The Evolution Of Corvette Sport Wagons: America’s Take On The Shooting Brake


Summary

  • Chuck Miller is credited with conceiving the Chevrolet Corvette Sportwagon and the shooting brake concept.
  • Aftermarket tuners like Greenwood and Callaway have created shooting brake versions of the Corvette, enhancing its cargo space and practicality.


The Chevrolet Corvette was never conceived with practicality in mind, at least not by the brand, and you’ve probably never heard of this version, basically because it’s not a model crafted by Chevrolet. Many designs emerge from the eccentricity or boldness of a nonconformist customer, as is the case with the Chevrolet Corvette Sportwagon, the practical Corvette created out of a drummer’s necessity—or so the story goes.

Officially, a shooting brake variant has never existed in dealerships, much like there has never officially been a four-door or four-seater Corvette. Nevertheless, numerous aftermarket tuners have taken it upon themselves to craft such variants for various generations of the ‘Vette. These iterations often bear names like Sports, Sport Wagon, or even Sportswagon—spelling variations can be found interchangeably.

The inception of these modifications dates back to the third generation of the model, showcasing the creative efforts of aftermarket specialists who sought to redefine the Corvette’s form and functionality beyond the conventional. While not sanctioned by the official channels, these custom variants have carved out a niche in the Corvette enthusiast community, adding an extra layer of diversity to the iconic model’s legacy.

It may seem obvious, but the Chevrolet Corvette was designed with a focus on performance rather than practicality. Despite this, in the late sixties and early seventies, a curious trend emerged. A small number of model enthusiasts sought to address the car’s main issue: its cargo space. According to the story, the idea that led to the creation of the Chevrolet Corvette Sportwagon was actually conceived by a rock ‘n’ roll band drummer who owned a Corvette and needed space to transport his drum kit.

And that was just the beginning. From that point onward, numerous experienced enthusiasts boldly took on the challenge of applying similar modifications to various models of the Corvette. These passionate individuals, well-versed in the intricacies of automotive customization, embarked on a journey to push the boundaries of what a Corvette could be.

Related
10 Stunning Custom Cars Based On The Chevy Corvette

The Chevrolet Corvette has formed the basis of new projects, helped revive iconic nameplates, and inspired unexpected collaborations

In order to give you the most up-to-date and accurate information possible, the data used to compile this article was sourced from various manufacturer websites and other authoritative sources, including Chevrolet, Callaway and EPA.


The Concept Originated From Chuck Miller In The Late-1960s

The Chevrolet Corvette C3, produced between 1967 and 1982, represents a golden era in the history of American sports cars. Known for its iconic design and powerful performance, it stands as a gem in automotive engineering. This model marked the third generation of the Corvette, solidifying its position as an icon of speed and style.

In addition to its striking appearance, the Corvette C3 stood out for its power, thanks to a range of V-8 engines that delivered impressive performance on the road. However, there was something it lacked, and some yearned for: cargo space.

Chevrolet Corvette C3 1968

Engine

Small-Block V-8 350

Horsepower

300 HP

Torque

379 lb-ft

Drivetrain

Rear-wheel drive

Transmission

3-Speed Manual

Top speed

124 mph

(Data sourced from Chevrolet)

A Rock And Roll Drummer Is The One To Credit For This Creation

The story is an intriguing one. In 1968, Chuck Miller was tasked with creating the first Sportwagon by a rock band drummer who owned a C3 and needed additional space for his drum kit. Honestly, he can’t be blamed; it’s not as impressive to show up at a concert with a family Volvo just because the Corvette couldn’t accommodate the drum kit, even if everyone knows you own a Corvette.

Our hero made the right choice when deciding whom to share his ideas with; he mentioned it to Chuck Miller, and it must be acknowledged that Miller got to work and solved the problem in the best possible way. He developed a fiberglass rear end that would transform the Corvette into a Sportwagon or a Shooting Brake, essentially a two-door estate car.

Nevertheless, there were issues with the design. The prototype lacked a functional hatch, requiring a cumbersome process to squeeze cargo through the side doors. Moreover, aesthetically, the original Sportwagon appeared awkward, lacking a seamless blend in its overall look.

Related
Chevrolet Corvette (C3): Performance, Price, And Photos

Why is now the right time to get your hands on the iconic C3 ‘Vette and which years to look for if you’re seriously considering one?

