Stretch Corvette Wins Best GM at Concours d’Lemons

By: Eric Rood Photo Credits: Eric Rood
July 31, 2019

With the release of the new mid-engined C8 Corvette, the world has gone nuts. However, it turns out there’s been a C8 Corvette in existence for 15 years, as we saw at the Concours d’Lemons Detroit. That’s a matter of arithmetic, really: two C4 Corvettes grafted together makes one C8. The winner of the Best General Motors product at the car-show version of the 24 Hours of Lemons. There’s a strong argument that the stretch Corvette must certainly be the best thing anyone could do with a 1984 Corvette. Two 1984 Corvettes.

The car’s builder, Gene Swatek, dislikes his creation being called a Corvette Limo. That’s worth mentioning first. Instead, Swatek christened his build the “Family Vette” for a simple reason. Gene liked going to car shows and liked Corvettes, but he couldn’t take all of his kids to a car show in a two-seat ‘Vette. To do that, he’d need another couple of seats. That, essentially, meant another Corvette.

As it so happens, a coworker’s ‘84 Corvette got rear-ended and Swatek bought the car off is coworker. He soon scored another identical red ‘84 Targa, which he drove around for a while until he was ready to combine them into a Super-Ultra-Corvette. He sawed the front half off the rear-ended Corvette, then cut the back three-quarters off the one he’d been driving.

Assembly is the Reverse?

In his cinder-block garage, Gene spent a whole bunch of time (more than we would, certainly) painstakingly aligning the frames. Once they were aligned, he spent even more time reinforcing everything, since there was suddenly an extra 10 feet of body between the wheels. Even with the underpinnings assembled, the body had substantial gaps—more than usual for GM, anyway—where the fiberglass body panels would have run into each other. Additionally, the removed windshield on the “rear car” left an abnormally large Targa opening.

Yes, this is a double-Targa C8, very rare. Say what you want about chassis twisting, the whole thing has hung together for 15 years with the occasional trip(s) at highway speeds. The rear Targa top may or may not come out. Gene said they hadn’t had it out in years, although this begs the question: How does one make a custom seven-foot removable Corvette top? One scores a plastic sign from a remodeling Wendy’s restaurant, of course. Gene skim-coated it with bondo, then painted it to match the car. Voila and bon appetit!

Fiberglass fill work mated the two bodies pretty seamlessly and the awkward Wendy’s Targa Roof probably makes it look a bit more folded in the middle than it really is. Aside from an absurd turning radius and the oft-reviled L83 Crossfire-Injection V8 under the hood, the Corvette rides nicely, Gene says.

It rides nicely enough, in fact, that Swatek built a second white Family Vette. Naturally, he made a website for his Family Vettes with photos of both cars and their build processes. He naturally took home the “Best General Motors” category at Concours d’Lemons Detroit. Will anything top this at Concours d’Lemons Monterey on August 17 in Seaside, California? Well, you’ve got the chance to top the stretch Corvette and, barring that, to see if anyone else does.

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