Do You Hear The Wail? I Do! 1966 Fiberfab Banshee

Lurking in a dimly-lit garage, this black Fiberfab Banshee (1 of 12 produced before Fiberfab sold the name to Pontiac and changed the name of the kit to Caribee) looks extremely sinister, especially with those gull wing doors raised to invite a driver and co-driver in (wearing black, of course). It’s located in Ambler, Pennsylvania and is listed for sale here on eBay, where bidding is just over $1,500 and surprisingly there’s no reserve. And I want it!

The Banshee/Caribee was designed to look very similar to but not identical to a Cobra Daytona coupe, with the gull wing doors being one of the differences. They were designed to be mounted onto TR2/3/4, Austin Healey 100-4/100-6/3000 or MGA structures; you carved away or unbolted enough of the original car per the instructions included in the kit. This one was mounted on an Austin-Healey chassis, and if the front disc brakes are original it’s a 3000. Although unfortunately I’ve never had the opportunity to sit in one of these rare kits, I’ve been told that access through the doors is particularly difficult. If you’re curious, that’s an early Triumph Spitfire bonnet in the background.

One of the interesting features of this particular Banshee is that I believe the rear has been modified to accept a flat or barely curved window. If you look at this picture of a gorgeous finished Banshee, you’ll see the original contours of the rear. Since the original curved rear window was plexiglass and supplied with the deluxe version of the kit, they are difficult if not impossible to find today. This modification makes it much easier to source a replacement at what to me is a relatively small cost in appearance and visibility (with those sail panels, you’re not going to see much outside of your mirrors anyway). See note at bottom of post. The front windshield is from a C2 Corvette and is readily available, and the side windows are included. From this picture you can also see one of the limitations of building it on the stock British sports car chassis; the track width is severely limited with the stock wheels and the cars ended up looking under-tired. Of course, that can be fixed now with aftermarket wheels, as you can see here.

I’d love to know why these particular tail lights were chosen–not to my taste at all, but that’s me. Trans Am, maybe? Mercedes? I can’t remember where I’ve seen them before, but I’ll bet one of you do. Does the 1969 plate mean it took the constructor three years to finish the kit?

Here’s the interior, and what look like some pretty ugly floors. The automatic transmission doesn’t do anything for me either, but I doubt that you are going to want to keep the existing drive train anyway.

And here’s why. It’s hard for me to believe that someone decided that a 2.3 Ford 4-cylinder was the right power plant for this car! Especially when it’s well known that several different V8s fit in nicely to the Austin Healey chassis. Me, I’d be looking at a late model transplant, since originality really doesn’t matter, and possibly adapting some tubular suspension members. Sadly, I won’t be the buyer of this kit, despite loving these and the later Jamaican a great deal. But perhaps the wail of the Banshee has reached you, too? Let us know what you think!

*Note: when I contacted the seller about the rear window, I got this prompt reply:  

Hello, Your observations are correct. My guess and only a guess, the curved rear windows over time could crack etc. Now with some minor roof modifications a dependable flat glass window was fitted ? The new roof profile gives the car a very clean “Fastback Look”, I would not change that. Next we see minor modifications to the tail, and flat tail lights were installed. This can easily be brought back to the original smooth tail end with the round tail lights. This is something that I would take back to original. I have not detected any other custom work, that would detract from the original design. Remember this is a professionally constructed Banshee. It was not put together under a Tent, by the owner and his two drunk neighbors ! Currently the Bid is far below Actual Value ! Bid to Win. No Reserve the last Bidder owns the Banshee. Thank you, Michael

 

 

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Don

    If you have the money you can hotrod a 140 cubic inch 2.3 Ford .Dare to be different.

    • Jeffro

      2.3 can be built into a monster little motor. Had one in a vw bug (Kennedy adapter plate) with a turbo. Awesome running motor.

