1966 VW Fastback
TMI Automotive Products, Inc.
1966 Volkswagen Type 3 Fastback
Living the Dream
Legacy is another one of those words that get thrown around. It can mean many things to different people, but in the custom car world it holds special meaning. New builders usually are inspired by the previous generations and what they had achieved in terms of racing, owning super cool cars, or just being handy in the garage and knowing how to turn a wrench.
Mario De Leon comes from a long line of car people. His mom, Linda, bought a 1965 Mustang Fastback new off the lot while his pops, Robert, tinkered with every car he owned and it was that appreciation for displacement-powered symphonies that caused Mario to take up the torch and give his own vehicles the personal touches they deserved.
Simple and Classy
Mario is the proud owner of this 1966 VW Type 3 Fastback and is a bit of a ringer himself. You see, he loves cars, loves to customize them, but he had a leg up by being employed by TMI at the time of this build. He started with the stock VW interior and gutted it. He then added a set of Pro-Series Sport VXR Pattern Complete front seats in white vinyl with black suede inserts, white stitching, and those great TMI grommets in silver. The rear seats and door panels received the same color and design scheme. He then opted for a TMI wrapped steering wheel and white headliner.
This Fastback is also decked out with another one of Mario’s talents, and that is stereo installation. Tunes pump out of a Blutooth Power Bass EQ, Phoenix Gold 6.5-inch speakers front and rear, a Phoenix Gold sub, with a Powerbass 1400.1 Amp. A set of stock but new gauges grace the dash, with a gleaming EMPI shifter rounding out the interior.
VW was not in the habit of installing high displacement engines way back in the mid ‘60s and the stock power plant of 1600cc’s, or 1.6L, does not make the Fastback a speed demon, but it is damn fun to cruise around in. The stock 4-speed transmission is aided by a Kennedy 1700 lb clutch, but not by much. Vintage VWs are really measured in SPH (Smiles Per Hour) and this car makes Mario very happy.
While this era of VWs were known for minimalism, the suspension was simple but rather robust. The torsion bars gave the little rollers a decent ride, but also made them super easy to lower. So Mario did just that and adjusted the front three notches with two in the rear and was able to drop the VW in no time flat.
Best Way to Make Friends
The little Fastback makes up for its tiny footprint by making a large impression with Mario’s choice of PPG 2010 Corvette Cyber Grey, and 17x8 front and rear Rota RB Wheels wearing Accelera tires helps out. As any builder knows, the little parts are usually hard to find and this ’66 was no different. Mario had to search high and low to get all the exterior trim pieces and really leaned on the local VW community to help out. But that was also one of his favorite parts of this build, meeting new people.
Although this VW came to Mario a little rough, he was able to polish this diamond to absolute perfection. It did take almost two months to get it finalized, but we do heartily thank him for his efforts. He wanted to build this car as a tribute the flourishing VW scene in the ‘80s (which is where TMI came from originally), but also add a unique set of personal touches. One of his most memorable experiences was when he trecked out to Najoqui Falls, past Santa Barbara, CA, to attend the Meet in the Middle show. And he just cruised the whole way, getting very respectable SPH.