The National Kit and Performance Car show, which took place at Donington Park race circuit at the weekend, offered visitors an eclectic mix of kit and sports car activities.
The event, organised by Performance Publishing, which produces Complete Kit Car magazine, has been running for a number of years.
Ian Stent, editor of Complete Kit Car magazine, said: "We've got the big guns of the UK kit car industry here – like Gardner Douglas, Hawk, Great British Sports Cars and Westfield – as well as plenty of parts suppliers.
"What we try to do is take full advantage of the circuit, with racing going on all weekend, as well as offering a mix of displays and demonstrations."
Of particular interest on the Gardner Douglas Sports Cars stand was the T70moda, a car that takes inspiration from the CanAm-winning Lola T70. The beautifully presented example packs a 602bhp 7.0-litre LS7 engine, a Porsche GT2 six-speed transaxle and weighs 950kg.
Great British Sports Cars was also drawing much attention, with the likes of its 'Zero' kit appealing to many buyers. Prices for its small Seven-alike kit start at £2345, and include key components like the chassis, wishbones and body panels, with the remainder of the running gear primarily coming from a Ford donor vehicle.
Many more modern-engined kits were on display too, reflecting the adoption of more recent and common donors as older options, such as the Ford Crossflow, become harder and more expensive to source and maintain.
Engine options offered – and in some cases complete powertrain and suspension set-ups – included those from Mazda MX-5s, the Honda S2000 and the E36 and E46 generation of M3. Numerous Chevrolet V8-engined cars featured too.
"For many it's about the running costs," notes Stent. "We've had people coming from the real cars into replicas because they couldn't justify spending the money on insuring and servicing them.
"With a replica there are compromises but you can service it yourself, get the bits easily and you don't have to worry about where you leave it at the end of the day.
"There are quite a lot of cars here that aren't replicas or standalone kits as well," adds Stent. "The other side of the industry that we see a lot more of now is companies offering panel kits, like the Bertini."
These new panel kits allow builders to rapidly finish a project and end up in a position where they can immediately drive the car. The changes are only cosmetic so the car doesn't require a costly IVA – Individual Vehicle Approval – test.
In the case of the £3750 Bertini, buyers simply replace the body panels on the BMW Z3 base car to end up with a dramatically different looking car. As well as being easier, this kind of project is also typically cheaper than many complete kits.
Similarly, Turismo UK unveiled its Avalanche GT kit for the Mk3 Toyota MR2 roadster at the show. The panel kit, which simply bolts on to the MR2, results in a much more aggressive-looking and distinctive car.
"It's been tough for the industry recently, with the pressures of an ageing population, the recession and the legislative challenges," says Stent. "We can accommodate and adapt to it though – and the right companies are doing big business, and on increasingly expensive cars too."
This fact is borne out by the fact that many of the high-end replicas and kits command significant price tags – a Fusion XCS 427 Cobra, for example, will set you back more than £80,000 in turn-key form. Several of the Cobra replica manufacturers have waiting lists more than a year long, further demonstrating the popularity of such cars.