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						Hebina Gazella11

Upscale Fiberclassic: Hebina Plastics Gazelle

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, eBay

When we look at the fiberglass boom that took place in the late 1960s and early ’70s, it’s not hard to see why many of the cars produced were not commercially successful. Many kits on the market were not exactly designed for your average buyer to assemble, fit-and-finish issues abounded and some companies simply weren’t able to deliver parts and orders. But when we look at the case of the Hebina Plastics Gazelle (later Voegele Industries and the Amante GT), I really think they had one of the better products out there for the air-cooled VW donor. One of just 150 built, this Gazelle project on eBay is probably one of the nicest examples in existence.

Bill Voegele was a mechanical engineer working at Fiberfab in the late 1960s, and perhaps unsurprisingly, took issue with a few aspects of Fiberfab’s process and quality control. So Voegele teamed up with a couple former colleagues John Hebler and John Ubina who had starting building their own fiberglass bodies under the name Hebina Plastics. Hebler and Ubina had designed a car they called the Gazelle (no relation to the CMC product), but it wasn’t selling well and Hebina was in desperate need of fresh capital. That’s where Voegele came in, and the company was renamed Voegele Industries in 1970. Along with the name change, Voegele also implemented major changes to the Gazelle to improve quality.

After refining the body design a bit, Voegele selected a state-of-the-art material to make the bodies from called isophthalic laresin, which was superior to most other FRPs used at that time. To add strength in critical areas, steel roll bars, door bars and support structures were added. Finally, Voegele changed the car’s name, now the Amante GT.

The Amante was advertised in all the top automotive publications of the day, but unfortunately sales weren’t coming in. Voegele made a last-ditch effort and got the car displayed at the New York Auto Show, but it was allegedly placed between Ferrari and Lamborghini at the show, and didn’t get enough attention. Subsequently, Voegele Industries closed its doors after producing just 150 Amante GTs.

The Amante GT is very much its own animal in terms of appearance, but I think it really comes into its own when embracing the VW/Porsche look, as seen below in this photo from Voegele’s adverting from the period. The company offered three different rear side-window treatments, including full glass, a scoop or a combination of the two. The rear decklid and front hood could also be optioned with a single scoop, two scoops or smooth.

From the year listed in the ad, and the period Hebina Plastics literature, we're assuming this project car is a late Gazelle instead of an Amante GT. It's in pretty exceptional condition today, and I’d assume it’s been stored inside for most of its life. It’s optioned with the single scoop up front, twin scoops in the rear and full rear side glass. The seller explains that the car rides on a 1954 Volkswagen chassis and was previously built as an EV, but those parts have since been removed. An extra VW chassis is included for parts, along with an air-cooled VW engine. If you needed any additional convincing, look no further than the retro Keystone five-lug mags.

The Gazelle is listed here on eBay with a starting bid of $2,995, and if it sold for anything close to that, I’d consider it a bargain!

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Air-Cooled Project Car VW