The Callaway Shooting Brake C7 Corvette is all the rage these days.
But go back some 44 years, and you’d find this trend setting 1973 Corvette hatchback conversion done by our friends at Eckler’s in Titusville, Fla.
As everyone knows, storage space was an issue on the early C3 Corvettes, and this car addressed that in a very stylish way. In fact, back in the day, it was a hit with the automotive press. Hot Rod said the hatchback ’73 “becomes newly livable for a long weekend,” Autoweek noted it was a “needed conversion,” and Road & Track wrote about “an amazing proliferation of small cars with backs that open for loading. Well, now Corvette owners can join in the fun. Thanks, Eckler’s.”
Others took note, too. Eckler’s Hatchback Corvette Coupe captured first place for full custom in the first competition entered (NCCC Convention in Orlando, Florida) in July 1973.
Now someone has the chance to buy this unique piece of Corvette history at a no-reserve auction on eBay, with the minimum price being just $7,500. Already eight bidders have raised the offer to $7,100, with action coming to a conclusion at 9:27 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 4.
With the seller claiming to have $60,000 invested in a complete, rotisserie frame-off restoration with “every nut, bolt, bushing replaced” three years ago, someone is likely going to get a great deal on this car.
Indeed, some $18,000 was spent on the 383 engine alone that is said to turn solid consecutive 9.5s in the quarter, with the owner calling it a “no joke grab you by the seat of your pants car” that’s “not for the inexperienced driver” since it’s a “full on drag car and must be driven as such.”
This car actually was a decade ahead of its time, being the first hatchback Corvette well in front of the eventual ’82 Collector’s Edition that was the first stock model to feature an opening rear hatch.
Back in the day, Eckler’s used this Corvette for promotional purposes like car shows and its parts catalogs. The current owner calls it a showcase and a test bed for new designs for Ralph Eckler’s company back in the day.
The design features an electrically operated double-latched hatchback door (GM latches), operated from the driver’s side under dash compartment, along with test proven automotive positive weather seal around hatchback door, increased usable cargo space with improved accessibility, standard automotive tempered, tinted, safety glass with stainless steel moldings for corrosion resistance, and specially designed interior side panels and one-piece underbody panel.
We’re not sure how many of these kits were ever sold by Eckler’s – maybe someone from the company can let us know. One thing is certain, some 44 years later, this remains one stunning Corvette that’s tastefully done with an exterior finish consisting of nine color coats of Emberlite Black lacquer, one coat of clear lacquer containing “Pearle” particles and 10 coats of clear lacquer hand rubbed for a final finish.