5 min read
19 Jan

"Corvette Summer" is a classic American adventure comedy film directed by Matthew Robbins, and it features a highly customized Chevrolet Corvette that plays a central role in the movie. The film stars Mark Hamill, fresh from his initial success as Luke Skywalker in "Star Wars," and Annie Potts in her feature film debut. 

The car in "Corvette Summer" is a 1973 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray that has been extensively modified for the film. It's known for its distinctive appearance, which includes a right-hand drive conversion, an asymmetrical, bubble-like plexiglass hood, a metal-flake red paint job with accent striping, and an extensive array of custom bodywork that includes flared fenders and a unique front-end design.

See also: Here’s Everything You Need To Know About The "63 Split-Window Corvette 

The Corvette Summer Movie

Corvette Summer car reaar.

Photo credit: MotorTrend

In the movie, the Corvette is a project car built by high school students in an auto shop class. The car is stolen, and Hamill's character, Ken, sets out on a quest to find it, which leads him to Las Vegas. 

Along the way, he meets Vanessa (played by Potts), and they get involved in various adventures. The "Corvette Summer" car became iconic in its own right, thanks to its role in the film and its over-the-top custom features. 

It's a memorable example of the custom car culture that was particularly popular in the United States during the 1970s and 1980s. The movie itself is a slice of late '70s pop culture and is remembered fondly by some for its quirky take on the coming-of-age story and its distinctive automotive co-star. 

When Was Corvette Summer?

When was the Corvette Summer?

Photo credit: TCM

As stated earlier, "Corvette Summer" was released in 1978. It's a comedy film starring Mark Hamill and Annie Potts. The film was released after Mark Hamill's first appearance as Luke Skywalker in "Star Wars" (1977), capitalizing on his newfound fame. 

All The Cars In Corvette Summer

The Corvette Summer cars.

The "73 Stingray may have been the main star, but other cars featured in "Corvette Summer" besides the main custom Corvette. While the film's focus is on the unique 1973 Corvette Stingray, it also includes various other vehicles that are typical of the late 1970s car landscape. 

However, these other cars did not receive the same level of attention or customization as the featured Corvette and are not as prominently remembered. The film's setting in locales like a high school auto shop, various neighborhoods, and the streets of Las Vegas means that numerous background cars set the scene for the era. 

You would see a range of vehicles from the '70s, including typical American sedans, trucks, and muscle cars, as well as some imports that were becoming increasingly popular during that time. Below is an overview of the cars in the "Corvette Summer" movie: 

  • 1973 Chevrolet Corvette: As already mentioned, this is the custom, heavily modified car that plays a central role in the movie. It's a third-generation Corvette, known as the C3, which was produced from 1968 to 1982. The '73 model featured the iconic Corvette styling with the chrome rear bumper, which would be the last year for chrome bumpers at both ends.
  • 1971 Buick Riviera: This car is known for its "boat-tail" rear window styling, which was controversial at the time but is now considered classic. The '71 Riviera is a large personal luxury car with a powerful V8 engine, part of the third-generation Riviera models produced by Buick.
  • 1959 Cadillac: Classics like the Cadillac Eldorado or Series 62 were known for their large tail fins and dual bullet taillights, which epitomized the height of American automotive styling excess in the late '50s.
  • 1975 Chevrolet Corvette: Unlike the '73, the '75 model year was the first to have the federally mandated 5 mph (8 km/h) bumpers and was the last year to feature a convertible option until the Corvette convertible returned in 1986.
  • 1971 Chevrolet Chevy Van: The early '70s Chevy Vans were part of the second generation, characterized by their boxy shape and utilitarian design. These vans were popular as work vehicles and also as the basis for custom van conversions, which trended in the '70s.
  • 1977 Chevrolet Suburban: The Suburban is a long-running model known for its large size and utility. By 1977, it was on its eighth generation, serving as a staple in the full-size SUV segment, well-suited for large families and towing.
  • 1974 Dodge Dart: This compact sedan was in its fourth generation and was popular for its affordability and reliability. The '74 Dart continued to offer a range of engine options, including Slant-6 and V8 choices.
  • 1973 Datsun 240Z: The Datsun 240Z is a legendary Japanese sports car that was part of the Nissan S30 series. Known for its performance and affordability, it had a sleek design and a straight-six engine, which helped popularize the Z-car series worldwide.
  • 1974 Dodge Tradesman: The Tradesman was Dodge's line of full-size vans, which were used for cargo hauling and also became popular bases for van customization, similar to the Chevy Van.
  • 1971 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400: The Formula 400 was a performance-oriented model of the Firebird, equipped with a 400 cubic inch (6.6 liters) V8 engine. It featured distinctive styling with a twin-scoop hood and was part of the second generation of Firebirds.
  • 1972 Plymouth Valiant: This affordable and practical compact car was known for its reliability and simple design. The Valiant was discontinued after the 1976 model year.
  • 1963 Rambler: Rambler was a marque produced by American Motors Corporation and known for compact and mid-size cars that were quite popular during the 1950s and 1960s. By 1963, models like the Rambler Classic and Rambler American were well-regarded for their practicality, economy, and durability. The Rambler cars of this era often featured conservative styling and were a symbol of American middle-class sensibilities.

