SL-C FAQs

General FAQs that are not specific to the SL-C can be found here.

How easy is it to build, really?

The Superlite SL-C was designed to be built in your garage, using basic hand tools.  You don’t need to do any welding, or machining, or have fancy tools. Experienced builders have built complete cars with paint, a luxurious interior, and the popular LS-series of Chevrolet engines in less than 220 hours. If it’s your first build, or you are adding a lot of custom features, it will almost certainly take longer, but the SL-C is probably the fastest car to build, and the easiest and least expensive to build to a high standard, than any other similar-looking car. Building a track car is even easier, as there is a minimal interior, and will often be the least expensive option. These can realistically be built in as little as 200 hours.

You don’t need to be a professional mechanic, or have built a car before to create a great car.

Experienced builders will tell you that it is better to begin with a relatively by-the-book build to begin, and add features later, as deviating from the standard always adds time and complexity.

Is there a build manual?

Yes, an online assembly manual is available here for registered owners. 

Am I really going to fit in the car?

We’ve fit people who were 6’ 5”” and taller in the car. Because there is tremendous room in the footwells, very long-legged driver (and passengers) can be accommodated with ease. Drivers who are tall in the trunk will usually need to sit a bit more reclined, but pretty much everyone can fit.  We even have an optional “Gentlemen’s” seat that is 2” wider than the standard seat. There is even an adjustable pedals option, to make the car very adjustable for every driver.  With seats on inexpensive sliders, and the standard electric tilt and telescope steering wheels, there’s a way to fit just about everyone.

What about visibility- am I going to feel like I’m in a tank?

One of the great features of the Superlite SL-C is that it has a very open and airy cabin. Forward visibility is excellent, due to the wide and curving windshield that gives a panoramic view of what is ahead. It’s even easy to see stoplights.  Wide, spacious windows give good side visibility as well.

What does it cost?

The Complete Kit is only $43,995, which includes pretty much everything you need to build the car except drivetrain, tires and battery.  You can also buy the car in stages, to smooth out the cost over time, if that makes sense for you. Stages start at only $9995 to begin your own SL-C! See the prices page for more details.

A completed street car will typically cost around $65,000 for a very nicely finished and painted car, using all new parts and your labor.  Buying a used engine and drivetrain will reduce that somewhat.  Really all-out builds can cross the $100K barrier, especially if you put a lot of attention on the engine and interior.

Track car builds can be less expensive, as less attention can be paid to the interior (no carpet, insulation, electronics, etc), and can also be built faster.  But it’s easy to spend more on the drivetrain if you don’t watch your budget.

Full-on race cars are priced individually, as they vary greatly, but a complete race car can be built for under $100K.  Turnkey race cars are available from Superlite Cars on an individually quoted basis.

I want to use a Chrysler Hemi (or Mazda Rotary, or Ford Coyote, etc).  Will it fit?

Unlike many superficially similar cars, the SL-C was designed from the beginning with the idea that the owner/builder knew best about what drivetrain to use.  So the engine bay was designed to be as long and wide as possible, to accommodate an incredibly wide range of engines in the car.  Most of the Superlite SL-Cs so far have used the popular GM LS-series of V8 engines, as they are lightweight, easily available, have a large aftermarket presence, and are relatively inexpensive for their power output.  But pretty much any modern V8 engine will fit just fine, including the new Ford mod motors (and the new 5.0 liter Coyote, which shares a similar architecture) and the late Chrysler Hemis, many Japanese engines, including the popular Lexus V8s, and even Porsche V8s and flat sixes. There is even an SL-C with a 410 Sprint Car small-block Chevy engine with Kinsler injection and stacks!

It’s really up to you!

Are these cars really street legal?  They look like a race car!

Yes, there are already many SL-Cs already on the road with no problems in many US states. The street kits have USA and European legal DOT-approved glass windshields, DOT and E-marked headlights, and DOT-approved taillights (contact us for E-marked taillights if you need them).

SL-Cs are also available in Canada, and can be shipped from Ontario, so there are no import problems.  Several are already registered and running in Canada- please call to discuss if you have any questions about this.

There are SL-Cs licensed and registered on the road in other countries as well.  Contact us about your country if you are interested in a street version.

Is there a Right-Hand Drive version?

