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Corvette Summer Stingray: My ultimate screen used prop

Discussion in 'Production Made Costumes and Props' started by the Pawn, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. the Pawn

    the Pawn Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I first saw Corvette Summer when I was 10 years old on HBO in 1979. That Stingray would leave a lasting impression on me over the next 30 years. The movie was a modest success for Mark Hamill who had just starred in a little known movie called Star Wars.

    There were two prop cars made for the movie by Korky Kustoms out of California. Korky retained owenership of both cars after production wrapped and put them on the touring circuit for the remainder of the 1970's. I remember seeing an ad advertising the Stingrays for sale in the back of a Hot Rod magazine in the early 1980's.

    One of the Stingrays was sold to an Australian collector, but that car was totaled in a transport accident in Australia where it ended up at the bottom of a river. The car was eventually salvaged and somewhat restored to resemble the movie car, but the only original parts remaining on the car were the doors.

    The second car was sold to a Corvette museum in the early 1980s. The museum went out of business and the car was sold along with the vette from Death Race 2000 to Mike Yager at MidAmerica in Illinois in the early 1990's.

    I was in the process of making a replica of the car, when Mike put the original car up for sale in early 2009. After Mike and I came to terms on the Stingray, I left it on display in his collection until this past fall when I finally brought it home.

    Here are a few pics of my Corvette Summer Stingray: My ultimate on screen used prop! Enjoy!
     
  2. Rylo

    Rylo Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks for sharing. I loved that car when I saw the film. Over the top 70's goodness!

    -Rylo
     
  3. Phantom22

    Phantom22 New Member

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    Wow, interesting on how the incorporated the head lights on that thing. Interesting story on the other car as I didnt know that. What size engine is in that thing, 350?
     
  4. SVTStingRay

    SVTStingRay Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    wow what a great car from a classic movie.
     
  5. Stormy320

    Stormy320 Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Too cool. Everything about it screams 70s.


    Good for you.

    How does it un and drive?
     
  6. Jet Beetle

    Jet Beetle Sr Member Gone but not forgotten.

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    OMG~!~ Dude, I wanted this car more than anything when I was a kid - actually this car and the Mach 5 were the only two vehicles (not counting Wonderbug and The Car" that actually made me peek into hot rod magazines when I was a kid. I've never understood why there has never been a model kit , hot wheel or ertle die cast produced for this baby.
    Funny, I also saw the ad in Hot Rod advertising the car for sale. Congrats on the purchase - so good to know she's in safe hands.

    You do realize Danny Bonaduce has driven you car?!?! lol
     
  7. CJS

    CJS Well-Known Member

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    That's totally awesome!
     
  8. Mechinyun

    Mechinyun Sr Member

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    Wow man awesome! I too have fond and early memories of this car.. very very cool!!!
     
  9. trooper

    trooper Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    you have no idea what this car meant to me as a kid i spend hundreds of hours drawing this car over many years. out of all the movie cars this is my favorite. thank you for sharing this....man it brings back memories
     
  10. Nobby

    Nobby Sr Member

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    I've never seen the movie, but I can sure appreciate the beauty of the car!
    Vey nice :D
     
  11. Jedifyfe

    Jedifyfe Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    When driving it, can you even see over the hood scoop?
     
  12. the Pawn

    the Pawn Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The Stingray is converted to right-hand drive for the movie. The engine is a 350. It has a nice sound to it. MidAmerica has a soundbite of the engine sound on its website. Pretty cool.

    It is difficult to see over the hood scoop. I do not drive the Stingray on the street as its now one of a kind. If Philip can get Mark Hamill to one of the comic-cons, I will put it on display.
     
  13. Monster Dave

    Monster Dave Sr Member

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    Awesome! Looks mean too!!

    Nothing better than an authentic prop that goes VROOOOOOM!!!
     
  14. autoprops713

    autoprops713 Well-Known Member

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    Ultimate prop indeed! :thumbsup
     
  15. Indys brother

    Indys brother Active Member

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    You should upload a short vid to youtube, walking around it and firing that bad boy up. ;)
     
  16. MrGzilla

    MrGzilla Well-Known Member

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    love the movie, but i think ive got to be the one to say i never liked the look of the car :/ it might have something to do with the fact that it always bugged the crap out of me how on all the dvd backs (maybe even in the movie? i cant remember) would somehow say how he took it and restored it to original condition or something like that, where its obviously no where near original xD

    that's a pretty cool prop to have in your collection though!
     
