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]