This stripped-down C5 Corvette is ready to hit the sand

Tony Markovich

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As crossovers and their crossover coupe siblings continue to rise in popularity, some manufacturers have toyed with the idea of blending sporty design cues and driving characteristics into the practicality-first vehicles. Chevrolet built the Camaro-influenced Blazer, Ford debuted the electric Mustang Mach-E, Jeep made a 707-horsepower Grand Cherokee, and Alfa Romeo made a splash with the legitimately-fun-to-drive Stelvio. Hell, Lamborghini offers a crossover in the Urus. But one idea is too far-fetched for a major manufacturer like Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (for now): a performance Wrangler. That didn't stop one individual from using Wrangler parts on his custom-built 1999 Chevrolet Corvette dune buggy. 

Listed on popular auction site Bring a Trailer, via The Drive, this C5 Corvette was in its normal shape just a year ago, when the owner purchased the fixed-roof coupe in 2019. Since then, he's modded the car into his own personal dune buggy. The custom project, which no longer bears any outward resemblance to a Corvette, now gets its silly face from a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon front bumper, DOT-certified Hella headlights, and a front light bar.

The owner started by completely removing the Vette's curvaceous fiberglass body. He then shortened the front and rear frame rails and added a home-built body cage out of 1.75-inch-wide, 0.12-inch-thick DOM tubing. The engine cover, cowl splash shields, and rear panels have been built out of 6061-T6 sheet aluminum. The car also features a rear-mounted fire extinguisher, tow hooks, a 2019 Camaro Z/28 muffler, and LED taillights. The C5 now rolls on 17-inch C5 Z06 wheels and 265/70 front and 285/70 rear Firestone Destination MT2 tires.

Many of the parts that are hidden underneath the creative exterior design have remained relatively true to the Corvette. The suspension is original but has been raised with "factory adjustors." The powertrain remains a 5.7-liter LS1 V8 linked to a six-speed manual gearbox. Mechanical mods include a short-throw shifter, a mild performance camshaft, Kooks long-tube headers, high-flow catalytic converters, and a performance clutch. Inside, contrary to typical dune buggy builds, the cabin looks almost entirely like a normal C5 Corvette, save for the patterned seats.

As of this writing, the car is sitting on a $15,000 bid with five days left. See more photos and read more about the project on Bring a Trailer.

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