Dunham Corvorado: The Most Outlandish Cars Ever Made
For all of the cars we come across at MotorBiscuit to call one series of cars the “Most Outlandish” it has to really be outlandish. And there is no other way to describe the Dunham Coach Motor Car Company Corvorado. If another series car qualifies for that distinction better than the Corcovado please let us know. For now, these Eldorado Corvette mashups hold this special spot as the most outlandish.
There were seven Corvorados built at Dunham’s shop in New Jersey
There were seven of these built at Dunham’s shop in New Jersey. One of them was featured in the James Bond movie Live and Let Die. The creation of customizer Les Dunham was dubbed Corvorado because as you can guess, it is a cross between a 1970s Cadillac Eldorado and Chevy Corvette. Catchy, don’t you think?
Dunham would take parts of early 1970s Eldos and configure them around a partially stripped C3 Corvette. If you look at the A-pillars and T-top you can barely make out the Corvette origins. Later Corvorados used fiberglass pieced from molds taken from earlier steel cars. As if this long coupe on a short chassis wasn’t outrageous enough Dunham would festoon the cars with large fake exhaust, spare tires, two-tone paint, and those giant “Super Fly” headlights.
Some Corovados got special, crazy “pedestrian slicer” wire wheels
For a select few of the seven Corovados built he also created special crazy “pedestrian slicer” wire wheels with centers sticking out way beyond the tires. Everything was about excess and so everywhere you looked there was more. More overhangs, more chrome, more white sidewall tires, larger headlights. It was a Disneyland of car excess. Flash on overdrive.
These cars took on the moniker of “pimp mobiles” because a lot of the features of the Corvorados started appearing on garden variety Eldorados, Cadillacs, and Stutz Blackhawks-themselves a rare car that could qualify in some circles as outlandish. And these customized cars were mostly driven by pimps in New York.
Corvorado engines were standard Corvette 350 ci V8s hooked to automatics
Engines were standard Corvette 350 ci V8s hooked to automatic transmissions. The drivetrain wasn’t altered. Heavy-duty springs and shocks helped to carry the heavy loading of big chrome steel radiator shells, bumpers, fenders, and gobs of chrome features.
Inside they were as lavish as you could imagine, though there are few photos we could find. One even had a waterfall with a water storage tank in the trunk. No, we are not kidding. That car was discovered in bad shape abandoned in Chicago and is slowly being restored. That is the other strange thing about the Corvorado.
Some Corvorados ended up abandoned and left to the elements. The gas shortages in the 1970s and big cars, in general, were out of fashion. Even pimps need to be economical sometimes.
There is a resurgence of interest in Les Dunham’s creations
But there is a resurgence of interest in Dunham’s creations. There is at least one reproduction being built in California. And there is more interest in Dunham because this wasn’t his only series production car. After the Corvorado came the “Caballista.”
The Caballista was also a modified Corvette built around the existing body. At least 51 of them were made before Dunham moved on to other projects. There is a following for these as well. But they are in no way as outrageous as his Corvorado. If you ever see one you’ll never forget it.