Forget Buying An Italian Supercar — This Florida Man Builds His Own

30 September 2019
Gear, Cars, Supercar, Ferraris, Lamborghini
Images: Mike Vetter
Meet the ultimate kit car obsessive, whose creations have earned him movie credits and cease and desist letters alike

If you were to ask someone who they think would be most likely to own multiple classic Ferraris, a suite of Lamborghini Diablos, an extraterrestrial-themed car worth at least six-figures, and Joker's car from Suicide Squad, you'd assume that the answer would be someone with a motoring collection akin to Jay Leno.

Normally, to attain such a collection one would have to be as stonkingly wealthy and time-rich as the talk show host himself. But there is another way, as Floridian Michael Vetter found — if you want something bad enough, just build one for yourself.

Most car enthusiasts have an idea of what a kit car constitutes. For most, they're the kind of cars that are largely confined to garages and obscure track days, only emerging on public roads when driven by an owner who has no qualms with featuring front and centre on the Shitty Car Mods subreddit. However, over the course of the last couple of decades, Vetter has turned the kit car into a true automotive art form, establishing himself by building perfect replicas of prestigious supercars that truly dazzle with their accuracy.

“I could tell right away when a car didn’t look right,” Vetter told The Hustle in an interview. “I could see if the headlights were 4 inches too high on the hood. I could see if the windows were too small. I could see if the windshield was curved or not. A lot of people cut corners on the details and gave the kit car industry a bad name; I saw an opportunity to fix that.”

Of course, the act of almost perfectly recreating cars that normally cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and selling them for a fraction of that doesn't come without its challenges. More than once, Vetter's creations have landed him in hot legal water, with both Lamborghini and Ferrari having perhaps understandably issued him cease and desist letters once they caught wind of what he was doing.

However, this presented an opportunity to Vetter. Faced with the prospect of having to cease building supercar replicas for people, Vetter used his newly acquired skills to create incredible automotive projects that went far above and beyond any conceived automotive design before it.

This culminated in the ETV (Extra-Terrestrial Vehicle), which he conceived and built with five other people in 2008. It quickly went viral on eBay, becoming one of the most-watched cars in the history of the platform and eventually selling for $190,000 USD.

He then built 7 more, each of which sold for six-figure sums. From the brink of obscurity, Vetter had become one of the world's most successful custom car builders. He'd also begun capturing the attention of movie studios, who have started enlisting him to build custom cars for their films. His most famous work is arguably one of the better things about the Suicide Squad film as a whole — the bright pink supercar owned and driven by The Joker.

“Warner Brothers wanted 3 purple Lamborghinis they could wreck in Suicide Squad,” he said. “I told them I couldn’t build them because of lawyers, but I was able to talk them into another custom build.”

You can learn more about Vetter's creations at his website.


Via GQ Australia