Hooniverse Asks- What's your Favorite VW-Based Kit Car?

As Ford’s Model A was to post war hot rodders, so was the VW Beetle platform to inveterate backyard car builders in the ’70s. In fact, if it rolled on 4 wheels – and sometimes only 3 – more than likely a replica could be had in fiberglass that would somehow fit on the German people’s car’s flat pan. I have this book I picked up years ago, a book that dates back to those heady days of disco and DIY car building. It’s called Automotive Self Expression, The Kit Car Phenomenon, and if you’ve ever dreamt  of your own GT40 or Chaparral, Bugatti, or hell, Moon Rover, then it’s probably contained in this book, and most likely powered by a 53-hp aircooled flat four.
For years I wanted to build my own kit car, I harbored fantasies about both MGTD replica and Jamaican II sportster. In the end, I never followed through with either, an end result that probably leaves me un-scared by either fiberglass hacksaw over-cuts or electrical gremlin hunting. But still, there’s that gnawing thought that, just maybe, it could have been great.
That’s because so many of the kit cars – especially those based on the uber flexible VW platform – looked so awesome. There was the Bradley GT with its smoked Lexan gullwings, the Porsche 907-aping Kelmark, or the Sterling, whose entire top section lifted up for access to its thin, uncomfortable, but oh so cool seats. The Triad, by SIE was a real oddity – it rode, like so many others, on a VW frame, but its styling was a dead ripoff of Datsun’s 240Z. That is, it was with the exception of the nose which was like some MIT electric car concept, all squared-off and grille-less. As a final bit of weirdness, an optional rear cap could be purchased that looked like a C3 Corvette, right down to a set of four Chevy taillights. Sadly, I’ve never seen a Triad in the Flesh, er Fiberglass.
BUt what about you? Do you have a favorite VW-based kit car that haunts your dreams, and perhaps clouds your lungs with fiberglass dust and the smell of ocherous burnt wiring harness? These days it’s less likely to find a VW-sourced kit, but they’re still out there. And fiberglass ages but doesn’t return to its base elements quite the way steel does, so every once in a while an old one turns up, all faded and full of leaves and mouse turds. Would such a find stir your loins and potentially start you clearing out a space in the garage? If so, which one would you wish it to be?
Image source: [vwkitcars.com]

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36 responses to “Hooniverse Asks- What's your Favorite VW-Based Kit Car?”

  1. buzzboy7 Avatar

    I know they're kinda cliche at this point but I do love them. This particular model is the Manta Ray MkII. My boss had one that he was working on a big ole 2276 to drop into.
    <img src="http://s23.photobucket.com/albums/b372/dunebuggyarchives/Dune%20Buggy%20Models/Manta%20Ray%20Mk%20II/ID%20Traits/body.jpg&quot; width="500">
    and my favorite tub body style, the Meyers(of Manx fame) Tow'd
    <img src="http://www.dunebuggyarchives.com/static/attach/84/20384/Towd_frontHeadlights.jpg&quot; width="500">

    1. LTDScott Avatar

      Are you serious? You even used the same word as me. Get out of my head.

  2. LTDScott Avatar

    It may be cliche, but I have to go with the good old Meyers Manx. I'd love to have one to bomb around the desert in.
    <img src="http://www.constructorscarclub.org.nz/Resources/Manx-Buggy-Schrickel2.jpg&quot; width=500>

    1. west_coaster Avatar

      Agreed, but mine would have to be much more period-correct. Ditch those (Centerline?) wheels and throw on some slot mags with big honkin' white letter tires. Add a 3-spoke steering wheel with a walnut rim to the interior, along with a matching shift knob and some shag carpet. Groovy, baby.

  3. scroggzilla Avatar

    Leave it to the Brazilians to bring the sexy
    <img src="http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1365/1459413398_3d1cf94336.jpg"&gt;
    Puma GTE
    [photo courtesy of Photomechanica's Flickr stream)

    1. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

      I would not call this a kit car, Puma was a manufacturer that used DKW and VW technology and is for sure one step above a kit car.

  4. Smells_Homeless Avatar

    Before someone posted a pic of the Brubaker Box here a couple of months ago, I would have been sure my pick would be a Manx. Now, my answer is a Manx AND a Box.

    1. tonyola Avatar

      The Box would be my choice too. Just for the sake of information…
      <img src="http://www.priceofhistoys.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/05/brubaker-box-6.jpg&quot; width=500>

  5. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    The Berry Mini-T…although mine was actually a T&T "Sport-T," one of the few Mini-T clones that bothered to curve the bottom of the windshield. DO MISS!
    <img src="http://www.tanshanomi.com/temp/sport-t-buggy-small.jpg"&gt;
    <img src="http://www.tanshanomi.com/temp/P3280316_cropped_mini-t_buggy.jpg&quot; width="360">

    1. vwminispeedster Avatar

      Someday I'll finish mine. Just needs a set of tires, battery and all the wiring. Right now PKH (project kitchen hell) is first on the list.

