Grullon GT8 GP Kit Car vs Factory Five GTM

There is no question that the Chevrolet Corvette is an American legend. It is steeped in tradition, history, and has a true racing provenance. The Corvette is one of the great American sports cars of all time. Dollar for dollar, it’s hard to imagine a car that offers a better value and is both docile enough for everyday use, but performs outstandingly well on a track.

But there is one drawback – Corvettes are everywhere. Every car show in every city has dozens of Vette owners and if you go to a lot of car shows like I do, Corvettes are quite commonplace. They don’t draw crowds of admirers with camera phones the way a flashy new European exotic car does.

Now I am not hating on Corvettes, I like them a lot. But there are a lot of people in the world who aren’t content to blend in – they need to stand out. They need a car that makes a statement about them as an individual – a reflection of their personality. A car like the Grullon GT8 will definitely stand out in a crowd, as this one did at my local Cars and Coffee show in Scottsdale.
The Grullon GT8 is a kit car manufactured by DDR Motorsport in Miami, Florida. While the Grullon looks as exotic as anything from Italy, it is based on the 1997-2002 Chevrolet Corvette C5. It has vertical doors, sharp angles, a roof scoop, and a massive fixed wing in the rear. It will draw as much attention as a Ferrari or Lamborghini for a fraction of the price.

But wait, isn’t there already a C5-based kit car? You are correct – the GTM Supercar from Factory Five Racing has been out for years and comes from a highly reputable and established company. As far as I can tell, the Grullon is a direct competitor to the GTM that appears to be trying to undercut them on price.

Let’s take a look at some figures and do a comparison of the Factory Five GTM vs the Grullon GT8:

Factory Five GTM Grullon GT8
Parent Company Factory Five Racing DDR Motorsport
Based In Wareham, MA (USA) Miami, FL (USA)
Year Established 1995 2001
Base Price $24,990 $17,995
Kit Includes Tubular spaceframe chassis
All body panels
All DOT glass
Steering system
Fuel, Brake, Pedal system
Cooling system
Complete interior kit
Complete electrical kit
Full exhaust system
Full wiring harness
Relocation brackets, mounting hardware
Tubular spaceframe chassis
Fiberglass body panels
Custom Fuel Tank
Front and side glass
Front and rear lights
Cooling System
Center Console
Does Not Include Engine
Fuel Tank
Front & Rear Suspension
Wheels and Tires
Front & Rear Suspension
Steering System
Side View Mirrors
Wiring Harness
Wheels and Tires
Assembly Time Approx. 600 hours ??
Curb Weight 2,400 lbs (1089 kg) 2,700 lbs (1225 kg)
Road Legal In: USA, Canada, International USA, Canada, International

The Grullon sounds enticing, coming in at $6,995 below the price of the Factory Five kit. However, it does not include a number of components such as an exhaust system, seats, gauges, rack and pinion steering, engine wiring harness, and some other items. With the Factory Five kit, some of these are included and some of them come from the donor car. The Grullon does come with its own custom fuel tank, while the GTM adapts the OEM fuel tank from the donor car.

Both cars would be a significant project for someone who is handy with tools and willing to do most of the work themselves. With both kits, the purchaser needs to find their own engine and transaxle as well as a lot of parts from a donor C5 Corvette. Then factoring in things like paint, vehicle inspection and registration, and other costs for hardware, etc. it can really add up. Factory Five estimates that most of their customers spend $35,000 to $50,000 for a completed vehicle – but of course that could go up depending on your specific wants or needs. I could not find a total cost to build estimate on DDR’s website.

The Grullon that I saw at my local car show is actually the upgraded GT8 Grand Prix model, which features numerous carbon fiber body panels in addition to fiberglass. The GT8 GP kit starts at $26,405 as of 2019.

If you want a head-turning car that won’t break the bank, a Corvette-based kit car may be what you’re looking for. With two different kits available, I would encourage potential buyers to do their research before picking one. While I cannot personally vouch for either one, it is interesting to see another option enter the market.

1971 DeTomaso Pantera ‘ADRNLN’ by Ringbrothers

Imagine for a moment that the 2013 SEMA show was transformed into a high school cafeteria.

The Mustangs, Camaros, Chevelles and Novas would be the cool kids, flexing their muscles and throwing a football back and forth while the girls swooned over them. The Hyundai Genesis Coupes and the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZs would be the geeks, wiping off their glasses as they rewire their ECUs. The Jeeps and lifted/baja/prerunner trucks would be the band geeks, a tightly-knit group who knows that all they’ve got is each other.

Then you have the DeTomaso Pantera. While it came with a big V8 engine and was sold in Ford Dealerships, this car doesn’t fit in with the rest of the crowd. It is closer to an exotic car than a muscle car. Its mid-engine layout, low production numbers, and premium price tag place it in a different social class from the other cars.  At a show like SEMA, the Pantera is something of a misfit.

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1985 Renault 5 Turbo II Rally Car

In an earlier post about the Lotus Cortina I explained the idea of homologation – whereby manufacturers must build and sell a minimum number of cars to the public in order to qualify as a “production car.” Here we have another example of a factory-built race car that was sold to the public, and this one is even more extreme.

It’s called the Renault 5 Turbo II and like many of the cars I have covered recently, this is another rare specimen from Cars and Coffee. So what’s the deal with this car, and how did it come to be?

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1967-1971 DeTomaso Mangusta

When I was a kid, there was a show on TV called “Before They Were Stars.” The show looked at popular celebrities to see what they were like before they became famous. Some of them had humble careers working in menial jobs for low wages – and of course, they would always dig up an embarrassing high school yearbook photo.

In the same way, most car enthusiasts have heard of the DeTomaso Pantera, the Ford-powered, Italian-styled, mid-engine sports car from the 1970s. Before DeTomaso hit it big with the Pantera, they tested the waters with a car that is relatively unknown today: the Mangusta.

The Mangusta was the Pantera before it got its teeth fixed, its hair combed, and changed its name. Like an up-and-coming celebrity, the Mangusta was a little rough around the edges before it became a big shot.

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Rare Factory Supercharged AWD Mid-Engined 1990’s Toyota Pickup

Actually, if you haven’t figured it out, it’s a near topless Toyota Previa.  My brother snapped this picture last weekend at the Glendale 9 swapmeet.  The odd thing is that the rear is not sagging at all, which leads me to believe that this was a purpose built machine (hauling one mans junk) with at least some thought put into it, however strange it may look.

Fiberfab Avenger GT/Valkyrie Kit Car (what remains)

A few weeks back I took a trip to California, naturally I was on the lookout for anything interesting or uncommon.  At some point I ended up walking through a small field of grass that had within it a little square area surrounded by a fence.  Inside was what appeared to be a very sad looking GT40 type mid engined kit car.

From what I have gathered this is either a Fiberfab Avenger GT or Valkyrie.  Unless there are subtle differences that I haven’t found a mention of the only real difference is towards the rear of the car where it is either a bit longer or shorter depending on the engine/donor setup.  The Avenger was the shorter of the two, designed for a Corvair or VW setup.  The longer Valkyrie model was setup for a larger V8 engine. Continue reading