The Volkswagen New Beetle launched with incredible fanfare in 1998, and now it's run its course. However, one company is recapturing some of the excitement a pickup truck conversion.
Smyth Performance is responsible for numerous ute conversions, and the latest is for the retro-licious New Beetle. Mike Smith, who started both Factory Five Racing and Smyth Performance, revealed photos of the conversion work in progress in March, but now, the first production kits are shipping out. In a new video, the company said the kit is already its best-selling ute conversion. About 100 were pre-sold before production and are on their way to eager owners to make the swap from coupe to ute.
The company doesn't do the swap itself, but instead sells everything needed to perform the work. Smyth Performance does have instructions and tutorials on how to install everything on its website, however, and it's not the most difficult job to undertake. In the kit are reinforcements for the bed and tailgate, both made from aluminum, new fenders, and the construction materials for the rest of the tailgate, which are made from fiberglass. Additionally, the kit includes a custom cap with a rear window.
When all is said and done, the New Beetle ute looks something like the lovechild of a New Beetle and a Chevrolet SSR. It's very retro and we see why it's proven popular with fans.
The pre-order kits cost $2,990, but the price will increase when the first kits are all sold out. Even then, this is a very affordable kit, even if an owner takes it somewhere else to have the work done. If the New Beetle isn't your thing, there are also really cool ute conversion kits for the Jetta, Audi A4, Subaru Impreza, and even the Dodge Charger.