Designed by a former Hot Wheels employee, this strange 1973 Chevy Corvette wagon could be yours for just $20,000. Of all the “one of a kind” cars on the market, this may very well be the cheapest one available. But there are a few quirks and kinks, one of which is that the car hasn’t been roadworthy since the 90s. It’d be an intense project car, and wildly expensive, but perhaps you’d want to bring this piece of Chevrolet history back to museum quality.
What makes this 1973 Chevy Corvette wagon so special?
Let’s start by stating the obvious: it’s a shooting brake. That means it’s a station wagon with just two doors, an elongated hatchback if you will. And that rear end is entirely custom glass and metalwork, built from the ground up. And one can’t help but notice the aggressive six headlamps that’d surely blind oncoming traffic. But hey, it’s unique.
That’s what Harry Bradley, the designer, and fabricator of this piece, was going after. A custom Chevy Corvette that didn’t sacrifice the ability to turn the front wheels for style. Most modified Corvettes of the era had tires that were too large and suspension that was too low, which caused a plethora of drivability issues.
Harry Bradley himself is just as interesting as the car he designed. Born in 1939, Harry contracted polio at an early age, paralyzing him from the waist down. But that didn’t prohibit him from drawing and designing, graduating from the College of Wooster, and attending Pratt Institute before getting hired by GM.
Harry’s tenure with GM didn’t last long, but in that time he played a part in designing the Dodge Detora, a strange cab over engine truck concept. Afterward, he moved on to Matell and designed some of the very first Hotwheels branded cars. After leaving Matell, thinking Hotwheels wouldn’t be successful, he taught at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena California for 35 years.
According to GVWire, The car wasn’t designed for Harry, he was hired by Mike Betterton, who gave the instructions to build a drivable custom Corvette. The whole project cost $25,000 and took three years to perfect, but there’s a reason it’s going for just $20,000.
What happened to this Corvette wagon?
In 1997, this Chevy Corvette wagon got into an accident, mangling the front end. It could’ve been the back end, which would’ve totaled the car. But since then it hasn’t been drivable, sitting for nearly 25 years. The Craigslist ad notes that the front headlight assembly was salvaged, and the only custom job to the Corvette is the body.
Underneath, there’s still the same #350 block engine and four-speed manual transmission, which will need to be swapped for new ones. And returning the front end to its former glory may not even be worth it. But after the restoration, the car could very well be a museum piece and sell for six figures.
Or you could keep it, drive around feeling unique. Well, almost unique. I hate to burst your bubble, but this isn’t the only classic Corvette that’s been turned into a wagon.
This isn’t the only custom Corvette wagon out there
We put “one of a kind” in quotations for a reason. Because while this particular Corvette wagon is the only one with six headlamps, there are other Corvette wagons out this. The trend started with Chuck Miller, who had been commissioned to build a C3 Corvette wagon by a rock and roll drummer. They already owned the C3, but struggled to get the drums in.
Chuck Miller’s design, however, didn’t have a usable hatch. That meant stuffing the drums through the side doors, a difficult, but possible task. However, in 1976 (three years after Harry’s Corvette wagon), John Greenwood hatched a similar idea. Only this time, he’d use a later generation, make sure the hatch was usable, and refine the aesthetics. Chuck Miller’s roofline looked a bit wonky, whereas Greenwood made a point to slope the roof following the original Corvette roofline.
There are also plenty of modern-day interpretations of a Chevy Corvette shooting brake, but none hold a candle to the absurdity of the Corvette wagon designed by Harry Bradley. And more than that, neither of them is for sale. You can be the one to rescue this odd commodity for just $20,000, as well as the restoration expenses (I’d assume that’s another $10k).
So if you have an excess of cash and a bit of DIY knowledge, this could be the perfect project. Or it could be a total money pit. You decide.