Sundown Stripes & Fixed Lights: 1978 Corvette is Custom Retro Delight
Despite a more subdued appearance than most, this 1978 Corvette is an unmistakable late ’70s custom build.
One of our guilty pleasures here at CorvetteForum is late C3 Corvettes that were modified in-period. The late 1970s and early 1980s were a wild time for custom cars, and custom Corvettes especially.
A surprising number of these cars have survived, and while they are very dated looking by now, we find them charming and attractive in their own way.
This 1978 Corvette that we saw on BringATrailer is unmistakably a product of its time, but compared to most custom ‘Vettes of that era, it’s pretty mild. From what we can tell, body modifications have been limited to Greenwood-style fixed headlights.
You might look at us sideways for calling that paint job “subtle,” but hear us out. The chocolate brown color combined with the red/orange/yellow gradient “sundown” stripes looks more like something you’d expect to see on a C/K pickup of that era.
Still, we think it works remarkably well on the svelte, swoopy bubble-window late C3 Corvette shape. We actually admire the original builder’s restraint. As a result, this car has aged much better than most modified Corvettes of the time.
That said, we wouldn’t mind a tunnel ram poking through the hood on a twin-carb manifold, with a sweet set of side pipes tucked up in the rocker panel.
Under the hood, this Corvette’s small block was upgraded with a Holley carburetor, an Offenhauser aluminum intake manifold, and an aftermarket HEI distributor. Shy of a few chrome bits here and there, it looks pretty much stock.
The wheels, suspension, and interior are also untouched, albeit in very good shape. Whether this build was originally meant to be this way, or if it was to be a wilder custom that remained unfinished, we love it just the way it is.