Episode Show Notes so forgive typos and unfinished sentences:)
For today’s episode, we are going to learn more about recreating classic Devins with Kevin Callahan. After the interview, I will review the differences between continuation cars, replicars, clones, kit cars along with a recap of what continuation cars are available from the original manufacturer. There are a lot more out there than I thought there were. I will also do my best to capture all of the different AC Cobra options out there and rank them by value…it is a big task as the Cobra is the most replicated car in history. Now let’s learn more about Kevin and Devins. https://devinsportscarsllc.com/
Well, there you have it. New Devins are coming back and they can be customized to your tastes. Just tap the link in the description to learn more.
Now it is time to talk about these recreations, continuation and replicars. First, let’s define what we are talking about today. There are five accepted terms for these cars and the first is a …
A “replica” is a car that is made by a third party and not the original manufacturer. These are cars that are complete, ready to drive and look a lot like the original cars that they were built to replicate. They probably have many upgrades and options that were not originally available in period.
From Motorbiscuit.com, “Kit cars are component vehicles. Some kits contain all the components necessary to complete the car, except the fluids. Other times, the “kit” from the manufacturer will require a donor vehicle. Manufacturers will make it clear to the purchaser ahead of time if a donor vehicle will be necessary.”
For kit cars, the build quality varies tremendously as you can imagine so be careful if you are looking at buying a kit car made by someone else.
From Drivingline.com, clones are “vehicles that are built from humbler sedans, coupes, convertibles, and roadsters to resemble and drive like rare or more desirable models.”
Resto-Mod…Classic Broncos video, ’63 Corvettes…Guy’s business model
From intotheminds.fr, A “continuation car” is an old car model recreated after the original manufacturer’s official end of production. It is not a replica (made by a third party), nor is it an actual example. Continuation cars are, therefore, a particular type of car, built according to the original plans, from period parts, sometimes decades after the original model has been discontinued.
The very first continuation car was the Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato Sanction II.
Per Hagerty, “The most desirable of the lot are so-called “Sanction II” cars. In the late 1980s, Aston’s managers cast a greedy eye at the huge money being thrown at the company’s most charismatic sports racers from the early 1960s. In particular, there was the DB4 GT Zagato – essentially the Ferrari 250 GTO of Aston Martins. With its perfect profile, double-bubble roofline, and deep-dish Borrani wire wheels, demand from collectors far outstripped the meagre supply of just 20 cars, and in the late ’80s they were selling at auction for up to £1.7 million.
Ironically, when the DB4 GT Zagato was introduced, Aston could scarcely give the things away; poor timing meant front-engine sports cars were becoming obsolete for serious racing. As a result, there was a group of four chassis numbers that had been assigned to cars that were never built. Thus, the DB4 GT Zagato Sanction II was born.
Not surprisingly, Aston had a hard time stopping there. About ten years later, it authorised Zagato to finish two extra body shells as Sanction III cars. And just last year, Aston Martin announced it would build 19 more, now tagged “continuation cars.” This time, you need to buy a DBS Zagato with it – a two-for-one deal that costs an eye-watering £6 million (about $7.4 million).”
“Jaguar has adopted similar phrasing and similar justifications for its recreations. In 2014, the Jaguar Classic engineering team cut its teeth by building six continuation Lightweight E-type coupes – the bespoke, competition version of the E-Type. Jaguar Classic next announced that it would sell nine copies of the continuation XKSS, exact duplicates of the originals save for a safer and more modern fuel cell and a fuel system designed to tolerate modern petrol better.
As Aston did with the Sanction II DB4 GT Zagato, Jaguar made the case that it was merely completing original production. Jaguar calls its Lightweight E-Types “the missing six” – cars planned but never built in period – and it can point to the famous 1957 fire at the Dickensian Jaguar works on Browns Lane in Coventry as prematurely ending production of the XKSS.
Not every producer of continuation cars has relied on complicated pretense. The ever-shrewd Carroll Shelby, for instance, dispensed with the unused serial number nonsense. His credible case for bringing continuation Cobras into the world boiled down to the fact that A, he could; and B, he could make a fast buck doing it.”
“In contrast, you cannot legally drive most continuation cars on the road in many countries. They simply can’t be made to pass modern safety and emissions laws, and companies like Jaguar or Aston Martin don’t qualify for any sort of small manufacturer loophole. The Lightweight E-type, XKSS, and DB4 GT Zagato are thus sold for “off-road” or show-and-display use only. (Continuation Cobras skirt this issue since they are supplied as a rolling project – engines must be fitted by customers or dealers – so they’re road-legal in most places, in much the same manner as a kit car.) To add insult to injury continuation cars usually don’t qualify for the best vintage racing events either.
Given this major catch, you’d think continuation cars would trade in a very thin market and at a discount from the original price. Yet that doesn’t seem to be the case. There are limited sales from which to draw definitive conclusions, but the market for them seems surprisingly bullish.
