Because he owned his own EMPI accessory company since 1954 and from 1966 a Riverside CA Volkswagen-Porsche Dealership, Joe Vittone had put himself in a unique position. European (later Engineered) Motor Products Inc. sourced improved aftermarket parts from Europe as well as new engineered products from the US. He had successfully raced Empi Beetle ‘Inch Pincher’ race cars driven by Dan Gurney, his son Darrell and Dean Lowry.
The Economotors Dealership offered new cars fitted with a range of EMPI kits but which were still covered by a full Volkswagen warranty. The cars were known as the EMPI GTVs – ‘sports cars in a box’ – and could be bought in one of four levels of specification.