Alien in the Garage: 1971 Invader GT5

Since Day 1 of the automobile, enterprising people have wanted to build their own cars. The first kit car was produced in 1896 by an Englishman, with plans published in a popular science magazine of the day. The Lad’s Car was sold in kit form in 1912. But the kit car industry really took off in the 1950s. The most popular idiom was sports car style bolted onto a VW chassis. That’s what Bruce Weeks had in mind when in 1970, he founded a kit car company called Autokit Industries, in Oakland, California. He called his car the Invader GT5 (though if there was ever a GT1 through GT4, I was unable to find them). It was sold through ads in publications like Popular Mechanics. Here on craigslist, is a 1971 Invader GT5, with an asking price of $3,000. The car is located near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Thanks for the tip, T.J.!

Like all projects, this one is “90% complete” with horn wiring and “etc” yet to be finished. The odometer reads one mile, so it is possible this gem has never been on the road. The car has Plexiglas gullwing doors, a fiberglass body, and rear louvers which were an option. A period brochure indicates the windshield was from a Karmann Ghia. A spare tire stored under the front of the car behind the bumper helped stabilize this lightweight machine. The gas tank, too, was upfront, thus the awkward gas cap next to the headlamp. A better solution might have been a flush filler. This color is Daytona Yellow.

Autokit supplied everything required to build the car, and then some. A long list of available options included items like seat lowering pans, wire-spoke mags, and headlight covers. If you didn’t want to bother with the work of sorting through a thousand pieces, you could buy the kit mostly preassembled – all you needed to do was bolt it to a chassis and finish the interior and wiring. This interior has the bucket seats sold in the kit but obviously needs some attention.

Of course, the motor is a VW, here already installed. The seller doesn’t mention whether this car runs and drives. The car’s year is determined by that of the VW chassis you select; this is evidently a 1971 chassis. The seller does not have a title, presenting a unique challenge. The buyer should expect to wrangle with the local DMV before it’s fully legal. But after that, Autokit’s advertisements promise that you will be the envy of your peers once you are behind the wheel of your Invader GT5.


  1. Cadmanls Member

    Sounds as this has never been titled which could be a problem. I am from Oh and 25+ years ago I built a motorcycle. The challenge was providing receipts for everything but the air in the tires and having working safety equipment. Turn signals, horn lighting etc. Maybe it is easier in some places, price is right and most of the heavy lifting has been done By the way insurance company still questions me on what it is. Oh yeah it’s a shovel head off a wrecked 81 FLT for you non bike guys that was the big cruising bike. I used an aftermarket frame and bought a lot of parts and made a few. Was quite a project in my garage. Still own it.

    Like 13
  2. Allen

    Back in the early 80’s I bought a used Fiberfab Avenger that was a factory built one piece that had been in a front-end accident. I put it back together and striped a previous lime green paint job and repainted it black. It looked great! The problem was that when I bought it, it had an Ohio title and I lived in Michigan, I could never get a Michigan title, so I sold It to someone from Ohio. Only got to drive it around the block a few times.

    Like 1
  3. Gerard Frederick

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; consequently, for me, this is sight pollution par excellence.

    Like 4
  4. Claud

    Unless the title says salvage , there is always a way to get plated , sometimes it means another province or state and bringing it back to your province or state
    I have had most issues arise and always found a way but you have to be willing to stretch as some office workers at the dmv are not very cooperative or plain dumb

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