Here’s something you don’t see often: a 1999 Chevrolet Corvette, in particular this one offered on Bring a Trailer, completely transformed for desert duty.
The Corvette dune buggy started life as a conventional, silver fixed-roof coupe but less than a year later, it has become something unrecognizable. After the current owner purchased the coupe in 2019, the fiberglass body was removed, the front and rear frame rails were shortened, and a tube-steel cage was fabricated. The engine cover, rear panels, and cowl splash shields were fashioned from aluminum. The renovation also includes a JL Jeep Wrangler Rubicon front bumper—red rescue hooks and all!—DOT-certified Hella headlamps, a front light bar, and LED taillights. A fire extinguisher is mounted in the back, and we can’t forget those massive Firestone Destination MT2 tires wrapped around 17-inch Z06 wheels.
So what hasn’t changed? The Corvette’s factory chassis and drivetrain stayed put, albeit with shortened frame rails. The 5.7-liter V-8 makes 345 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque from the factory, and power is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed manual transmission, which has been bolstered with a transaxle brace from Corvette Guys. Other changes include high-flow catalytic converters, a muffler adapted from a 2019 Camaro (and mounted up high out back), a mild performance camshaft, long-tube headers, and an upgraded clutch. The factory suspension has been raised using factory adjusters.
Peek inside, and you’ll find colorful woven cloth fabric covers on the leather seats, and the cabin also features a new short-throw shifter. The dash, console, and carpet remain unchanged from the original coupe. The heat and air conditioning still work, according to the listing, but the radio is inoperable because the speakers have been taken out.
A few other things to note: The tire pressure monitoring system, ABS, and DSC systems have been disabled due to the wheel and tire modifications. The big tires have also rendered speedometer readings incorrect. The Corvette has 118,000 miles on its ticker, not a ton of use for 21 years, and only a few hundred of those miles were logged since becoming a dune buggy.
The C5 Corvette hardtop coupe is a rare bird compared to the more common targa-equipped fastbacks, so it’s interesting that someone decided to turn one into an off-roader. We imagine it’s a fun little desert trekker, and it will certainly turn some heads.
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