What’s the real cost of “Grifter” (Race Car Replica – Superlite Car) + Q&A!


Let’s pull back the facade of the beautiful looking RCR SLC we’ve playfully called “Grifter”. We’ve been asked by numerous people what these things will set a guy back who wants to build one, so let’s whip out the pencils and green bankers visors and do this.

The numbers we are putting down should give you a rough idea of what one of these will cost. Some of the numbers are rough estimations because some parts don’t have static costs such as used parts, other times cost for parts can be had cheaper or more economical methods can be used.

So, first question out of the way, “is an SLC cheap?”

This question is a bit tough to answer. ‘Cheap’ in what respect? Are the parts of cheap quality? Nope, certainly not, very high quality from what I can tell. Is the price cheap? Base kits come in at $44,500 and unless you have that lying around, it’s not “cheap” in that regard.

Is it ‘cheap’ when compared to say… a Ferrari? Sure is. When compared to say… a new C7 Corvette? You betcha. Is it cheap when compared to other similarly optioned mid-engined cars? Indeed! Is it ‘cheap’ compared to a resto-mod first gen Camaro/Nova/Mustang? Think about it for a second and after all the nickel and diming it takes to restore a car like that, you’re right around introductory SLC territory… Something to chew on.

You do have the option of buying each “stage” separately to spread the cost over however long it takes, but you miss out on the discount at buying a kit fully ready to go.

2nd most popular question, “How long does it take to build?”

This is a good question mainly because it’s so hard to answer. RCR says the average builder takes roughly 200-220 hours to complete a basic kit. I’m roughly 30-40 hours into mine and 200 seems pretty reasonable considering the work it takes to build one. Of course, the more complex you get with these, the rate for time also increases. You can save time by having RCR do some of the body fitment and work for you, but that also will increase the cost. More food for thought.

3rd most common, “Why an RCR SLC and not something more ‘normal’?”

The story goes, I was looking for another project car and took some time to figure out what I really wanted. I knew I had to have a car because well… that’s just who I am. I had a price range and made a list of cars that I wanted to check out. The list consisted of a 911, M3, Corvette, Viper, Camaro Z/28, ULTIMA GTR…etc… At some point I still want to own each and every one of these cars, but the timing isn’t right.

I was walking through Car Craft Summer Nationals with my son and noticed that there wasn’t a single SLC in the bunch. Not one out of nearly 7,000 cars. Exclusivity? Check. I also noticed that people tended to ignore the “store bought” cars. Build a car? Check. I’m not the kind of guy to just ‘buy’ a car, that’s not fun. Anyone can do that. There’s a certain amount of pride that goes with being able to say that I’ve literally touched (and possibly licked? You’ll never know!) every single nut and bolt in the car. So whatever I ended up with, I had to be able to play with it.

This thing draws a crowd every where it goes, so be prepared for the question, “what is it?” a lot… and I mean.. A lot.

4.) “Wow, that looks complicated!”

It only looks complicated because I’m not as organized as I should be. The garage is a disaster zone and only I know where everything goes. Not a good thing. Is it complicated? A little bit. If you’ve never built a car before it certainly can be overwhelming.

This isn’t a snap-together car. Slot A sometimes accepts widget B, but sometimes Slot A needs a little massaging to get it to fit right. Other times you really need to think like a “hot-rodder” as my friend Nate would say. Could you build this car with simple hand tools? Probably, but it would take a much longer time. Basic car knowledge and knowledge of fiberglass is helpful. You’ll be making brackets and little odds and ends from time to time to strengthen something or make something fit a little better, that’s par for the course.

Even if you’ve built a car before, this is a whole new ball of wax. Everything is customized and will need some attention to detail to get it working properly. This isn’t to say the car is bad or flawed, it’s just that it’s not a flat out production car. It needs a little love from time to time and that’s normal. That’s Hot-Rodding. You will need to find creative ways around problems that arise. A tube doesn’t fit with other components in the way, or a piece needs to be trimmed, an edge needs to be filed down… it’s all part of the game and I for one get a huge reward from it.

5.) “How fast is it?”

That question is like asking how long a piece of string is, I have no clue what your definition of “fast” is. The car should weigh just around 2,100lbs and have excellent traction as most of the cars weight is near the rear of the car. We’ve seen some racing versions of these cars and they really do fly! Is it fast? Yes. Top speed? Not sure I’ll ever find out, nor do I really care. I want to go around corners and this certainly will.

6.) “Nice Lamborghini!”

While not a question in the truest sense of the term… No. This is not a Lamborghini, but thank you for playing our quiz. No parting gifts, no prizes, no home edition… No.

If you have other questions, feel free to post them in the comments and I’ll make sure to get them answered!

Now… the info you’ve been waiting for; What’s this really cost?

  • Car itself – base price of $44,500 to  fully optioned – $66,400
  • Tires (required to have them ship it to you) – $1,500 to $3,000 (depending on tire choice)
  • Shipping – $1,000 to $3,000 (depends on where you live, you can always pick it up yourself)
  • Fuel system – $750 to $2,000 (how nuts do you want to get?)
  • Clutch and related parts – $1,500 – $2,000 (We got our stuff from KEP Clutches)
  • Transmission – $5,000 to $15,000 (this is an entire discussion all by itself!)
  • Engine – $0 – $20,000 (if you have one lying around, congrats!)
  • Nuts, bolts, fasteners, clamps…etc.. – We’d say budget around $500, it does add up!
  • Misc smaller parts – budget $500-$1,000, there are a few odds and ends you’ll need (butyl for windshield, hoses, etc..)
  • Paint (optional) – $10,000 to $20,000 the gel coat on these cars is pretty tough and looks good right from the factory.

This is assuming you don’t have to buy any tools and don’t do a ton of custom work to the car. Seriously, you can go hog wild with these things and the sky is the limit to what you can do. A lot of guys like to visit the shop to see their car being built, that’s something you’ll have to budget if that’s your thing.

If you’re playing along you’ll have added up just over $60k for one of these fully built with your sweat equity. RCR estimate that someone pinching pennies can do this for $65k which is well within our estimates.

So, to wrap this up, I really do enjoy working with my hands and building things. So, the RCR SLC “Grifter” is a perfect project for me. I really like that these are kind of blank canvases, you can put your spin on them and change them at will. If you don’t like the way something looks or works, change it! There are NO rules when it comes to these things. Race car/Street car… both are perfectly acceptable and can be built to either standard.

So, why this car? I say, why the hell not thiscar?


There are 5 comments

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  1. Ken Ostrye

    Since this was written over a year ago, did it meet your expectations on budget and time? I’m still finishing my shop/garage and want to make one of these in it …

    • Eric

      Hi Ken, thanks for the message. I would say that it came darn close to the budget, there (as with all things) were things that weren’t foreseen, but were manageable. Time wise, I think I managed my time well but I think spreading it out over a few more months would have helped my stress level. A full time job, plus kids, a wife and a household to run it was a tough balancing act. I think a heated garage would have helped as well! LOL!

  2. Dewey

    Did you finish it? How easy was it to plate and insure it for the road? Did you have to take to the Secretary of state for inspection?

    • Eric

      We did finish it, see our youtube page for videos. I did have to have it inspected, but Minnesota is VERY lenient. Very easy to get it licensed for the street.

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