Sporty Off-Roader: 1981 Chevrolet Corvette 4×4

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I’ve long admired the custom car scene because many individuals involved let their imaginations work overtime to create something truly unique. That is the case with this 1981 Chevrolet Corvette. Its owner looked at it and said to themself, “This would make a wonderful base for a 4×4 conversion.” The seller doesn’t have time to complete the build, listing it here on eBay in Sanger, Texas. Bidding sits below the reserve at $1,225, but there is a BIN option of $8,500 for those viewing it as a “must-have” project.

Corvettes of this nature don’t appear every day, and some enthusiasts would consider that a good thing. The seller grafted the body onto a shortened 2003 Z71 Tahoe chassis, and the fit isn’t too bad. The wheels line up in their arches as they should, and while it is a long way from complete, the project shows promise. The Corvette’s original paint color is unclear, but worrying about a factory appearance is probably unnecessary on a vehicle this wild. The buyer must prepare the panels before grabbing their spray gun, and the task includes fiberglass repairs and blending additions like the hood scoop and fender flares to create a seamless appearance. The seller includes enough fiberglass to complete the job and most of the exterior trim and hardware. Whipping the outside of this Chevy into shape will take time, but the only costs facing a DIY enthusiast will be for materials such as paint.

This Corvette’s interior contains much of its original trim and additional items to ensure the 4×4 system functions correctly. The upholstered surfaces require a retrim, and there is loose wiring for the buyer to address. The parts needed to make the interior “pop” are readily available and should make off-roading in this classic comfortable. Ice-cold air conditioning accentuates the experience, while the buyer receives power windows, a tilt wheel, and cruise control.

Lifting this Corvette’s hood brings us face-to-face with the business end of proceedings. The best buyers could hope for in 1981 was a 350ci small-block producing 190hp and 280 ft/lbs of torque. This hybrid build features a 5.3-liter Vortec V8 that sends 285hp and 325 ft/lbs to the road through all four wheels via a four-speed 4L60E automatic transmission. Performance should be improved considerably, and the system should allow the ‘Vette to delve into some relatively harsh terrain. The seller says the drivetrain is in good order, suggesting it won’t take much work to make it roadworthy. Once inspected and passed, they say it can be titled as a 1981 Corvette.

I’m under no illusions and appreciate this 1981 Corvette 4×4 project won’t appeal to everyone. We’ve seen many of these conversions over the past decade, with the work on some better than others. Finishing this one will take patience, but you can be sure you wouldn’t park next to an identical vehicle at a Cars & Coffee or in a shopping mall car park. Considering what it offers, it is a reasonably affordable project. We can speculate what it would cost to add the finishing touches and what it would be worth once complete. Getting the exterior and interior up to snuff should be straightforward and not particularly expensive. What would it be worth? Your guess is as good as mine. However, sometimes classic car ownership is less about the end value than the enjoyment the vehicle provides. That could be the case here.

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  1. Harvey HarveyMember

    Like a shoe that doesn’t fit.

    Like 17
  2. Steveo

    Might be worth as much as $1,250. Delivered. Depending on how full the gas tank is.

    Like 26
    • Karl


      Like 3
    • John Barry Traylor

      Maybe for $12.50 delivered

      Like 1
  3. Will Fox

    Looks like Cooter & Zeke got themselves a real gold mine, y’all! (eye roll)

    Like 13
  4. Mitchell G.Member

    Just because you can, doesn’t necessarily men you should

    Like 18
  5. CraigR

    Just because something can be done does not mean it should be.

    Like 10
    • Wayne from Oz

      The owner should remember what mum said, “don’t do drugs.”

      Like 0
  6. Big C

    The owner just doesn’t have the time to screw up what’s left of the car. I understand.

    Like 13
  7. Rw

    Tahoe that identifies as Corvette be kind!

    Like 10
  8. No.. not because u can 🤔

    I suggest obtaining full coverage on Vehicle ($500 should be adequate) and set car near a big cliff then place a brick on gas pedal while running and carefully tie a rope on shifter and pull to engage and release rope and say one Hail Mary.

    Its the best catch and release option for putting cars in 4×4 chassis’s.

    Like 10
  9. TheOldRanger

    what a waste of a corvette

    Like 12
  10. FrankDMember

    One Word! WHY?

