The 1969 Gazelle / Amante GT (Hebina Plastics / Voegele Industries)

Hi Gang…

Today’s story is a result of the generosity of two friends:  Bob Murray and Harold Pace.

During my recent travels during the Christmas holidays of 2011, I spent some time with Bob Murray of North Carolina.   Bob was kind enough to lend material from his extensive literature collection, and when I saw the beautiful Amante GT catalog from ‘69/’70, I knew I had to share it with everyone here at Forgotten Fiberglass.

The other contributor is Harold Pace.  Harold is the de facto kit car historian for the ‘60s and ‘70s and the following discussion of the Amante GT comes directly from his book, “The Big Guide To Kit and Specialty Cars.”  Let’s take a look at what Harold had to say about the Amante GT.

The Big Guide to Kit And Specialty Cars
American Classics From The Past And Present
Amante GT

First introduced in 1969 as the Gazelle (no relation to the CMC neoclassic of the same name), the original manufacturer was Hebina Plastics in Santa Clara, California.  The styling was an original design and the body would fit any VW pan except for bus or truck.

The Gazelle stood only 44” tall and engine choices included VW, Porsche or Corvair.  The body had a steel roll bar, side bars and other body reinforcements molded in during the assembly process.

To add rigidity and a finished appearance, most panels had bonded inner panels.  Dashboards were built-in and used optional clip-on upholstery to match the black vinyl interior liner.  It used Rambler Marlin front and rear glass and roll-up side windows.   The headlights had solid covers that hinged down to uncover the lights.  Price was a reasonable $795 in 1969. 

By 1970, Hebina had changed their name to Voegele Industries (for owner Bill Voegele) and the car had been renamed the Amante GT.  Improvements were made, including an emphasis on the VW Variant Squareback / Fastback chassis option.

These VW’s were using fuel-injected engines and front-wheel disc brakes long before the Bug.  One of the smarest options was a roll cage that added roof bars and tubes that extended forward to the nose and back to the tail inside the wheel wheels.

Note:  Harold’s book covers more history of the Amante GT than what is shown above.  For those of you interested in the complete history of the Amante GT, there are instructions on how to purchase Harold’s book at the end of today’s story.

Amante GT 1969 Brochure: 

The next series of images is from the brochure (8 and ½ by 11 inches in size) and associated paperwork from the collection of Bob Murray.  These show in totality what was received when you ordered the full brochure pack from Voegele Industries for the Amante GT sports car.  As always, you can click on any of the images below and a larger image will appear on your screen.

Here are the images:

 

Amante GT 1969 Paperwork – Appended To Brochure:

Here is additional information that was included with the brochure packet when you ordered information from Voegele Industries:

 

 

Summary:

Thanks again to Bob Murray and Harold Pace for making today’s story possible.  For those of you interested in purchasing Harold’s book, click here and follow the instructions shown on the website.

Hope you enjoyed the story, and until next time…

Glass on gang…

Geoff
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Comments

The 1969 Gazelle / Amante GT (Hebina Plastics / Voegele Industries) — 36 Comments

  1. I wish i knew you were going to run this story i would have sent pictures of my 1970 Amante GT let me know if your interested in seeing it?
    I picked it up a month ago the body is in good condition ,sitting on a early swing axle chassis but no side glass ,looks as though it was never installed.
    Is the side glass also rambler marlin? what year? I plan on installing a
    toyota 2-TG i have in the rear, same weight as a VW four.This is a better car then my kelmark i had years ago.the doors are very solid piano hindges,make then stong enought to sit on ,try that with your fiberfab cars

    • Hello I too have an Amante. The side door glass is flat safety glass, it didn’t come from a Marlin like the rear. By the way the front glass is from a Rambler Ambassador.

  2. Does anyone know how many Amantes were produced? i would like to know what year my Amante is if someone can help?

  3. Hello all: I have owned an Amante GT since 1984. It is a homemade tube frame with front and rear suspension and 4 speed and engine from a 1966 Corvair. It is a complete and finished car and is driven when weather and time permits. Steve

  4. Wow, I completed one that my brother started, and drove it to high school, then on to college. Last I knew it was in the rocky mountains of Colorado, around 1975. My brother was selling the kits is how we ended up with one. Driving a night was a challenge with limited side road lighting due to recess of headlights. It was quite a learning experience building a car at high school age.

    • Hello Carl: Nothing has been mentioned here for a while about the AMANTE GT cars. I am in the Denver area but my car is not yours from the past. There used to be several around but they seem to have vanished or stuck in garages now. Mine is tube frame and 1966 Corvair running gear and suspension.

      Happy holidays to all. Steve Goodman

    • Hello Jim, thanks a lot for your reply. Do you have a 1835 cc. VW engine, or what else ? How can I reach you in order to exchange some pictures of our cars ? My private email: davideadami@yahoo.de Here it is not possible to attach any pictures. If you please write to me from your own e-mail address, I will be able to reply to you and add some pictures of my car. Thanks and lind regads. David

  5. Hello guys, I discovered this link only some weeks ago and after a short time I saw an ad for an Amante GT for sale here in Europe. I checked the car already and I am going to purchase and get it delivered in the next days. I would like to see some decent pictures of some running Amantes. On the web you can only see wracks and no completed cars on the road (except for a red one with Corvair engine – your car Steve ?) If you reply to me I will be able to send some pics of my Amante. my email: davideadami@yahoo.de Thanks and I am looking forward to seeing some pictures ! David

  6. Hello guys, I am looking for pictures of any Amante GT on the road. I am purchasing probably the only Amante imported in Europe in the next days and I need some reference pictures and information about the same car. Mine has a 1600 cc VW and a Variant pan. Please reply to me at this address:
    davideadami@yahoo.de
    I will send you some pics of my car as soon as I have you email adresses. Thanks a lot and kind regards. David

  7. I have a 70 gt quarter glass is missing what was used for those also the headlight motors?? Any pics would be helpful

  8. Hello, I live in Oregon, and I honed an Amante for the past 15 years. It use to run on VW, but I did not like the way it handled. so I removed every VW parts but the front end, and had a custom frame made to accommodate a 3300 v6 Buick mid engine. Its not on the road at this time, but working on it.. so hopefully by the end of the year it will be drivable!

