The Hooniverse Dream Car Garage: Chevrolet Corvette Reimagined By Kapra: A Singer-Esque Take On An American Legend

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I’ve had this idea for a long time, at least 2 or 3 years, as far as I can reckon. It was brought back to the foreground recently with an innocent enough tweet. Friend of the ‘Verse Alex Roy asked his followers which car they would like to see ‘Singerized’.


There is only one other car that I can thing of that could take the “Porsche 911 Reimagined By Singer” formula and continue it with any kind of success, and that is, of course, the C3 generation Chevrolet Corvette.  Follow along with my thin logic and mediocre business sense strategy after the jump.

First, we should look at what this mystical “Singer Formula” is, and work backwards from there. I’ve been to Singer’s workshops, I’ve seen the beautiful craftsmanship they do there. It’s amazing, seriously. I know some of their people, and they make great stuff.
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Modern Porsche 964+Beautiful Paint+Carbon Panels+Bigger, Stronger Engine+Exquisite Interiors+Attention To Detail+Well Engineered Suspension=Singer
There’s your formula. It’s a little more involved than that, as they redesign and refurbish and re-manufacture original parts to fit their level of quality, their level of fit and finish. The attention to detail is astonishing on those cars. So why would I pick a car like the C3 Corvette, where fit and finish start out as horrible from the factory?
The thing that the Singer equation doesn’t take into account is the fervent Porsche fan base, the historically significant shape of the body, and the 911’s inherently easy-to-backdate body. The only other car that has all of those traits is the Corvette. Corvette has a fan base even larger than Porsches, which is a plus. There is hardly a shape in automotive-dom that is more evocative than the original 1960s iteration of the Stingray. Corvette’s C3 body ran from the beautiful 1968 cars all the way through the garbage of the early 1980s without any major changes to the bodywork, the underlying structure, or interior, and almost everything worth talking about is interchangeable between all of those cars.

The Name

Kapra has been the name for my imaginary car building company for years. You can see the work behind our first imaginary project here.

Exterior

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You want a body that evokes passion, nostalgia, and excitement. Singer does that with the 911. Kapra aims to do that with the Corvette.
If you’re going to go full-Singer, then you’re likely not going to be using much of the original car, so you can really begin with almost any junk Corvette. If I were in control, I’d likely just start by taking everything off of the frame and moulding a new body out of carbon for lightweight and superior quality. A new production body with modern composites will allow us to make slight modifications to the original design without nearly as much work as it might require to properly modify the original body, including adding an exaggerated version of 72-style fender flares, and perhaps an integrated winglet . This would also allow us to replace the terrible 80s fastback design with the stylish original Hardtop design of the late 1960s. This would also allow us to use the original chrome bumpers without bonding on new front and rear clips, as the 80s bodies would require for a proper backdate. If the customer were willing to spend the extra money, we could probably even replace the original stamped steel backbones of the car with a new All-Aluminum frame.

Drivetrain

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It would be foolish to use the original old iron-block, iron-head small blocks of the 60s when new all-aluminum crate engines exist. Fitting an LS-based engine of various displacements and power levels would be easy enough. Do you want 500, 600, or 700 streetable horsepower in your vintage Corvette? No problem. My personal preference would be a bone-stock crate LS9 from GM Performance, but the customer is always right. Fuel injection, push button start, pump gas, and big power are our touchstones. With a lightweight body and way more power than would have been standard, this new car would likely “shit and git” as my granddad used to say. Modern 6 speed manual transmissions are a must, and the current gen 8-speed automatic would be an option.

Interior

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This is the kind of beautiful interior I’m talking about. Singer can do it extraordinarily well, so we can too. Like John Hammond’s Jurassic Park, Kapra’s Corvettes will spare no expense. The best leathers over sport bucket seats, gorgeously trimmed and inch-perfect dashes. Singer continues to use a Momo Prototipo steering wheel, but I think we would maybe even produce our own steering wheels, or at least contract a wheel manufacturer to build a Kapra-unique wheel. Audio options will look vintage, but will provide modern sound. Things like cruise control and air conditioning would be standard, for obvious reasons.

Suspension, Wheels, & Tires

One of the major problems with these early Corvettes is their shoddy transverse leaf-sprung rear axles. Get a proper coilover system in there with a well designed damper, and you’ve got a good start. The car would sit quite low, so adding in a system like H&R’s height adjustable mechanism for getting into driveways and over speed bumps would be a must. The car must be sporty and capable, but still comfortable enough for a long drive. For wheels, a modern take on a vintage design would work quite well. Perhaps working with a company like American Racing to reprise one of their late 60s designs in slightly larger sizes. Depending upon the owner’s request, the car could be set up a number of ways, whether for street driving, street/strip, or road course/track day. As much as I would want my own car to be used for track days, I have to admit that a Corvette looks great with wrinkle walls and skinnys.
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Just as Singer has done with their Targa, after a few of these sell, we could expand into Corvette Convertibles and do something along the same lines to that chassis.
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Why?