    Like 8
  11. FrankDMember

    The start of an improvement? One of the worst years for Corvette! 1975-1982 are worthless and I know I’ve owned 6 Corvettes and two of them were 1975 and 1981.

    Like 6
    • djjerme

      This was my first thought as well. These were sad, sad years for the vette, and at this point – so what.

      Someone will have way more fun with this at some point, and even if it gets destroyed in the process – I doubt anyone will care.

      …but their story will be fun to tell at parties!

      Like 3
    • BrianT BrianTMember

      Agreed. I come here for the entertainment and this is entertaining. These were not great cars and doing this doesn’t even devalue it as far as I’m concerned unless it was one of those “22 original miles” cars.

      Like 1
  12. 8banger 8bangerMember

    But hey, who doesn’t love that hood support post?

    Like 4
  13. John EderMember

    Nice try- let it go…

    Like 1
  14. Yblocker

    Guess how many beer runs it took to perform this work of art, and you just might be the lucky winner. Of what I don’t know

    Like 4
  15. Steve

    “Hey Gomer, I got me a ‘twofer’, a Corvette, and an off-road mudder!”

    Like 4
  16. John EderMember

    I guess that it’s time, once again, to remind the reading comprehension-challenged commentators on BF of the posting rules: NO profanity, politics or personal attacks.

    Like 4
    • Rw

      Who got attacked?

      Like 2
  17. Jay McCarthy

    I can’t explain why I like these creations but I always have

    Like 3
  18. CCFisher

    Bubba and his drinking buddies Earl, Tank, and Skeeter were out scrappin’ one night and came across an abandoned Corvette. They dragged it out of the weeds and hauled it back to the trailer park. A couple cases of beer later, Earl said, “Hey, Bubba. Why don’t we drop the Corvette body on the frame of that ol’ Tahoe you got out back?” The rest is history.

    Like 4
  19. jrhmobile

    When doing another Camaro 4×4 just isn’t Hillbilly Trash enough …

    Like 7
  20. chrlsful

    dont like the vette (cept ’56/60, ’63 split) esp this, the mako shark model. BUT…

    Like to know the tire sz as I’d attempt a lowering (till reaching hood/motor interference) w/smaller, more-appropreate-to-rd-car tires. This would make a bit of a sleeper that could scramble away from persurers? thru off rd means~
    A lower center of gravety for such a (glass) light body anyway.
    I sit in an entirely different position for ‘race car’ v ‘off rd rig’ but it can work here I’m sure.

    Like 0
  21. C Force

    Something that would fit in on the set of a mad max film

    Like 1
  22. Jim C

    why !!!!!

    Like 2
  23. jwaltb

    So sporty!

    Like 2
  24. David Michael Carroll

    Sounds like Mopar Meathead to me

    Like 1
  25. John Barry Traylor


    Like 2
  26. steve

    What a waste of time and effort on Barn Finds end.

    Like 2
  27. mike

    Sorry just don’t get it or understand why??

    Like 0
  28. Harry

    Proclaimed pronouns are “it” and “that” just so we’re all clear.

    This Buds for you!

    Like 4
    • John EderMember

      Nope, just someone who believes (and will continue to believe) that the posting rules are there for a reason.

      Like 1
    • Harry

      Dave , it’s completely silly. Nothing you said was out of line. But it does appear we have some oversensitive readers who are among the perpetually offended as well as the need to police innocuous comments.

      Like 6
    • Yblocker

      Welcome to the new world, just as well get used to it, gonna get worse before it gets better. Then again, it ain’t gonna get any better.

      Like 3
  29. ACZ


    Like 2
    • Rw

      Dave got censored

      Like 3
      • Harry

        Question is, can he be cancelled?? 😂😆

        Like 1
  30. Gerard Frederick


    Like 1
  31. scott m

    Careful what you call it though- TaVette? CorHoe? Marques matter!

    Like 0

    Will someone please close it’s eyes.

    Like 0
  33. Jeffro

    I’ve driven uglier.

    Like 1
  34. dogwater

    Hey Pa lets get that old vette from behind the hog pin and maker into a 4by so we can run that moon shine …………….

    Like 1
  35. Pat B Parham

    I love ❤️❤️❤️❤️

    Like 0

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