For instance, a Sanction II DB4 Zagato sold at a Bonhams auction in 2012 for £1,233,500 (about $1.9 million). This is no challenge to an original, which Hagerty values around £8 million ($10 million), but a DB4 Zagato of any provenance comes to market so rarely that someone who has waited years or even decades for one might jump at the opportunity to buy a Sanction II or Sanction III version.”
Here’s another view on continuation cars…
From Hiconsumption.com – “Continuation cars occupy an interesting niche within the auto industry, because they’re both more authentic than a replica and also less so than a card-carrying classic — effectively real and yet at the same time not real. As you’d expect, their value falls somewhere between the two, meaning that even though they won’t fetch the same exorbitant sums as an original, they’re still capable of commanding a pretty hefty price tag. For instance, Jaguar’s E-Type Lightweight continuation car cost $1.6 million from the factory, and the first production example sold for $1.71 million at an RM Sotheby’s auction in October 2020. That’s undoubtedly a lot of money, but it’s still far more affordable than the nearly $11.5 million you’d pay for the actual thing. As such, in many ways, continuation cars are collectibles unto their own.”
“That being said, the segment is still evolving, so only time will tell how these cars will impact the classics market. Upon their initial conception, continuations proved to be quite the controversial topic, with collectors everywhere decrying automakers for selling out in order to make a quick buck. And that’s not all — given their limited road legality, continuation cars have often been discounted as abominations, serving as little more than a trophy attesting to the performance of the real thing. Regardless of where you stand on the ethics of bringing classics back into production, the chance that they’ll have any impact on the originals is highly unlikely. If anything, they serve as a stand-in for those once-in-a-million cars that hardly ever come up for auction.”
The value hierarchy is, from most valuable to least valuable, original cars, Continuation, Replica, Kit and then Clone…depending on what the clone is based on.
Cobras are their own hot mess to figure out valuation. There are real ones, continuation cars, replicars, kit cars and even a few clones out there. I will try and give you an overview and a ranking of value. Like I said before, the AC Cobra is the most replicated car in history.
From the Cobra Authority, “for all of its fame, the original Cobra was produced in surprisingly low quantities–just 998 were assembled from 1961 until 1968 (655 leaf-spring 289 Cobras and 343 coil-spring 427 Cobras). These numbers include street cars, competition cars, semi-competition roadsters, etc.)”. All real and continuation Cobras have a CSX # starting with CSX2000 which is the first Cobra ever.
How are these Cobras valued?
What are some other continuation cars? The following is from a great article on Hiconsumption.com. Based on the definition that a continuation car is built by its original manufacturer, many of the cars on this continuation list are actually replicars as they are built by a third party.
ALVIS BERTELLI SPORTS COUPE
Alvis technically died off in 1967, but it left behind a factory chock full of enough parts and blueprints that Red Triangle could relaunch the brand in 2010. The Sports Coupe you see before you is one of the first models since the revival and it bears a design that dates all the way back to the 1935 Paris Motor Show. Under the hood, you’ll find a 4.3L straight-six that’s good for a top speed of 110mph and a 0-60mph time of under 10 seconds. Complemented by an interior decked out in ultra-luxe leather and walnut veneer, it cuts quite the pre-war classic.
The Alvis Car Company are manufacturing to special order a limited number of famous Alvis models. They are faithful to the original design and by using our Works Drawings from the period they retain all their traditional character and quality, yet are emission compliant. The cars carry Alvis chassis numbers and engine numbers which follow on from the last in the model sequence, which is why they have been designated the Continuation Series.
ASTON MARTIN DB5 GOLDFINGER
Out of all famous movie cars, there are few that boast quite the same renown as 007’s 1964 Aston Martin DB5. This Goldfinger-special continuation car takes the magic of the silver screen and translates it into real life. As such, each of the 25 cars built at AM’s Newport Pagnell Works facility will come with many of the hidden gadgets that you’d find on Q’s creation itself, such as a pair of replica Browning .303 machine guns, an ‘oil slick’ deployment mechanism, a rotating license plate, and even some tire slashers. Sorry, no working ejector seat — there is a red button, though.
When Bentley debuted the Blower back in 1929, it went from being an otherwise unknown automaker to being a serious industry contender. In celebration of the legendary race car, the British brand will be producing 12 exact recreations, each one built using 3D-scanning, more than 40,000 hours of expert labor, and 2,000 different specially designed parts. Powered by a 4.4L 16V inline-four, it’s good for speeds up to 140mph — not bad for a car that’s coming up on almost 100 years now.
CATERHAM SEVEN 310
Colin Chapman first designed the Seven in 1957 as an effort to create a do-it-yourself two-seater sports car for the masses. After acquiring the rights to build the platform in 1973, Caterham has since expanded the lineup to include five different vehicles, with everything from a 135hp 270 model all the way up to a supercharged 310hp 620 model. The 310 pictured here boasts a 152hp 1.6L Ford straight-four, an addition that’ll take it from 0-60mph in 4.9s before climbing its 127mph top speed. It might not sound like much, but consider this: the Seven weighs just 1,190lbs.
