Driving an Off-Road Corvette Kart on the Road

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Bodyless C5 Corvette gets lights, plates, a bumper and a wing before the first drive.

The video above comes to us from the B is for Build YouTube channel and it walks us through the final preparations ahead of its maiden voyage on public roads. The car is technically drivable when the video begins, but by adding some simple safety features, headlights, taillights and license plates, the bodyless C5 known as “Dr. Jenkins” is ready to hit the road.

Dr. Jenkins

If you are unfamiliar with this particular C5 Corvette-turned-off-road car, host Chris Freeland and the B is for Build team have been transforming this mangled Chevy sports car into a wicked toy for playing in the dirt. Starting with a wrecked C5 Corvette, Freeland and his team have added a safety cage, big off-road tires and a set of exhaust pipes that exit upwards, just behind the seats. They call it a cart, but in the long run, this is just a Chevy without the body – resulting in a dune buggy-style performance car.

Working on the Corvette

At that point, the car could be driven “safely” in the right situation, but he wants to be able to drive it on the street, so in this video, he is adding some essential items for road use while also adding some features that will make the car much easier to enjoy.

Safety Upgrades

The first items added in this video are some extra zip ties to secure the fuel filler neck in place, a quick-disconnect key for the electrical system and a hold-down for the battery.

Corvette Battery Box

While the hold-down and the filler neck are common sense items, the team found that without doors, the car always thinks that the doors are open. As a result, the interior lights stay on and run down the battery, but with the new quick-disconnect, that is no longer an issue.

Dressing Up the Rear

Next, the team cuts away the original stock rear bumper brace, replacing it with a trio of steel bars. On that new bumper, they add LED strips for the brake lights, parking lights and turn signals. They also reinforce the safety cage structure, adding a location for the gigantic carbon fiber spoiler.


Freeland initially wanted to use a big log for the rear bumper, but they couldn’t find a log that worked around the shop, so they looked into cutting down the perfect tree from which they could harvest a bumper. However, when the all-natural plan fell through, they went with a metal bumper and in the long run – that is probably the better idea.


Finishing the Front

Once the back end was street legal in Oregon, the team moved to the front of the car. After fabricating a spot for the coolant reservoir, they turned their attention to the need for headlights.

Using a quartet of Rough Country LED fog lights and some generic amber turn signals, Freeland lit up the front end by mounting the lights right to the original front bumper brace. It looks a little rugged, but that is the idea.

Finally, they bolted up the license plates and at that point, their C5 Corvette-based dune buggy was ready to hit the road.

The First Drive

As Freeland and team member Eric head out onto the road, they plot their course for the local Red Robin. On the way, they find that the bodyless Corvette cart turns more heads than anything they’ve ever been in and of course it does – it is a dune buggy built out of a C5. It is unusual and it is loud, attracting all sorts of attention on their trip to the burger joint.

Dr. Jenkins Corvette on Road

At this point, Dr. Jenkins is just about ready to hit the trails, so crank up your speakers and enjoy the final stages of preparation and the first drive.

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Patrick Rall is a regular contributor to LS1Tech and JK Forum, among other auto sites.

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