Quirky Kit Car: Funtastik VW “Mini” Camaro

Sometimes life can get pretty serious, and it will finally reach a point where all of the built-up pressure simply has to be released somewhere. For some people that can result in a trip to the gym, while for others it can be provided by activities such as meditation, or tinkering with a classic car. This 1970s Funtastik Camaro is not designed to be taken seriously, and if returned to active duty, could be a real giggle for someone on a budget. It will need a full restoration, but with everything below that fiberglass body coming from the good people at Volkswagen, then returning it to the road once again could be a fairly cheap proposition. The “Camaro” is located in Newman Lake, Washington, and has been listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner has set the asking price at $3,200 OBO. I have to thank Barn Finder Roger for referring one really quirky kit car through to us.

The Funtastik was the brainchild of Dick & Leroy Shorette who owned the Kar Manufacturing Company of Monson, Massachusetts. They produced the kits between 1971 and 1975, and as has been the case with so many kit cars from that era, the fiberglass body was designed to be bolted to a shortened Volkswagen Beetle frame and pan. They weren’t designed to be taken particularly seriously and were, in essence, a caricature of a real 2nd Generation Camaro. This explains not only the short wheelbase but the enormous fender flares. The flares were a handy addition because they did allow the fitment of some pretty chunky wheels and tires, giving the vehicle a tougher stance. This particular vehicle wears a set of period-correct ET slotted wheels, and I think that they could be restored quite easily. The fiberglass body appears to be in good condition, although a fresh coat of paint will be required. Below the surface, the news isn’t quite so good. The VW frame is said to be rusty, but the owner doesn’t elaborate on just how extensive this rust is. Of course, being a VW means that parts and repairs are about as straightforward as it is likely to be within the classic car world, so it shouldn’t cost a bundle of money to get the car structurally sound once again. I will sound one note of caution, especially for potential buyers who, like myself, are getting that little bit older and, er, wider. As was the case with so many of these VW-based kit cars, the Funtastik does not have doors. That means that entry and exit are achieved by climbing over the side. Sliding behind the wheel is a pretty easy task thanks to a marvelous invention called gravity. However, climbing back out is going to be somewhat less than elegant, so if you value your dignity, then that is something that is worth considering.

We don’t receive any interior photos of the Camaro, but I can tell you that given the fact that it is pretty typical of most 1970s kit cars, the quality of the fit and finish was not something that caused Rolls-Royce management to lose any sleep. The seats were usually fiberglass shells, with diamond-stitched black vinyl covers. The vinyl was a necessity because when you consider exactly how you climb into the vehicle, there was an air of inevitability that shoes were going to make some form of contact with the seats. Let’s face it, dirty shoes and cloth seats are never going to be a great combination. The quality of the finish of the rest of the interior was always something of a lucky dip and depended heavily on the skills of the person completing the build. The vast majority tended to be sparse but functional, although I have seen one example with such niceties as a machine-turned dash, and it did present extremely well. We can see that the seat shells are present, but that’s about as much as we know about the interior. We also don’t receive any engine photos, but the owner does admit that the Camaro currently doesn’t run. Standard fare here is usually a 4-cylinder VW engine and transmission of some description. I have seen these fitted with everything from a basic 1,200cc engine, through to a pretty stove-hot 1,835. I have even seen one where a Corvair engine has been successfully shoehorned under the vehicle, and I can’t help but think that this could be a pretty exciting sort of vehicle, but possibly not in a good way. The additional weight hanging out behind the rear axel line, especially when combined with the additional horsepower, could make things mighty lively when the going gets twisty. However, if the next owner is seeking simplicity and ease of maintenance, then something from VW’s catalog would probably suffice. It is worth remembering that this vehicle is going to weigh significantly less than the donor car, so a warm VW engine should provide it with plenty of performance potential. The center of gravity is also going to be much lower, so its handling should also be much better than that of the original Beetle.

This Funtastik Camaro really isn’t a car to be taken seriously, because it was designed to be a bit of light-hearted fun. Having said that, low weight and a low center of gravity hold the promise of some pretty entertaining motoring. One of the most affordable classic cars to restore is the VW Beetle, and below that fiberglass body, that is precisely what we are dealing with. That makes it a strong candidate for restoration in a home workshop. I’d be kidding both myself and you if I said that this is a car that is going to appeal to everyone, but it does represent a piece of relatively rare and interesting 1970s retro fun. That’s why I have a sneaking suspicion that someone is going to snap up this car as a restoration project.

