1970s America was a time of both excess and malaise, setting new lows in the quality of the cars rolling off of increasingly-mechanized assembly lines. This allowed a burgeoning aftermarket catering to a more exclusive market seeking a better product, giving birth to cars like the Corvette Caballista, a chromed-out, British-influenced take on what was then GM’s “Grand Touring” sports car.
This is what a Caballista Corvette can look like in tip-top condition.
In the five years Les Dunham of Dunham Coachworks offered the Cabalista package, just 50 examples were ordered, making it quite a rare find. Hemmings Auto Blog reports that one Caballista Corvette in need of some TLC from the Burt Collection Auction was had for as little as $13,750.
Now back in the late 1970s, the Corvette itself was a big-ticket item, with a starting price of nearly $9,000 back when home loan interest rates were in the double-digits. That was a fair chunk of change way-back-when, but Dunham went bonkers with the luxury features, racking up a total cost of more than $60,000 for each Caballista, or about $140,000 in today’s dollars. No wonder only 50 were built.
Yet despite its rarity, the Corvette Caballista isn’t really on many collectors’ radars. While in the 1970s it may have been considered demure, today the ostentatious use of chrome and the faux-Rolls front end just screams “POSER” to anyone not familiar with the history of this car. But for the car show crowd, it’s something different and unique enough to get people talking, and at a price even the most humble of collectors can afford. Even in the best-of condition, the Corvette Caballista is only worth about $25,000. Would you rock it?