Car Carrier of the Day: A Load of 1967 VW EMPI GTVs

This is a rare shot of a transport full of 1967 VW EMPI GTVs. These were a package offered by Economotors Volkswagen in Riverside, CA, owned by EMPI owner Joe Vittone. EMPI had made quite a name for itself with its hot tuned VWs starting in the mid-late ’50s, with its legendary “Inch Pincher” race/drag car.

The EMPI GTV was available in four different levels of equipment, but it was still warrantied by VW, as the modifications (in detail further down) did not violate VW’s policies. It’s possible that these GTVs were also sold by other California VW dealers.

Here’s the details of the GTV packages:

The Mk I was a Beetle with the addition of a complete set of dress-up parts, E-Z-R gear shift, front anti-roll bar, camber compensator, sports exhaust system and a set of chrome wheels. GTV badges on the quarter panels completed the package. The Mk I kit cost $437.20 on top of the price of a stock Bug.

The Mk II added a number of other parts to the Mk I’s specification, including a rear parcel shelf complete with extra speakers, a lock on the engine lid and two reversing lights. The cost of this conversion kit was $568.85.

The Mk III added some extra instruments, more dress-up parts and, best of all, a set of BRM magnesium wheels. The cost of this conversion was just $755.05.

Finally, the Mk IV package included all of the above parts, plus a new ram-induction carburettor kit, brake servo, reclining seats and a set of Boge sports shock absorbers. The complete GTV Mk IV kit retailed for $1238.75.


We can see that a couple of the GTVs on the truck are sporting the British high-quality BRM Speedwell mag wheels. I suspect the other ones were likely cheaper “mags”. EMPI had a close working relationship with BRM, which built and developed a number of EMPI VW speed parts.

One of EMPI’s first products (1958) that came to be a huge seller (over 100k) was its camber compensator, a transverse spring attached to the rear of swing axle cars, starting with the VW and then also available for the Corvair, Renault, Triumph and Tempest. It was of course an effort to reduce their unpleasant habits at the limits.

If you’re interested, there’s a good history of EMPI here.