Gentleman’s Kit Car: 1979 Fiberfab Bonito

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

Over the years, numerous kit cars have seen the light of day that were designed in homage to the original Ford GT40. Unfortunately, even if the body lived up to expectations, the construction and assembly quality fell short. Like many things made in Europe, Fiberfab of Germany built its own version of the classic kit car and supposedly the Bonito seen here on eBay delivers a slightly higher-end experience than its U.S. counterparts – but very few exist today, even overseas. 

Only about 1,000 Bonitos were ever made, and among the limited information available about these rare kits is the tidbit that a grand total of 50 are believed to still be on the roads in Europe. This Bonito somehow worked its way to the U.S., imported from the Netherlands in 1980 and apparently given the blessing of the E.P.A. and U.S. Safety Counsel for legal road use. The seller understands this is a rare car, and has listed the Bonito with an eye-watering opening bid of $18,000.

The exterior does a better job of mimicking a genuine GT40 than some other kits, and the interior actually resembles a place you may want to spend time. The seller claims it is a custom job, complete with a Blaupunkt stereo system and a “hidden antenna.” The basic recipe is still the same as other kit cars, with the Bonito resting atop a VW Beetle chassis with four-wheel independent suspension. Interestingly, the seller claims this particular Bonito is equipped with a Ford-derived six cylinder and a 5-speed manual transmission made by Porsche.

More information about the origins of the motor would be helpful, but it’s hard to imagine a six-cylinder of any orientation not offering a more compelling driving experience than the typical aircooled mill. The seller notes that after years of shuttling the Fiberfab from one storage arrangement to another that the “…coolant supply and return lines have been lost.” The rarity / obscurity factor is huge, but that also makes for a limited audience that might plunk down $20K for a kit car.

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Comments

  1. Wagon master

    Cool looking opportunity but $18k? …… I’m sorry but I don’t see it! $1800 I’m in!

    3+
  2. BiggYinn

    So if no hoses it wont run ……bit steep for basically a non running vw derivative

    1+
  3. Elrod

    So… where are we going… and why am I in a hand basket??

    6+
  4. ulm210

    The upside of the proliferation of auction web sites and televised auctions is that it has created a larger audience for when we sell our cars; the downside is everyone thinks they are sitting on a pot of gold. The other day I saw an XK140 kit car listed on C-list for $45k… who drops $45k on a fake? Granted it was complete, turnkey, with a period correct Jag running gear, but still. If I have $45k to buy a collector car you can bet it is going to be the real thing. And if my $45k won’t buy the real thing then I will look for something else. I will never have enough money to own every car I am attracted to…

    10+
  5. Scott

    The repro market is a more affordable option for those who wish the look. Hemming’s are in the 90k range. I would love to have a speedster replica with a Subie motor.

    0
  6. RoughDiamond

    Ford GT40 replica? The Seller states “After several moves the coolant supply and return lines have been lost.” That is why you drain and keep parts like that wrapped up, packed in a box and in the car. The Seller’s wording makes it unclear whether he has personally or the car piloted by someone else, “has been extensively driven on the German Autobahn and handles like a dream”.

    0
  7. Royal

    A good candidate for an EV conversion, but GOD I would have to revamp that aweful interior layout.

    0
  8. KEN TILLY

    Looks like a UK Ford Essex V6 3.0 litre engine. At least it will have some voomah!

    2+
    • scottymac

      Ken,
      If the car was constructed in the Netherlands, wouldn’t it make more sense for it to be a Cologne V-6, as used in Capris and Mustang IIs? If that’s the case, could be anything from a 1.8 to 4.0 liter engine, but parts shouldn’t be hard to find. All that weight behind the back wheels could be a killer, literally. Great styling, but from the A pillar back, it’s definitely not a GT-40 copy. Are those Cromodora or ATS wheels??

      2+
      • tirefriar

        Scotty, I believe these to be CRF wheels for a Fiat. They do look a bit like Daytonas but not quite. Vintage wheels was my fetish when I had the Alfas. Momo Vega wheels were all time favorites, restored a set for my ’69 Spider 1750. Still have a set of very rare Melber Majors (google them) in a fully restored condition.

        0
  9. Peter Booth

    But it has a compass !!!

    2+
    • tirefriar

      You mean a vintage Navigation system…

      2+
  10. John Norris

    With two exhaust ports per side my guess is it’s a German 2.6 liter Ford. Just like the 1972-3 Capris sold her in the States had. Not a bad motor. But not a light motor.

    0
  11. Double R car

    The ad states that the engine is a 2 Liter Ford V6. Man, the cylinders must be tiny!

    0
  12. Ross W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    Love the lines honestly! There is no way I’d confuse this with a GT40, you need to give your guide dog a biscuit and repaint your cane.

    The exposed trunk hinges are low rent.

    I don’t see $18K here in light of being incomplete and non running, but I could be wrong, wouldn’t be the first time.

    If it’s a Capri variant engine, those moved, very well.

    1+
  13. Wayne

    I have a few 2.8s in stock. ( one in an MGB). It is at least a 2.8 Cologne. ( exhaust manifolds and water outlet on top of the intake are a give a way. The engine is not REAL heavy. (Only 60 pounds heavier than the MGB motor. Which is no light weight either).
    I like the lines on this body. My purchase price would be about $5,000.

    0
  14. alan

    Better looking than the Avenger. Too bad it was not produced for the US market.

    I have never heard of anything named the US Safety Counsel. Had this been brought in in kit form in 1980 the likelihood that any EPA or DOT issues existed would have been unlikely.

    To make statements about being “approved for the road”, presentation of supporting documents would be required. As built this would never have been approved. No bumpers, no combination reflector/side marker lamps, non-conforming headlamps, no required labeling and no emission controls.

    Let us not forget the listing seller having a feedback of 2.

    0

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