1985 - Ongoing

Almac 

Information about Almac 

Founded in 1984 and based in Upper Hutt, New Zealand, Almac is a distinctive brand that has made a notable mark in the kit car industry. Being a subsidiary of Almac Reinforced Plastics Ltd, a fibreglass product manufacturing company established in 1971, Almac Cars has roots deeply embedded in the automotive world. The inspiration for entering the kit car segment was derived from Alex McDonald, the founder, during his time in England, where he purchased a Jem Marsh Sirocco.

Upon migrating to New Zealand, McDonald’s fascination with kit cars did not wane. His first design was a sports car somewhat similar in shape to the 1974 Lotus Elite and based on a Volkswagen chassis. However, it was the only model produced and later sold to Phil Derby for use as a track car.

Attention then shifted towards creating replica cars. With the decline of Volkswagen-based kit cars, McDonald took the advice of friends and decided to work on a replica of the Shelby Cobra 427. In collaboration with KiwiRaceCars.com, McDonald’s fiberglass body was fitted onto a custom-made chassis. Unveiled at the 1984 National Hot Rod Show, the car was an instant success. Notably, more than 250 Cobras have been produced, and to this day, they continue to be manufactured.

In 1986, another milestone was achieved with the introduction of the Almac TC, a model loosely based on the MG TC. Unlike earlier models, this was not a replica and was designed to fit a Triumph Herald chassis. Unfortunately, due to difficulties in obtaining quality Triumph Herald chassis and engine size limitations, production of this model was halted in 1988.

Following the TC, the TG was introduced, with a bespoke Almac chassis and Holden Gemini as a donor car. While not as popular as the TC, the TG model carved its niche in the market.

However, a truly unique Almac creation was still missing from the portfolio. The gap was eventually filled by the Almac Sabre, which underwent numerous iterations. Despite garnering attention from magazines like the NZ Classic Car and Driver magazine, production had to be halted in 2001. Nevertheless, the industry saw a revival and so did the Sabre with the Series 2 in 2004, featuring a stronger chassis and Toyota Lexus V8 motor.

Lastly, Almac ventured into budget-friendly alternatives with the Clubsprint and Clubsprint XL models. The goal was to offer a kit that could be built for less than $10,000, utilizing Mark 1 or 2 Ford Escort parts. The larger chassis variant, Clubsprint XL, was created to meet the demand for bigger chassis sizes.

In summary, Almac stands as a testament to innovation and passion in the world of kit cars. From unique designs to replica masterpieces, Almac has become a brand synonymous with quality and ingenuity in New Zealand’s automotive landscape. With a rich history and a forward-looking approach, Almac remains committed to bringing the joy of custom car building to automotive enthusiasts.

My Dream Supercars collection

By Marcus Newark

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My Dream Supercars collection

By Marcus Newark

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