Unlike all other niche car builders, Almac has always been more than a one-car manufacturer. Despite what can be best described as a generally sceptical New Zealand public, this small cottage business has repeatedly tried to diversify from run-of-the mill replicas and offers its own unique interpretation of car function and form. What follows is a short rundown of the cars by Almac since its first Cobra replica. More detailed information can be found on its website, almac.co.nz.
The mighty Cobra is still in production, and is one of New Zealand’s biggest-selling kit cars. Recently, Almac considered taking it off the market, but orders keep trickling in. Over 300 have been produced to date.
This was the first attempt to produce a vehicle that was uniquely an Almac. It’s a much simpler car, with a fibreglass grille surround. In total, 26 were produced.
An up-to-date revision and all-round improvement on the TC, with 16 produced.
SABRE (SERIES 1) (1994–2001)
This was the first totally new design to come out of the factory, with the majority of parts from the readily available Ford Cortina. One of them is owned by me. Most cars were fitted with Rover V8s, and it could have been New Zealand’s version of TVR. Nine were produced.
With the failure of the Sabre, Almac returned to the safety of building replicas of proven cars such as the everlasting Series 3 Lotus, and 7. Six cars were produced.
SABRE (SERIES 2) (2004–2010)
Alex knew that the Sabre was a great car, but believed that the Series 1 lacked credibility due to its Cortina donor, so he moved the car upmarket with a much stiffer chassis, Jaguar running gear, and a Lexus V8. Only five were produced.
CLUBSPRINT XL (2008–PRESENT)
By 2007, Almac had realized that the Clubsprint’s Escort donor was becoming a collectable car and prices were going up, so it was completely redesigned to take MX-5 componentry. To fit the wider MX-5 track, all the dimensions were increased proportionally to keep the classic 7 style, and the consequently increased cabin room made the car far more user-friendly. Twenty-five have been produced so far.
ELECTRIC CAR (2012)
Work began on an all-new electric commuter car, intended to be offered only in turnkey form. With its small footprint, it could easily nip in and out of traffic, squeeze itself into small car parks, and deliver people or packages for only a small percentage of the cost of a petrol car. Development was well on the way when changes in government legislation made the car economically unviable.
SABRE (SERIES 3) (2018?)
The company is still keen to build a car that is uniquely Almac, and work is well on the way with the development of a totally new and modern petrol-engine sports car. Like the electric car, it will only be sold in turnkey form as a brand-new car.