|Founded||1984in Upper Hutt, New Zealand|
|Headquarters||Upper Hutt, New Zealand|
|Jem Marsh, Phil Derby, George Ulyate|
|Products||Almac 427, Almac TC, Almac TG|
|Parent||Almac Reinforced Plastics Ltd|
Almac is a New Zealand based kit car company founded in 1984 and located in Upper Hutt. Almac cars is a part of Almac Reinforced Plastics Ltd fibreglass product manufacturing a company founded in 1971 by Alex McDonald. McDonald's interest in kit cars started while he was living in England, having purchased a Jem Marsh Sirocco. Jem Marsh founded the Marcos car company.
McDonald continued his interest in kit cars when he migrated to New Zealand. At that time the most common kit cars in New Zealand were Beach Buggies based on a Volkswagen chassis and a wedge shaped sports car, the Australian Purvis Eureka. In 1976 McDonald set about designing a sports car, similar in shape to the 1974 Lotus Elite and based on a Volkswagen chassis. This car was sold to Phil Derby who uses it as a track car. No further models were made.
McDonald's friends suggested he create a replica car instead as Volkswagen based kit cars were reaching their end. Using a plastic kitset model and photographs, with the help of George Ulyate, McDonald created scale drawings and started work on a replica Shelby Cobra 427. McDonald contracted KiwiRaceCars.com (Then Graham Berry Race Cars Limited) to create the chassis and build the Cobra using McDonald's Fiberglass body. The first car was shown at the 1984 National Hot Rod Show. Seventeen cars were sold that year. None were badged as Almac's, and some have been mistaken as genuine Cobra's. More than 250 Cobras have been produced and KiwiRaceCars.com are still producing them using Almac made fibreglass bodies today.
As the Cobra was selling well, in 1986 McDonald decided to add another model more of his own design. The car was loosely based on the MG TC. It was not a replica and designed to fit a Triumph Herald chassis. Twenty-five kits were sold in two years.
McDonald also began to build turnkey models of this car. Construction of these and their kits ended in 1988 because sound Triumph Herald chassis were becoming difficult to obtain and the engine size was limited by the chassis.
The specification for one owned by Mike Boven compared to a TG of Roy Hoares:
|TC - Mike Boven||TG - Roy Hoares|
|Engine||Triumph 2.0 L 6 cylinder Front Mounted||Toyota 2.0 L Front Mounted|
|Brakes||Drum Front/Rear||Disk front/Drum rear|
|Kerb Weight||590 kg||590 kg|
Production and work began on the TG in 1988. Although similar to the TC, the TG had an Almac designed chassis and used Holden Gemini as a donor car. The first kits went on sale in 1989. The TG model did not sell as well as the TC and demand tapered off after about sixteen had been made.
Almac Sabre and Sabre Series 2
|2004 Almac Sabre S2|
|Body and chassis|
|Class||Two-seater sports coupe|
|Body style||fibreglass body|
|Platform||tubular space-fame chassis|
|Engine||4.0 litre Toyota 1UZFE Lexus, all-alloy,quad-cam V8|
|Transmission||Five-speed manual, Toyota Supra|
McDonald had still not been able to build a car that was a unique Almac. McDonald and his son Stuart started work designing a modern interpretation of the Cobra. The first design took some of its design cues from the MGB. While the prototype was under construction McDonald became disenchanted with it and consigned to the tip.
In 1991 redesign began using a purpose built chassis and Ford Cortina parts and a Leyland P76 V8 engine. Named the Almac Sabre, it was featured in the NZ Classic Car magazine in May 1994. By this time the market had changed. The Mazda MX-5 was available and, due a legislative change, cheap second hand Japanese cars were being imported. A new MX5 was only a thousand New Zealand dollars more expensive than the Sabre kit. Also the Ford Cortina did not have a good lineage for a sports car. Despite having good publicity through Driver magazine in 1995, Which Kit in 1996, and Classic Car again in 2000 production ceased in 2001 after only nine models had been made.
With a revival of the kit car industry, in 2002 McDonald began development the Almac Sabre Series 2. A newer and stronger chassis was designed, the Cortina windscreen was retained, a Toyota Lexus V8 motor was added, and the body received a significant face lift. The new Sabre was launched at the Hamilton Motor Show in March 2004 and with five being ordered.
Almac Clubsprint and Clubsprint XL
When kit car production slowed down towards the end of the 1990s McDonald began to look for alternatives. Graham Berry had a completed chassis for a Lotus Seven based car. His intention was to a cheap kit car that could be built for less than $10,000. The kit used Mark 1 or 2 Ford Escort parts and was launched through Classic Car magazine in 2002. The XL was created to meet a demand for a slightly larger chassis.
- "Kit Car Manufacturers". autosource.co.nz. 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2011.[permanent dead link]
- Nevison, Tim (19 March 2009). "2004 Almac Sabre S2". NZ Classic Car. Photos by Jared Clark. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
- "Birth of the 427sc". almac.co.nz. 2010. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
- "Almac 427 SC Replica". kiwiracecars.com. 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
- Nevison, Tim (27 February 2011). "AC Cobra 427SC vs Almac Cobra Replica". NZ Classic Car. Photos by Sean Craig. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
- "Mike Boven's Almac TC". constructorscarclub.org.nz. 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
- "Roy Hoares Almac TG". constructorscarclub.org.nz. 2011. Retrieved 31 August 2011.