The out of this world Extra Terrestrial Vehicle
By Darren Quick
July 2, 2009
We're not sure ET would have settled for cruising in a basket attached to a bicycle if he'd seen the Extra-Terrestrial Vehicle (ETV). Contrary to its name, the ETV was actually built by Earthling Mike Vetter at his Florida-based car customization company, The Car Factory. Made by stripping the body of a Chevy Aveo and replacing it with a futuristic shell, complete with gull-wing doors, the aerodynamic ETV will get at least 40 mpg and turn more than a few heads while doing it.
While the ETV may look the part, unfortunately it won’t live up to its name and transport you across the galaxy. Despite the lack of side view mirrors or a rear window, Vetter assured Gizmag that his ETV is certified for road use as it is registered in Florida as a Chevy Aveo. So it’s nice to know you’ll be able to show off the ETV’s smooth lines outside of your garage.
Instead of a rear window or old-fashioned side view mirrors, we should have guessed that the ETV would employ more technologically advanced rear vision solutions. To that end it boasts monitors to display the view from three on-board cameras – left rear view, right rear view and center rear view.
When asked about the lack of a windshield wiper Vetter said, for no charge he could add a single arm wiper, which would basically be the wiper assembly from the rear window of a Mitsubishi Eclipse. Good news for those in wetter climes.
The ETV could also make an ideal car to ferry a couple of very lucky youngsters to football practice as there is actually some room behind the front seats. At the moment Vetter says the headroom in the rear isn’t big enough to seat an adult, but he is working on it. A clear bubble like The Homer perhaps? Maybe not. That would probably rob the ETV of its looks, which are undeniably better better than a standard old Chevy Aveo. Anyone who doesn’t think so is free to use a Porsche Boxster as the donor car. Personally, I'd go with the Aveo.
Other features of Car Factory built ETV’s include complete front and rear adjustable suspension, show car paint job, plasma taillights and wireless remote system. But the part of the ETV Vetter seems most proud of is the doors - specifically the custom gull wing hinges he says took up the bulk of the ETV’s design time. The new hinges, which have two separate pivot points spaced wide apart, allow the doors to open and close exactly the same every time – something that wasn’t always possible with previous hinges that Vetter says always had some degree of flex often resulting in a less than ideal close function.
The Car Factory is offering buyers a few options to get their hands (or tentacles, or whatever alien appendage they might have) on the ETV.
At home builders will be able to purchase the body kit, which includes the complete exterior shell, tubular steel frame, headlights (complete) and tail light lenses, and all windows made of lexan, for USD$10,000. Add to this the donor car cost of around USD$5000, and a few finishing touches and Vetter says you can expect to finish the car for under the USD$20,000 mark.
If you’re not so handy around the garage you can leave all the work to The Car Factory, who will do 100% of the work on a customer provided donor car for USD$40,000. And if sourcing the donor car is too much, then USD$45,000 will score you a complete turnkey Aveo ETV in the color of your choice.
Better go check that intergalactic exchange rate.