What Is It: 1979 Aztec 7

Looking like a reptilian with embedded louvers comes this fantastic late 70s kit car called an "Aztec 7".

Kit cars run the gamut. Ugly, bizarre, beautiful, ingenious, you name it. I don't know when the kit fad started but it seems to have been popular in the 70s and 80s...perhaps with mainstream vehicles (at least American cars) looking so dreadful from that time period, there was a market for these things, people hungry for wild designs and looking for a project to get their hands dirty.

I think the best kit cars offers cool designs the public isn't normally allowed to consume, coupled with cheap parts and fast engines.

This thing might fit that bill.

The seller is, unfortunately, not the original builder, but they clearly have an appreciation for this vehicle. They state that their research has indicated only about 400 were built, and most were on VW chassis. The say the builder of this example went all out, with a custom boxed frame and rear-mounted Chevy 350 V8 and four-wheel disc brakes. With the huge rear engine powering the rear wheels, this thing is in Pantera territory, and has got to be entertaining to drive.

Styling is evocative of the performance the statistics suggest. A lot of kit cars played up the fantasy of the stereotypical exotic car of the 1970s, which was essentially inspired by Gandini's groundbreaking 1968 Alfa Romeo Bera. After that, for nearly two decades, the "wedge" was the definitive shape for supercars. I don't blame designers for replicating it so many times: it is perhaps the ultimate junction of form and function, as the rear-engine design allows for the severely tapered nose, which in turn lets air glide smoothly over the car. Although this Aztec also has bears some supercar cliches like gullwing doors, louvers, and hidden headlights, they all work well and are just charming by now.

Mechanically, the seller says the vehicle has been in storage since and is honest about it not being road ready. They did start it up, but recommend a thorough inspection.

Cosmetically, they say the paint and chrome are ok, but with a little attention could be presentable.

I for one would replace all gross fake wood in the interior with carbon fiber inserts. The car is too futuristic to have a dated interior.

Find it here on ebay in Elkhorn, Wisconsin with 16 bids at $3,050.

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