Littered throughout Australia’s former manufacturing history, are a number of bespoke low-volume kit-car/ replica and sports car makers. Many of which have been – in some cases, rather ignominiously – lost to history.
These locally-assembled kit-cars have always been style-driven products, but developed a bit of a reputation for lacklustre mechanicals and shoddy build quality.
Alan Purvis made great efforts to overcome this reputation with his Eureka firm launched in 1974.
Based on the UK-developed Nova kit bodies (of which over 4000 were sold worldwide), the cars generally utilised late 60s Beetle underpinnings, though there are various reports of examples powered by uprated 2.0lt Kombi engines, 1.6lt Cortina engines and even Mazda rotaries.
The low-slung silhouette borrowed heavily from Italian supercars of the era, and the Targa roof variant introduced in the early 80s was a welcome addition for taller customers.
Like any low-volume local car maker, Alan Purvis’ Eureka consistently faced a lack of capital, and depended heavily on consumer involvement in regards to continual development and improvement throughout production.
One of the major initial problems was the fact that most of the weight fell behind the back axle, with detrimental effects to handling.
Given the simple VW controls, the car was familiar to many drivers, and quite mechanically dependable. Buyers could commission Purvis to sell them a complete and finished car, or purchase the car as a kit and assemble it themselves – helpfully avoiding sales tax.
The company ultimately folded in 1991, and it’s rather unclear just how many were built. Nevertheless, the small firm deserves a rightful place in Aussie motoring history, fuelled by its founder’s indelible passion. The main attraction of kit-cars has always been the kerb-side appeal, and we think you’ll agree that little else comes close to the Aussie-made Purvis Eureka.