Parts Bin Puzzle: What’s Under The Skin Of This Obscure Dutch Kit Car?

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Welcome back to Parts Bin Puzzle, the Autopian challenge where we give you a vehicle and you figure out where its bits came from! This time, your challenge isn’t just to find what lights this, but what other car is under its sleek bespoke bodywork. What you’re looking at is a 2010 Heynsdyk 2500 SF. It’s an exceedingly rare Dutch kit car from a man who creatively reused existing vehicles to build something new.

Last week, we kicked off the series with the 2023 Newmar Essex, a luxury Class A motorhome with a beefy Cummins and decorated with real wood. We asked you to guess its headlights and taillights. Those of you who guessed eleventh-generation Toyota Corolla for the headlights and Nissan Titan for the taillights are correct! 

Today’s Parts Bin Puzzle is the creation of Ronald Heijnsdijk. In 2006, the mechanical engineer embarked on a quest to build his own sports car. An archived press release notes that Heijnsdijk’s inspirations include later designs by Ettore Bugatti and Franco Scaglione. Designing his vehicle took years, with the release saying that he formed the design by hand in steel. 

[Author’s Note: I don’t recommend clicking on the links unless you want the mystery spoiled.]

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ER Classics

Talking about the design process, Heijnsdijk said:

“Ultimately it is the passion for form that drives me. By working only with my hands the form arises from out the material itself. Through the years there have been car designs which I find are completely suited to the material used. Those are forms which move me and continually draw me back. That’s what I was looking for in my own sports car.”

That flashy design needed to ride on something, and Heijnsdijk decided to reuse parts from existing cars. The basis of his sports car is that of another sports car that is readily available used and described as “mature.” Talking with AutoWeek magazine, Heijnsdijk explained his reasoning for using existing used cars while touting its benefits:

“Our choice to use a [Redacted] as the basis for a new sports car is in line with the ‘Cradle to Cradle’ concept: don’t throw it away but reuse it. You can of course recycle a car. But the [Redacted] is so solidly built that you can also can easily extend the life cycle and we do that with the 2500SF, showing that a passion for beautiful cars can be combined very well with a healthy green view on reuse – even if the engine is slightly less clean than a modern one. no cars are sold purely on the basis of these arguments, but it is nice for the drink table.”

For what will be your only hints, Heijnsdijk says that the donor cars originally weighed around 2,645 pounds. But after his dramatic transformation, they weigh just 1,984 pounds. Oh, and the donor cars were also built in the 1980s.

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His company, Heijnsdijk Sportscars B.V., also didn’t change the powertrain. Thus, the resulting vehicles have a 2.5-liter four making [redacted] horsepower. A more powerful version has a 2.5-liter turbo four making 247 horsepower. With the more powerful engine, the 2500 SF accelerates to 60 mph in six seconds and races on to a limited top speed of 155 mph.

AutoWeek compared the Heynsdyk 2500 SF’s handling and engine characteristics to an Austin Healey. Heijnsdijk credits that British roadster-style drive to the 661-pound weight loss. The AutoWeek review continued, surprised that the engine’s exhaust note featured lots of pops on deceleration. The magazine felt like the 2500 SF, with its long gears and high torque, was a fine touring machine.

And of course, you got to experience it from behind the wheel of something that looks like this. 

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Heijnsdijk Sportscars B.V.

Heijnsdijk Sportscars B.V. started selling them in 2010 and buyers were able to get theirs in two ways. If you wanted the company to do all of the work, the car was 36,995 euros, or about $48,000 at the average exchange rate for 2010. If that was too rich for your blood, Heijnsdijk gave you the option to build it as a kit. That brought the price down to between 22,000 and 25,000 euros, or about $29,000 and $33,000, respectively.

AutoWeek also detailed the build process. It started by taking a donor car and assessing its condition. If it wasn’t too rotted out, the drivetrain was removed and the body was chopped down to the floor. The chopped up chassis then got rolled into the shop, the new body mounted on top, and the drivetrain installed. The cars were then finished out with mounting the lights, grille, and other pieces.

In the end, these cars were made for just two years. Production ended when Heijnsdijk Sportscars B.V. went bankrupt in 2012. Heijnsdijk expected to sell 30 to 50 of his sports cars a year, but by the time the business closed up shop just 17 and a partly-finished prototype were built. These cars occasionally show up for sale, and it’s pretty amazing to think about what’s under the skin.

Your Challenge

Speaking of which, what do you think Heijnsdijk used as a donor car? Oh heck, I’ll give you another hint. In 2010, Heijnsdijk said that there were 30,000 of these still on the road, making for a large pool of donors.

And of course, we’re going to have you guess these lights! Here’s the front:

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Here’s the rear:

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After you take your guesses, click here to reveal what part bins Heijnsdijk got his parts from. You may be wondering why I didn’t feature an interior photo, and that’s because that gives the donor car away. Click here to take a peek inside. And that’s a wrap for this Parts Bin Puzzle! Do you want to torture your fellow readers with a parts bin mystery? If you know of a vehicle using parts from other vehicles, we’d love to see them!

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32 Responses

  1. The wheels give away the chassis since you often don’t mix an OEM wheel on a different brands chassis. Having said that, the taillights remind me of a chopped s2000 tail light. I’ve got nothing for the headlights and I don’t know what model the chassis is from but I would guess one of the front engine models.

  2. Had the right manufacturer, but the wrong model. I got hung up on the convertible body style (and was honestly unaware the correct answer even came as a convertible). Lights I just cheated on because I didn’t have a clue.

    1. I think the engine is at the wrong end for the Boxster. The Boxter has radiators at the front but that would have been a substantial modification of the underlying car to create a central radiator like that.

      Your mention of Porsche did get me thinking about 924 and 944. Wikipedia says the 924 had the 2.5L at the end of its life but I think this has to be built on the 944.

  3. I was initially thinking 986 based on the 2.5, but the 247hp turbo and of the 80’s made it pretty clear it was more front-engined. For some reason, 30,000 of them left on the road seems low. Mini headlights I think, but no clue on the tails.

  4. I got the chassis and the headlight pretty quickly, but that tail light was a doozy. It was especially difficult because the donor tail light comes to a sharp point at the lower inside corner but the Heynsdyk’s bodywork at that corner is rounded, meaning that the sharp corner of the light must be somehow shoved under the round corner. Not that it would have helped me – I was certain it was an s2000 tail light.

  5. Without being a Porsche afficionado, figured the BMW and Mercedes options didn’t fit era and quantities mentioned and Miata/MX5 too far the other way. And French/Italian options at the time unlikely. So kind of got to 944 by default.

    Pretty certain headlights are from the early Mini reboot, maybe 2005? Not sure if that specific style was the default or one of JCW/aftermarket options, but sure I’ve seen that internal arrangement on an early one.

    Taillights… No idea.

  6. Headlights look to be from an R50 generation Mini. First thought for the engine was Subaru but seeing the comments above the Porsche 944 makes sense. The wheels look to be from the Boxster/ 996 era Porsches but they would fit on 944 hubs but would need spacers to get the offset right.

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