Smyth Performance VW Jetta Based Kit Cars
People who know me are aware that I am one who likes to think outside of the box with kit cars. Sure I love vintage kit cars but I believe that if the industry is to survive it will need to attract a younger, less experienced, and lower income crowd. As kit cars in the day where advertised as “build in your garage with hand tools” and an inexpensive way to take your VW bug or Pontiac Fiero and turn it into a car you have always wanted, or one that has never been seen.
It seems that somewhere along the line the kit car became something else. It was no longer about “Hey look at this car I built” and more about “Look at the $50k I spent to make my Fiero look like a Lambo” The spirit of it seems to have been lost. Fly by night manufactures flood the market with half ass quality kits, little information on how to install them, and before you know it they disappear because one of the automakers sent them a C&D. So it is a treat when a company like Smyth Performance comes along.
For those of you who are not into much of the history of kit cars let me start by saying the team at Smyth Performance is no stranger to the kit car. Mark Smith is the guy who founded what is now Factory Five Racing and although Smyth Performance has no affiliation with FFR they still know their stuff. Mark is also involved in Local Motors inc. This company knows their stuff
Enter their 2 VW Jetta based kit cars….
The Gf3 is a Mid engine kit car that utilizes the 2000-2004 VW Jetta/Golf 4 door. It retains the chassis and uses a Smyth Performance designed engine cradle to relocate the factory engine to the back of the car. The kit is $9900 and includes the following…
Front and rear frame sections
Trunk and cockpit aluminum
Front and rear body panels
Radiator extension tubes
Shifter conversion kit
Outer door cap and mirrors
Lower door sills
Upper door panel conversion
Fiberglass shifter tower
Wiring extensions and battery relocating mount box
Intercooler relocator kit and complete exhaust system
Heating and a/c extension kits
Removable hard top
Laser cut aluminum inner rear panels/engine compartment
Engine cover hatch
How is that for a kit? A quick little craigslist search shows plenty of 4 door jettas in the area for $2000-4000 with working A/C and everything. I would say one could complete this car for $15,000 . Looking through some of the build photos of the Smyth Performance facebook page It looks like is it straight forward. I have sent them a message asking if they had a build manual they could supply me with to take a look at everything involved.
Now what if you had a Jetta and you wanted a truck? I know crazy! But I always look at things like the PT cruiser and say damn it would make a cool mini truck. Smyth has you covered on the truck as well. I could not find any info on what is included in that kit other then it is $3500 and as of Sept they where taking deposits on it. I personally think it looks great and I am willing to bet it is a pretty straight forward build.
Now I understand these will not be all of our readers cup of tea. The looks, the Chassis, and so on . Everyone has different tastes . But one thing I think we can all agree on is that it is taking a cheap platform and making it affordable for the average guy to own something unique. Do I think Smyth Performance change the industry with these kits? Probably not! But as long as they continue to think outside the box, taking into consideration that not everyone has the skill, time or money to build $50k kit cars I believe they will do just fine.
Check them out at https://www.facebook.com/SmythPerformance