Fiberfab Avenger GT
The Avenger GT was a car designed in California and manufactured in the United States and Canada, primarily in the 1960s and early 1970s. The car was manufactured by Fiberfab, a company founded by Warren "Bud" Goodwin and was the successor to the Fiberfab Aztec. The car was styled to resemble the Ford GT of racing fame in the 1960s, often referred to as the GT40.
The Avenger GT came in two models: the Avenger GT-12, and the Avenger GT-15. The GT-12 was designed to be assembled by the owner, using parts salvaged from other cars, most often, a Volkswagen Beetle. The GT-15 was similar, but utilized a tube frame chassis, designed to accept suspension and drive-train components for a Chevrolet Corvair.
They are not GT40 replicas; Although, it is also very clear that the styling of these cars was inspired or influenced by the early GT40. Some styling likely taken from the 1966 and 1967 GT40 Mk III; which, also utilized quad headlights and a longer tail similar to the Avenger.
These cars had a big sister, known as the Fiberfab Valkyrie. The Valkyrie was styled similarly, with the most obvious difference being a somewhat shortened rear end on the body. Since the Corvair and the Beetle were rear-engined, the body needed to be a bit longer. The Valkryie, however, was designed to be powered by a mid-engined V8 engine.
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The first original 1964 Ford GT prototypes were lovely but lethal. The body had no tail spoiler and the nose was bereft of a spoiler or special shaping that could have produced needed down force. However, photos of the upcoming challenger had been flooding automotive magazines ever since the first mock-up was completed, so every car enthusiast knew what it would look like. Fiberfab was a fledgling kit car manufacturer, based in California, that launched a small sports car based on VW running gear, and they figured the new Ford GT had styling that enthusiasts would crave. The Fiberfab Aztec came out in 1964 and, although not an exact replica, it mimicked the lines of the first Ford GT. The Aztec was a huge success by kit car standards, with hundreds, perhaps thousands, sold. They are seldom thought of as Ford GT replicas, since few today remember the first Ford GT prototypes that well.
- Fiberfab Aztec II: When the Aztec began to fade in popularity, Fiberfab replaced it with an upgraded version, the Aztec II. This looked a little more Ford GT-like, with a tail spoiler and a longer nose. Noel Johnson, who was an early employee of Fiberfab and the last general manager (and part owner) of its manufacturing facility,said that Fiberfab began in 1964. There was a two-seat fiberglass sports-car known as the Devin, a neat little car, but one which required considerable work to make it seamless with its chassis. The car was not made by Fiberab, but Fiberfabs founder, Goodwin, liked the concept and some of its features. The Fiberfab Aztec and Aztec II was the direct ancestor of the Valkyrie and the Avenger (which appeared shortly after the Valkyrie model was introduced).
- Fiberfab Avenger GT: The Avenger GT was a kit-car designed and manufactured in the USA, starting in 1966. The car had a stronger GT40 look. It was manufactured by Fiberfab, a company founded by Warren “Bud” Goodwin and was the successor to the Aztec. The car was styled to resemble the Ford GT of racing fame; however, it wasn't a Ford GT40 replica, instead was heavily influenced by the MkI and MkIII styling. They utilized quad headlamps and a longer tail similar to the MkIII to cover the rear engine. The Avenger GT came in two models, the Avenger GT-12, and the Avenger GT-15. The GT-12 (so named with respect to the first 12 GT40 prototypes) was designed to be assembled by the owner, using parts salvaged from other cars, usually a VW Beetle, Karmman Ghia or early Porsche. The GT-15 was similar, but utilized a tube frame chassis, designed to accept suspension and drivetrain components for a Chevrolet Corvair. The GT-12 is the most common. Originally, one could take a VW Beetle, and a $700 GT-12 body kit, and with quite a bit of work and some money spent on hardware, custom exhaust, gauges etc., and end up with a great looking sports car. The GT-12 weighed about 500 pounds less than the Beetle. The lowered weight and improved aerodynamics boosted the fuel mileage and performance. The weight reduction was equivalent to adding approximately 30% more power. The lower weight and center of gravity meant it would out-corner and out-stop the Beetle as well. As a result, thousands of Fiberfab Avengers were sold in the 1960s and 1970s.
All models had a later version designated with an X, e.g. Avenger GT-12X. The X models had minor body differences, usually with a chin spoiler.
Rear glass is from a 1965, 66 Ford Mustang 2+2 Fastback. The windshield is from a 1965–69 Chevy Corvair Monza or Corsa. Side windows are custom made. Some use Plexiglass or Lexan (polycarbonate - impact resistant). Originally there were two other choices. One was a single piece side window which Fiberfab supplied, it was custom glass but the original molds are lost. The other way is a window/wind-wing combo, using a wind-wing from a 65 Mustang in combination with a 1966 Ford LTD door glass and a regulator from a VW Karman Ghia. This is the type that the original Fiberfab manuals, gave instructions for. There are long door cars, and short door cars. The long door reaches all the way to the bottom of the car body and is a bit wider. The short door (early) car, has a rocker panel below the door. Rear taillights are custom; however, some used early Mustang or Maverick taillight units.
