Robert’s Amante GT
Robert writes, “Here are some pics of my car. I’ve recently been in contact with the people who designed this car and have been learning much about it and the history surrounding it as well. The prototype was called a Gazelle and was developed by ex Fiberfab employees who were fed up with FF’s lack of quality in their manufacturing techniqes. The company was Hebina Plastics and they were on to something good. In 1969 they were up against some difficulties so they sold the company to yet another FF dissident who was ready to start doing things “right” and it became Voegele industries. Here is an exerpt from the letter I received:”
I was able to buy Hebina Plastics for not much cash and I was determined to bring to market a classic sports coupe which contained quality features heretofore unknown in the world of “kit” cars….Built in steel roll bar, steel tubing beneath the doors, steel door frames & jambs with piano hinges joining them, steel tubing within the doors (this later became standard in all cars for crash protection. In our case, the intent was to maintain the dimensional integrity of the FRP doors). We also had separate pieces of molded FRP for headliners and as innerliners for the hood, trunk, and headlight covers, as well as the doors. One of the biggest quality features that we added lay with the resin we used. We bought isophthalic polyester resin when the rest of the competitive was using orthothalic resins. The cost difference was only something like $100 per car, but it gave us much improved strength and, more important, dimensional integrity. That is, each part would better keep its molded shape.
Anyway, we made a number of minor changes to the original Gazelle shape (dual headlight covers, hood and rear quarter window options, etc.) and we developed packages such as instrumentation, wiring harnesses, upholstery options, etc. We had a pretty good thing going for us. We hired a sharp local guy (Ron Mitchell) as our Sales Manager. He had worked with J. Walter Thompson Co. (advertising) on the Ford account in Detroit. Like me, Ron loved cars. By the way, I was commuting some 60 miles from Walnut Creek during much of this period.
I won’t get into the blow-by-blow of our experiences at this point, but suffice it to say that we worked very hard. I remember, at one point, being awake for three days and three nights without sleep when we were preparing to exhibit in the New York International Car Show in (I think) 1970. That, too, is another story.
In all, we sold some 150 Amante’s, including one in England, one in the Orient, and one somewhere in the Middle East. In 1970, the economy took a turn for the worse, and our business fell off dramatically.
“As you can see, she’s a rare car indeed. I would like to help get the word out on this quality built component car and if anyone has questions, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.”