If You Can’t Say Anything Nice…1977 Cabillista

Uh, I’m speechless again. Yes, I realize that happened earlier this week as well with the former Spitfire, but see, as the resident defender on staff of the C3 Corvette, I just can’t tear my eyes away from this Cabillista, despite wanting to very badly. It’s listed for sale here on craigslist and was sent in to us by reader Clarke B., who must share my sense of the absurd. It’s located in Tecumseh, Michigan and is priced at $20,000.

The Cabillista (Spanish for horseman/horsewoman) is very much a product of its time. Between 1977 and 1982, a customizer by the name of Les Dunham and his Dunham Coach Works (which apparently is still in business) customized approximately 50 C3 Corvettes into Cabillistas, which then were sold for $50-60,000 new. You can learn more about them on this page and this one. This page will show you some other Dunham custom work–you owe it to yourself to look at the Corvoardo movie car.

What can I say? The condition of the car is certainly very nice, at least on the outside, and we are told in the ad it only has 33,000 original miles. I’d love to hear some creative explanations in the comments for the low mileage total! Isn’t that a late 50’s Chevy wheel cover on the continental kit?

Some of the Cabillistas I found online have better integrated headlights, but I didn’t find any others with the red-winged hood ornament this one has. I wonder if the wings light up?

I wish we got to see the interior, but the seller does tell us it is completely stock, which seems to be largely true of the other Caballistas I saw apart from steering wheels and/or their center badges. The tires are new Goodyears and the car certainly appears ready to go; just imagine what a crowd this would draw at your next local Corvette club meeting! Share your thoughts in the comments.

Fast Finds


  1. danieldc

    Wow. That is such a freak, I actually, almost, like it. Wow.

    • Derrick Miracle

      This car was parked grill out, in a garage right around the corner from my dads house in Tecumseh. My school bus drove right by it twice daily. Even though it was garage kept, the garage kept open, and i think i only seen it out around town once. I have admired this car for 30+ years, and if i had the cash id buy it!

  2. Adam T45 Staff

    Well Jamie, you’re not the only one who is speechless. ‘What has been seen can never be unseen.”

  3. Jeffro

    I’d rather have the CheVette shown before this car.

  4. bill

    The man should be arrested. I think it might be a crime to do that to a corvette.

    • King Al

      C3s are a dime a dozen. This is actually an improvement on the tired old Mako Shark body. Wonder what the little red plastic label on the continental kit says. Maybe it indicates it was originally ordered by Elvis before he had to fake his death and enter the witness protection program.

    • Mike W H

      It’s certainly illegal to do that to horses.

      Except in Washington state

  5. James

    There is one of those in a local scrap yard.

    • KO

      That’s a good start, only 49 more to go.

  6. Matt

    Liberace’s fair-weather car!

    • tirefriar

      Good one Matt. I thought it was his track car…

    • 86 Vette Convertible

      About the only thing missing is his candelabra! No accounting for taste.

  7. erikj

    You wanted my thoughts-well this is it!!
    This is just so weird and to me, what a awful thing to do to a c3 vette. They are so well designed from a flowing sleek style point of view. This custom just doesn’t make any sense to me. It just don’t fit from any way I look at it. Those bumpers, the grill, the rear, all of it!! Heck the wing thing on the grill is a neat item, but I guess it works for this custom sense nothing at all seems to make sense.
    there are my thoughts.
    Is there any readers out there that would buy this? And if so why , and tell me! Maybe its just me and I’m missing something.

  8. Ticketgeorge

    Nightmares​ tonight

  9. jimbunte jimbunte Member

    Fiberglass tears.

  10. sir mike

    Can’t think of a nice thing to say…sorry

  11. Doyler

    It was clearly done to a very high but horrible standard.

    • Adam T45 Staff

      The owner said, “We need to hurriedly restyle this Corvette.” What the modifier heard was “We need to horribly restyle this Corvette.” An easy mistake to make….I guess.

  12. jw454

    I just hope it was wrecked in the front and rear and this was done because the thought was, “Well, we can’t make it look any worse”.

    • grant

      No, if you read the article, they made 50 of these abominations.

  13. Rodney

    Somewhere, Harley Earl has quietly thrown up just a little bit in his mouth…..

  14. Rodney

    Somewhere, Harley Earl has quietly thrown up just a little bit in his mouth…..

    • 68 custom

      and poor Duntov is spinning!

  15. SanityFactor

    Drop it into a volcano….

  16. Joe M

    70’s Pimp n’

  17. Fred W.

    Great Googly Moogly…George Barris is spinning in his grave.

  18. PackardMike

    I..um..eh? I think I’m going to need therapy…possibly multiple sessions.

  19. JW

    It’s a OMG creation, but upon looking at their website the 4 door Corvette actually doesn’t look too bad.