  9. HI there! Thanks for this article. I seem to have found one of these beauties here in the …wait for it…Philippines. Best part? It was given free. 🙂 It took a while to figure out what it was and this site closed the book on it. Its in great condition considering it sat in a lot for …well forever. I dabble in FG work and am amzed that its in such good nick. Anyway thanks again for this site. CHeers!In case you guys want to see it Ive posted it on my hobby page on FB https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.774423035966628.1073741837.659856297423303&type=3&uploaded=8 thanks again!

  10. I just discovered this site. I am the Bill Voegele of Voegele Industries. Recently, I was asked to write the story of how The Amante came about and how things ended. I will be glad to share that story with anyone who emails me at bvoegele@extechinc.com. BTW, to answer the question by TN Clint, we made about 150 bodies. Most went to the US but at least one was sent to England, one to Germany, one to the Middle East……I think one or more somewhere in South America. To answer another question by another person (above) the side (door) glass was flat laminated glass and it was cut and polished to the proper contour. It did not come from any production car.

  11. I worked at Vogele Ind. for a short time in 1970, my brother was shop forman at the time these cars were very well constructed for their time, you could build an 11 sec, car for about $3000. That would upset a lot of cars for that era. I believe that a Amante Gt held the land speed record for a 2 seater sports car under 2000cc (1826cc) at 153.77 mph for a long time. Later it was produced in Brazil I believe Bill made the deal under license to mate up with a rotary 90hp aircraft engine. All I can say was it was a fun time.

    • Bob Sterling,
      I don’t recall an employee named Sterling at Voegele Industries, but then that was a long time ago. What is his first name?
      Just from memory, I think you are correct about the land speed record, including the final time. I don’t know if that record was ever broken.
      To my knowledge, the molds for the Amante body parts were shipped to Florida. That’s the last I ever heard of them or of any subsequent manufacture of the Amante bodies.

      • His name was Finis Lester Sterling, he was your forman for at least 2 years, he ran the gun While I worked in assembly for the summer of 1970. when you closed up shop he went to work for a boat company, something with Bay line in it. After he went on to United Airlines as a Airframe Mechanic. before he came to work for you he worked in the clean facility at Moffet Field, building the Apollo capsules but when the one burnt up on the launch pad it bothered him so much that he quit, before that he built DC-8’s in long beach. I hope you remember him, he was an excellent employee and highly over qualified. He is retired now in Copperopilis Ca.

        I enjoyed working for you Bill I just didn’t like the area it was to crowded for me as I am a simple country boy I went into the Marine Corp where I was injured I am now 100% disabled. after the Marine Corps I went to work for University of Ca. and worked at the Hopland Research Center for the next 27 years, I am retired now, living in Anderson, Ca. I will leave you my number just in case 530 365-3516.

        I enjoyed my time working for you

        Robert W. Sterling

        • Bob,
          Did they call him ‘Lester’? That seems to ring a bell. I’m surprised that I don’t remember because, although I am four-score years old, I have all my faculties and am still working about 50 hours per week. My present company, EXTECH/Exterior Technologies, Inc. designs and fabricates architectural facades. We are presently doing a job at Boston Logan Airport with is a kinetic façade (the components flap when the wind blows)…some 50,000 aluminum flappers. The story of the flapperwall will soon be posted on http://www.extechinc.com.
          Anyway, I am truly pleased to hear you say that you liked working for me in California. I respect every employee who gives me a days work. I am no better than they are….we are all in this life together and we should support each other.
          To interject an answer related to a comment I noted above wherein the writer notes that an old Amante body was found and was found to be in good shape,…..I expect the reason is that we used Isopthalic (spelling?) resin. Everyone else in the industry used Orthopthalic. Iso resins have many improved characteristics, including the fact that they are more dimensionally stable. It cost us only about $100 per car extra to use Iso resins.

          • Yes he used Lester but as his brother I called him Finis, I am glad you are doing well, also do you remember a guy named mark he had long blond hair and looked like thor.

            Robert

      • The land speed record was recorded by my dad, Ken Lowry, in 1971. I am looking for anyone with an Amante GT for sale as I want to prepare to run Bonneville again. It was always my dads dream to earn his “200-mph” jacket, and I would like to do that for him. He passed in 2011.

        If anyone has knowlege of one, please contact me at

        Don Lowry
        Terasoar@yahoo.com
        712-222-7242

  12. Help…. I was given a 69 Amante Gazelle, as a gift from a man I tended to, unfortunately he passed before I could get much info on it. It’s in pretty good shape body wise, runs but doesn’t have breaks but like any older car that’s been sitting it needs work. I’m wondering it’s around about worth, since I’m unable to fix up and restore. Thank you

  13. Greetings all ! I just recently acquired a Amante GT. It is still on a VW pan and had a Corvair engine in it. I plan to refit the body on a different more modern chassis. Can any body tell me how many of these cars were made ? and an approx. on how many are still on the road ? I got this from a friend of mine and fell in love with it the first time I saw it. I excited to get going on this project…Cheers , Jeff

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