Bitchin' Build: An Autocrossing Jeep (?!) With the Heart of a Corvette

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
bitchin build an autocrossing jeep with the heart of a corvette

The wheelbase of a 2001 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 is 104.5 inches. The wheelbase of a Jeep CJ-6 is 103.5 inches. Other than winning trivia night at the weirdest bar around, having that sort of knowledge isn’t typically useful. But for Texas enthusiast David Whitener, it yielded an incredibly weird and impossibly cool track toy, and it’s now up for auction at

I’m not sure I’m brave enough or outgoing enough to drive this, but dropping 700 pounds from a C5-generation Z06 has to make it frighteningly quick.

Starting with a crunched 2001 Chevrolet Corvette Z06, Whitener realized that he had a perfect base for a barely-street-legal go kart in the mold of the Exocet or Ariel Atom — but with proper Chevrolet LS power. He was inspired by this Jeepster, similarly built.

There was some fabrication involved (see photos) in putting the classic Jeep body and grille on the Corvette chassis. Thankfully, due to the improved power-to-weight ratio, a proper roll structure has been added for safety. Forward roll hoop supports may be needed for wheel-to-wheel racing, however, though we can’t think of any sanctioned racing series where this Frankenstein would fit.

Really, it’s an incredible toy that will draw gasps and joy at any track day or autocross. I gather that it may no longer be “Trail Rated.”

Check out that suspension articulation!

Whitener added custom-valved Bilstein monotube shocks tuned for the significantly-lower weight of this creation. Further, he added the larger brakes from the C6-generation of Corvette Z06, as well as headers, intake, and exhaust tuning for the small-block.

Whitener tells me that driving his creation is an experience unlike any other. “It draws an INSANE amount of attention. People will randomly U-turn in the middle of the road to follow me around. Pretty much 100 percent of the time someone will be tailgating me, taking pictures. All manner of weirdos want to have long conversations at gas stations. And the weirdest are Jeep people who will chase me down and flip me off.”

Heck. I’d be okay getting flipped off by some Jeep people.

Someone among the Best & Brightest needs this, I’m sure of it. Let us know in the comments if you’re planning on bidding on it. The auction ends in six days. Click here to bid!

[Autocrossing images © Robert Kirby/ Lightspeed Images. All other images © David Whitener]

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2 of 7 comments
  • Ko1 Ko1 on Nov 14, 2018

    I'd say he got his inspiration from Motortrend's 'Vette Kart more than anything.

  • OzCop OzCop on Nov 15, 2018

    A friend of mine in Roanoke, TX built and owns that Jeep. I watched it as it progressed and David quite meticulous when it comes to building autocross cars. This thing is pretty awesome, and it looks the part driving down the highway. It is actually licensed for the street.

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  • Bobbysirhan I'd like to look at all of the numbers. The eager sheep don't seem too upset about the $1,800 delta over home charging, suggesting that the total cost is truly obscene. Even spending Biden bucks, I don't need $1,800 of them to buy enough gasoline to cover 15,000 miles a year. Aren't expensive EVs supposed to make up for their initial expense, planet raping resource requirements, and the child slaves in the cobalt mines by saving money on energy? Stupid is as stupid does.
  • Slavuta Civic EX - very competent car. I hate the fact of CVT and small turbo+DI. But it is a good car. Good rear seat. Fix the steering and keep goingBut WRX is just a different planet.
  • SPPPP This rings oh so very hollow. To me, it sounds like the powers that be at Ford don't know which end is up, and therefore had to invent a new corporate position to serve as "bad guy" for layoffs and eventual scapegoat if (when) the quality problems continue.
  • Art Vandelay Tasos eats $#!t and puffs peters