Today’s Nice Price or No Dice Volkswagen Beetle pickup has a clean title as confirmed by its Carfax. That means its custom booty was crafted not as the result of an accident, but just because. Let’s see if that laissez-faire attitude extends to its price.
Owing to its design and features, one could easily describe yesterday’s 1988 Nissan Stanza wagon as either wonderfully weird or weirdly wonderful. Add to that its low mileage and almost as-new condition and it presented quite the package. Sadly for the seller, few of you saw paying $13,500 for that package. The result was a 78 percent No Dice loss.
With its cute looks and dashboard flower vase, Volkswagen’s reconstituted Beetle gained a reputation among some as being… well, a girly car. In contrast, pickup trucks are often considered by those same gender-siloing folks as among the manliest of vehicles, next to, I guess, steam locomotives and tanks.
Loathe be it for any of us to make such broad generalizations either way and as such we won’t be getting into a discourse on who exactly this custom Smyth-bodied 2003 VW Beetle pickup is for. Instead, let’s talk a bit about the company that built the car.
Mark Smith founded the highly respected kit and component car company Factory Five Racing back in 1995. That success apparently not being enough, he sold his interest in FFR to his brother in 2012 so he could start another company, Smyth Performance. That endeavor focused solely on El Camino/Ranchero-style pickup truck conversions for cars. To date, the company offers conversions for a slew of Volkswagen and Audi models, Dodge’s Charger, and a bunch more. I recommend checking out the Audi A4 ute on Smyth’s web page.
Before you do that, however, let’s eyeball this Beetle and Smyth’s work. Amazingly, this VW was not a wreck when converted so its bones should be good. The conversion looks as professional as you could want and features a soft tonneau on a hinged frame and a fold-down gate for access to the small, finished bed.
The proportions are reasonably satisfactory for the conversion since Smyth extended the rear fenders and bed past where the Beetle’s former bumper sat. The interior is all stock Beetle back to the headrests. Behind those is a new cabin cap with a fixed rear window. Everything in the 69,000-mile Vee-Dub looks to be in excellent shape.
It also should offer some get-up-and-go to go along with its interesting looks and added utility. That’s owed to the base car for this conversion being a Beetle S. That has the 20-valve AWG 1.8 four which, with its K03 turbo/K04 impeller, manages 180 horsepower and 235 lb-ft of torque. Sending that power to the front wheels is a six-speed manual. According to the ad, the car is in excellent condition and sports new tires, an alignment, and refreshed brakes. The seller also says it runs “perfectly.”
This is an odd and oddly intriguing little car. Considering how long Smyth Performance has been in business and the number of models it currently provides conversion kits for, one would have to assume there’s at least a modest market for such car/trucks.
Considering that, we’ll now have to decide if this conversion is worth its $19,500 asking. What do you say? Could this Beetle pickup be worth that much? Or, is this a Ute with a price you’d dispute?
H/T to Don R. for the hookup!
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