I mean, okay, maybe the idea is still a bit half-baked, but I guarantee there is a market for a car like this out there. As far as I’m concerned, this is the only other car that could possibly be Singer-ized (Except maybe a Rubber Bumper MGB. Actually, that might be the holy trinity with a German, a Brit, and an American. Singer, give me a call…)
Early C3 Corvettes like we’re replicating in body have been shooting up in value lately, and modifying one of those would be seen by the Corvette community as practically sacrilege. However, their unloved cousins, the 1982s of the world, would be seen as a necessary sacrifice for this kind of amazing driving experience. Wouldn’t you like to give it a try? Besides, early 80s C3 Corvettes are so cheap, they’re practically being given away. Take a look at the car in the lead image, that car was found for under 10 grand on Craigslist after a quick 5-minute search. They’re everywhere.
If you want to get a start on your own project, here is the listing for the car from the lead image.

82 Corvette For Sale! 26k original miles. Must Sell !$9200 (napa county)

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82 Chevrolet Corvette For Sale! 26,000 Original Miles! Carfax! Automatic Transmission, 5.7L V-8 Motor (350), Air Conditioning, T-Tops, Multi-Port Injection, Custom Two Tone Paint, Chrome Mag Rims, CD Player w/Hookups, Pwr Windows, Pwr Locks, Tilt Wheel, Cruise Control, CLEAN TITLE, CLEAN CARFAX! Car is in excellent shape and has been adult driven. Seen by appt only. Asking $9200.
See more photos and contact information for the seller HERE.

That’s a running driving perfect starter for a project like this one at only $9200, and I’d wager he’d take even less. Not only that, but this car is in California, where everything is more expensive. Go, get started, but remember, if you start selling them, this was my idea, and I want in on the business!
 

0 Comments

  1. Other than the cheap starting point I still don’t understand why you’d start with the ugliest Corvette. Make mine a Singer-ized C2 (’67 preferably) and we’re talkin’.

          1. Personal tastes notwithstanding, that clearly falls into the “more dollars than sense” category.

    1. Singer don’t do slant-nose 911’s with huge flares… Although I imagine they would in the right circumstances?

  2. I was going to suggest rubber bumper MGBs as likely candidates … then I actually read the article. Remove the back dating aspect and I can think of a half dozen cars I’d “Singerize” ahead of a C3. Restomodded 2002, anyone?

  3. I’m not sure I understand the concept. Assuming you leave the chrome-bumper cars to the numbers-matching/period mods crowds, I have no problem with somebody making their own creation out of a later C3. And those later cars are so down on horsepower, it isn’t hard to improve on what the factory offered.
    But why would I pay someone halfway across the country to modify a relatively-worthless Discovette into a relatively-worthless modified Discovette when I can either pay someone local to do the work to my specifications, or buy someone else’s car they put $35K into (to wind up with a $9K car)?

  4. If the idea is to stylistically backdate while improving and modernizing, there’s a pretty limited range of cars available, of things that kept a relatively consistent shape for 20+ years. You could probably work with a Volvo 240 (maybe even as far as a S90?), or outside of the US, make the world’s best Lada 2105. I’d be partial to a Jag XJS or Series III XJ6 that were de-British Leyland’d, although Top Gear showed that was already a thing.

  5. I wonder if a C6 or C5 chassis would fit under a C3 body, which would take care of the steering, suspension and braking characteristics too. Maybe it would with your custom carbon fibre body! Not a bad contender for the treatment.
    As for the MGB, why start with a rubber bumper and not a brand new body?
    Another candidate I can think of is the Range Rover.

  6. That formula would work well with an Alfa Romeo (Alfetta) GT/GTV(6).
    – Iconic shape that may endure some tasteful touches.
    http://preview.netcarshow.com/Alfa_Romeo-Alfetta_GTV_6_2.5i-1980-hd.jpg
    – The I4 engine, an icon by itself, has a large traditional tuning culture just like the P-mobiles’ B6.
    http://www.classicitaliancarsforsale.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Picture-67.png
    – The GTV6, has won races, just like the 911, and hints that there is some room in the suspension
    http://cuoresportivo.no/index.php?PHPSESSID=7b3602b7474a3a275c4876029d6af1d1&action=dlattach;topic=37356.0;attach=27147;image
    – It’s not hard to imagine an interior where a saddler has put even more work and pride into:
    http://theautoz.com/images/1974-alfa-romeo-gtv-interior-1.jpg

  7. I had an ’81 Corvette as a project car, mostly because it could be had in “needs TLC” condition for a grand less than a Nova. The platform is a starting point, and while I didn’t have Singer level delusions of grandeur, the world is your oyster with a light-ish chassis and a SBC. One can even obtain completely new frames for the things with niceties such as the aforementioned coil-overs, better steering, improved suspension geometry and bakes from a late model Corvette along with LS engine mounts.
    Here’s one that could be yours for $75k…
    http://i1227.photobucket.com/albums/ee423/ranger9812/Image-10209526-247764345-2-WebLarge_0_a30139eb44caf94c148a65542c9559e7_1_zpsycopljzc.jpg
    http://www.corvetteforum.com/forums/c3s-for-sale-wanted/3743544-fs-1970-corvette-convertible-resto-mod-75k.html

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