Corvette Summer: Never Say Ricer Again

Look, we love Corvettes. In fact, the C3 Stingray was our favorite car when growing up. This may surprise some JNCers, but the truth is we love all kinds of cars. That’s why it’s kind of a bummer when muscle car snobs immediately shout “ricer!” any time they see a Japanese car used for something more than A-to-B transportation. It’s happened to us, and if you’re reading this site, it’s probably happened to you. Well, today we’ll supply you with all the comeback ammo you’ll ever need.

That ammo is the 1978 movie Corvette Summer. If you thought The Fast and the Furious was bad – which it was – it was freakin’ Citizen Kane compared to Corvette Summer. The “plot” consists of a quest to Las Vegas to recover a stolen customized Corvette built and owned by Mark Hamill, a.k.a. Darth Vader Jr.

And oh what a Corvette it is. The rear was dominated by a giant Stingray logo nestled within an even more gigantic Chevrolet logo that functioned as a single mega-taillight, the candy paint job was about as subtle as a forest fire, and the side pipes look like they came off a chandelier at Liberace’s mansion. The hood scoop was evidently inspired by a stegosaurus and, for some inexplicable reason, asymmetrical. And after all this, if your mind still remains unboggled, the car has been converted to right-hand-drive.

We don’t know what’s scarier, the fact that leading lady Annie Potts got a Golden Globe nomination for her role in this film, or that the customization style was copied by ‘Vette owners across the country. Unbelievably, even in these modern, enlightened times the curator of the Mid-America Design Museum still receives weekly calls from people who want to recreate this monstrosity. C3 designer Larry Shinoda was too alive in ’78 to roll around in his grave, but this took a year or two off his life.

Here’s the trailer, and if there is anything redeeming about it, it’s the brief glimpse of a TE27 Corolla at 0:18. Even reviews of the day thought the movie was ridiculous.

So, what reminded us of this 30-year-old movie which we last encountered as a child browsing the VHS rental racks at the now-defunct Major Video in El Paso, Texas? Last week, NBC revealed KITT’s pursuit mode from the remade Knight Rider. Right about now, Nissan should be down on its knees thanking the original series’ producers for passing on the Datsun 280ZX.

[Images: Corvette Magazine]

This post is filed under: Video Games.

14 Responses to Corvette Summer: Never Say Ricer Again

  1. Gavin Doolan said:

    What’s worse is the fact that this kind of styling cue was adapted to some Zcars in the US. I’ve seen some ugly designs but this kind of thing screams for attention in all the wrong ways.

    Funny Mark Hamil was in it, I’d really like to see more movies he was in, might have to hire this one, just for a giggle or two.

  2. Jeff Brown said:

    I love that movie. Yeah the plot was so thin you could spread it on bread, but it was still a great car movie. I have that one in my personal DVD collection. If anyone wants to call themselves a gearhead, they need to own this.

  3. SrFairladyZ said:

    That’s funny, I was going to DL that movie a week ago, until I viewed the trailer. Ouch. You guy’s made my coffee taste extra bitter this morning.

  4. TSiSS350 said:

    Being the owner of both an old muscle car and numerous Japanese cars I def relate to what your saying. The same people that pour all over my camaro at a weekly cruise night, snikering when I pull in in my Conquest or NSU. They even now it is the same person!

    And yes, TERRIBLE movie!!!!!! Aside from Star Wars (and to some degree Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back) Mark Hamill should just give up!

  5. Banpei said:

    IMO Mark Hamil played an excellent role as himself in the Muppet Show. Too bad they didn’t keep him as muppet. 😉

    On topic: thanks for warning me for this awful movie!

  6. Kev said:

    Actually I kinda like it.

  7. Kev said:


    Just kidding

  8. leongsoon said:

    The C3 is my favorite Corvette too, and these pics made me very, very queasy.

  9. Crazy Backyard Builder said:

    The one you guys are missing is there is a Datsun 240Z in the movie on a turntable in one of the casino’s that is customised just like the Corvette.

  10. Crazy Backyard Builder said:

    Were is that car today????

  11. Ben said:

    If you can find pics of it I’d love to post it up! Or am I just asking for trouble? 😉

  12. Crazy Backyard Builder said:

    I have a decent one, where should I send it?

  13. Ben said:

    Cool! Send it on over to the feedback email at the bottom of this page. Much obliged.

  14. madan said:

    Taste changes with age, when this movie was out I thought the vette was very cool looking, looks like somebody beat it with an ugly stick.

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