Californian Kit Car: 1970 Invader GT

The motoring world is littered with companies who were keen to earn a living by producing kit cars based on the ubiquitous Volkswagen Beetle, and a Californian company called Autokit Industries was just one such organization. The company’s owner was credited with designing the Invader GT, but this might not necessarily be true. Regardless, the Invader GT has enough of a following that it has its own Facebook group. There aren’t a lot of members, but there are more than I would have expected. This particular Invader GT is an interesting breath of fresh air. It appears to be complete and is a car that runs and drives, so it is ready to be used as it currently stands. Located in Belmont, New Hampshire, it is listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner has set a price of $5,000 for the Invader.

The appearance of the Invader has its good points and its bad. The styling may appear to be a little bit ungainly, but it is this way for a practical reason. It is based on a Beetle chassis and floor, and with no room for any sort of luggage space where the trunk would normally be in a VW, the area in front of the engine and under that funky louvered cover is where the luggage gets stowed. This is the space where the rear seat would normally be in a Beetle, so that should provide a reasonable amount of luggage capacity. One other interesting feature is the Perspex gull-wing doors. These aren’t an aftermarket addition, but were one of the interesting design features of the original car. The owner says that the car is in need of a repaint, but is including all of the paint required, plus a new spray gun, with the car.

The story of the Intruder GT is an interesting one. The car was released in kit form by California-based Autokit Industries, and the design of the vehicle has been credited to that company’s founder, Bruce Weeks. In truth, the illustrious Mr. Weeks purchased a kit for a Mantis Targa Kit Car, and then cut and modified it to create the Invader GT. The kit was a success, with Autokit selling a significant number. Some estimates suggest that over 2,000 kits were sold, which is an impressive number for a kit car company. Just how many eventually hit the roads might be another story altogether. Autokit then closed down, and the molds and tooling were sold to another individual who owned a company called Kaylor Energy Products. It appears that this company was nowhere near as successful, and apparently sold exactly no kits! It appears that the molds were then left to sit under a stand of redwoods on a private property somewhere in California. Following a local council clean-up order, it is believed that the molds were sent to a dump, thus bringing to a close the manufacturing of the Invader GT kits.

The interior of a kit car is often the area where the nicest kit can fall in a heap, and unfortunately, that’s the case with this Invader. It isn’t beyond help, but from what I’ve seen of various Invader GT interiors, there was no standard version of the dash. I’ve seen some which have used VW components and gauges, and numerous examples that have utilized aftermarket items. I’ve even seen one where the gauges are all from the aircraft industry. This interior could be used as it stands, but the mismatched seats and unfinished dash will probably encourage the next owner to place their own stamp on it. There are no photos of the engine, but we do know that the car is fitted with a 1,600cc Volkswagen engine and 4-speed manual transmission. The owner also says that the car runs and drives well.

Kit cars are not to everyone’s taste, and their halcyon days are long behind them. They were a common sight in the 1960s and 1970s, but their decline perfectly coincided with stricter vehicle emission and safety regulations. It is highly doubtful whether we will see a resurgence in the industry, but owning a car like this Invader GT really means owning what is an eccentric part of our automotive history. For someone who is looking for a car that is interesting and a bit left-field, this would be a pretty worthy candidate.

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Cool car, but the shnozz is too long, a la Sabra or SP250. Maybe that’s what they were going for, neither one a success. Sure is neater than anything that came out of Wolfsburg at the time.

    Like 2
    • Chevy Guy

      Nope, i disagree. Old Beetles were cool

      Like 8
      • Ghislain Glorieux

        Yes, I agree.

  2. Crazyhawk

    hee hee hee….that car is silly. Daffy Duck’s ride.

    Like 9
    • Bill

      “suffering succotash”

      Like 5
    • DavidL Member

      No, I see a platypus … w/ louvered back end.

      Like 4
  3. Brakeservo

    What’s with the piece of metal on the steering column? One more thought, a better name would have been Anteater!

  4. Frank Sumatra

    How could anyone look at the designs for that car and think “Yep. We nailed it! Let’s build it” It looks as if it was left in the oven too long.

    Like 10
  5. CapNemo

    It doesn’t need a repaint. It needs to be repainted. While it being repainted, I’d personally fill the spray gun with a color other than yellow.

    Like 3
  6. Gerald

    I’ve always liked the Invader ever since I saw it on the cover of either Popular Mechanics or Mechanix Illustrated magazine back in ’70 or ’71.

    Like 1
  7. Chuckster

    Plain ugly and what’s with that thing where the rear window should be ?

    Like 3
  8. Speedy Gonzalez

    I always thought these looked like some kind of life-sized hot wheels car in a way, it needs red lined tires and mag wheels.

    Like 4
  9. Fiete T.

    I’ve always never liked the overwhelming majority of kit cars. The proportions are seemingly “Blobby,” look chintzy, and have an inescapable Beetle-ness to them…
    Rather have a Beetle and restmod.

    Like 2
  10. Danh

    I could imagine having this in the collection, just as a conversation piece. Sometimes it’s fun to mix things up a little.
    This Woody Allen inspired car fits the bill!

    Like 2
  11. Geebee

    Suffocation looks like a real possibility!

    Like 2
  12. Tony Milo

    Had a Fiberfab Jamaican back in the day.A Fiero,8 Vettes.I like 2 seaters. Anything in NJ doesn’t need Inspection if its pre 96.

    Like 3
  13. michael h streuly

    All vw kit cars are junk always have been always will be. You could not give me one for free.

  14. TimM

    It always blows my mine what some people’s idea of cool is!! The gas cap in the middle of the front of the car looks like a zit on its nose the glass doors are just ridiculous looking!! $5000 I wouldn’t give you $200 cause they would probably charge me to recycle the body!!! If there’s a fee for UGLY this car would pay a lot!!!

    Like 4
  15. Francisco

    So, Adam, which is it? An Invader GT, or an Intruder GT? Perhaps a proofread will confirm.

  16. daCabbie

    Is this where Delorean got his inspiration?

    This little thing is truelly butt-ugly… it has a face only a mother could love.

  17. Alan Robbins

    A couple of real oddities here. It looks like there is no trunk at all.

    There’s a picture parked with the doors on. All the other pictures have the doors off. I’m guessing they don’t actually work?

    I’m also guessing there’s no airflow inside.

    The ad says “Trades considered” that really gets me wondering.

    • Keith Bowman

      This is my car, surprised there’s a whole article on the web about it. Paint is in good shape just sun faded, doors are there and work great but I like driving with them off. The car gets a lot of attention at shows. One of you asked about that metal piece on the steering column, that has the blinkers and horn on it. And trades are considered as I love all old and oddball vehicles.

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