Ever since the guys over at Roadkill built their ‘Vette-Kart—which was a stripped to the bones C4—we’ve seen it becoming a new trend. In our eyes, it’s similar to rat rodding in concept but simply more modern in execution. There are now two well known “Corvette-Karts” out there right now; the Roadkill C4 and Cleetus McFarland’s C5 stripper, Leroy. And while both builds are pretty awesome, there is a third relatively unknown contender here, and it’s name is the Chupacabra.
These “‘Vette-Karts”, or what every you want to call them, seem to be an exercise in oneupmanship that we can really get behind. Roadkill’s creation was a naturally aspirated featherweight that was fun to drive due to its insanely low curb weight. Next was Cleetus’ C5 which ended up with a Texas-Speed 427 and twin Precision turbos making over 1,000 rwhp. And now we have the Chupacabra which just so happens to be a quad-turbo 4.8-liter Vortec.
And while the setup might not be as elaborate as Cleetus’ when it comes to the motor, we’ve seen these 4.8s take massive amounts of boost and keep coming. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised to see this little engine eclipse the 1,000 rwhp mark when all the wrinkles are smoothed out—and on stock internals no less. Heaven knows the quad 50mm turbos—just cheap eBay specials—should be able to move enough air to do it.
Joey Fields is the mastermind behind The Chupacabra and he tells us that the idea behind the car was in the spirit of all hot rodders before him. “I really wanted an old school rat rod,” Joey said. “Something to cruise around in that was fun. Funds didn’t permit me buying something like a T bucket. I remembered the Road Kill ‘Vette-Kart so I spent a couple of months trying to find something different to chop up to do the same, but ended up with a C4 anyway.”
Joey tells us that he found a non-running 1989 C4 that was in pretty good shape but the previous owner couldn’t get to run. It was missing the carpet as well as some other bits, but the car wasn’t too bad off. He offered the owner $1,500 and brought home his new project the same day. After looking things over, he noticed that the bulkhead connector for the wiring harness was corroded and cleaned it up. After that, it fired right up. But instead of using the TPI 350 already in the car, he dumped it in favor of a 220,000 mile 4.8 LS.
After the rest of the car’s components were sold off, Joey actually walked away with more money that he originally offered the previous owner, so essentially the car was free. With all of the “distractions” out of the way, Joey set to turning the C4 into something special.
After dropping in the motor, Joey hand fabricated the turbo system in his garage in under a week. All said and done, he tells us that the entire turbo setup cost less than $1,500. To top it all off, he installed a finger print scanner to fire up the car—a custom touch that we think is pretty awesome. Backing the 4.8 is a TH400 transmission that is also bone stock.
On the dyno, the car made 300 rwhp but was floating the valves pretty badly due to the added boost and the fact that 220,000 mile springs aren’t exactly as capable as they once were. The engine is 100 percent bone stock and has yet to even be opened. Joey plans to add a large cam and more capable valve springs next. With the cam and springs, water/meth, a roll cage, new harnesses, fuel system upgrades, and a better torque converter, Joey will likely be into the car less that $5,000.
There’s nothing better than going fast for cheap and no better way to do it than with an LS. Think you can do better for cheaper? Send your projects to firstname.lastname@example.org and we just might feature your creature.