Featuring eight generations, the Corvette has been around for more years, with some generations becoming more successful than others. All Corvette models have one thing in common; people love to modify them. This includes the quirky C-cars and the heavily tuned C8 Corvettes. While there are many modified Corvette models, no model stands out like the 1968 Chevrolet Corvette Sportwagen. The 1968 Chevrolet Corvette is a rare beauty that initially featured a convertible body that was later converted to a Sportwagen. This conversion was under the previous brand ownership that entailed the installation of a removable Targa panel, a high-rise hood, fixed headlights, rear fender flares, and a shooting-brake-style roof. The stunning appearance of the 1968 Chevy was rounded off with metallic maroon body paint and other excellent Chevy equipment such as; a limited-slip differential, Keystone wheels, manual steering, side pipes, and manual four-wheel disc brakes. This Corvette is powered by a 572cc Big-Block V8 four-stroke engine fitted to a five-speed manual gear transmission. Read on to learn more about the 1968 Chevy Corvette Sportwagen.
The design behind the 1968 Chevy Corvette Sportwagen came from Chuck Miller and was later used in the 1974 and 1982 Corvette models by John Greenwood. The origin of the Chevy Sportwagen began when Chuck Miller was appointed by a rock band drummer who owned a Chevy C3 and needed some additional cargo space for his drums. According to Autoevolution, the drummer hired Miller to help him create extra cargo room for his drums. Miller experienced some problems when creating the first Chevy Sportwagen, such as the prototype not having a functional hatch and requiring cargo to be squeezed through the side doors. Miller's first Sportwagen design seemed awkward, and aesthetically, the added hatch did not blend very well with Chevy's original design. The original design by Miller was undeniably eye-catching, but it lacked some practicality as the rear window was not openable and fixed in one place.
In 1976, John Greenwood thought he could make some changes to Miller's first design and make it better. Once Greenwood was done modifying the Corvette wagen, it proved to significantly improve the original design. Greenwood's version exceeded Miller's original Sportwagen design aesthetically and functionally. Greenwood's prototype's roofline was lower and shorter than the original but with the same slope and curvature. The rear slant blended perfectly with the bumper's angle for a smoother and decent look. The most notable improvement with Greenwood's version was the inclusion of a rear-opening "hatch" that allowed easy access to the car's hood. John's fantastic prototype was designed on his girlfriend's Corvette, originally painted white and later painted in brown metallic paint. Greenwood presented his Corvette Sportwagen at the SEMA Show, where it was very successful and received many orders. After his achievement, Greenwood decided to partner with another organization, Eckler's, and began producing over-the-counter DIY kits for the Corvette Sportwagen. It is estimated that about two dozen over-the-counter DIY kits were produced.
According to Caranddriver, below are some of the notable features of the 1968 Chevy Corvette Sportwagen:
Engine, Power, and Transmission
The 1968 Chevy Corvette Sportwagen is powered by a wild Chevrolet Big-Block V-8 two-cylinder four-stroke engine rated at 707 hp. The 1969 Chevy engine features a wide array of unique parts: Manley H-beam rods with ARP cap screws, an MSD 6AL-2 control distributor and box, a Dominator carburetor, and Crane Cam retainers and valve springs. Power is transmitted to the rear wheel through the Richmond Gear five-speed manual transmission with a Posi rear end and Ram Clutches Powergrip HD clutch. The tachometer is limited to 7,000 rotations per minute, and the speedometer runs up to 160 mph. In addition to the 1968 Chevy's wild looks, it comes with a simple yet attractive cabin setup with a three-spoke steering wheel and black vinyl upholstery.
Suspension, Chassis, and Brakes
A high-rise cowl hood with fixed LED headlights is at the front of the 1968 Chevy Sportwagen. At the rear is a chrome split rear bumper that decently highlights the Corvette's shapely hood. The sides of this Sportwagen are dominated by Keystone 15-inch wheels and a set of massive exhaust pipes. The body is finished off in metallic maroon paint and rear fender flares, and a shooting-brake-style roof. Dual fixed headlights are installed below the chrome front bumper. In addition to the removable Targa top, the 1968 Chevy has two-piece composite stainless rims with aluminum centers. According to Motornewstoday, braking in the 1968 Chevy Corvette Sportwagen is handled by reliable four manual brake discs placed in every wheel. The three-spoke steering wheel fronts a 7000 rpm tachometer and a speedometer limited to 160 mph. Other notable features in the Corvette Sportwagen include push-button door handles, dual mirrors, a chrome split rear bumper, auxiliary gauges, front fender vents, a short antenna, and chrome ribbed side-piped covers.
In comparison to its predecessors, the 1968 Chevy Corvette Sportwagen features enormous exterior dimensions. It should be noted that the 1968 Chevy Sportwagen was not built by the brand Chevrolet, as it was an aftermarket prototype developed for the C3 Corvette to solve its low cargo space problem. When the third-gen Corvette made its first debut in 1968, it became very popular mainly due to its shark-inspired frame. Like with most inventions, the 1968 Chevy Corvette Sportwagen had some downsides, such as lacking a trunk lid, and the small trunk spaces were only accessible via the car's interior. This 1968 is also best-known for its Shooting Brake frame style, allowing for an extended cargo area. The name "Shooting Brake" originated from the long cargo space for storing guns and other hunting equipment.
Written by Benjamin Smith
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