This VW-powered Corvette Grand Sport was built to fly, but not on the strip
Before you ask: This is not the real deal. No one desecrated one of the five “Cobra Killers” that Zora Arkus-Duntov built to dominate Le Mans in 1963 by converting it to flower power.
This vehicle is, however, one of 12 licensed replicas built by Mongoose Motorsports for Universal Pictures. Its claim to fame lies in the Fast and Furious franchise—specifically, Fast Five, in which it served as one of two jump cars used to film this scene:
Unsurprisingly, the attrition rate of these replicas was quite high: Of the 12 “Grand Sports” used to film the fifth F&F installment, only three survived. Another Mongoose-built Fast Five Vette, this one a Chevy-powered beastie, appeared for auction in April of 2021. Because it was used exclusively for green-screen work, that particular V-8 powered replica remains pristine. It also spent the most time of any Grand Sport replica with Vin Diesel and Paul Walker during filming, the producers considerately letting the stars confine their death-defying antics to the realm of fiction.
The air-cooled oddity headed to auction this January at Mecum’s Kissimmee sale is a far more humble proposition. “This car pretty much sums up the disposable nature of a stunt car,” says Hagerty Valuation expert Greg Ingold. The spec sheet bears this out: A bargain-bin C4 chassis paired with the cheapest yet most bulletproof engine available. The battered fiberglass schnoz drives the point home. The original Grand Sports campaigned for fame and glory: This eclectic Corvette was built, in the words of a contemporary Pennsylvania-born songwriter, to fall apart. Or at least, not to cost a fortune if it did.
This Vette’s heritage is, perhaps, as eclectic as that of the Fast and Furious movies, with its blend of fantasy and reality, old-school American muscle and modern-day exotic exports. (Not that the German powertrain qualifies this restomod as an exotic.) This Vette is neither fast nor particularly furious, but it boasts a legitimate connection with one of the most renowned franchises in the modern gearhead pantheon.
With several Skylines and RX-7s and Barracudas and Chargers in the collectors’ sights, this replica might be your bargain avenue into Fast and Furious ownership. And if that air-cooled clatter doesn’t make your heart go pitter-patter, you could always swap out the engine. You know the two magic letters …