      • Jim

        You’re not kidding, in a light body car like this you’d out-run and out-handle a lot of late model factory bruisers. The 2.3L has a big following in the aftermarket and it’s popular in a lot of different motorsports. As big a fan as I am of big V-8’s a properly set up car with a nicely built 4cylinder can run all day on the track.

  2. MathieuB

    The first pic of the red car reminds me Flash McQueen style! Love it!!!

  3. The Chucker

    With that 2.3, I also hear the wail…of diappointment.

  4. Andy

    I started off thinking, who would want to take the body off a Big Healey? After all, there are kits to turn your car into one! But the pics of the red Banshee are damn sexy. It does scream for a crate motor and a third pedal. Too bad it’s not a 4-door.

  5. Chuck Foster Chuck F 55chevy

    I love Kit cars, I remember a Jamaican on a Healey chassis with a 283 Chevy engine for $800 back when, that was a cool car. I would be tempted, but I added up all my cars, drivers, projects, and parts cars, and I have 18!

  6. CJay

    Pinto/ Mustang shifter 1980 Mercury Capri tail lights.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Thank you, CJay! I couldn’t remember where I had seen them!

    • grant

      Came here to say those are the taillights from my ’80 Capri. Same color as the one CJay posted. Thanks!

  7. Bob

    Finally I can sign up for Deathrace. Look out Frankenstein!

    Love this car. If you look up the old ads, they really do make you want one.

    • Doug Towsley

      Bob, on the former Fiberfab kit car forum we had ALL the period advertising in a file. We also had relatives of the original family who ran the company as members of the forum.
      Here is a classic ad from Motor trend from back in the day. Classy and stylish bodies indeed!

      • Jim

        Doug, I agree, classy and stylish! What were we talking about?

  8. Doug Towsley

    Figures, Florida car dealers and flippers are in a class all their own. I have one of these kit cars. Mine was a shell never mounted. I had an opportunity to also buy a Maserati donor car with it. But I am using a 1974 Datsun 260Z as a donor. Z cars are excellent donors as easy to upgrade and swap in a V8. There are books and websites on how. See: http://alteredz.com/
    I had a Fiberfab Jamaican and tried selling just the shell and lots of interest and no takers, so I found another Z car, A 280Z With a valid title and it finally sold. I sold it because I found the Caribee/Banshee and I liked it much better, I lived the curves and style.
    What I dont like is the stupid doors and back window. But that is the wonders of fiberglass. Easily corrected. Study photos of Daytona Cobra coupes on line and especially the door openings. I have graphed and done line drawings to fix the problems on these. You can A) Redraw the door opening on the rear of the doors more straight down across the wheel well (See A Cobra Coupe door opening) or B) Convert the doors to more standard opening instead of the gull wings.
    Iam re-engineering mine to reskin the doors with the kit fiberglass but using the door pillars, hinges and frames of the Donor Z car.
    Now titles…depends on state. BUT here is my advice. By federal law, you are not supposed to alter or change VIN tag or stampings. BUT by the same laws you can legally retain the ID of the donor car as long as you retain a certain percentage of the donor. So, basically reskin and restyle your donor using these shells and you can legally license and title AND most importantly INSURE your car as the donor and NOT a specially constructed kit car.
    Lic, title and insurance on a kit car is a deal breaker for most people. Some states require you to build 2 and give them one for testing. Most require you to meet safety and emissions standards for year of the title.
    In Oregon with a 1974 donor car, I have ZERO inspections and No emissions testing. If anyone needs help or advice with a kit car, I have spent a lot of time on this and others and happy to share my experience and knowledge.
    Lastly,.,, There used to be a Fiberfab yahoo group/forum. The list moderator shut it down. I am debating restarting one. We lost a LOT of tech files and details and would like a central gathering spot as a resource.

    Like 2
    • AMXSTEVE

      You are better off starting a facebook page

      Like 2
  9. the one

    kit cars look like, kit cars. it is rare to find an example that someone took the time to do a complete job

  10. Healeymonster

    I remember visiting a Fiberfab franchise dealer in San Jose Ca back in the mid 70s. All the cars on display were using Bug drivetrains and pans. I wish I would have seen one of these Banshee’s. This is a great looking car!