  6. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    As a kid, I thought the Fiberfab Aztec 7 was the most outrageous (and therefore, by logical extension, very best looking) car I'd ever seen. Now I look at it and think, what the hell was wrong with me? Oh, yea…I was 10.
    <img src="http://www.priceofhistoys.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/aztec-7-kit-car-6.jpg&quot; width="480">
    Image source: priceofhistoys.com, which is the very most awesome site about kit cars on the web. (and therefore, by logical extension, the very web site of all)

  7. Kitcarguy Avatar

    As you can see by my site http://www.vwkitcars.com I like all of them.

  8. Alff Avatar

    You didn't say it had to be based on a Beetle…
    <img src="http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/4/401/1921/38500960001_large.jpg"width=500&gt;

  9. OA5599 Avatar

    I'd like to put a Fiero body onto a VW chassis.
    <img src="http://www.failfunnies.com/17/images/fiero-kit-fail.jpg"&gt;

  10. BGW Avatar

    How about the other way around- a fiberglass VW-replica body over a purpose-built chassis w/ 160HP TDI engine?
    <img src="http://img94.imageshack.us/img94/8979/ongrid04.jpg"&gt;
    Why? Well…why not?

  11. dwegmull Avatar

    Does the Porsche 911 count?

  12. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
    mr. mzs zsm msz esq

    There's someone that put a SBC into the back of a maybe '71 beetle in Denmark. The headers were a work of art. I wish I could remember the site. He did mostly motorcycle things otherwise if I remember right.
    But that's not a kit car, for that I like the bodies of Fiberfab. In particular the Jamaican and Gt-12 (clever name). I had never known about them until I stumbled on a weekend post about them here once. Someone noticed that it was becoming like an online classified for Jamaican kit cars! http://hooniverse.info/2010/02/05/yamon-jamaican-i
    Any I found all these images on ebay search: http://shop.ebay.com/sis.html?_nkw=Replica+Kit+Ma
    <img src="http://www.autolit.net/Graphics/1007/wi4198.jpg&quot; width="500">
    <img src="http://i.ebayimg.com/12/!B-GlIEQBGk~$%28KGrHqMOKowEy+jC00tlBM7snVV4Ow~~_3.JPG&quot; width="500">
    <img src="http://i.ebayimg.com/12/!BuZBwUQBmk~$%28KGrHqZ,!joEv1+0DbGSBM!G36qy0!~~_3.JPG" width="500">

    1. Smells_Homeless Avatar

      The cars look pretty nice too.

      1. dukeisduke Avatar

        They also made a GT-15 version of the Avenger, which was set up for Corvair running gear. BTW, I'd take the brunette in the second photo, but she'd be in her sixties now.

      2. ZomBee Racer Avatar

        What cars?

    2. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      I get the feeling that Fiberfab was somehow making very subtle, almost subliminal suggestions that purchasing one of their products was likely to provide increased opportunities to engage in sexual intercourse. But who would engage in such distasteful advertising, and what customer would stand for such thing?
      <img src="http://www.adclassix.com/images/68fiberfabkitcar.jpg"&gt;

      1. mr. mzs zsm msz esq Avatar
        mr. mzs zsm msz esq

        <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2802/4314038990_82c85de10f_z.jpg"&gt;
        You might just be onto something here…

  13. P161911 Avatar
  14. tonyola Avatar

    OK, it's not a favorite, but the Elite Laser 917 could be the goofiest and most over-the-top VW kit.
    <img src="http://i173.photobucket.com/albums/w47/the13bats/cyan-laser-917-a-3.jpg&quot; width=500>

  15. dave j Avatar
    dave j

    i just recently purchased a 1967 baja off of craigslist for 1000 bucks.it came with a car trailer full of buggy parts and a roller and fiberglass frame.[img ]http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150135538581890&set=a.44397031889.66545.665656889&type=1&theater[img]

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
      Peter Tanshanomi

      Courtesy Embed
      <img src="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10150135538581890&set=a.44397031889.66545.665656889&quot; width="500">
      And just for the record, we don't do no BBCode markup in these here parts.

  16. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    Not only did the embed NOT work (I'm guessing you can't load a Facebook photo over an unsecure connection), but it got posted TWICE, without a delete or edit button on either one.
    Wow, Hoonibbles is on his game today.

    1. citroen67 Avatar

      He has been hard at work since last night! I commented on Last Call, and my whole comment got gobbled up! It isn't even in my IntenseDebate "dashboard"!!! Too weird!

  17. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    Certainly not! Although I would have to vote for the minimalist elegance of the Volksplane VP-1.

  18. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
    Peter Tanshanomi

    Rescue Attempt. >POOF?<
    …Pretty Please, Mr. Hoonibbles?

  19. Abe Avatar

    Sterling for it's freaky cool door.

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