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Comments

  1. healeydays

    The only word that comes to mind is:

    WHY???

    Like 15
  2. Ian C

    If this was about 2400 miles closer, I would have to consider checking it out. These have always been in the top 3 of kit cars for me. I would build a 2332cc for her and just have fun!!

    Like 6
  3. Classic Steel

    I think Johnny wouldn’t worry about this camarovdub as much and concentrate on his lady😂

    https://youtu.be/EeyfHOHwtb0

    Like 1
  4. Keith

    Apply a new coat of gold paint with super heavy metalflake, and it could easily be mistaken for part of a kiddie carnival ride (albeit one that somehow broke free and is able to motivate itself down the street). Kinda cool, in a stupid sort of way!

    Like 11
  5. Will Fox

    I just hate two-bit back yard creations. All that energy & time wasted on a piece of junk that someone thought was “cool”. Gag…

    Like 1
  6. 370zpp

    One evening in the mid seventies, my friend and myself were walking down a street in Waterbury or Danbury, CT. (one of those “burys”).
    Anyway, we were both under the influence of some very effective hallucinogens at the time – and came upon one of these, parked along the street. We just stared.
    Neither one of us spoke for about an hour after that. And until this posting, I had never seen or heard about another, almost thinking I imagined it.

    Like 15
  7. Raymond Keck

    Looks to be inspired by Dave Deal’s ZZZZZZ-28 art.

    Like 1
  8. Jeffro

    Years ago, I had a 69 VW Bug. Had a 12A Mazda rotary in the back using a KEP adapter. Was a fun car. I could see doing something like that with this. Not that I would do it to this “car”, but someone could.

  9. Johnny Gibson

    z14

  10. jerry z

    Tacky and I’m being nice….

    Like 2
  11. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Too goofy-looking for my taste. Of course, if you can’t afford a real Z28…………….

    Like 1
  12. Mikey8

    wth?????

  13. Randy

    I had one of those about 30 years ago
    It was Green Metal flake
    It was built on a Shortened Corvair chassis
    It was Awesome
    There was another one I Seen at a show
    It was on a Shortened Porsche chassis it was Orange with a Black convertible top
    Done Nice
    I Love Different
    Back then Manx dune buggies were Cool
    They are not to far from them
    I would love to Hear People Pointing out the Cool stuff and Positive messages
    Instead All the Negativity
    I Think the World Needs that as well

    Like 8
  14. Stu Gatz

    WTF…….I thought the car was in an accident!

    Like 1
  15. alphasud Member

    Perfect car to finish and take to car shows to stir the post with the public. It’s one of those cars that has fun factor because it’s so different and it’s not trying to be a Camaro but merely a cartoonish representation.

    Like 3
  16. robbert

    Some things should just never have been born!

    Like 1
  17. AMCFAN

    This looks like it started life as a Dick Dean Shala. The problem is if you are tall and carrying a huge beer belly these are not for you. You yourself will be the laugh of a cartoon.

    Your kid or grand kids will love it though. Just think. Looks like a big toy Camaro until you hear it spuddering around like a VW bug,

    Yes this would be good money well………. spent.

  18. Scott

    death race 2020!

  19. Buck Neccid

    Uh oh… with the Ohio tags, I’m going to have to make a little trip across the river. There was one of these in the rear of a house in Huntington WV years back, but it seems it was green. Now my curiosity is up, I didn’t see it the last time I looked about 4 years ago, I know it was running and driving before it was retired.

  20. Bmac777 Member

    If it wasn’t for not being able to climb out, this would be a cool car for buzzing around a Florida over 55 community

  21. Clay Bryant

    All the snide remarks….This was cool enough 50 years ago to be the cover car on Popular Mechanics, I still have the issue. More then likely some of those making remarks think 20-21 inch wheels are neat but to me make some cars look like rolling toast. An old Corvette of mine was on here last fall for sale up in Canada, had over the top paint on it,very tasteful and no one had changed it in 40 some years. The best remark made was by a NCRS judge who said if he looked at a line of 10 61 Corvettes and mine was at the very end he would walk down and look at kt first. That shut the remarks off. That was one of the most looked at cars I’ve ever had. Incidentally, the Bocar on here last week might possibly be one I sold back in Chicago back in the 70s………..

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