1978 Rolls Royce “Wannabe” Neoclassic Car

Neoclassic cars are a strange breed. These cars combine classic design elements (waterfall grille, round headlights, swooping fenders) with a modern powertrain and chassis. The idea with most neoclassic cars is to create a tribute or modern interpretation of a historic vehicle, such as the Mercedes-Benz SSK.

This car takes a different approach. Built on the chassis of a 1978 Chevrolet Camaro, it has a 305 V8 engine, automatic transmission, and rear end. But instead of a custom fiberglass body from a coachbuilder, this car has the modified body of a 1973 Volkswagen beetle convertible. The doors, windshield, seats and floor pan are all VW. The front end has received some custom treatments, which resembles a certain brand of British luxury car without infringing on any trademarks.

A paper on the car’s window described itself as a “Rolls Royce wanna-be.” Indeed, the car’s body lines are designed to resemble the Rolls Royce Silver Cloud drophead coupe. The wide fender flares and wire wheels are common design elements of neoclassics, seeking to recreate that vintage motoring experience.

According to the paper, the car was titled as a Special Construction vehicle in Minnesota in 1991. “Has A/C, AM/FM Cassette, cruise control, everything works! Runs and drives like new. Professional workmanship.”

There’s no hiding that 1970s GM interior, and no mistaking this ride for a luxury car from any angle. Though I will agree that the workmanship looks good, the proportions are a bit awkward – especially with that bulge behind the convertible top.

This car also suffers the awkward work-arounds common to other Neoclassic cars, such as the strange placement of the fuel filler door, the lack of a glove box and a working trunk. These compromises make the car a weekend cruiser and not a daily driver in my book. The location of the instrument cluster in the center of the dash is also strange – perhaps a clearance issue?

Another interesting feature is the split front and rear bumpers – was this done as a nod to the 1960’s era Corvette? Your guess is as good as mine.

For some reason, it really interests me when people who are not automobile designers by trade endeavour to build their own custom cars. Though not my favorite neoclassic car, I can respect the effort that was put into building the Wanna-Be Rolls Royce.

Ham People Have No Shame (Antennas)

I recently attended the annual Dayton (Ohio) Hamfest and as you cam imagine the antennas were out in full force. Some are clearly up just to seem goofy or ridiculous, others are dead serious. Whatever the case may be the ham folk have no shame. Continue reading

Fiberfab Avenger GT/Valkyrie Kit Car (what remains)

A few weeks back I took a trip to California, naturally I was on the lookout for anything interesting or uncommon.  At some point I ended up walking through a small field of grass that had within it a little square area surrounded by a fence.  Inside was what appeared to be a very sad looking GT40 type mid engined kit car.

From what I have gathered this is either a Fiberfab Avenger GT or Valkyrie.  Unless there are subtle differences that I haven’t found a mention of the only real difference is towards the rear of the car where it is either a bit longer or shorter depending on the engine/donor setup.  The Avenger was the shorter of the two, designed for a Corvair or VW setup.  The longer Valkyrie model was setup for a larger V8 engine. Continue reading

1980-82 VW Rabbit Oettinger

I was a little confused when I first spotted this MK1 Rabbit. Was this a real Oettinger-tuned GTi 16S, somehow imported from France? As I got closer I noticed the lack of badging, the white deck on the hatch and the body cladding was a little off. My Volkswagen noob-status had betrayed me. This is just one of the lesser-versions of the USDM VW Rabbit with an Oettinger body kit. A “Malibuized” creation by former Chevy engineer James McLernon. Coincidentally enough, it foreshadows a tactic that the German V-dubbers are trying again, in the opposition of just about every other automaker today. Continue reading

Electric Conversion VW Rabbit – Revisited

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I was going through some of my photos and found this. It’s the same electric Rabbit that I posted about before, only this is a shot of it driving at 40th Street and Indian School. I had forgotten that I had this picture. It was taken long before I saw it at the Pavilions when I took the pictures for the other post. I now recall seeing it driving around in the Arcadia area all the time about two years ago. Hopefully it’s still driving, but I don’t live around there any more so I couldn’t tell you for sure.

From this photo, the motivation behind the electric conversion is pretty clear. Apparently, it was built in 1993 because “screw OPEC”.

Electric Rabbit Pickup

Ok, well… I apologize, I thought I had pictures of the outside of this thing but I can’t find them anywhere so I guess I don’t have any. But it’s still pretty interesting to see what’s going on under the hood and inside the truck. That “Battery Managerial System” is cool looking.

I wish I knew more about the car and if I ever see it again I’ll get some information from the owner but for now just enjoy the pictures and use your imagination.