The Story Behind The Corvette SportWagon
On CarThrottle we all love wagons, but the one I am going to talk about today is a slightly different take on wagons. What you are seeing is a C3 Corvette wagon conversion. It is not a homemade piece, there were multiple companies and people who sold wagon conversion kits to Corvette owners.
The idea first came from the mind of Chuck Miller (and later adapted to the rubber-bumper ‘74-‘82 Corvettes by John Greenwood), the kits came from companies like American Custom Industries (aka. ACI) and Eckler’s. The story is an interesting one. Chuck Miller was commissioned to create the first Sportwagon by a rock-band drummer who owned a C3 and needed some extra cargo room for his drums. There were some problems with the first design, however. The prototype did not have a functional hatch, so cargo had to undergo a difficult squeezing process through the side doors. And aesthetically, the original Sportwagon looked awkward. It just didn’t blend together well.
In 1976, John Greenwood thought he could make a better Corvette wagon than Miller. Greenwood went to it with a clean sheet of paper. His prototype proved to be an immense improvement over the original Miller design, not only functionally, but aesthetically as well. The roofline was continued at the same slope and curvature as the T-tops, ending shorter and lower than the original. The slant of the rear coincided nicely with the angle of the bumper. Overall, it just looked better and smoother. The biggest improvement, however, was the rear-opening ‘hatch’ that allowed access from the back of the car.
The prototype was built on Greenwood’s girlfriend’s Corvette. The car was originally white, but it was painted it a brown metallic to be put it in the back of a rental truck and sent off to the SEMA show. It was a huge hit and John came back with a number of orders. At this time, he decided to become partners with another company, Eckler’s, and started producing over-the-counter DIY kits. It is estimated that, in total, approximately two dozen ACI, Eckler’s, and over-the-counter kit Greenwood Sportwagons were produced, including a few Turbo Sportwagons!
Thus ends the story of the Corvette Sport Wagon, more or less. I hope you liked my article, I have more coming soon on more strange and awesome creations like this. Stay tuned, peace!