This is a Leata Cabalero. It was built by Stinebaugh Manufacturing in Post Falls, Idaho. This is not some sort of just-for-fun one-off, built after hours by a body shop. Sonny Stinebaugh built around 100 of these things (coupe and pickup truck versions combined) and (presumably) sold them all. Stinebaugh's brochure stated "The Cabalero owner knows he is one of a few people fortunate to experience the pleasure of a truly exceptional automobile meant to be a landmark in automotive history."
This "truly exceptional automobile" is based on the truly unexceptional Chevy Chevette. The body panels are fiberglass. Supposedly, there is a frame added underneath the Chevette's unibody that prevents the car from folding in half.
The interior is, uh, interesting. Just what is that in front of the passenger? It looks like some sort of crude 1970s attempt at an airbag, but I suspect it's a pocket of sorts. It has power windows, a feature I don't think was ever available on a Chevette. The window switches are mounted by the shifter and look like they're from a 1970s Renault. Apparently a CB radio was part of the Cabalero package and it sits just below the AM/ FM / 8 Track player.
The engine is GM's durable, but unexciting, "Iron Duke" 4.
According to the seller, this car sold new for over $10,000.00. Earlier this year, this very same car sold for $7700.00 at a Barrett-Jackson auction.
Sonny Stinebaugh said the he lost three quarters of a million dollars on the Cabalero project, which I don't find too surprising. It was his last automobile venture. He died in 2001 at age 54.
I have absolutely no desire to own this car. But, Just a Car Geek isn't always about great cars, just interesting cars. The Cabalero is interesting, even if it's only in a "Whoa! Just what the hell were they thinking?" kind of way.
Located in Bonham, TX, click here to see the eBay listing.