CLASSIC RECREATIONS SHELBY MUSTANG GT500CR
While this particular Mustang skews a bit more towards restomod than it does continuation car, it’s officially licensed by Shelby American, it comes with the signature stamp of Carroll Shelby, and it even earns a spot on the Shelby registry. Suffice to say — it’s legit. Shod in a slew of carbon fiber, it comes in more than 600lbs lighter than the original. And that’s not all — under the hood, it’s been treated to a fuel-injected 7.0L Ford Ford V8 good for 545hp.
DMC may have folded after just two years of production, but the brand was revived when the (unrelated) Texas-based DeLorean Motor Company acquired the automaker’s name and spare parts in 1997. At present, the outfit only offers parts support for the some-6,500 cars still on the road today. However, once the Low Volume Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Act was signed into law in 2015, the new DeLorean announced that it would be able to resume production. We’re still waiting, so you may need to look into a flux capacitor and tell us if it ever comes to fruition.
GTO ENGINEERING 250 SWB REVIVAL
Under normal circumstances, an authentic Ferrari 250 GT SWB would cost you somewhere in the range of $8 million to $10 million. However, thanks to GTO Engineering’s ‘250 SWB Revival’ project, you can have one for about a tenth of that figure. The product of over 200 years’ worth of combined Ferrari mechanical expertise, it uses the actual blueprints from a 250 GT SWB in order to be a damn near-perfect replica. In addition to a 280hp Colombo V12, GTO Engineering has also fitted it with a newly-designed tubular frame as well as some improved suspension and steering.
1962 Ferrari 250 ‘Pontoon-Fender’ Testa Rossa Recreation (with FIA HTP papers)
JAGUAR C TYPE
Based on Jaguar’s first-ever Le Mans-winning racer, this C Type recreation is the latest installment in the British automaker’s crop of continuation cars. It’s built to the same exact specifications as the 1953 model year, with a 220hp 3.4L straight-six, a hand-crafted tubular frame and aluminum body, as well as some powerful disc brakes of the period. But the best part is that each example is made to order, allowing customers to choose everything from the paint and livery to the badging and interior trim.
LAND ROVER DEFENDER SERIES I
If you’re after a factory-fresh first-gen Defender, you’re in luck. Back in 2016, Land Rover launched its ‘Reborn’ project in an effort to restore 25 Series I’s back to their former glory. Crafted using the same parts and specifications as they were when new, each one is built out of Solihull’s original Defender production center. With their purchase, customers have the choice of their preferred base platform, five period-correct paint colors, as well as interior finishing and trim. What’s more, they even get to follow their truck’s restoration from start to finish.
During the 1950s, the Knobbly was raced by some of the most renowned drivers in all of motorsport history, including none other than Archie Scott Brown and Stirling Moss. This modern continuation takes Brian Lister’s actual working drawings and manufacturing jigs and pairs them with modern CNC machining and CAD design. What results is a car that’s built to the same exact 1958 FIA specifications as its forbear, with a Jaguar-sourced, triple-carbureted 3.8L straight-six engine, 5″ x 16″ Dunlop racing peg drive alloys, and some stunning hand-formed aluminum bodywork.
While Morgan’s PlusFour platform isn’t technically a continuation (it’s been in production since 1950), we feel that it qualifies based on the many updates in materials and technology it’s been given along the way. These days, it shares just 3% of its components with the outgoing model. So, while it may feature the same stunning bodywork of the original, underneath it hides such modern amenities as a bonded aluminum chassis, a 2.0L four-cylinder BMW TwinPower Turbo engine, and even a digital driver information display. If you’re looking for a classically British tourer, it doesn’t get much better than the PlusFour.
PUR SANG BUGATTI TYPE 35
Pur Sang is an Argentina-based automotive outlet that specializes in the recreation of vintage Alfa Romeos and Bugattis. And before you discount this as some over-priced kit car, consider this: only 40 Type 35’s were originally produced and a significant number of them were raced into the ground, making those left on the road few and far between. So, while this example may a completely in-house build, it’s been reversed from Ettore Bugatti’s blueprints, meaning that it sports the same stunning visuals and thrilling performance as the real thing.
Given that Ford produced only a little over 100 examples of the GT40 during its 1964-1969 assembly run, the platform has since become a seven-figure collector’s item. Never fret, for Superformance’s continuation comes at a much more “reasonable” $125k. And because over two-thirds of the rolling chassis’s parts are interchangeable with those of the original car, it bears a Shelby stamp of approval and can even be enrolled in the official GT40 registry. However, it’s worth noting that due to today’s safety regulations, it comes as a roller, meaning that you’ll have to install the engine yourself.
So how do we classify a recreated Devin? I would call it a replica and very cool. I think I need to click the link and put one in my own garage. As always, thanks for listening and I will talk to you next week.