Crazy Custom: 1975 Chevrolet Corvette

Some owners are satisfied to add a few custom touches to a classic car, while others will go the whole hog on their build. This 1975 Corvette would seem to fall into the latter category because there is not a single aspect of the vehicle that has escaped its creator’s attention. It appears that a previous owner may have completed the build in around 1981, and now it needs someone willing to return it to its former glory. Located in Hatboro, Pennsylvania, you will find the Corvette listed for sale here on Craigslist. If you hand the owner $8,900, you can take this crazy custom home.

The seller believes that this build was completed utilizing a kit from renowned Corvette specialists Eckler’s. The parts might have been sourced from that company by the previous owner, but the fit quality in some areas would suggest that it might have been installed in a home workshop. The car’s rear looks pretty good, but there is an inconsistency in the gap between the door’s leading edge and the front fender that I wouldn’t expect to see on a professional installation. However, rectifying that issue would not be a difficult assignment. One of the Corvette’s coolest features is the flip front, but the owner doesn’t give us a clear look at it in action. There is every chance that this is an Eckler component because they remain available to interested buyers today if they have a spare $3,000 or so. The rear of the vehicle throws up an interesting mix, and while the wide-body kit has all of the hallmarks of Eckler, the rear window is less convincing. It is similar to the product that Eckler’s supplied but isn’t identical. I admit that the tail-lights have had me scratching my head. They aren’t Corvette items, but they look hauntingly familiar. I can’t put my finger on what they are, so I’m hoping that one of our knowledgeable Barn Finds readers might be able to shed some light on it. The paint is an interesting custom mix, and the combination of white and multiple shades of blue is very much in keeping with the era in which this build was completed. The aftermarket wheels fill the openings nicely, and they appear to be in good condition. The owner doesn’t mention any rust issues, so it will take an in-person inspection to confirm that the frame and birdcage are structurally sound.

When we flip the front forward, we find that the builder made further changes in the engine bay. The seller refers to the engine as being a 327ci V8. That means that it isn’t original, and it isn’t clear where it initially called home. Bolted to the rear of the 327 is a 3-speed automatic transmission, while the car is also equipped with power brakes. The base Corvette engine in 1975 was a 350ci unit that produced 165hp. The fact that the builder chose to swap it for the smaller V8 could suggest that this 327 is hiding some performance enhancements. You’d have to hope so because the car’s original 17.6-second ¼-mile ET was not designed to get a driver’s pulse racing. The news here seems pretty positive because the owner says that the Corvette runs and drives. Getting it back on the road might not take a lot of work, but the interior will need some attention first, as you will see.

When we open the Corvette’s doors, we are confronted with an area of the car that has the potential to consume a few dollars. A lot of the 1975 trim has gone, including the original dash. The one in situ now looks like it is from a later C3 Corvette and would be no earlier than a 1978 model. The same is true of the seats, and the biggest problem with those is that while the bases are in place, the seatback foam and covers are missing. It is possible to buy new components, with a completes set of covers and foam selling for around $840. The buyer might consider scouring the secondhand market for a replacement set. That would also present a golden opportunity to locate a few other missing pieces, including parts for the console and a wheel center. My thinking here is to minimize refurbishment costs where possible because there is every chance that this will not be a car with a “mega-buck” value when the work is completed. Once it is done, life inside the ‘Vette should be quite pleasant. That’s because it comes equipped with air conditioning, power windows, and a tilt wheel.

The mid-1970s Corvettes have long been a much-maligned vehicle, and there is no arguing that by 1975, they weren’t the fire-breathing monster that they had been a few short years earlier. This is reflected in current values because it is possible to be spoiled for choice if you search for a good ’75 Corvette with $15,000 in your pocket. The occasional nice example will pop onto the market for under $10,000, making them an affordable classic. This car will offend some purists’ sensibilities, but for others, it will represent an opportunity to create a Corvette that will stand out amongst its brethren. If you fall into that latter category, maybe you should pursue this one further.

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Comments

  1. Jerry lewis

    Always loved the fact that most any vette could be easily modified due to the fiber glass bodies. That being said, this one looks quite nice. Obviously much more horse power with the 327. However, Fiero taillights don’t do much for it. A better choice might have been firebird taillights instead. Just a thought.

    Like 4
  2. Tommy T-Tops

    Rear tail lights kind of remind me of a mid 90s Nissan 300ZX.

    Like 26
  3. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Looks good for the coin, we all know what things get priced at around here.

    Like 5
  4. Skorzeny

    Well, this doesn’t look too bad, but it needs paint. And those aren’t Fiero taillights. Oh, of course it’s an automatic, but at least it’s not fitted with white walls… I would build the motor and get a Tremec in there. Then start upgrading brakes and suspension. Would be a fun project.

    Like 2
  5. electronika

    agree the taillights are off a z32 300ZX IMO they are the best part of the car

    Like 2
  6. Daniel Wright

    I would just fix the minor issues and drive the wheels of it. Automatics are not deal killer for me. My right leg won’t let me work a clutch

    Like 1
  7. Frank Sumatra

    This is why a few folks in Ohio got together in 1974 and formed the National Corvette Restorers Society. Bless them.

    Like 7
  8. Troy s

    From the front or side it looks really sharp, those big wheels keep the vibe alive until…
    The view of the backside.
    Despite the very wide flares that window and those taillights give it a different appearance entirely. I can’t get around it. It almost looks like a Nissan Z or third gen F body perhaps? I just don’t know!
    327 will absolutely smoke any stock low compression smogger 350 six days a week and twice on Sunday. Nice ‘Vette.

    Like 1
  9. Freddy

    I don’t understand the point of so many ‘customized’ cars. Why take the time, money and effort to make something less attractive than what you started with?

  10. jerry z

    That Vette screams 70’s! I could picture myself running the Gumball Ralley across the US in that car! What’s behind me is not important!

    Like 4
  11. JoeNYWF64

    Would be better if it was an openable hatchback or at least trunk lid.
    Rear window from a ’71 mustang fastback?

  12. Ian C

    Looks like a good buy for the money to me. I’d roll it!

    Like 1
    • Steve Clinton

      I was all ready to diss this Vette, but actually, it looks pretty cool. And $8,900 seems like a good price.

      Like 2
  13. Steve Clinton

    I was all ready to diss this Vette, but actually, it looks pretty cool. And $8,900 seems like a good price.

    • Steve Clinton

      OOPS! Damned Barnfinds!

      Like 2
  14. Allen L

    Since there was “Corvette Summer,” this car should be considered Corvette Winter with that colour scheme.

    Like 4
  15. AMCFAN

    In the 1980’s this Vette would have still have been in demand. I know I was a kid in the 1980’s who bought one. Most customs like this were done with wrecked Corvettes. Vettes with nose damage from light to severe were all over the place as I recall.

    Ecklers dominated the aftermarket Corvette scene back in the day. It was cheaper to use aftermarket custom parts than GM pieces. It wouldn’t make sense to modify a stock clean example. They still had great resale value.

    I think the build is pretty cool. The rear glass is a neat addition but imagine it would be very hot in the summer. Perhaps with louvers it wouldn’t be as bad. The other would be the 300Z tail lights. I would prefer a the original with an upsweep rear spoiler with the round tail lights. I vote good deal. 327 is a plus over the dead L48

  16. David Vannier

    I have always been a Corvette purist. Why change a great car. Even though the performance was gone by the time this car was built I still don’t understand the need to customize the car if starts out as a nice original car. I watched Corvette Summer again this past weekend and still think that car is an ugly mistake.

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