  11. Doug Towsley

    Heres a door opening shot that illustrates how the Daytona Cobra coupe works, Note the inner splash for the wheel well adjoins the door opening and how they mate them.
    The Caribee/Banshee doors are just absurd, requires a very skinny contortionist to enter-exit and the doors lines are not proportioned right.

  12. Doug Towsley

    On my car, Again, using the 1974 Datsun 260Z as a donor I am instead retaining part of the frame, channels and hinges and reusing the rear hatchback of the Z car. Mating the fiberfab shell to that so it matches and blends in,
    The issue with the original kits back window is correct. They used a weird specially formed custom plexiglass part. I can tell you that with Age,, Plexiglass and plastics do weird things including changing shape, You dont want that.
    Converting the back window opening to a standardized and easily sourced back window is smart *IF* done right. Hence,, Why I am using the Datsun Z donor parts. Here is a blue print for a Daytona Cobra coupe. It should be a guide on how to clean up the lines and style for these kit cars.
    Not a big problem and correctable.
    As to Price,, this one is already at fair market value and this one is pretty rough. I would not keep the donor and sell it to someone restoring what the donor is. I had a hard time selling my Fiberfab jamaican and got $1400 for a very complete kit and a Donor car WITH a valid title. When I bought my caribee/banshee the seller had been having a similar hard time until I showed up.

    Like 1
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Doug, I’d love to see pictures of your project!

  13. Scot Carr

    ~ I believe that I remember a relatively easy 24 valve Volvo head conversion for the 2.3 liter Ford engine. Anyone?

  14. Bruce Best

    I was able to sell my Jamaican and in the day that was an amazingly beautiful car body. Looks heavy today but there was a lot to be said for that shell. Just either make certain you have the right frame (Austin Healey, MG, or Triumph because converting one from the other is a massive pain in the ass.

    I do not like the VW versions of either this car or the Jamaican. Just did not work. The doors are hard to fit, the Side glass worse but if you do it and take you time it is very much like a factory car.

    I think I still have all my factory manuals and literature from the day. I just wish I could find a body frame from the Marauder company. They made some near exact Chevron B-16’s that were slightly adapted for the street. The mechanic and exotic shop I used at the time had a real one and a kit and except for about an inch or two of ride height and an engine more suited for street use they were very much the same. If you do not know what A Chevron B-16 is look it up and drool for as beautiful as they are in photos they are even better in real life.

    My kit car days are over but something like this if you have a year or two of weekends is something worth doing. I just wish I could have found a Manix SR. There never was one when I had the money and plenty around when I did not. That is life I guess.

    • jesus bortoni

      You’re RIGHT! They are beautiful. Am I crazy or is there a lot of Porsche in the design?

  15. Mike Williams

    Yes, the SVO turbo 2.3 with the 4v Volvo head conversion is a awesome package.

  16. Jdoc

    I just picked up a Jamaican II V8 with the factory frame for $1000. That is half the price of the original rolling kit from the factory with out the engine. It is titled FiberFab – Kit Car. The rear window is from a Porsche 911. Door windows from a Karmann Ghia. Windshield from 60’s Corvette. The current engine is a 1979 3.8L GM V6 with an automatic and a GM 10 bolt rear end. I believe it should be returned to its original V8 intended configuration (45xx miles on original speedometer) with a Corvette independent rear end and suspension. I’ve loved the look of the Jamaican from day one and now I’m in a position to complete the youthful dream. A previous owner did modify the headlight buckets with 240Z buckets. It isn’t a bad look and I may keep it. I am known to alter some of the original fiberglass like the Lyrad. Featured on this site in 2011.