Yes, for those builders in countries where Right-Hand drive is the requirement, the SL-C can be ordered in that configuration.  It includes a mirror-image RHD dash, the correct chassis offset, and the proper steering rack and column modifications.

What about the gearbox?

Mid-engined cars like the Superlite SL-C typically use a transaxle, instead of a separate transmission, driveshaft and rear end.  This simpler configuration also has intrinsically less drivetrain losses compared to a conventional transmission/driveshaft and rear end.  It also has packaging advantages.  However, a transaxle also tends to cost more, and may be somewhat more difficult to find (though Superlite now offers new OEM transaxles at very attractive pricing for SL-C buyers- see below).

That’s why we designed to SL-C to be able to use a wide variety of transaxles, across a very wide range of cost and performance.  For example, at the low end, you can sometimes get Porsche 911-based G50 transaxles from recyclers or eBay for under $8500, cleaned and setup for inversion in a mid-engined car.  These are good for cars with up to 450 ft/lbs of torque, depending on their condition. A Porsche G50/52 from the ’89 turbo, is stronger, and will accept more power.  Also at the lower range are new or remanufactured Porsche transaxles from the Cayman line that are available for around $7500. These are a great solution for engines with under 500 HP/500 TQ, but run with a greater axle angularity which some people don't like.

The Ricardo transaxles from the 2005-06 Ford GT cars are extremely robust, and routinely power 1000 HP cars.  These are harder to find, and the clutch and starter are expensive, but they are bulletproof.

The new G97 transaxles from the late Porsche turbos are also great transaxles, and have withstood 600 HP in the factory race SL-C, on the way to winning the 2011 NASA National Championship. These can be sourced from eBay for as little as $9000. The later GT3 and GT3 transaxles are an even better solution, but they are rare, and so expensive. They do have better gearing for domestic V8s as well.

Recently, Superlite has been able to provide new transaxles from Graziano, a well-known supplier to several supercar makers. These transaxles are brand new, capable of supporting 1000 HP in road applications, are designed for mid-engined applications (so they don’t need to be modified to run inverted as all the Porsche 911-based units do) and are even lighter than the previous gold standard transaxle (the Ricardo).  Best of all, they are priced– to SL-C buyers at the time of kit order– at about the same cost as a rebuilt Porsche transaxle.  With all-new technology, designed for mid-engined applications, OEM-levels of refinement and durability, these are a great solution to the transaxle dilemma.

Finally, the SL-C will also accept racing transaxles, as from Albins, Hewland, Sadev, Mendeola, EMCO or XTRAC. These tend to be very expensive and have frequent rebuild cycles, as well as being quite noisy, but are designed for the rigors of racing, are usually sequential shift, and are relatively light.  These are really for racing purposes only. 

Most of the existing SL-Cs are using the Graziano, Porsche or Ricardo transaxles, but others will fit as well. For example, street transaxles from Mendeola fit the SL-C, as will the ZF that is popular in the GT40 and Pantera, and RBT-sourced version of this transaxle.

For most SL-C or GT-R builders, the Graziano transaxle is the unit of choice: it's new, designed from the beginning to be run as a mid-engined transaxle, has a limited slip built in, is proven in much heavier cars with lots of power, and is the least expensive all-new solution. In addition, Superlite makes available a Transaxle Completion Kit that includes everything you need to install the Graziano transaxle in your SL-C or GT-R, including clutch, custom flywheel, ring gear, starter, hardware, etc., which makes it easy and risk-free.

What does the SL-C weigh?

It's a little-known fact, but in production cars, there is a almost always a tremendous difference in weight among the various trims of a given model- different engines, transmissions, interior options, etc., all combine to cause the actual wet weight of any given car in a model line to be often very different from others. The same tendency applies to the SL-C, and all other outwardly similar cars. A really spartan track-day car with a flat 4 Subaru Drivetrain (it’s easy to get 500 HP from these, BTW) should be able to be under 2000 lbs. At the other extreme, a V8-powered street car with a a heavy-duty transaxle, complete interior, lots of electronics and insulation will probably come in at 2550 or so. Careful choice of wheels and tires will have an impact on final weight, as will the engine and transaxle. Just as an example: the difference between the lightest and heaviest wheels and tires can easily be over 100 lbs in a car. Choose wisely if you are shooting for a very low weight.

Is the car safe?

