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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Big-block Sting Ray wagon is America's Breadvan

Many of us here at Hagerty have soft spots for wagons. A couple of us even have them as daily drivers, and plenty of us are Corvette fans. Combine the two and we're going to pay attention, as was the case of this 1968 that just wrapped up on Bring a Trailer.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/buying-and-selling/big-block-sting-ray-wagon-is-americas-breadvan/
73 REPLIES 73
hyperv6
Racer

It really just another custom that felt like a good idea at the time.
Hagerty Fan
Not applicable

Yes. This...and more.

 

audiobycarmine
Technician

HOTWHEELS!!
The toy...

At $22,500, it sounds like a bargain.
If driving it will cost so much, fence it off and charge people to see it.
Gary_Bechtold
Specialist

I'd take it though I would have to make it a pump gas tune. Bet it is a wild machine.
Hagerty Fan
Not applicable

I'm recalling C3's with half the horsepower perpetually rolling into my father's shop with broken driveline bits. There's probably a reason why the owner installed the worst tires ever for any sort of grip on a modern highway: The BF Goodrich No Terrain T/A.

Eric2
Intermediate Driver

If you'd do that you might as well sell the big block and drop a 350 ci in it.
Brandan
Hagerty Employee

The only pump gas that would work in that engine is E85. You can't really tune around a compression ratio like that.
Snailish
Engineer

To my eyes the proportions are off, it's too stubby in this custom wagon form.

I'd need to see renderings playing with some dimensions to know if I like this idea at all beyond the cartoon why not fun of doing it.
Hagerty Fan
Not applicable

It's a bit off, but I'm not even noticing that, it's...the rest of the build that chafes my hide (see below).

Hagerty Fan
Not applicable

"...or perhaps this one just wasn’t the right kind of modified."

The rest of the article can be deleted now, as this pretty much summarizes the entire car build. I've run across dozens of similar cars (with most being such hideously-mismatched build disasters that I wish I could add 'literally' to "run across", as in "run across the top with a bulldozer") over the last three decades, and it makes me wonder why government hasn't ironically stepped in and set up a "Ministry of Initial Good Taste", where you aren't allowed to build cars unless your idea for a custom car first passes some sort of ridiculousness test before you are issued a license which allows you to build...one car at a time, that way, nobody is allowed to sneak in a turd of a car under the radar, every build idea requires some sort of Good Concept Housekeeping Seal of Approval, stamped by the "This Just Might Be Crazy Enough To Work!" committee if approved.

This shooting brake Corvette idea is brilliant...but the brilliant stops right there at the altered roofline, with the build concept deciding to go BASE jumping off a cliff without a parachute, bungee cord, flying squirrel suit, or even a pair of non-functional Wile E. Coyote flappy bat wings. And on top of that, this build has also elected to carry not one, but two giant ACME anvils on its way over the edge of the cliff.

 

First of all, the 572 crate engine screams "I received waaaaay too much bogus back injury claim settlement money!", in that 720hp, an antiquated C3 chassis platform, and Spin-Assist B.F. Goodrich Radial No Terrain white-letter specials do not a viable project car make, and I think that bidders also see 'maintenance/repair hog', in that if something, anything isn't broken with this car...with that misplaced beast under the hood...it soon will be.

 

I really hate to say this, but at that price, it's actually a bargain, never mind you're going to have to throw away at least a 1/3rd of the car: The wheels and tires alone need to disappear like D.B. Cooper from an airplane, we get it, someone reeeeally likes the 1970's, and the 572 is an astounding paperweight, in that it doesn't do anything particularly well, other than it's exceptionally great at emptying the savings account of anyone that buys one.

In the end, this car is a misguided homage to what was perceived to be great and good about the 1970's, except I was sort of around for the 1970's (and definitely around for the aftermath of the 1970's, otherwise known as...the 1980's), and these sorts of 1970's builds...and resulting 1970's-themed builds...were always terrible, in that they always tended towards the ridiculous (Chrome-plated everything, anyone? That's the only thing this car is missing, $70,000 in chrome plated doodads), and drove even worse.