Major Improvements Were Introduced By Greenwood In The 1970s

1975 Chevrolet Corvette Shooting Brake
Bring A Trailer

Any aficionado of the C3 Corvette would undoubtedly recognize the notable John Greenwood. Hailing from Detroit, this SCCA and IMSA driver played a pivotal role in preserving the Corvette’s allure among enthusiasts during the challenging Malaise era, primarily due to his iconic widebody race cars.

Greenwood’s accomplishments with the C3 were so impressive that he managed to secure unofficial factory support through Zora Arkus Duntov. The pinnacle of these achievements is exemplified by the renowned “Spirit of Le Mans,” a vehicle that fiercely competed in the grueling 24-hour race in 1976.

The Aesthetics Improved Significantly With The Applied Modifications

However, Greenwood’s expertise extended beyond crafting Corvettes exclusively for the track. Throughout the years, he ventured into creating an array of street car kits, ranging from straightforward body kits to formidable tube-chassis monsters. One noteworthy creation in his repertoire was the Sportwagon, a transformation that turned the elegant and curvaceous lines of the sports car into a bona fide two-door wagon.

And so, Burt and John Greenwood, Corvette specialists of Greenwood Corvettes, dedicated their efforts to refining the C3. They worked diligently to ensure everything seamlessly aligned, giving the impression that Chevrolet had originally designed it in this manner. The roofline of the Sportwagon was extended towards the rear, accompanied by the addition of new glass windows along the sides.

They Went Beyond Mere Aesthetics

But their focus extended beyond mere aesthetics, as they improved the integration of the rear end, introducing a highly practical tailgate that facilitated access to the trunk space through the rear of the car. The rear hatch opens up, providing convenient access to the expanded luggage compartment, and a rear spoiler adds a finishing touch to the overall aesthetic.

This radical transformation significantly enhanced the Corvette’s cargo capacity, transforming it into a vehicle suitable for quick trips to the supermarket or even extended road journeys.

Regardless of the initial concept, a modest production of approximately 20 to 25 Greenwood Sportwagons came to fruition during the designated time period.

Related
Why The C7 Chevy Corvette Is The LAST Great ‘Vette

Beyond its supercharged V-8, manual transmission, and rear-wheel drive, there’s so much more that makes the C7 the last great Corvette

In 2013, Callaway Cars Brought Forth The Aerowagon Conversion Kit For The Corvette C7

Chevrolet Corvette Callaway Aerowagen
Callaway

Continuing the rich tradition of coach-built shooting brakes, Callaway introduced the AeroWagen, available for any version of the C7 Corvette Coupe. This unique modification can be seamlessly integrated into the standard production 2014-2018 C7, the Callaway SC627 Stingray or Grand Sport, or the Callaway SC757 Z06.

The Callaway AeroWagen stands out as arguably the simplest and most eye-catching solution among all those employed to transform the Corvette into a full-fledged shooting brake.

Replacement Of The Rear Part Is Undertaken To Boost Cargo Capacity

The AeroWagen hatch assembly is designed as a part-for-part replacement of the original Corvette C7 rear hatch, utilizing the same hardware and latching mechanisms. This ensures a smooth and identical operation to the original, maintaining the Corvette’s renowned functionality.

This kit, featuring a single-piece carbon fiber structure, transforms the sports car from the golden cross emblem brand into a shooting brake body, significantly enhancing the cargo capacity of the Chevrolet Corvette.

As part of the package, the following components are included:

  • Callaway carbon hatch assembly.
  • Callway carbon upper spoiler.
  • Callaway carbon halo bar.
  • Tempered glass with defogger.
  • Callaway carbon rear spoiler.
  • AeroWagen Badging.
  • OEM color paint and installation.

The AeroWagen package comes with components that are delivered ready for assembly, eliminating the need for any fabrication. The carbon fiber moldings are pre-finished with a UV protectant surface coat, providing a prepared canvas for paint-to-match options. Furthermore, the rear window panels are crafted from tempered safety glass and maintain defogger functionality. If desired, the standard hatch can be easily re-installed.

The Modification Seamlessly Integrates With The Car’s Aesthetics

While the rear window is replaced, the rear pillars are extended to continue the roofline, finishing the job with a nearly vertical, small-sized rear window.