No vehicle of any kind is risk free to operate. But we have tried to make the SL-C as safe as reasonably possible.  One way is through active means: the SL-C is agile enough to get out of dangerous circumstances, so it can avoid them entirely, instead of just plowing into them. Really great brakes that were originally designed for much heavier cars help to slow the SL-C much more efficiently than regular cars, so there is a safety margin there as well.

The SL-C also has passive safety built in as well.  For example, the fuel tank is located in the safest position possible- between very strong chassis members, in the middle of the car (instead of being at the front or rear of the car where it is more likely to be ruptured in an accident.  Driver and passenger sit well inside the car, much closer to the centerline to provide additional safety (compared to other cars that have the occupants’ bodies very close to the outside edge of the car).

The car also comes with a 6-point “roof structure” (the lawyers don’t want us to call it a roll cage) that serves to add chassis stiffness and provide some protection in the event of a rollover. For track use, available door bars provide more side-intrusion protection, and can be fitted to street cars as well.

Race versions of the SL-C have an incredibly strong race cage that is designed to meet FIA, NASA and SCCA regulations. Fuel is contained in a series-legal fuel cell.  Use of proper racing gear like a HANS, correctly installed and used safety belts and helmets help to make the SL-C a very safe race car indeed.

All versions of the SL-C share the same very strong aluminum hybrid monocoque chassis that has been tested in computer simulations to be extremely rigid.  In addition, the SL-C has passed the extremely stringent Austrailian ADR requirements for chassis stiffness, with ease.  It's very strong.

The SL-C, like all other cars in it genre, doesn’t have airbags, or stability control.  But these are not silver bullets- you still have to drive whatever vehicle you have in a careful fashion.  We recommend that you follow all applicable laws and regulations when driving your SL-C on the road or track for maximum safety.

How fast is the Superlite SL-C?

It depends on weight, drivetrain and conditions. But with the popular GM LS7 engine, a Ricardo gearbox, Hoosier R6 tires, and an interior, we timed an SL-C at 10.4 in the ¼ mile at 132 MPH. It’s not really a drag car, but an experienced driver, and better setup could no doubt improve on that time. 0-to-60 numbers are in the 3.2 second range, depending on conditions.  Top speed is a function of setup and drivetrain, but with enough power, and the right gearing, the car could easily do well over 200 MPH.  The Ricardo transaxle is geared quite tall, with a theoretical top speed of about 257 MPH, assuming the engine had the power to pull it.

In racing trim, the Superlite routinely dominates cars with much more power, due to the car’s superior aerodynamics, better handling and braking, as well as the ability to get the power it does have down to the wheels.

In only the car’s 4th race weekend. the Superlite SL-C won the 2011 NASA Super Unlimited class National Championship, competing against many more powerful, and mature road race cars from across the country.  The car captured pole position for each of the championship races, and won each one in convincing fashion, leading the second place car by almost a lap in the Championship race.  The driver reports that the car is easy to put anywhere on the track, has excellent balance, and is a joy to drive.

So far, the factory SL-C has captured lap records at every track it has visited. Customer SL-Cs have been very successful as well, with a 2nd place overall in the NASA 25 Hours Of Thunderhill, losing only to a factory Audi R8 LMS, and a 2nd place finish in the NASA East Coast National Championships in 2015. Customer cars have also set lap records at VIR, NJMP and other tracks as well.

So yes, it is fast, and we have the records to prove it!

Why do I see two different rear treatments in the pictures? Are there two models?

The SL-C can be ordered with your choice of the “race” tail, shown here:  

Superlite SL-C with race tail and optional carbon fiber wing. Note the open rear bodywork, exposed rear tires, and standard diffuser.

 

It is also available with the new “street” tail, shown here:

Superlite SL-C with street tail. Note the "ducktail" spoiler and lack of a rear wing, as well as a deeper bodywork that covers the rear wheels.

 

Depending on the regulations in your country or state, or just your own personal preference, you may select either one at order time. Or order both, and switch them around as you want a different look!

The Race tail is designed to have a high-mounted wing, and that is part of the complete kit. The Street tail has an integrated spoiler, and does not require or come standard with a wing (though wings are commonly fitted to these tails as well).

Whatever treatment you select, your SL-C will have the same race-proven, aggressive look that helps identify it as a Supercar.

What are the wheel and tire choices?

The SL-C (and GT-R) have an entire page dedicated to discussing wheel and tire options.