As the co-founder of Local Motors and Factory Five Racing, Mark Smith knows a thing or two about DIY car building. Today, he runs Smyth Performance, where the business philosophy is Reduce-Reuse-Recycle – and the first fruit of Smyth’s latest endeavor was the G3F.
A Volkswagen Jetta TDI at “birth”, Smith turned the car into an efficient and fun to drive 60 (claimed) MPG sportscar.
Recently, however, Smith found himself using a Ford truck around the shop and realized that a large American truck doesn’t make much sense for everyday tasks like running to Home Depot for a box of nails and a few 2x4s. After all, not everyone needs to haul a ton of cinder blocks to a job site or tow a 10,000 lb boat to the lake house every day.
Longing for a small, fuel efficient ute that didn’t exist in his home market, Smith built his own. Using the same kind of Volkswagen Jetta TDI his G3F was based on, he cut into the bodywork behind the front seats to make room for a small pickup bed and tailgate. He calls the result a Ute, which is the name Aussies use for the light duty pickups that are popular Down Under
Smith liked the finished Jetta pickup – similar in concept to Volkswagen’s own Amarok – so much that he decided to offer the conversion as a kit. It’s priced at just $3500 and Smith says it can be installed and painted “in one weekend”.
It arrives in 3 large boxes containing fiberglass exterior panels, a fiberglass rear window surround, a sliding rear window, an aluminum reinforced bed with a tubular steel subframe, taillights, and a fully functioning steel tailgate, along with sundry other parts. The conversion retains all the stock suspension, rear bumper and gas tank location. Load capacity is about 750 lbs.
Smith says it takes just a few cuts with the Sawzall to remove the unwanted body panels from the donor Jetta. Drop in the load bed, slap on the fiberglass panels, tighten a few bolts and you’re done!
A rattle can paint job or multi-thousand watt audio system, of course, is optional.
Source | Images: Smyth Performance, via Autoblog.