Everybody knows Don't Fear the Reaper has got to have more cow bell, but do you think today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe limited edition custom Corvette sound better as the Caballista?
Les Dunham was a visionary. Few before him had ever even considered putting Eldorado baroque on the truncated platform of the Corvette, and none actually had the stones to try it. But Dunham created what some said was impossible, and what a few more claimed to be gag-inducing just at the thought. In reward, Dunham's creation played back up to Roger Moore's 007 in Live and Let Die, as well as in the blacksploitation flick, Superfly.
Dunham Motor Coach Co., of Booton, New Jersey followed up on the Corvorado with what would become his masterpiece, the Caballista. Also Corvette based, the Caballista eschewed Cadillac homage for mimicry of the equally baroque Stutz Backhawk. This one, claimed to be a 1982, has been advertised as an '80 by previous sellers, but the fact that it sports the Cross-Fire Injection 350-cid V8, makes it impossible to be anything earlier than an '82. That L83 throttle body injected engine put out 200 ponies, and was backed up that year by the 700R4 four-speed automatic. Out back, there's a fiberglass transverse leaf spring that had been a new dealio just the prior year.
But those were all features common to all ‘Vettes, stock and not. Where the Caballista swerves from the mainstream of Chevy sports cars is in the extensive body modifications made possible by the Corvette's easily adapted fiberglass skin, and First Amendment rights protecting free speech, even including questionable visual statements. Is this a great country or what?
No two of the 50 or so built were exactly alike, and this Caballista's additions are the most extensive, including faux side pipes with chrome accents, a Stutz Blackhawk greenhouse and sloping trunk, and an even more exaggerated swoop to the Corvette's already coke bottled side view.The bluff nose sports a Rolls-like grille bookended by quad rectangular lights and carries an upright mascot and the end of the coffin hood.
Insde, it's all standard late-C3, with the exception of some badges and the steering wheel center. Speaking of centers, the wide turbine alloy wheels are sadly not the Dunham Wires he created for the real Stutz Blackhawk, which look ornate enough to be the shower drains in the Taj Mahal's bathrooms.
Overall, the car appears to be in exceptional condition, right down to the seventies spaceman seats, which typically have the outer bolsters frayed due to too many entry and exits. It also represents a piece of quirky Americana that has its place in our automotive history. Would you personally buy this car, regardless of price? Hell, would you take it if offered for free? I'd imagine the answer would be hell no with a bunch of exclamation points following, but then, there is a market for such a beast, just like there is for XXL Gentleman's Leopard-Skin Thongs, even if the target audience is small in number.
So, with that in mind, rather than the sense of indignation you harbored just moments ago, what's your take on this Caballista's $26,500 asking price? These things went for over $60K new, and this one still looks pretty new. Is that a price that should get somebody's cow bell ringing? Or, is that too much cabbage for this Caballista?
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