See also: 20 Must-Watch Movies For Gearheads And Car Lovers 

Who Owned The Corvette Summer Car?

Who owns the Corvette Summer car?

Photo credit: Villa delle Querce

The fate of the two 1973 Chevrolet Corvettes crafted for the "Corvette Summer" movie is a tale of international travel and enthusiast dedication. Constructed by Korky's Kustom Studios for MGM, these vehicles were split between promotional duties and serving as on-screen icons. 

The primary Corvette, becoming a star in its own right, embarked on a journey that led it to an Australian enthusiast, where it underwent a transformation, distancing its appearance from the silver screen's depiction. 

Simultaneously, an imprint of the original cinematic Corvette found a home within the walls of the Corvette Americana Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, before transitioning to a permanent exhibit at the National Corvette Museum, safeguarding its legacy. 

The secondary Corvette's journey was less extensive geographically but no less interesting. Initially acquired by Mike Yager, the founder of Mid America Motorworks, it became a showpiece in Effingham, Illinois, gracing the company's collection and occasionally venturing out to car shows to the delight of fans.

In 2009, this backup Corvette continued its story by transferring to another private collector and is now reportedly residing in New Zealand. 

Where Is The Corvette Summer Car Right Now?

The last we checked, The "Corvette Summer" car currently lives at the National Corvette Museum. The National Corvette Museum is located at 350 Corvette Drive, Bowling Green, Kentucky, USA. 

The Corvette Summer Car For Sale

Corvette Summer car for sale.

Via Facebook

Ahem, you may have noticed the bit of commotion caused by the Corvette Summer Stingray that popped up on a Facebook fan page and offered for sale with 44,000 miles. We wouldn't fret about this, though. 

We really want to believe the Facebook ad to be genuine, seeing as it wouldn't be the first time a rare gem has popped up on social media, internet forums, and online marketplaces like Craigslist

Be as it may, we can't get over how the seller could've possibly misquoted the model year for such a legendary car. The Corvette Summer car is a "73 Stingray, but this seller on Facebook described it as a "77 Corvette, and the car is a left-hand drive. Go figure. 

At this point, if you’re thinking what we’re thinking, then you’re thinking about the Gas Monkey Garage Corvette Summer car that turned out a fake. 

The Gas Monkey Corvette Summer Car

Gas Monkey Corvette Summer car.

Photo credit: Daily Turismo

Gas Monkey Garage is known for customizing and restoring cars, and in one of the episodes of the show "Fast N' Loud," they featured a Corvette inspired by the 1972 Corvette from the movie "Corvette Summer." 

The original Corvette from the movie was a right-hand drive, but Gas Monkey Garage's version was a left-hand drive. The car was crafted to resemble the one from the movie, but it was not an exact replica due to differences in the hood design and drivetrain. 

The car was auctioned at Barrett-Jackson, and the episode featured the team's efforts to refurbish and sell the Corvette. Gas Monkey reportedly paid $20,000 to acquire the car they supposedly thought was an authentic Corvette Summer ‘Vette and later sold it on eBay for $30,000. 

Quoting Richard Korkes of Korky's Kustoms, 

"This is why you can't believe the web. No other promotional cars were built. I know, I built them! Two cars were built for the movie. A third car was built 15 years later in AZ. This car is not the car from the movie. Poor sucker who bought this one got took.”

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