For $2,990, Could This 1976 Invader GT5 Kit Car Be Your New Weekend Obsession?

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

The seller of today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe kit car says it’s 90% complete, meaning you could probably finish it in a weekend. Let’s first see if its price makes any potential buyer 100% a schmuck.

Most people like to travel in style, and what better style, I ask you, could there be than yesterday’s 1961 Chevy Corvair custom camper? I have a special place in my heart for first-gen Corvairs as my very first car was a ’61 700 Turtle-top. Not everyone has such fond memories of Chevy’s most eclectic car, and fewer still thought all that much of price tag on yesterday’s camper. It dropped in an unsafe at any speed 78% Crack Pipe loss, and proved that Rampside isn’t always on the right side.


Do you ever buy furniture at IKEA? If so then I’ll bet you have a mean collection of 2mm to 6mm allen wrenches. Buying something that requires “some assembly” implies you are a master of savvy savings. And, when it comes to needing a good bit of inserting tab “A” into slot “B” it doesn’t get much more fun that having the result be a car that’s so cucumber cool it could scare a cat.

This 1976 VW-based Invader GT5 is just such a project.

The Invader was one of a plethora of Beetle body snatchers that arose in the late’60s and early ‘70s. It was positioned by its maker—Oakland California based Autokit Industries—as the perfect mix of sleek styling and economy sorely lacking from the offerings of traditional auto makers of the day.


The Invader’s brochure called the car a “Gran Turismo” and had the audacity to compare it to a Mercedes 300SL Gullwing and “Dino Ferrari.” The cars do have gullwing doors, frameless plexiglass affairs, and yes, the fender line is reminiscent of the Dino, but that’s where the comparison stops. Still, it’s a a hell of a lot sexier than a Beetle.


This one comes withe the “Slatback” option and a set of Opel GT bumperettes under its Lucas tail lamps. I like those lamps because they are the same units as on my Jensen Healey. Also, yes it does say “TURBO” on the slats, and no, it doesn’t have one of those… yet.

According to the ad, the fiberglass bodywork was once white, but is now sporting a base coat of sexy black primer. The unique plastic bits—headlamp covers, those crazy doors—appear intact and to in fact be in pretty good shape for their age. The interior too appears remarkably clean and tidy for an old kit car. The seats in there are the Autokit units and yes you are right, they do look like aliens from a Dr. Who episode with a particularly tight budget.


You won’t be spending much time in those however. Not until you bolt up the 1600-cc VW motor that comes with the car, but that is currently not in the car. That came out of a Baja Bug and its stinger exhaust will need to be replaced with something a little less erect before inserting, the exact opposite of what you were told in Junior High Health Ed.


Mounting the motor should reasonably take all of a Saturday afternoon as I think VW motors are held in place by something like four bolts or maybe just magic. Anyway, it shouldn’t be too great a hurdle for anyone, especially if you still have all those IKEA wrenches on hand.

New tires on fetching alloy wheels underpin the car, and the whole ball of wax rides on a 1970 Type 1 platform. Expect to clean out the gas tank and redo the brakes before doing anything heroic like driving it though.


You’ll also need to title and register the car as apparently it comes without its papers. The car is being sold in Kansas and I don’t know what is involved in doing that in that midwestern state. Here in California you can have the Highway Patrol sign-off on a VIN to get the car back in the DMV’s system with little problem.


Before that can happen however, you’ll need to come up with this Invader’s $2,990 asking price, and prior to that happening you’ll all need to decide whether anyone should do just that. What do you think, is this “some assembly required” kit car worth $2,990? Or, is this Invader’s price repellant?

You decide!


Lawrence KS Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to glemon for the hookup!

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.