Creative minds work in curious ways: Scribble is framed as art. Mundane jingles become marketing gold. Latent promise is found in flagrant bad taste. When one sets eyes upon a last-generation Chevy Aveo or a Toyota MR2 -- watery machines for the quotidian man -- only the most artistic visionaries see promise.
But most of us aren't Florida custom builder Mike Vetter, who's offering a one-of-one version of the ride he calls an "Extra Terrestrial Vehicle" — for a price some tire-kickers might consider science fiction.
For the past few years, Vetter has been refining his ideas for the ETV, a car that looks like it rolled off the set of "Minority Report" or some other sci-fi flick by design. "It's a conglomeration of many different vehicles," Vetter told Yahoo Autos. "We wanted something totally unique and different." Another motivation: Objections from Italian supercar makers to his efforts at kit recreations of their models based on the Pontiac Fiero. "I wanted to do something that I wouldn't get in trouble for," he says.
Vetter built and sold seven ETVs based on various cars — from the Aveo to the Porsche Boxster — but the eighth ETV up for sale on eBay was welded from a custom frame, using the drivetrain of a Chevy Cobalt SS. That means it carries a 270-hp supercharged 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine, tied to a five-speed gearbox, and Vetter estimates it can get 26 mpg.
Vetter claims the car is road legal -- at least in Florida, where it has a custom builder's VIN. It's also huge, sporting dimensions longer than a Lamborghini and wider than a Bugatti Veyron. Air suspension helps raise the car for bumps, while on-board cameras aid maneuverability. Vetter mentions in his ad how the car will help one meet "many professional sports guys and gals, models, TV and movie talent."
While the previous versions could be had in kit form for as little as $20,000, the full-pod ETV has a sticker of $100,000. The sale isn't only about cash though; Vetter says he will also accept a partial trade for a doomed Fisker Karma, because "I have wanted one of those for a little while."
In all seriousness, the transformation appears well carried out. And it certainly would turn heads. While the business aspect of what can only be described as Rutger Hauer's answer to "Spinners" clearly didn't pan out, you can't fault Vetter's creativity. We all know what a Lamborghini and Ferrari look like; when you drive an ETV, everyone wants to take your picture.