions requirement is to go EV. Not that much of a negative today when you can get 200-400 miles batteries... at a price. The other way is to use a crate type engine and all it's accoutrements. It's already emissions certified. If I understand correctly the drivetrain is certified to the chassis, but as long as the new installation mimics the original it should pass the same (same general exhaust system, etc.). I suspect that's the way most will go. So if I get a wrecked rear drive Dodge Charger and planted the drivetrain in say a 69 Camaro, and used close to the original Dodge exhaust (cats and all), it should pass emissions for the year of the donor car. That may not be good enough for current standards -- depends on the year of the donor. But a newly manufactured unit should.
acooper529
Advanced Driver

I am a big Hagerty fan, but the recent spate of "classics" related articles and auction sales shows us that almost anything can be considered a "classic". Among those of us who grew up around real classics, and restorations in general, we do know two things.
1. Very few (percentage wise) cars are really classics by a standard definition.
2. The ugliness of big $$$ "auction prices" has hurt the basic premise of the collector hobby.
At the beginning, building hotrods and restoring classics was NEVER just about money. Sad.
janedon
Advanced Driver

Off & on since I was a teen--I would talk about & dream of making Exact Replicas But just Smaller with modern drivetrains-A 55 chev the size of a Toyota anyone?
BMD4800
Gearhead

I don’t think you’ve ever seen a 55 Chevy in person. They aren’t that big. Pretty light too.

(For reference)
2020 Camry 193” long
1955 Chevy 196” long.

lturn9
New Driver

Ever since the 1968 laws that treated companies like GM the same as very small manufacturers like Lotus and others, I felt the little guys got the shaft. It's a given that the big companies were hit as well, the big boys were better able to financially engineer their way through the mandates. Many small car companies went belly up. I know we are talking about Replica's here, but I see the replic Industry as similar to those small manufacturers I mentioned. The Superformance and other Replica makers are finally on a level playing field with the big manufacturers legally at least if not financially.
phantom309
New Driver

I could care less about numbers matching originals,. collecting them is an entirely different game than building and driving,.
I would love to buy a 59 cad convertible, with modern drivetrain steering and brakes,. The pleasure of cruising around wrapped in my favourite tin would be a joyous experience,. to me travelling in a classic beats sitting in a showroom looking at classics. Bring on the replica's
Hopefully the delirean would be upfitted with a much more powerful drivetrain 😁

jimwerlein
New Driver

This is going to confuse me more. There seem to be replicas running around So Cal and now there will be more. How does one tell the difference?
BMD4800
Gearhead

The VIN.
NRG
New Driver

I was wondering what happened to this law. Bureaucratic red tape, again. Glad it FINALLY passed. Looking forward to seeing these "classics", especially, with the more modern engines and manufacturing processes. Technically, they will be a huge improvement over the originals and a lot of money to buy because of the low volume. However, a lot safer and more efficient.
4wheel2wheel
Intermediate Driver

Testing,
I spent half an hour writing a comment and when I hit "post" the words " An unexpected error occurred"
What is the point of joining the conversation if this kind of s#@% happens?
Snailish
Instructor

Hooray for USA, hopefully other jurisdictions follow suit.

Only original can be original and value of original will always be as high as the model is desirable to someone.

Replicas spread the love. Steel 32 Ford values have a lot to thank the fibreglass crowd, etc.

I think this opens the door to a whole range of price brackets and offerings.
ClassicCar66
New Driver

I would love to see a replica of the 57 Belair and Nomad.