    Like 1
    • Doug Towsley

      JDOC, I cant speak for everyone else, but I would love to see pix of your Jamaican. I agree on the headlight buckets,,I Intended to re-sculpt the body and add them from my donor car as I hated the jamaican lights. I lost track of him but believe I still have contact with a former forum member in Calif who has 2 jamaicans 1 he was installing a 12 cyl engine in to replicate the Lambo, and the other was a 8 cyl Big Block 427. Its silver and you can find photos of it on the net.

      • Jdoc

        Doug

  17. Jdoc

    Current Lyrad

    • Jdoc

      Original Lyrad

  18. Jdoc

    Doug
    Photo didn’t post – I’m trying again

  19. Jdoc

    again

  20. Jdoc

    Well I tried Doug.

  21. George

    something isnt quite right about this one. if its a 66 kit why does it have a drivetrain made after 73? looks like a Jamaican/banshee hibrid…

    • Jdoc

      Some of these kits were purchased and not put together immediately. Others, like my Jamaican, were completed and then the engine and drive train removed for a newer setup and somebody’s body alterations. Or any other combination of lost history one might think of. This kit car doesn’t have any Jamaican fiberglass components. I thought they may have used the rear window section from a Jamaican. Alas, it isn’t the case. It would have been an easy solution for sourcing a new rear window (Porsche 911).

  22. Doug Towsley

    Thanks for the great pix JDoc, The relevance to me Is I owned both a Fiberfab jamaican and currently a project Caribee/Banshee. The reason I switched projects was simply I liked the styling better of the Caribee/Banshee (With the exception of back window and doors which I am addressing) But my point here is both cars came from the same company.
    The whole reason to embrace a kit car which I would like to stress is that at the end of the day there are basically NO RULES,, (Well a a few grounded in reality) but after years of building hot rods as well as restorations I found it constraining.
    You can take a kit car and mix and match anything you want. No one is going to complain “You refinished the intake fasteners with the wrong shade of Cad plating!”. A kit car can be a time consuming endeavor but its a reflection on your skills and abilities so will turn out as good as you make it.
    Rat rods have their appeal in the same fashion.

    • Jdoc

      Your welcomed. We should (jdoc) communicate (logan) offsite (at) as I am in (yahoo) Washington State (.com).

  23. Brian M Member

    About a year ago I traded my 83 Plymouth Scamp for a Jamaican that we dragged (literally) out of a storage unit where it had been sitting for an estimated 25 years. Got the wheels to turn by towing it in neutral until the brakes released (about ten feet) and loaded it on my trailer, where it sits in project line behind the Sprite, Herald,, Morris traveler and family room floor tile (not necessarily in that order). The engine turns but we haven’t started it yet. No commission tag but the chassis is TR3 and the engine TR3B as we suspect the rest of it is. Windshield and door glass good bu rear window missing. (A cupla 911s at a recent car show had me waiting for them to be unattended, Never happened, darnit!) IT’S GOT TR MECHANICALS JAMIE! WANT IT?

  24. Brian M Member

    Here’s another pic

    • Stuntflyr

      Brian,
      If you need parts I have door windows, regulators and a rear window spares to sell.
      I know you can find your donors tag number and recover its registration. Almost every state has pros that do it for reasonable prices if you can’t or don’t want to do it yourself.
      There are those that want modern but a TR-3B engine and chassis aren’t bad and wider wheels and good suspension mods per racers running that type of car make for a tight car.
      Yours would take a 289 or 302 with a T-5 pretty nicely if you wanted bigger power. I’m more a road racer than big block dragster guy so…

      Mine is a Healey with a 60’s 327 double hump engine and Muncie 4 speed. I used FIA suspension mods, 3.54 rear end gear, Cobra style Dayton 15×6 wires and Avon tires to keep it period 60’s but handle really well for the tire size. If you put too much pedal on it, it’ll just spin the tires instead of break stuff.
      Big block guys need Corvette frames and components and they just like Jamaican bodies, okay and all but I’d rather just have a C2 if going Corvette.