  20. Leroy

    I understand the low milage. If the seller is like me, I’d be too embarrassed to drive it in the daylight.

  21. Car Guy

    “Huggy Bear” would have driven this on Starsky and Hutch…….

  22. gregg

    This is what Chevy Chase received in trade for the Family Truckster when they got home.

  23. 68 custom

    love those hideous square stock bumper things, and the box they stuck over the rear section of the roof. I wonder how many were equipped with the L-82 and 4 speed, guessing none? one ugly vette!

  24. RP

    Uhhhhh……….. No, I got nothin’. Just a sense of…….. Nope, not even.

  25. daniel wright
  26. Art Fink

    The story of Les Dunham and Dunham Coach Works is very interesting and a good read. It is told that many of his customers would pay for their customized cars with a suitcase filled with cash.

  27. Sam

    I can dig it. Maybe change out the headlights for some Mercedes euro spec or “floating” 62 Imperial headlights. Maybe switch the taillights for those off a mid 70s Monte Carlo.

    I would this to my fleet of “Live and Let Die” pimp-mobiles, Stutz Blackhawk sedan (I’m a family man) and the recent Eldorado-camino (weekend runs to Home Depot).

    Time for another double gin and tonic with extra lime….oh yaaaah!

  28. tirefriar

    Well, I thought we dodged the bullet of some jack ass bastardizing the C3 with that visual disaster based on Spitfire… guess that was a thought too good to be true!

    • Mel

      What does the interior look like? A lot of fur I bet. Lol

  29. Paul R.

    What a waste of a C3 Corvette

  30. angliagt

    All I can think of is Nancy Kerrigan saying
    Harder to believe that they made about FIFTY of these……

    ….AND people actually paid money for them!

  31. LAB3

    “If it gets somebody’s panties in a wad, it suits me just fine!” Aaron Kaufman

  32. 88V8

    OTOH, it’s wonderfully town-carish, and I like to see something different. The world is not short of C3s.

  33. Scot Carr

    ~ This was built for the movie Corvette Summer 2, Corvette Bummer.

    • 4-Doors-for-my-Tuba

      Saved for later use on Facebook…

  34. Alex B

    From the front it looks depressed, but anyone would look depressed after such a botched nose surgery. :(

  35. eastlex91

    A line from Talladega Nights fits this perfectly: “It looks like the Pep Boys threw up!”

  36. glen

    You guys are finding some weird ones, makes life interesting.

  37. CCFisher


  38. doug6423

    Couldn’t have happened to a better car. Perfect use for that Corvette!

  39. Big Mike

    All I can think of is “WHY”


    my eyes!!! my eyes!!!!!

  41. rando

    It COULD have worked, with a little more thought thrown into the design and execution. Maybe. The C3 was a great looking car, really, but sometimes, folks just can’t leave things alone. So if you absolutely have to have something no one else had….

    The rear looks a lot like a Pontiac GP. Not sure what could have been done to the front. this was change for the sake of change? IDK, but a better designer could have at least drawn it better. maybe they did and the fabbers couldn’t make it work? IDK. This deserves to be in a “museum of misfit designs”?

  42. Frank magaro

    It’s one of those cars you’ll never forget!

    • 86 Vette Convertible

      Whether you want to or not!

  43. flmikey

    I dunno….I kinda like it….after all, you still have a Corvette underneath all that….stuff….

  44. Joe Haska

    I always try to defend peoples right to build whatever they want, and express their creativity and art. I am trying, sometimes it’s just tougher than others times!!!!!

  45. dgrass

    The result of modifying a round hole to fit a square peg.


    It’s a really nice… color

  47. dennis

    Please just put it out of it’s misery and set it on fire and shove it off a cliff. GAWD! I think C3 Vettes will be in history books as the most screwed over half-assed customized car model EVER made! At least they did it to rubber bumper Vettes. LOL

  48. Mlaw

    Looks like a catfish on a roller skate.

  49. bcavileer

    Canabilista, canabalized, cannonballista. Thats it, a cannon ball target. Perfect.
    Love the eye bleach! Ha!

  50. Mike S.

    And the 50 people who originally paid $50k each back in 1977 for these things are now in the witness protection program.

  51. ACZ

    What? No running boards?

  52. Dean

    Well, it’s not a happy looking car, but take a look at all the other strange things we did in the 70s.

    • ACZ

      Most of us don’t remember those things.

  53. S Ryan

    And my parents told me not to sniff model glue. But it’s ok someone paid $50,000 for this? God Help Us.

