Cute Volkswagen Beetle Ute Sports Clever Fifth-Wheel Trailer

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The diesel-powered rig returns up to 30 mpg in the process.

There are vast swaths of the internet dedicated to weird car builds, but Smyth has been making it easy for people to construct wacky vehicles for years. The company's "ute" truck conversion kits guide buyers through converting a sedan into a ute, but one man took things quite a bit further with a custom fifth-wheel trailer for his rig.

Paul McCormick's build started with a 2006 Volkswagen Beetle with a 1.9-liter TDI engine. Other than the Smyth ute kit and upgraded rear suspension to handle loads, the car is stock with 165,000 miles. Thanks to the frugal diesel mill, the car returns 30 mpg.

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McCormick said a gift from a friend inspired his creation, telling Motor 1, "I got the Beetle kit a couple of years ago, and while I was building that, a friend gave me a gooseneck hitch. I thought I may as well put it in the back of the Ute, and last December I decided to go on a road trip and remembered the hitch. So I thought I'd make a pop-up fifth-wheel camper. It's a camper built around a queen-sized bed." Inside the trailer, McCormick's got a queen bed, a small sitting area, and a kitchen. It's not a bootleg rig, either, as he's installed heating and cooling for comfort.

Smyth kits make it reasonably straightforward to hack up a VW Beetle, and there are several utes in the wild, but no one had done what McCormick wanted to pull off. He had to calculate the tongue weight and decided to keep the rig under 1,500 pounds. To maintain aerodynamics, he made sure the trailer's dimensions closely matched the car's, and he says the setup is remarkably stable at speed.

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Smyth brings some of the excitement to the States with several ute kits, including variants for the Dodge Charger, VW Jetta and Golf, Subaru Impreza, Audi S4, and older Jeep Grand Cherokees. The kits include everything you'll need to convert a ute, except for the donor car, and Smyth says it takes between 20 and 40 hours to complete the build before painting. Once complete, the ute is registered using information from the donor vehicle.

Though Americans got the Chevy El Camino, Ford Gran Torino, and two Subaru utes in the Brat and Baja, we miss out on all the cool stuff seen elsewhere in the world. In Australia, Holden made all manner of gnarly utes, including some with big V8s. But we're betting those couldn't swing 30 mpg with a trailer attached.

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Source Credits: Motor1

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