      Chris…

  25. Doug Towsley

    Thumbs up for Brian for the addition to the Fiberfab fan club and enthusiasts.! I like the scoops on the hood. I always thought side pipes and NACA ducts might help.. (Theres a Jamaican race car I have seen that looks good that way. IMHO the headlights are goofy so I had planned to recarve mine and swap in 260Z Datsun lights with modern internals.
    The grills leave a lot to be desired so I had sketched some ideas, I know one of the Yahoo forum members said he had heavy body lift on the freeway with his. And he had a 427 BBC so no easy feat. He said over 80 mph the steering would get REALLY light! Air dam or redesign can help.
    IMHO as well, If it were me I would sell off the TR3 donor and look for something better as a donor car. It will help someone restoring a TR and you get modern brakes, suspension and power.
    You can download off several sites the workshop-assy manual although not much too it. But I have several versions so ping me if you need copies. I also have a lot of period advertising and some pix I slurped from various sites. I will be setting up a new forum for Fiberfab and other kit car owners this weekend. I am disappointed that we lost a LOT of material when the other one shut down,.
    JDOC look for an email.

  26. Doug Towsley

    As an Update, the Banshee/Caribee featured here sold apparently for $4001.00 which surprised me. They typically dont go for a lot. KUDOS to the seller *IF* the transaction goes thru..
    Theres another one,, And its been listed at least 2 times, perhaps more. I emailed the seller but he never responded. (Perhaps I annoyed him) But he was a bit high on the price before and was around $2500-3000 IIRC but it was relisted at $1500 and zero bids. This one is really rough and just a shell. IMHO I think its poorly photographed and advertised but I have been told I have been wrong before.
    But depending on location MIGHT be an attractive project or super cool yard art for somebody.

    See: http://www.ebay.com/itm/1111-Replica-Kit-Makes-Fiberfab-Banshee-Caribee-/262896608011?_trksid=p2047675.l2557&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&nma=true&si=7crhRSkVzA5g70eojBVkE6Jus6w%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc

    *Update,,It appears the seller ended the auction on his own, dont know if he sold it off ebay or was annoyed by people like me emailing. This one is located in Kingston PA.

  27. Justin

    Here is a Banshee I put together. Has a 350 with a 700R4 transmission. I bought it as a shell and used a donor 280Z for the front and rear suspension with a custom frame. Just bought a new project so I am looking to pass this one on if someone is interested.

    • stuntflyr

      Nice Justin, where are you located?

      • Justin

        Gilbert, Arizona

    • Doug Towsley

      Great job Justin!!!!! Would you mind sharing some more photos? Did you end up with the 200mm rear ring gear LSD? Beef up the half shafts?, What about brakes? What kind of exhaust? What did you use for a steering column and did you end up with Power steering? Did you use a shift kit or other mods to the 700R4? Tell me about your back window situation,, (I am leaning towards using the hatch off my Z donor) As I am using a 74 260Z for my donor I WOULD LOVE LOVE LOVE A write up on your build plus any pix you might care to share. If you would rather email I can post up an addy but I imagine many of us would appreciate your story. Congratulations on the build, I imagine its a hoot to drive.
      Thanks again. Made my day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Justin

        Hey Doug. I used a 280Z but didn’t use the body at all. I just used the front and rear suspension and built a custom frame that used those components. Not sure what ring gear I am using but I didn’t modify any of the original 280Z components. The exhaust has headers and then I welded custom side pipes to connect to the headers. The steering column is from the 280Z but it doesn’t have power steering.
        For the back window I made it custom out of Lexan. The trick is to temporarily install some supports going from the front to the rear of the window and then start with a thin Lexan. The thin Lexan should be used as a template to cut the larger Lexan which will require a jig saw. I drilled fasteners every couple inches which go into clips that mount onto the lip of the window.

    • durieu

      Hi Justin,

      Greetings from Belgium (Europe)
      I am interested to buy such a car; I tested one yesterday ; one drawback is, beside the challenge to get in, the low space for the head…Is it the same in yours? How much do you ask for it?

      Regards,

      Xavier

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