Cars like the Dodge Challenger and Fiat 500 tap into our desire for vehicles that deliver all the convenience of new machinery with some of the character of the ones we’ve left behind. But Chevy doesn’t currently offer anything similar for Corvette fans.
Karl Kustoms does, however, or at least it did in the late 2000s when it built around 75 old Corvettes out of new ones. Starting with a contemporary C6 Corvette, the Des Moines, Iowa, shop swapped the stock plastic bodywork for retro-style panels that replicated the look of the ionic ’63 split-window C2.
Well, we say “replicated”, but the ruse only works from very specific angles, namely from the front and rear. The very different proportions of the donor car compared with those of the C2 it’s trying to emulate mean it looks pretty awkward when viewed in profile. The wheelbase is too long and the windshield too flat to fool anybody, though this car comes with two sets of wheels, and the vintage-style ones with the fake knock-off spinners help the charade.
Inside, it’s mostly stock 2009 C6, though red carpets and custom upholstery on the seats and door cards makes a very subtle attempt to evoke images of the 1960s car. On the plus side, you get to keep all the mod cons you’d expect in a C6, including dual-zone climate, navigation, head-up display, and heated and powered seats.
And you also get modern performance. This car is running a supercharged 6.2-liter LS3 V8 that’s claimed to put out 599 hp (607 PS) and is mated to a six-speed automatic, meaning it should easily smoke even the fabled fuel-injected 327 cu -in. (5.4-liter) V8 C2 in a straight line.
Made for just one year, the C2 split window is one ofthe most desirable classic Vettes, and while Hagerty says you could pick up a condition 3 car with the base 250 hp (254 PS) V8 for $67,500, a fuel-injected 360 hp (365 PS) car in excellent condition would set you back $194,000. Which is eerily close to the $199,900 being asked for the Karl Kustoms C6 on eBay. Or you could buy three brand new base-spec C8 Corvettes for the same money. How would you spend it?