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How the Need for a Child Seat Made the Extraterrestrial Car
If you build it, they will come. Mike Vetter has been in the industry of car customization since he was very young, and he’s been selling extraterrestrial cars for a living since 1998.

How the Need for a Child Seat Made the Extraterrestrial Car

Vetter's Extraterrestrial Vehicle, ETV, is a custom-made car based on a donor vehicleVetter's Extraterrestrial Vehicle, ETV, is a custom-made car based on a donor vehicleVetter's Extraterrestrial Vehicle, ETV, is a custom-made car based on a donor vehicleVetter's Extraterrestrial Vehicle, ETV, is a custom-made car based on a donor vehicleVetter's Extraterrestrial Vehicle, ETV, is a custom-made car based on a donor vehicleVetter's Extraterrestrial Vehicle, ETV, is a custom-made car based on a donor vehicleVetter's Extraterrestrial Vehicle, ETV, is a custom-made car based on a donor vehicleVetter's Extraterrestrial Vehicle, ETV, is a custom-made car based on a donor vehicleVetter's Extraterrestrial Vehicle, ETV, is a custom-made car based on a donor vehicleVetter's Extraterrestrial Vehicle, ETV, is a custom-made car based on a donor vehicleVetter's Extraterrestrial Vehicle, ETV, is a custom-made car based on a donor vehicleVetter's Extraterrestrial Vehicle, ETV, is a custom-made car based on a donor vehicle
No, your eyes are not deceiving you: you did read “extraterrestrial cars.” Vetter calls them ETVs, or Extraterrestrial Vehicles, and they’re custom cars made from donor vehicles of the future owner’s choice. They look like the Jetsons’ car would look if it was real or, depending on your perspective, a speeding shoe, an “obese” car, or the silliest thing to have ever roamed the highways both in the U.S. and abroad.

While ETVs have made international headlines on countless occasions, whether they’re popping up at legit auto events or on eBay, perhaps not many know how they came to be in the first place. Vetter, it would seem, got the idea for the original ETV after realizing his newborn daughter couldn’t tag along for a ride in the family’s two-seater sports car.

In other words, Vetter tried to customize his own sports car so as to have more room in the back for a child seat. This goes to show that necessity truly is the mother of all invention. The result was very strange and, as per his own admission a few years ago, he had a “to hell with it!” moment when he decided to let loose and just go with the flow. The outcome was an entirely different beast (?), the ETV. The original ETV, though, was not a sports car at all, but was based on a Chevrolet Aveo.

“These cars ended up looking too weird to consider a sports car so I went completely off the deep-end and decided futuristic could work,” Vetter told Barcroft Cars (see the video below).

“Futuristic” is one way of putting it. However, regardless of how silly these things look in today’s world, there’s no denying the process behind them is a complex one, involving handmade glass and lights, and custom pieces were no factory ones suit the purpose.

The process for making one such one-off car takes about 6 months and starts at The Car Factory in Florida, with stripping the body to cut the wheelbase in half, in order to extend it. Then, a different body is built from aluminum and fiberglass, and welded onto the wheelbase. Vetter works on the customer’s donor car and will take into account suggestions from him or her, in order to build the dream futuristic car.

The modifications aren’t only on the exterior, either. Vetter builds new interiors according to specifications, in keeping with the futuristic, alien theme. While most design elements on the body vary from ETV to ETV (after all, what’s the point of commissioning a custom car if it’s going to look like another custom car?), there are common elements. The rounded nose, the added width, the low ground clearance, the butterfly or gull-wing doors are those you will notice right away.

Vetter has been making ETVs and selling them since 1998. Most sell for some $70-90,000, but some have been known to fetch as much as $250,000. They’re all street-legal, capable of hitting 100 mph (161 kph) on the freeway and, if you’re that easily embarrassed, guaranteed to get you all the attention wherever you go.

Vetter boasts of having made ETVs from Hondas, Toyotas, Renaults and even a Toyota Prius and Porsche Boxster. His client roster is international, which means that, no matter how ridiculous these custom cars are considered, they’re a hit with at least some people. More importantly, these people are willing to pay for them.



Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.

 
 
 
 
 

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