Hardly anything has changed from the prototype, and the transformation turns the muscular American sports car into an even more appealing and, indeed, functional vehicle. From now on, these C7 Corvettes will not only be more exclusive but also more practical, thanks to the increased interior space.

For installation, owners have the option to choose from Callaway facilities located in California and Connecticut, as well as at Callaway Authorized Retailers. This ensures that the transformation process is executed by skilled professionals, guaranteeing precision and adherence to the high standards synonymous with the Callaway brand.

The cost of this conversion is $14,990 (although $2,980 for the color change and another $1,995 to include the optional spoiler can be summed) and, according to the American tuner, the transformation can be completed in just a few hours.

5:11

Related
The 15 Most Desirable Classic Chevy Corvettes In Existence

While the Corvette name has been around for decades and has evolved with every generation here’s why these 15 models have stood out

Chevy’s Potential Move: A Front-Engined Twist On The C8 Chevrolet Corvette Shooting Brake

Chevrolet Corvette C8 Shooring Brake (Render)
Hot Cars

The Chevrolet Corvette, a venerable nameplate in the realm of American sports cars, has undergone a transformative journey while retaining its iconic status.

The latest iteration, the C8 Chevy Corvette, took a daring leap with a mid-engined layout, challenging the traditional perception of this automotive legend. Yet, the surprises didn’t stop there – enter the Corvette E-Ray, a hybrid variant that added an electrifying twist to the Corvette legacy.

What are we getting at here? Perhaps it’s time for it to be made official, and for Chevrolet to finally release the first shooting brake. Let’s remember that by 2025, GM has plans to broaden the Corvette lineup, evolving it into a comprehensive sub-brand that encompasses a four-door sedan and crossover. Considering this strategic expansion, the idea of a shooting brake Corvette, essentially a two-door wagon version of a coupe, doesn’t seem like much of a stretch after all.

A Bold Render That May Resonate With Enthusiasts

Presented here is one of the prospective options under consideration. In this striking render, skillfully created by HotCars’ digital artist Timothy Adry Emmanuel, we witness the transformation of the C8 Stingray into a captivating Chevrolet Corvette Shooting Brake, offering enthusiasts an intriguing glimpse into the realm of possibilities for this legendary sports car.

This badass Chevrolet Corvette shooting brake smoothly blends that rear wagon vibe into the C8 Corvette Stingray, all while tossing the engine up front for optimal packaging.

The outcome is a striking and well-proportioned silhouette that marks the resurgence of the front-engined modern ‘Vette. Utilizing a red Stingray as its canvas, the front end maintains a familiar appearance for the casual observer, with the exception of the hood that unveils the 6.2-liter V8’s head through a transparent cover. This clever integration not only enhances the aesthetic appeal but also pays homage to the iconic front-engined Corvette heritage.

Certainly, There Are People Who Would Gladly Take It Home

Within the expansive realm of car enthusiasts, there are people who passionately embrace the allure of performance wagons. This subculture’s influence is palpable, evidenced by the existence of iconic models like the Audi RS6 Avant.

However, the fascination with sleek, yet versatile designs doesn’t end there. Enter the concept of the shooting brake, a philosophy that extends the charm of wagons to 2-door coupes, spanning the spectrum from sports cars to high-performance supercars.

While not a rigid rule, this design philosophy has proven its adaptability. A notable example comes from Mercedes-Benz, which defied convention by introducing the CLA 45 S – a four-door shooting brake.

This divergence showcases the willingness of automakers to experiment with unconventional yet captivating designs, demonstrating that the world of automotive aesthetics is ever-evolving and open to creative interpretations. As the love for performance wagons persists, the shooting brake remains a fascinating and adaptable concept that continues to captivate the imaginations of car enthusiasts worldwide.

Primarily sold as kits and meticulously crafted without any standardized numbering, the exact count of these creations remains elusive. Yet, there undeniably exists a community of enthusiasts who hold these vehicles in high regard; that’s why the enduring appeal of these handcrafted vehicles persists among those who recognize and cherish their distinctive charm.



Source link

Leave a Comment

Ads Blocker Image Powered by Code Help Pro

Ads Blocker Detected!!!

We have detected that you are using extensions to block ads. Please support us by disabling these ads blocker.

Powered By
100% Free SEO Tools - Tool Kits PRO