Now THIS is how you do a Corona project! And this… is a DF Goblin.


noun: goblin; plural noun: goblins

  1. (in folklore and fantasy fiction) a mischievous, ugly creature resembling a dwarf.

Paul Clark & his wife, Dani, met on a Saturn Ion Redline forum years & years ago. It was young love like Lady & the Tramp, but instead of a spaghetti noodle… they both shared an affinity for the GM performance cars that no one else liked. In other words, not the Corvette & Camaro, but the forced-induction 4-banger stuff. Paul (and photographer Chad Donohoe) have actually graced the pages of S3 Magazine before with Paul’s yellow 2JZ-swapped Saturn Sky. Anyway, when Corona stopped everything in its tracks, idle thumbs started twiddling, and Paul & Dani got the itch for a new project to pass the time. Like a puzzle… but too big for the dining room table… and a lot more fun when it was done.

Paul & Dani wanted to use the engine they fell in love together with…

The supercharged 2-liter from the earlier Cobalt SS. But they wanted to do something… way more radical. Something they’d never done before… something without doors… and something with open wheels. Pro Tip: Gentlemen, if you can find a way to make a project car sentimental… you never have to sell it. 

Behold – the DF Goblin

The Goblin is a kit car that utilizes the GM Ecotec engine as its power source. It can run the NA, supercharged, or turbocharged versions of the engine… whatever you choose. The minds behind DF come from an aviation background, so everything is pretty meticulously structured, mapped-out, labeled, and planned. Detailed instructional videos are on Youtube  to guide you on every step of the build.

The theory behind the Goblin…

Is for the Average-mechanically inclined-Joe to be able to build the Goblin in their garage. Or in Paul & Dani’s case… on their back porch. No welding or fabrication is necessary. Paul already had a supercharged Cobalt SS that he bought on a whim for $1,500. Meaning he already had the donor! So it was game on! The Goblin uses everything it can from the original Cobalt: wiring, gauges, pedals, steering rack, etc. The front subframe & engine of the Cobalt are repositioned at the rear of the Goblin behind the seats, making the Goblin a lightweight mid-engine monster. 

Expect to spend about $15,000 for the Goblin chassis of your dreams. 

However, you can certainly do it for less if you’re careful. Many components of the DF Goblin can be ordered à la carte from DF’s website. Meaning, you can add what you want to make it your own & fit your budget. Things like body panels, rollcage-options, fenders, steering wheels, lighting, windshields, etc… can all be added individually. So if you want to get the car running & driving, and then add some of the spicier stuff later – go for it!

AND… DF gives you payment options.

You can order everything at once. Or – you can pay in increments & DF will send your Goblin in stages. Stage 1 will get you to the point where the engine will run in the Goblin. Stage 2 will get the Goblin’s brakes & suspension in order & get the chassis on the ground. And finally, Stage 3 will dress the thing out with lights, body panels, etc. This flexibility not only allows you to break-up the cost into smaller more manageable payments. But it’s also a real attractive option if you’re limited for space & don’t want ALL the parts overwhelming you at once. You can expect the Goblin to weigh about 1,500 pounds built-out. That kind of weight with a supercharged or turbocharged Ecotec behind it? Well that’s just fun! 

It took Paul & Dani about a year to complete the Goblin. 

And that was at a relaxed pace. The One Take video below mentions that you can expect about 100 man hours. Shoot I look at it like this: Most new cars have gotten offensively expensive, grossly heavy, way too disconnected, overly-electronic, and overall uninteresting. As someone who wants to FEEL the car I’m driving, a lot of new ‘sports cars’ don’t appeal to me anymore. And I’m at a point in my life, where I just can’t muster-up the energy or amusement. I’d rather spend my time building something that truly intrigues me… than working overtime to pay the dealership markups on an already overpriced 2-pedal numbed-out sports car. Just food for thought I guess. 

Photos by Chad Donohoe // C12 Productions

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•get the free S3 Magazine app. Recommended by 9-out-of 10 dentists. The 10th drives a Tesla•  (android)