Craigslist Find: This Dick Dean-Built Shala Vette is a Time Capsule

To add a bit of irony to this creation, the Shala Vette was actually powered by the Vette’s rival, the Porsche 356.

The 1970s was a time of incredibly unusual custom cars, built by incredibly talented people. Some of these machines would live on in museums and remain in our hearts forever. Others, would disappear into the obscurity of history, only to be truly remembered by a few.

One of those hit or miss machines is the Shala Vette, a car created by the legendary Dick Dean. For those of you not aware, Dean was once an employee of George Barris, only to start his own shop later, building cars of all varieties – even for the film industry, like the Ecto-1 Caddy ambulance and the Explorers for Jurassic Park.

The Shala Vette wasn’t actually based on a Corvette like the name suggests, but weas rather a small kit car with a Vette-like shaped body, built on a Volkswagen Beetle chassis – complete with either a VW or Porsche 356 engine. Humble beginnings aside, it did become immortalized in the 1975 film, Death Race 2000, starring David Carradine and a young Sylvester Stallone.

But after the ’70s had passed, so did the era of VW-chassised kit cars. The Shala Vette eventually disappeared from people’s hearts and minds, but several still remain – including this example we found on Craigslist. 

Although the details are quite brief and relatively generic in the seller’s description, it is said that this particular example has a ’63 VW VIN number, and a 1959 Porsche 356 powerplant and gearbox. It still appears completely intact, and for less than $10,000, you can have yourself a unique piece of history located in America’s heartland.

About the author

Rick Seitz

Being into cars at a very early age, Rick has always preferred GM performance cars, and today's LS series engines just sealed the deal. When he's not busy running errands around town in his CTS-V, you can find him in the garage wrenching on his WS6 Trans Am, or at the local cruise spots in his Grand National.
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