  54. Mike Williams

    Love those square bumpers

  55. BMW4RunninTundra

    You know, I am a C3 admirer. I believe that with modification, they have the ability to be beautiful bada$$ drivers. But THIS is NOT the modification that I had in mind!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In fact after having looked at this, I’m worried if I still have a mind?!?!?! My vision of mods were mechanical and suspension related, NOT ________________!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (you fill in the blank, I cannot)
    I am usually the one who is saying “give the guy a break”! “Ease up on the negativity” but in this instance, I’m afraid that there is nothing positive to say about this _______________!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (again, you fill in the blank, I’m ruined)

  56. Rustytech Member

    Should be a crime to do this to a Corvette/GrandNational/Lincoln Mark IV and whatever ever other car was used to put this together. I hope this was an assembly of junk yard parts!

  57. Anthony

    If I had LOTS of money, I’d buy it & drive it just to upset the Corvette purists.

  58. Steve

    Chevy Covfefe

  59. Brent Mazur

    Kill it with fire.

  60. Jubjub

    I’ve seen one of these…once. A burgundy one with a tan top. Talk about a double take! And I’ll admit I liked it. Someone needs to get rid of the awful, 1995, tire store wheels and get a nice set of period correct, deep dish, Dayton wire wheels then things will make better sense.

  61. johnforsman

    I tried to like it :(

  62. Peter

    Holy ****!

    As a lover of the C-3, this hurts in a way I’d never imagined possible.

    I don’t have the energy to catalogue all that is wrong with this…monstrosity, even IF I could forget that there’s a C-3 under there (somewhere), because SO many of the *cough* “design elements” are WORKING AGAINST each other! (I’d like to think I’ll find the energy–and resolve–to come back and list such items, but I dunno….)

    I agree, the taillights look Grand Prix-ish–and “downsized, post-1977 Grand Prix-ish,” at that. And I also agree that that “box” of a “cab,” at the rear of the roof, is hideous–in fact, I agree with the majority of the comments made–excluding the churlish one who said words to the effect that this was a good use of a C-3.

    And whoever said “Kill it with fire….” should win a BF award, too, IMHO. Maybe a T-shirt? Or some sort of “Barn Find Concours-Judge” status?

    That provided me the humor I needed, just to carry on, after seeing this thing.

    And to whoever suggested counseling? Sign me up, as I now know there are 48 more of these things out there, lurking, waiting to pounce into my brain, and nightmares….

    But in closing, I’d just like to quote “RP”, who said it better than I ever could have:

    RP said:

    “Uhhhhh……….. No, I got nothin’. Just a sense of…….. Nope, not even.”


  63. Robert Gallagher

    Awful ! I diverge with the author. I do not think this monstrosity would draw a crowd at a Corvette show…. I think it would draw a lynch mob.

    The only thing nice about this thing is the Lincoln grill.
    Ill give him one hundred bucks for the grill.

    Yuck :(

  64. Harvey Peever

    If only I didn’t know there was a corvette under there.
    There have been ghastly creations built by automotive companies throughout the years but they didn’t start as something else.

  65. DRV

    I’d much rather this than the Corvette it was made from.

  66. hhaleblian

    dudes on ludes should not drive.

  67. grant

    Where were the ropes and torches when this was built? Our forefathers failed us.

  68. Wayne

    This was one of the first things that I saw this morning. I think that I shall not have a clear mind for the rest of the day! I am not much of a C3 fan. But this is a crime against nature! The designer is way past what a shrink could possibly fix. What a waste of perfectly good fiberglass!

  69. JRATT1956

    The Tecumseh’s Curse should befall anyone involved with this freak of a modification. There is not one single thing that was done right to this poor car.
    How much LSD did these guys take to come up with this creature. Some rich guy should buy it and charge $20 for each swing of a 20 lb sledge hammer, out in front of the Corvette Museum. Who knows he might even make money.

  70. Reg Bruce

    Wow!!! “Sharkey” in Akron, are you reading this?
    Perfect for you, man. The Riverfront cruise in Cuyahoga Falls will never be the same if you add this to your collection.
    Please, please buy it!

    Reg B.

  71. David Ulrey

    In my life I have driven unique cars, rusty cars (the kind with decent sized rust holes) cars that were semi smashed up, cars with the paint baked off from the sun and etc. I would be less embarrassed to drive a ratty Yugo than this. Tacky to an extreme is the only thing that comes to mind. Oh yeah, WOW !!!!! too. But not the good kind of wow.

  72. Will

    Here’s the saved ad with all the images and description so the car can be seen forever http://www.craigslistadsaver.com/view.php?name=extension262

  73. MG Pete

    So buy the thing, take it to a Corvette car show, bring along a sledge hammer and sell swings at the car for a buck or so apiece. Should make money and improve the looks as well.

  74. Dan h

    I’d rather be seen in a Miata.

    Oh wait……I drive a Miata….🤘

  75. Leon

    Sad Eyes Whatever is the spanish words that should be the name

  76. 1st Gear

    THIS IS DISGUSTING. No simpler than that.


    The builder of this monstrosity should get beat up by Homer Simpson.

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