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Wind in the Hair Motoring Treat Yourself - Build a T Car!
The "T' Car was certainly one of the Original kit cars in new Zealand. It grew out of Aucklander Russell Hooper's desire to create a fifties style sports car for himself. A couple of years of designing and building resulted in a car which appeared on the stand of the Sports Car Club of NZ at the 1984 Motor Show. The interest was so great that the decision to produce the car commercially was made at this point.
The original cars were based on a Triumph chassis which proved an ideal base and were usually powered by either Nissan or Triumph motors. The cars were styled along the line of the MG T series but were not intended to be a true replica and were never promoted by the manufacturers as being so. A true replica of a 40 year old design would not meet today's safety regulations anyway.
Over the years many parts and accessories were introduced allowing the constructor a complete service not usually found in the industry.
The car went through Mkl and Mkll stages and during 1989 a new version, with a purpose built chassis, was designed allowing for much faster assembly time and also incorporating requirements for the new MOT regulations then being introduced. This model, the Mk V, is now the current model.
The jig built chassis was designed to comply with the Australian Design Rules (ADR) which are known to be very demanding. The design, including side intrusion bars in the doors, was subjected to independent engineering checks and is extremely stiff which gives the car a tight feel not often found in open cars. The standard motor options are for 4 cylinder Nissan Z1800 and Z2000 cc carburetted or (soon available) Mazda MX5(Miata) 1600 or 1800cc injected. Both have either 5 speed or Auto gearboxes. These give the car a performance similar to modern 6 cylinder cars and a top speed of around 160 kph. The car is wider and longer than the earlier'T" Cars and has 14" or 15' wheels giving a'bigger look'.
The cars have all the style of yesteryear but also have the reliability, performance and safety of modern cars. Safety items include collapsible steering column, a dual circuit boosted brake system, a low pressure fuel system, high stop lights, interior impact design along with the very strong chassis and crash protections. The car fully complies with the latest Land Transport regulations.
A wide range of people all over New Zealand have got a lot of pleasure from assembling a'T` Car, some have even built two, and a Club, formed by the owners, is very active.
Many customers want the fun of assembling a car but find job and home life too hectic to consider resurrecting an old classic, although many have done so before assembling a 'T' Car. With a comprehensive assembly manual, together with all the Company support that is required, a customer can 'do it all themselves' with the usual exception of painting. The Company can also build a car to any stage for customers.
The company, Alternative Cars Ltd. has been in business 17 years and the experienced team involved, Russell Hooper, Warwick Tweedy and Alex Rohde, have produced and sold an average of one kit a fortnight over the 17 years which must put the 'T' Car in the best seller category for a New Zealand produced vehicle.
The dream of driving along an ocean road, the wind in your hair and sun on your face in a vintage sports car has belonged to many drivers alike.
The T Car has used the attractive appearance of the 1953's MGTF as it's base. To allow comfort and safety in the 1990s driving arena several subtle changes have been made, but none compromise the overall beauty of the TF.
Alternative Cars Ltd is a company which has been a leader in the New Zealand component car industry for 17 years. Our aim is to supply a complete service and provide quality component parts which will enable straight forward assembly giving satisfaction to the constructors. This has been proved by the numerous fine examples built by people from a very wide range of occupations and ages.
The car can be built using our own chassis. The strength of this chassis will withstand the strain of today's motoring. While appearing to be overdesigned, this offers the passengers both comfort and safety. The suspension and running gear used is all General Motors HC Viva or Torana front and rear suspension.
The MCS chassis underwent considerable testing and was specifically designed for the T Car. This chassis meets all current Land Transport regulations including side impact. The chassis is built using specially designed jigs and is supplied pre-drilled, finished and painted ready to accept the body panels. This speeds up the build time considerably. We can provide the chassis/kit in any form, e.g. bare chassis, rolling chassis with motor and box fitted, ditto with main body tub fitted, etc, etc. Just ask! We have designed the chassis to accept motors from 1600cc to 2000cc. As the car has relatively low weight even smaller motors give lively performance. Nissan Sylvia Z18, being the most commonly selected by owners gives similar acceleration to modern 6 cylinder cars.
A well tested 50 page instruction manual is provided to guide you through the build-up. We recommend that this manual be obtained prior to purchase of kit or donor parts as it outlines the models to buy. additional help, from general advice to mechanical, upholstery and electrics is a mere phone call away.
All work can be done in your home garage with only your usual handyman tools. No welding, no fibreglass knowledge needed, just simple meccano practice. The body is bolted to the main chassis and the build up continues through to adding mudguards etc. Remember that we can offer a service that provides any part of the buildup or later servicing of your car if you don't wish to do it yourself.
Apart from the chassis and body kit you will need to buy other parts to complete your car. We can supply them all but we give you the option of purchasing these yourself as you may have access to parts or want to personalise your car. These parts include items like: bumpers, lights, mirrors, steering wheels and wheels.
You can also fit the seats in different positions to give your favoured driving position which no doubt is nothing like it was in cars in the fifties. On completion the T Car is totally weatherproof when using the softtop from our expert upholsterer. You can fit many different accessories and have the choice of 14 inch steel or wire wheels.
Building a T Car is much quicker than restoring an old car due to most parts being new and only requiring assembly. The total cost varies considerably as options are wide and varied, most builds average $NZ 20,000 (about $US 9,500). We are only too happy to discuss this with you when you have considered the details in our information package. Remember the kit is totally designed and made in Auckland, New Zealand.
Standard kit consists of main GRP body section with built in firewall and floor, 10 GRP body panels including doors, front and rear guards, running boards, petrol tank cover and gearbox cover, 4 steel panels with zintec finish - bonnet top, bonnet hinge and louvred bonnet sides. All door hardware - handles, locks, side intrusion bars and stainless hinges. Chromed brass radiator grill. Complete windscreen assembly (less glass) polished alloy finish. Full set of instructions - 50 page manual.
A strong club of keen enthusiasts has been formed. They have many interesting events throughout the year. Check out The T Car Club right here.
As specifications are different in NZ, Australia and other countries, please contact us for a firm price.
Here are the T Car Specifications
Contact Alternative Cars Limited for prices.
We also offer "Turn Key" service i.e. ready to drive away. The cost of this service varies considerably because of distribution rights in your country. Please fax or write to us for more details. Note we can now offer both left and right hand drive versions of both T Car and Swallow.
The Classic T Car may be viewed in Auckland by appointment or we may be able to arrange inspection in other areas.
We also offer "Turn Key" service i.e. ready to drive away. The cost of this service varies considerably because of the many options available.
Agents Wanted in USA, Canada, UK, Middle East, India, Pacific Islands, Japan. If you would like distribution rights in your country, please fax or write to us for more details. Note: we can now offer a left hand drive version of the T Car.
A complete information package is available on request on our Enquiry Page.
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Article What is a Kit Car?
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