1971 Shala Vette: Custom Built Hardtop?

Shala Vette

I’ve seen a number of Shala Vettes, but this is the first hardtop I’ve ever come across. If you don’t know what a Shala Vette is, they were kit cars built in the ’60s and ’70s by Dick Dean to resemble the Corvette. The VW underpinning certainly didn’t provide the thrills or size of the real thing, but Dean did a good job getting the rear proportions and lines right to give it that unmistakable look. The hardtop on this one changes the look quite drastically and I have to say, I kind of like it! The seller had a hard time finding any information about it and apparently only bought it because they had to buy an entire collection to get the one car they really wanted. It’s hard to say what this cars full story really is. It could have been built by Dean as a one off or someone could have grafted a roof on themselves. Based on the quality of the work, I am actually leaning towards this being built by Dean, but we likely will never know for sure. You can find this oddball here on eBay in Costa Mesa, California with no reserve! Special thanks to Howie B for this tip!

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Comments

  1. blindmarc

    Different and easy to work on.

  2. JW

    WOW a custom car from the 70’s that I never seen or heard of, that’s amazing.

  3. Tirefriar

    This one is quite interesting. I agree with Blidmarc on the easy of access. Just lift body off frame and voila. If the pan is too far gone, a new one can be sourced with out much trouble. At its current bid of about $1600, it’s worth more than that in parts. The P-gauges and dual sidedrafts are worth a good chunk. The body and cosmetics are all there, which IMO is the matter of most importance here.

    BTW, Bob Smith dealership is still around. They don’t sell VW or P-cars, but handle BMW, Mini and Toyota. I’m sure they would be tickled pink to see their old license plate frame.

  4. marc

    Dick was a hell of a guy. Invited him to a car show I created. Showed up with a supercab 57 Ford Ranchero he built. We BS’d about cars all weekend. He said he could have cared less if Barris got the credit for all the cars he actually built for him in Hemet. Said he had mouths to feed and the money, not the fame is all he was interested in. Thankfully he was finally inducted into the Hot Rod Hall of Fame as a “Ghost Builder”, hell of a guy!

    • blindmarc

      Great story and name Marc!

  5. Dolphin Member

    Hmmm…… Car guy buys group of 6 cars to get the one he wants, and then can’t get the engine numbers off the block to determine the engine or google ‘VW engine photos’ or ‘Porsche 356 engine photos’ during those hours spent on the internet trying to ID the car, so calls it “kit car with either a VW or a 356 engine”.

    My memory of the VW I owned decades ago says that’s a VW engine with a 2-carb kit, but I’m no expert, so it might be a 356 Porsche engine.

    I’m not betting on it, tho. If it was the car would have been bid up bigtime by now.

  6. jim s

    i too think there are more in parts then the high bid and there is no reserve. i like all the VDO gauges. interesting find.

  7. John

    The only way this “resembles” a Vette is if there was a fire hot enough to melt the fiberglass.

  8. Blindmarc

    John, you’re either looking through a glass belly button, or have no imagination.

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