Type in “Lamborghini Gallardo” in a search engine online and you’ll get a long list of results that include options to buy used models. But among the legitimate ads from dealerships may be hiding websites and social media accounts that sell fake Lamborghinis and Bugattis.
Replicas for sale
The illegal manufacturing of luxury vehicles is happening all over the world. In 2019, when police shut down a secret factory in Santa Catarina, Brazil, they found replicas of expensive sports cars. The counterfeiting group was making fake Lamborghinis and Ferraris.
The factory was using old parts from other cars, such as Chevrolet, to put together the replicas. They also had molds and other tools that allowed them to make copies of parts. The factory sold the cars for about $47k to $66k each.
Besides charging the people making the cars, police are planning to investigate the customers who purchased them. If the buyers knew they were getting a counterfeit product, they can also face charges.
Kit cars from enthusiasts
Kit cars or replicas are imitations of real, luxury vehicles. From Lamborghini to Bugatti, you can find a variety of expensive cars that have been copied by enthusiasts in their garages. In general, it’s legal to build a kit car, as long as you’re not trying to pass it off as the real thing or selling them in large numbers.
Most replicas start at about $20k and go up in price. Sometimes, only an expert can tell them apart from the real car.
Today, more and more of these replicas are showing up on websites for sale, and legitimate car manufacturers are paying attention. The investigation of the factory in Brazil started because the manufacturers alerted police about the replicas.
If you’re just building a kit car for yourself and don’t plan to sell it, Lamborghini is unlikely to come after you. The problems usually start when people try to sell the replicas in large quantities, or they pretend they have the real luxury vehicle. Lamborghini and Ferrari have sued small factories in the past for making replicas without permission.
A word from the purists
Car purists, who believe only the real, luxury vehicle is worth owning, frequently mock replicas and kit cars. They view these copies as shoddy fakes that aren’t worth the metal the driver bought. Purists have plenty to be angry about: More owners are entering their replicas in car shows and presenting them on social media.
Some purists believe kit cars devalue the real vehicles and cheapen the brands. Many of them can’t figure out why someone would go through the trouble of buying and putting together parts for a fake car. It still costs a lot of time and money to put together a replica, so they view those who do this as wasteful.
Car enthusiasts who aren’t breaking the law think owning a replica is fun. They may never be able to buy a real Lamborghini or Bugatti. As long as what they’re doing is legal, they don’t see the harm in putting together a kit car in their garage.
If you were to build a replica, which brand would be your first choice?