 

Me personally? Given that the 572 was a recent addition to this Shooting Broken Corvette, this means that any number of updated engine choices were available...including what I think would have been the perfect choice for this car: A 1996 Corvette Grand Sport LT4 engine and 6-speed trans.

Yes, the LT1/LT4 is something of a disaster with its Variable-Reliability, NotVeryOptispark ignition setup, but by darn, that can be easily replaced nowadays...and otherwise, they weren't too freaking bad at all. In some circles, the older LT1 is more desirable than an LS engine, as quite a few people tend to have oiling issues with the LS engines, due to the crappy rear sump/front pump layout, and no seals between the pump and the block.

But just think, the LT4...if you can find one...it's perfect for its oddity, in that it only came out for one year, it was installed in an iconic car (Grand Sport), and it's also around the perfect max power level for a streetable C3 platform build (340hp). I am so impressed with this drivetrain, that 've even thought about swapping one of these engines into a freaking Ford of all vehicles.

 

Imagine this sort of an oddity, a C3 you might actually want to drive somewhere other than back into the garage, combined with modern-ish functioning, classy, and lightweight rolling stock (a nice 17" wheel combo, perhaps with a Continental DWS-06 high performance all-season tire wrapped around it, you know, something that might actually have some semblance of grip if a stray water droplet hits the highway you're driving on), that way, one can focus on refining the rest of the C3 platform, and who knows, you might even want to keep the car afterward.

merlebalke
Advanced Driver

As custom cars go, this is the epitome of good taste. Frequent all the custom car groups that I do on Facebook and you'll see one monstrosity after another that people actually think are awesome (the most overused word ever).

I see quite a few of these things for sale online, usually in pretty sketchy shape. Too bad they put that engine in this, so many better choices.
Tinkerah
Engineer

Awful lot of typing to say you don't like it. I'm only lukewarm to it myself but still applaud anyone who's willing to try something different, and this one in particular appears to be a carefully executed build. Where would hot rodding be if only ideas that pass muster with your Ministry of Good Taste were permitted to proceed?
Belvedere
New Driver

"Big-block Sting Ray wagon is America’s Breadvan"...Like mold, it would probably grow on you.
VancMike
Intermediate Driver

The email said "Love it or hate it?"

Hate it.
Duramaxriley
Intermediate Driver

There people that LUV wagons and want all types. Remember the tail end of the second generation F-body ? There was a company making wagons out of those. Those the side glasses lifted like a Real Bread van or Depot/Vendor wagon
Brandan
Hagerty Employee

I remember seeing the red Trans Am Hurst Hauler in a magazine or two, but I've never seen one in person.

Marcro
New Driver

LOVE IT, screams 1970s and takes me back to all the custom corvette magazines back in the day when this was the norm, pull that 572 and sell it then throw in a nice GM 350 crate motor maybe with modern efi and start going to cruise nights. Cars like this were all the craze when I was growing up and then.....the pro street craze began....
Smokefoot55
Intermediate Driver

I think it's awful. BTW, a '63 to '67 Corvette was a Sting Ray. A '69-'76 Corvette was a Stingray. Neither moniker was displayed on a '68 Corvette.
Brandan
Hagerty Employee

Neither was displayed on the 1968, but in advertising it was still a Sting Ray.
Paladin
Pit Crew

I'd drive it- guaranteed you won't see another like it!
Cobra5oh
Intermediate Driver

Never liked Corvettes. This one doesn’t help any. Yuck.
FloridaMarty
Instructor

I don't think that qualifies as a wagon. I was shopping wagons the other day. The Kia Soul was in the list. I wouldn't consider it a wagon either. I guess with all the different styles these days, the separation is becoming blurred.
MustangJim
Technician

