Reincarnation Magazine

Reincarnation Magazine
Continuation, Reproduction and Replica Automobiles
Rein Car Nation Cover Spring 2020
						C5 Vette Kart5
A C5 Vette Kart to Rule the Post-Pandemic World

C5 Corvette modified as off-road Vette kart

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, BringaTrailer

Despite all we learned in the first go-round, we weren’t prepared for the second pandemic. Much more severe than the first, staying at home and wearing your facemask was no longer a viable option. Established order gave way to chaos, and soon it was every man for himself. In this new post-pandemic, pre-apocalyptic environment, survival hinges on the ability to get around quickly. It’s a wicked world out there, full of destruction, germs and most likely zombies, and what you need to navigate the chaos is the C5 Vette kart.

Tracing the origins of the Vette kart-style buggy is probably impossible, as guys have been cutting them up as long their drivers have been pushing the limits of their driving skills. The earliest Vette buggy to gain notoriety was probably done by Hot Rod magazine, which started as a C4 Corvette that was sliced and diced in the early 2000s in the pursuit of free speed. But the project evolved further in Motortrend’s more recent web show Roadkill, when the C4 was fully caged and upgraded for the track use (without sacrificing dirt prowess). Since then, we’ve seen a few C4 Vette karts pop up here and there, proving that there’s something appealing about stripping the Vette to its bare bones.

But a C5 Vette kart was new to us, as these cars are generally a bit too expensive to justify the sawzall treatment. Furthermore, the wrecked examples we find are quickly bought up as donor cars for various re-body projects. But we shit-you-not, the cheeky bastard responsible for this righteous creation literally cut up a really nice 1999 Corvette with a LS1 and a six-speed — and we ain’t even mad.

And that’s because there are plenty of C5s out there, and this kart is just plain rad! The owner started by cutting off all of the fiberglass bodywork and shortening the front and rear frame rails. To harness more kart appeal, an exterior cage was added, constructed out of 1.75-inch, 0.120-wall DOM tubing. The tubing provides mounting on the front and rear of the car, but may also improve safety, seeing as they’ve included gussets, door bars and a decent rollover structure. It’s reassuring to see the tubing welded in suitable locations, as we wouldn’t be surprised to find lesser cars with tubing welded straight to sheet metal.

As if that wasn’t mad enough, the builder ordered up some bona-fide off-road meats, Firestone Destination MT2 tires, 265/70 up front, and 285/70 in the rear, and had them mounted right up to 17-inch C5 Z06 wheels. Some other offbeat details were worked in to improve the Mad Max vibes, from the 2019 Z/28 exhaust high-mounted on the rear, the lightbar, tow hooks and Jeep Rubicon front bumper. That bumper will probably catch a few unfavorable reviews, but we think it works. I just question if it impacts cooling is all, as I suspect this machine isn’t exactly babied. But hey, less bodywork, more airflow, right?

The only real bodywork to speak of, are a few sheets of 6061-T6 aluminum added as cowl splash shields, a hood and a rear panel. It looks like the roof is also sealed up, and the factory windshield remains in place along with the majority of the interior. By the way, special kudos are in order for the Mexican horse blanket pattern seat covers.

Could we shame this man for cutting up a perfectly nice example of America’s sports car, sure we could. But we won’t, and you shouldn’t either. This thing looks like an absolute riot to drive, and far from a hack job. The cage work looks well done, the aftermarket options are well chosen and the final product is in a league of its own.

Plus, when chaos reigns supreme, and you’re high-centered on zombie bodies in your Toyota Sienna on the I-10, this man’s having the last laugh.

Up for auction on here BringaTrailer.com, the C5 Vette kart has a current high bid of $15,000 with six days remaining.

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