A Brief history of the Eagle Kit Car range 1981 - 1998
1981 - 35 years of EAGLE CARS - 2016
The Eagle Owners Club has been running now for over 30 years. In this time it has brought together owners of some of the most individual and innovative cars in the 'Kit Car' Industry. Unfortunately as the years pass, regulations make getting a restored car on the road legally more difficult, if not impossible. Dreams of 'super cars' by over enthusiastic owners, as well as some cars being scrapped for their VW components, means the original number of about 680+ SSs and 100 RVs has dwindled to a mere handful on the road and possible only a dozen being restored but they have found their way to Poland, France, Germany Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Russia, Belgium, Canada and Spain.
There is a register on the EOC forum of more than 140 known Eagle kit cars.
The main problem is that whilst the Volkswagen Beetle based cars can still be registered as a re-bodied VW with just an DoE inspection and a MoT, the Ford based models, about half the SSes and most of the RVs, would need a full IVA test as they have an Eagle / Ford chassis, which is not only expensive but problematic as they were not built to IVA standards all those years ago. Whilst Eagles pop up on Ebay, etc quite often, they are mostly not viable projects and the people who buy them end up selling them on or they become garden ornaments or scrapped, which is a shame and the E.O.C. is dedicated to helping those owners who want to get their "dream car" on the road again.
There is a well read article on the forum as well as www.euro-nova.net and the USA Stirling sites, "so you want to build a kit car?" which could save a few problems.
The Eagle SS was developed from the American gull wing car, the Cimbria, itself derived from the original 1970s design by Richard Oakes that was the Nova which is still made in the USA as the Stirling. In 1981 Tim Dutton of Dutton car fame and his cousin Allen Breeze, bought the Cimbria design to the UK and after a few improvements it became the Eagle SS.
Eagle Cars are probably best known for the 'Eagle RV' modelled on the Jeep CJ6 and 'Eagle SS' Cars, but had also in its family of cars the Ford MkII Escort based 'Eagle P21' (Dutton) and 'Eagle P25' as well as other low production models like the 2+2, Henderson and Stendetto (Ferrari F40 on Pontiac chassis) . It was bought by Rob Budd, a former trials motorcyclist in around 1989. He expanded the range of cars and upgraded the existed models until according to companies house, Eagle Cars Ltd. ceased trading in 1998 but production had ceased well before that date. An Eagle RV 4x4 based on the Range Rover or Daihatsu donor mechanicals was produced in small numbers but has since disappeared. The Eagle RV Series II Jeep uses the Ford Sierra donor. Prior to 1998 the RV design was sold on to two interested parties. Robert May bought the Range Rover based model and the Ford based RV was sold to Jordan Developments in about 2004 but they both failed to produce anything substantial. The Ford version is built on a steel ladder frame chassis that has the same footprint as the original VW chassis, the RV GRP body has returned edges and built-in wheel spats.
In late 2005 both the SS and the RV were owned by Tim Naylor of TEAC Sports Cars who rescued the SS from the undergrowth of a Kent boatyard after seeing it advertised on Ebay and his business partner had the RV moulds. The original moulds were repaired to make replacement parts and kit fabrication, however very few owners took advantage of this service. So now both the main Eagle models were under one owner again and Tim had hoped to introduce a new SSR (the MkIV) in 2007 based on mid engine Toyota MR2 donor and exhibited a mock up SS at Stoneleigh in 2006 for evaluation and to gauge public response but by the end of 2008 it was obvious the economic climate had taken it's toll and whilst interest is still high no one was prepared to put their money where their mouths were and Tim having ploughed significant funds and time into the project, has had to call it a day. The SS was sold to a buyer from Wexford on Ebay and has since disappeared for the time being and the RV which were held by Tim's business partner but have reportedly been seized by bailiffs and disappeared, (2011)
The P21 and P25 open two seater sports cars accepted all the mechanical components from the Ford Escort range (Mk I and Mk II) and they were updated Duttons.
The Standetto was the company's last model, which resembled the Ferrari F40 and was a glorified body kit on a Pontiac Fiaro base.
A little known final chapter of Eagle Cars Ltd was in the late 90's when they built a prototype called the 'Kabalah' for a company who wanted a car/buggy for renting out at holiday locations that was cheap to build, easy to maintain and fun to drive, nothing more is known of this car.
Good news is, that along with the Nova, a company in Belgium called Poly-Creations has moulds and NEW Eagle SSs and Novas for sale and will make replacement parts also.
Nothing on the RV front so far.
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