- Ongoing

Alternative Cars

Alternative Cars Key Features

  • Type of car:  Kit cars
  • Body type:  Electric and alternative fuel-powered vehicles
  • Country of origin:  United States
  • Built in:  United States

Information about Alternative Cars

Founded in the land of the Kiwis, Alternative Cars Limited is a New Zealand-based enterprise specializing in the manufacturing of fiber-glass bodied cars, heavily inspired by the iconic 1950s MG TF. Established initially as Kit Kars Limited in 1984 by Russell Hooper, a medical supply representative, the company underwent a name change in 1996 to better encapsulate its mission and vision.

In the humble beginnings, Russell Hooper ventured to build his own MG TF, employing a Triumph Herald chassis. By 1983, the car was completed and showcased at the Auckland Motor Show, where it garnered significant interest. This marked the advent of the company, then known as Kit Cars Limited. Warwick Tweedy joined the enterprise shortly after its inception to assist in marketing and development but eventually departed in 1997.

For its manufacturing needs, Alex Rohde was consulted from 1997 to develop all the steel work for the cars, including their steel and brass grills. Jim Woonton took on the role of upholstering most of the cars. Prior to 1992, the company relied on various fiber-glass laminating firms. A significant change occurred in 1992 with the creation of AC Fiberglass, a dedicated facility. The operation began modestly with just one person and 1,200 square feet of factory space. By 1996, the company had expanded to 11 staff members and a sprawling 12,000 square feet of factory space.

Recognizing the limitations of the local market, Hooper, in the late 1980s, set his sights on the Australian automotive landscape. To adapt the cars to Australian standards, design engineer Richard Wong was brought in to work on modifications as per the Australian Design Rule specifications. By 1996, the T Mark 5 was introduced in Australia with Bill Walters as the distributor. In 2001, in compliance with Australian regulations, the motors were upgraded to injected motors from the Mazda MX5.

Efforts were not merely confined to the Australian market. By 2000, the vision was expanded to tap into left-hand drive markets, primarily the United States. The model was engineered around a Mazda MX5 donor car and showcased in 2002 at the Carlisle Kit Car Show in Pennsylvania, where it received noteworthy commitment from interested parties.

Today, TGs by Alternative Cars Limited are available not just in New Zealand but also in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom through its international arm, Alternative Cars (International) Limited. The company has evolved remarkably from its initial days of operating from Hooper’s home to a 600 square foot workshop in Auckland, to now boasting a substantial global presence.

Alternative Cars Limited, therefore, stands as a testament to innovation, adaptability, and global reach, grounded in its New Zealand roots but extending its vision far beyond. A visit to any of their international locations will assure you of their commitment to quality, design, and customer satisfaction.

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