I've never been a fan of over the top customs. When I was a kid I didn't even like the monkeemobile. The other kids didn't understand when I would be upset and say that they ruined a perfectly good goat. Anyway, I don't like this corvette at all. Ferrari make a nice shooting break.
Camarojoe
Detailer

I bought a 71 Corvette "wagon" a few years ago, shag carpet, side windows and a rear hatch. It started life as a roadster. Frame was just about gone but had the original powertrain etc. Ended up selling it to a guy in Nashville who wanted it for the parts. When he saw the car ended up keeping it as a wagon. The fun part was ending up delivering it for him. Never had so many people nearly wreck their cars taking pictures of it on my trailer.
ebbazy
New Driver

Ruined what was likely a good Corvette.
Terry
Pit Crew

Reminds me a bit of the Ferrari GTC4 Lusso...and by that I mean hideous.
Casey
Intermediate Driver

How interesting, Brandan!
Love it or hate it?
Yes!
SJ
Technician

I'm still laughing, but at that price not so much.
Chickenman
Pit Crew

Hate it. Hate the hood more than the S/W conversion but hate both. Too much engine. I drive my cars and this one is not suitable for a pleasant drive.
Snailish
Engineer

I think the hood is part of why the side profile doesn't work for me. Too thick where this car needs sloping length?

Uncle_Doug
Intermediate Driver

You asked, so here it goes......In what possible way does the van-like addition improve the overall styling, function, or performance of the car? Sometimes going to extremes to be "different" is not a wise move. Love the engine.....but get out the chainsaw and put it back to what it was meant to be.
buellerdan
Instructor

I love Corvettes, but this......
btukwh
Intermediate Driver

Truly awful.

Not really sure which circle of hell the perpetrator will end up in. Heresy? Gluttony?
Autocar
Intermediate Driver

Too much money in someone's hands. Excruciating ugly.
DouglasR
New Driver

Deep in the forest, lights out, no moon is the only place I’d show it. The answer to a question never asked.
LamboEd
Detailer

I remember seeing a few of these back in the day, interesting. They let you go someplace in your Vette and haul some stuff! But you wouldn't be doing that in this car with the 572 crate engine and gas at $5 a gallon! But you could put in a couple chairs and a cooler for the car show!
RJB
Pit Crew

Oh My...
I am not feeling well.
FigueroB
Intermediate Driver

Having 700+hp is actually a good thing when you have such a massive blind spot to the rear.
Hagerty Fan
Not applicable

That's if it ever hooks up. And with those tires...it won't hook up.

MarkEastover
New Driver

I don't understand the "breadvan" purpose if the rear does not open. BTW, there are many more pictures on BAT.
Bokeoyaji
Intermediate Driver

Why not show some pictures from behind? Isn't this story more about what's at the back?
Clutch_Cargo
New Driver

Weird looking... but somehow kind of wonderful
FoF
New Driver

A 427 or 454 would have fulled the bill perfectly and still $1,000,000+ cheaper than a bread van Ferrari....cool Cars and Coffee item
Rich8
Intermediate Driver

Sorry but can you say...UGLY!
Eric2
Intermediate Driver

Yep, no long distances with this baby! Maybe a dozen runs in the 1/4 mile and park it until the next time!
Rushmore
Intermediate Driver

I was thinking it was just a little too ugly but would be nice so the dog can come along for a ride in the vette. But if I could have snagged that for $22k I'd be all over that. Funny how a big block with 720 hp makes you look past some of the ugly.
JBBearcat
Advanced Driver

In the side profile, it (well at least the back) looks a bit like a Cobra Daytona coupe.

How about that kit on one of the C3 four doors?
Might give it some luggage space.

ThePorscheMan
Detailer

Musta taken a very large bottle of Scotch for you to see a Daytona in this.
RickL
Advanced Driver

Not my cup of tea, especially a 68-72, but to each their own!!! But then it begs the question, why? Because they can...I guess.