Voltswagen Jetta

If you haven't heard of Smyth Performance, allow me to introduce you to a small company that specializes in turning your front-drive, fourth generation Jetta or Golf into a rear-drive hoonmobile. Their conversion kit involves nixing the roof and sawing off everything aft of the rear footwell. A new subframe, which includes provisions for engine mounts, bolts to the B-pillar. The front cradle (with engine and transmission attached) slides back and gets bolted onto the new subframe, thus resulting in a mid-engine, rear-wheel drive Jetta. The kit also comes with new shifter linkages, slick new body panels, and much more. 

If you'd like to learn more about the Smyth Performance, see Mark Smith's page on facebook:



The University of Virginia has decided to step this kit up a notch. Instead of moving the gas engine rearward, UVA's School of Engineering is transplanting the powerplant and battery from a Mini E into the chopped up Jetta. In summary, they're going from a four door, front-engine, front-wheel drive four banger, to a two door, rear-wheel drive, mid-motor, 201 horsepower roadster. 

Probably the coolest thing is that UVA is doing all of this work in an old decommissioned nuclear reactor building using primarily hand tools. Have a look at the pics below. The first shows where the former reactor core once lived; this space has since been turned into a supply closet. The second image shows the car in the reactor, which has been converted to a workshop for students.

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