- Fiberfab Valkyrie: Early issues of Dune Buggies and Hot VWs Magazine had articles on the Valkyrie, made by Fiberfab in 1966. Here was a tubular space frame chassis, carrying the 427 Chevy big-block engine, mated to a five-speed ZF transaxle, and wrapped with the Avenger body except that it had a shorter tail more similar to the Mk1; since, it was a mid-engine car and did not need to cover a rear engine layout. The car had Hurst-Airheart disc brakes at all four corners, augmented by a drag chute "for primary braking at speed in excess of 140 M.P.H. Valkyries were made as both kits and turnkey complete cars. Most Valkyries made use of Corvair transmission and differential (transaxle) and either a Ford or Chevy V8; some have ZFG five-speed transaxles.
FiberFab started the production of Avenger kits in Sunnyvale, California and shortly after moved to Santa Clara, CA to keep up with demand. During the busy years they had a Bridgeville, PA facility to supply the East coast. In Canada they had an office and service facility in Toronto, Ontario, For a while, in the seventies, FiberFab had a full manufacturing facility building cars in Dauphin, Manitoba (making long door cars). Later, they moved to Winnipeg, MB. When CMC purchased the company they also sold kits out of Miami, Florida.
History has a way of repeating itself. A new “Avenger” company has been formed. This company began producing Valkyries for the 2004 Model year. It is not affiliated with the Fiber-fab management of the past, but they are reproducing the Valkyrie under the new Fiber Fab name. The new Fiber Fab is based in Washougal, WA.
The original FiberFab company in Canada, FiberFab Canada Limited, still has an office in Canada. They can be found on Facebook.
Some important History and FiberFab Avenger milestones:
1951-57... Warren G. Goodwin of Velocidad, Inc. manufactures glass fiber replacement auto body panels.
1957-63... Goodwin designs & builds several kit car models under the Fiberfab trade name thereby founding the kit car industry.
1964........ Fiberfab becomes a division of Design Concept America Ltd.
1964-69... Goodwin develops & markets the Avenger and Jamaican product line with peak sales volume approaching $2,000,000. The Avenger and Valkyrie come out in 1966.
1968........ Goodwin appoints Don Entwistle as exclusive Canadian dealer.
1969....... Fiberfab Canada Limited (FCL) established in Daughin, Manitoba with Don Entwistle as President. FCL manufactures & markets the Avenger & Jamaican product lineup. Manufacturing of the Avenger starts in 1970. All Avengers made in Canada were long door cars.
1969....... SEPTEMBER: W.G. Goodwin passes away due to a heart attack.
1969-71... Design Concept closes to settle the Goodwin estate.
1971........ Fiberfab Canada relocates to Winnipeg, Manitoba.
1971-74... Former Design Concept plant manager and U.S. Eastern Distributor combine forces to salvage Design Concepts key molds and start up Fiberfab, Inc.
1974........ MAY: FCL is reorganized and moved to Toronto, Ontario with the Avenger and Jamaica under new ownership of BSI Limited.
1974........ NOVEMBER: Fiberfab, Inc. is purchased by A.T.R., Inc. and Aris V.C. Valli becomes new president.
1974........ SEPTEMBER: FCL acquires 6,000 sqft facilities in Oakville, Ontario to continue production, assembly & marketing; plus signs new exclusive distributorship with Fiberfab, Inc. Barry Stasiewicz takes over as President & General Manager.
1976........ AUGUST: Aris Valli dies from a heart attack. Fiberfab, Inc. approaching $8 million sales mark; FCL approaching $2 million sales mark.
1976-77... Fiberfab, Inc. coasts into a transitional period awaiting new reorganization under acting president Robert F. Valli.
1977........ APRIL: FCL begins production of the new MiGi-II MG-TD replicar with 180+ units over the next 18 months.
1978........ MAY: FCL retires the Avenger & Jamaican production.
1978........ OCTOBER: Fiberfab, Inc. receives new marketing/management team with Robert F. Valli as new President. US product line up reduced from seven body styles to three.
1979....... FEBRUARY: All business relations between Fiberfab, Inc. and FCL are severed due to Fiberfab, Inc. internal re-organization & direction (CMC).
During the 1970s Fiberfab worked with many partners including NASA. NASA engineers used an Avenger as a base vehicle in developing electric battery technology. That battery pack replaced the area where the original tunnel I-frame on the VW platform was located... and the engine bay as well. A single Huge battery was used and it was very heavy!