The Beetle Powered Vette: 1970 Shala-Vette

Dick Dean had a novel idea. The Corvette looked fantastic, but having a big V8 meant it was expensive to buy and use. The Beetle, on the other hand, was cheap and incredibly economical. So, why not take the affordable Beetle and slap a sleek Corvette looking body onto it? Well, this was sort of what Mr. Dean managed to put together. This bright green Shala Vette is one of only a few that were actually built and it looks like a fun and unique little car. While it won’t ever compete with a Corvette, it’s definitely going to get way more attention! If you’d love to have this interesting little custom Beetle, you can find it here on eBay in Laguna Beach, California with a BIN of $12,500 and the option to make an offer.

Alright, so maybe that isn’t the real story behind the Shala Vette, but there really isn’t a ton of info out there about Mr. Dean’s idea for this car. At the time that he designed and built these cars, he was working with George Barris to create some wild designs. He came up with some really cool fiberglass customs during this time as well and given that the Corvette was America’s number one fiberglass-bodied car, it’s easy to see how it would have inspired him. As you look this car over, you can see nothing but Corvette design elements, just shrunk down.

Compared to the other Shala Vettes I’ve seen, this has to be the nicest and best put together one I’ve seen. The engine bay looks well put together, with a very clean Beetle engine. It’s a 1.8 liter that has been tuned up dual carbs and a performance cam. Don’t expect crazy power from it, but it should be fun in a lightweight car like this.

Someone has definitely spent a lot of time making sure this car is nice inside and out. You could almost forget that it’s essentially a ’70s kit car. The interior features Porsche 914 seats with custom roll bar and 4 point harnesses. I could live without the “carbon fiber” pieces, but it definitely gives the car a modern sports car look.

It won’t ever be a Corvette, but it’s an interesting car with cool looks that would be a ton of fun to play with. Clearly, someone had fun customizing this one, which is actually a bit sad given how rare it is. At least they did a nice job and made it a vehicle you can actually drive. Between the styling and bring green paint, it’s an eye-catcher. Be sure to check it out and let us know what you think of this Shala Vette!

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  1. Saylor

    Simply terrible

  2. Coventrycat

    Another amusement park ride in search of a theme park.

    • Ike Onick

      I would say it is in search of a Clown to drive it.

  3. Beaver Member

    This might be a fun toy!!

  4. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Cool, yes. $12,500, no.

  5. Bob_in_TN Member

    This is a new one on me. Can’t say I like it, but I will give the designer credit for good effort.

    I had this thought…. given the general build quality of 70’s vintage cars, how would you rate a 70’s vintage kit car’s quality?


    $12,500 buys you the real deal “Corvette”

    • Bear

      $12500.00 can get you a VERY NICE low mileage Vette, IF you are willing to “settle” for an early ’80s model. & while these “last of the C3s” are not the most popular of the Vettes, they ARE a very affordable & respectable entry ticket into Corvette ownership.
      (…& they perform MUCH BETTER than some VW Bug with a mini Vette body dropped on it!)
      Drop an LS in a C3 & THEN you’ll really have something to brag about!!

      • rod444

        Umm… I was with you, up to the “perform much better part.” That would entirely depend on what kind of driving you are referring to.

        My 81 C3 would definitely have a higher top speed, but this ‘Vette’ with an 1835cc engine and dual Kadron 44’s is no slouch. I also have a VW dune buggy with a 1776cc engine and dual Weber 44 carbs and it’s ridiculously fast off the line. From 0 to 25 mph I’d say it would beat my Vette – but that’s because it has 90 hp pushing only 900 lbs of buggy – 10 lbs per hp. Compared to a vette with 200 hp (ouch) pushing 3300 lbs – 16 lbs per hp – and its easy to see why the buggy is a heck of a lot of fun in stop and go driving and for just plain ripping around.

        I swear I get more smiles per mile from passengers in the buggy than I ever do in the Vette.

  7. Jack Hammer

    I’m very surprised Chevrolet didn’t sue the builder. Maybe the lawyers just laughed.

    • Ike Onick

      They also knew that only five of them would be sold to members of the guy’s family.

  8. 86_Vette_Convertible

    I have to admit it’s cute in a strange sort of way. Kind of like those go-carts with a fiberglass body on them.

  9. Howard A

    All these kit cars always seem to misproportioned wheel wells.

    • Ike Onick

      All kit cars also look like the new hire at Revell didn’t understand the drawing scale concept.

  10. Comet

    Looks like fun, but way too much money for a novelty toy. The tail end downward slope reminds me of a baby with a full diaper.


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