British Specialist Cars, Specials & Kits 1945-1960, Definitive A-Z Encyclopedia of Low-Volume British Sports Cars

This is a carefully researched, definitive guide to specialist and self-build British cars from 1945 to 1960. The post war period to 1960 saw an amazing number of specialist cars produced in Britain – Very Highly Recommended

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NAME: British Specialist Cars, Specials & Kits 1945-1960, Definitive A-Z 
Encyclopedia of Low-Volume British Sports Cars
FILE: R2903
AUTHOR: Chris Rees
PUBLISHER: Quiller Print
BINDING: hard back 
PAGES: 152
PRICE: £35.00
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: Post war auto mobiles, DIY cars, Kit cars, sports cars, station wagons, 
vans, saloon cars, self-build cars, fibre glass, glass reinforced plastic, cold moulded, 
budget motoring, race cars, road capable race cars, Ford donor vehicles, Austin 
donor vehicles

ISBN: 978-0-992665-1-2-8

IMAGE: B2903.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/y6myzvet
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION: This is a carefully researched, definitive guide to specialist and 
self-build British cars from 1945 to 1960. The post war period to 1960 saw an 
amazing number of specialist cars produced in Britain  –   Very Highly 
Recommended

The period up to World War One saw a relatively slow growth in automobile use in 
the UK. The 1911 Lucas Road Atlas remarked that the road from Aberdeen to 
Inverness was usually open to motor vehicles in the summer. This was typical of 
much of Britain where canal and railway building had taken the focus from road 
building. After World War One there was a faster increase in car ownership but it 
was still largely confined to the wealthy and to commercial vehicles. Once more, 
war took manufacturing away from building civilian vehicles, with factories turned 
over to producing aircraft and military vehicles but many more people learned to 
drive during war service.

The result was that 1945 saw a growing appetite for motorbike and car ownership 
but a distinct shortage of available vehicles, most of which were war surplus jeeps 
and staff cars. The cost of new cars was high and few non-military vehicles were 
available on the used vehicle market. The specialist cars stepped into this void and 
an amazing number of designs became available. Many of these sold less than one 
hundred copies, some only one or two examples, and the high selling designs rarely 
exceeded fifteen hundred.

Some of these vehicles were designed as race cars and few were suitable for 
modification to road capable. Initially, bodies were built in metal, often aluminium, 
which was in surplus after 1945 with aircraft production falling dramatically, in mild 
steel and wood. The most popular vehicles tended to be open topped two seaters. It 
has to be said that more than a few designs were truly ugly and the safety and 
performance sometimes left much to be desired.

To save money, home builders often bought a donor vehicle from a scrapyard. That
 sometimes provided the chassis and most of the mechanical components, requiring 
only a body, and the availability of glass fibre meant that new, and often very 
attractive, body shells could be moulded relatively easily and cheaply. Increasingly 
suppliers began to also provide chassis, either repaired chassis or built replacements 
for Ford and Austin chassis. The most advanced specials increasingly used space 
frames of steel tube in custom chassis construction.

As the industry developed, a few suppliers offered complete kits of parts, chassis and 
body shell, allowing a high quality and very attractive copy of a Porsche 2+2 to be 
built for a fraction of the cost of a new Porsche. Some of these original specialist 
car builders and kit suppliers survived on past the 1960s, developing niche markets 
that could still compete with the huge increase in volume produced cars of increasing 
sophistication and reducing real cost