There's no arguing with the results.  A row of Superformance Mark-III's lined up for containerized shipping in the Port Elizabeth factory are polished to such a degree you'd think each car had been specially finished and was headed to a major Concourse. "We had to be better than the originals from England," says Price. "I felt that if you couldn't walk around our car and not question its perceived value, we'd have failed.  Everything visible to the eye on a Superformance roadster is now as good or better than the vintage cars."
          Price's factory is filled with an incredible variety of heavy-duty production machinery. "We produce the aluminum bodies and sheet metal steel Monocoque chassis for the new AC Ace here in our plant in Port Elizabeth, so we could do aluminum roadster bodies for the Mark-III as well, but we don't because we can offer a stronger, less expensive, better finished body in composite. "With modern materials you don't have to worry about stone chips or inquisitive knuckles denting the surface of a Superformance roadster.
          "Our cars are designed to be driven everyday with the full assurance that they're as reliable as any other modern automobile," Price adds. His own bright yellow Mark-III is equipped with one of Ford's SVO Windsor 351 crate motors mated to a compact, lightweight Tremec five-speed transmission. The latest versions also use a Ford SVO 3.73 differential that is much stronger and more reliable than the old Salisbury unit. "We use (the yellow car) as the factory demo-it has literally thousands of miles on it and is as reliable as a blacksmith's anvil." American distributor Bob Bondurant discovered the same thing three years ago when he began using the Superformance Mark-III at his driving school in Arizona. Since Bondurant drove the Shelby team cars to the World GT Championship in 1965, he's a pretty good judge of equipment, we'd say. 

          His verdict?: "It handles better than the vintage car and its just as bulletproof." Price's America dealers sell about 40 Superformance's South African Cobra roadsters a month all over the U.S.

          When questioned about the future of the Mark-III market, Price smiles.  "I'm sure of the short term... the next five to ten years; after that I don't know." He's a realist about the ever changing limited-production market. "Right now there's more than 50 companies out there in the American kit car business trying to fulfill somebody's '60's fantasy." Those are the dreams of an age group that may lose interest in a few years.  If a younger group comes along that still appreciates the significance of the vintage car's history, then perhaps the market will endure.

          If the market does change, Price has several options for the future. His factory is equipped to change with the times. "Right now we build complete automobiles for knowledgeable enthusiasts who want a useable car. We're not trying to recreate what was done with AC Cars in the '60s. Our Mark-III is a completely different chassis design for a modem market. We're definitely not in the kit car business, as our cars come completely finished, less engine and running gear. "I don't think we're really part of that kit car business," says Price, when questioned about the myriad of other car builders in America and England. "We sell completely finished automobiles.  In the US you only have to supply your own power and running gear, but that's simple enough as it's all stock equipment available over the counter from Ford SVO or our dealers and at least a dozen other specialty suppliers." What's amazing is that a complete turnkey Superformance Mark-III sells for far less than the partially completed kit cars manufactured by several firms in the US. 

          "It seems illogical that you can have more for less, but until you understand the South African economy, it will never make sense. What works against us for imports, works in your favor for exports," says Price. Superformance has sold more than 1600 Mark-III's in America and has one of the most enthusiastic owner's clubs in the world. "Those guys are absolutely mad for this car," says Ron Rosen of Dynamic International, the Superformance distributor in Ross, Ohio. "They started the whole thing on their own and are now our best salesmen." 

          "I recommend that any prospective buyer contact the club before they call us," says Rosen. "There's always a bit of skepticism when you talk to a salesman. When you get the story straight from real owners it makes our job easier!" The future?  "We're a limited production manufacturer," explains Price.  "Like TVR, Panoz, Caterham or Lotus, we build what our clients demand.  Whether we build for distributors or sub-contract other manufacturers, like we do for AC Cars, we can build anything at any level of technological complexity. Our factory is tooled to make anything.  We expect the market will eventually change, but we're ready.
          "We employ over 250 highly skilled people so we can deliver in large quantities," continues Price.  "That's what makes us different from the kit car suppliers. This quantity of production provides an economy of scale that makes Price's cars less expensive and better finished than anything on the market.  I'm sure that in the near future we'll begin to build our own designs, so we can cater to the same markets we have now, but we'll be able to offer an even more advanced product."

Old Cars With a Future
          Price shows me around the pristine Superformance factory-even into the secret rooms with advanced projects. "You can see what I mean," he says with a grin as we look in on a car that sits on a precision scaled chassis table.  "When it's finished, we'll use it to set the South African land speed record.  We expect to do over 200 mph on a regular highway just north of Johannesburg. But you can't tell anybody the specifics about this Just yet!" I'm sworn to secrecy, but the project is so exciting that it's difficult to forget, even when we enter the race shop next door.

          There Price's skilled technicians are building a pair of current ERA Trans-Am Mustangs. "We've a great enthusiasm for big V8s in South Africa" says Price. "Our most popular national racing series is for big-engined cars. South Africans don't like oval track racing but they understand the appeal of NASCAR and Trans-Am.  Our road racing competition reflects the best of both worlds."

                   How many people race Superformance Mark-III's in South Africa?  "Very few, really. A South African Mark-III driver is very much like the chaps you have in the States. They love the power and speed but seldom have the chance to use it.  We have our own Mark-III club and meets, time trials and such, but we're not much into real vintage racing because our cars simply aren't real vintage cars.  Because of the economy, there aren't a lot of rare old cars down here.

          "The Real deal will always be the Real Deal. Those who drive the vintage cars or those who drive ours know they're not the same, but in some ways both groups know it's become impractical to drive a real piece of art on the street.  It can be done of course, but the risk makes you paranoid.  With a Superformance car you aren't pretending, you're just enjoying what the vintage owners had back in the mid '60s - A better, practical, fun car that can blow the doors off anything on the street.  That's what we offer, nothing more, and certainly, nothing less!"

below:  The Hi-Tech® Manufacturing facility in Port Elizabeth, South Africa has 270,000 square foot under their roof and is interconnected  by 15 buildings on a 100 acre landscaped Lockington Farm estate. This is where some of the most famous cars in the world receive their birthing from design to production to finish assembly, all under one roof. Some of the cars rolling out of these doors include the Superformance Mk-III roadster, the S-1 Lotus 7 replica, the Nobel M12 GT and most recently the world renowned Brock Coupe, as well as many other ultra high performance cars which are designed, engineered, fabricated, built, assembled and tested all in house.    <<<  CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW TO GET A BIRDSEYE TOUR OF THE FACTORY  >>>