  17. p51

    p51 Sr Member

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    You’ve never driven it once, even just up and down your street, just to see what it feels like? I get not making a daily-driver out of it, but man if I owned that I’d have to fire it up and at the very least, go up and down my driveway slowly with it.
    I too saw the movie at about the same age you were. I was NOT into cars all that much as a kid but something about the story really gripped me, a kid setting off on his own to get the car back with no backup from anyone else. What boy wouldn’t think that was cool?
    It’s so neat that not only does this car still exist today in apparently great condition, but also that it’s in the hands of a collector and not a big museum. I’m so happy for you!
     
  18. SVTStingRay

    SVTStingRay Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    drive it and enjoy it, dont let it be a trailer queen
     
  19. pandatrooper

    pandatrooper Well-Known Member

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    You are my hero. Loved that car as a kid!! What a piece of film history!!
     
  20. micdavis

    micdavis Master Member

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    QFT :cry
     
  21. Galactifan

    Galactifan Sr Member

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    Congrats on getting that super vette!
     
  22. Monster Dave

    Monster Dave Sr Member

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    :confused

    Add this to your weekend "to do" list!!
     
  23. SciFiMuseum

    SciFiMuseum Well-Known Member

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    Not a bad looking car for something Mark's character supposedly made in auto shop!!! Thanks for sharing, that is an awesome screen-used 'prop' to own.
     
  24. Apollo

    Apollo Legendary Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Congrats!

    You need to take Mark in a cruise in it>

    It does need to be driven
     
  25. CJS

    CJS Well-Known Member

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    As a car guy if you do take it out make sure the brake calipers are all good. That gen Vette had seizing caliper issues even when stored properly. Get them 10000000% checked before you drive that awesome 70's pile of badassery.
     
  26. the Pawn

    the Pawn Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Here are some pictures of the other Corvette Summer Stingray that was totaled in a transport accident and it ended up at the bottom of a river in Australia.

    I will post pictures of the restored Corvette next.
     
  27. the Pawn

    the Pawn Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Here are the pictures of the restored Corvette Summer car. The only original parts are the doors. The interior is gray instead of saddle tan. The engine is a 454 instead of a 350. The color is more of a magenta or maroon instead of candy apple red with metal flakes.
     
  28. micdavis

    micdavis Master Member

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    Why do you say just the doors survived?

    Clearly the hood and scoop and rear panel are still there.
     
  29. puckydog

    puckydog Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Thanks for the post on this. I as well saw the for sale ad in Hot rod back in the 80's. Then I saw the car in person at the Corvette Museum in Cooperstown, PA. I wonder how many of us have all shared the siting of the car in Hot Rod and wished at that time we could have purchased it. Thanks, Jeff
     
  30. the Pawn

    the Pawn Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    The new owner of the restored Vette put a 454 into his build, so the entire front end had to be remolded. The hood scoop is removable on his Vette.

    As you can see from the photos in my previous post, most of the car was totaled in the accident when it went into the river.

    An article in Street and Strip (an Australian Hot Rod Mag) had an indepth article on this build and stated that the only parts used off the original car were the doors.
     
  31. Jedifyfe

    Jedifyfe Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Why did they change it to a rightside driver?
     
  32. the Pawn

    the Pawn Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    So Mark's character could talk to the ladies while driving down Van nuys Blvd. (This part was cut from the final movie.)
     
  33. kamandi

    kamandi Active Member

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    I was 10 or 11 when that film was in theaters. I loved that car! THAT is a great movie piece! Congratulations.

    Maybe you can tell me if this is true: I had read that there were four cars. Two were originally built but stolen during filming. Two replacements were slapped together to replace them but then the originals were recovered and returned in time to continue filming. I also wondered which car was repainted gold as seen in the film.

    They showed Corvette Summer on the 'Speed' network a few years back. The narrator in the promo comercial said "...and now Mark Hamill reminds us sometimes great movie roles come along only ONCE in a lifetime..." Ouch.
     
  34. JMChladek

    JMChladek Sr Member

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    Now that was a great car. I am SO glad it is in the hands of somebody who can appreciate it. If Mark Hamill could be coaxed into being seen with it, that would be most cool as felt that movie probably showed more of his acting range than SW ever did. I wonder whatever happened to Vanessa's custom van. :D

    I don't know if it would be smart to drive this on the roads. As I recall from an article I read once, the right hand drive was a chain and sprocket setup in front of the dash. The creators sawed off the steering shaft, welded a gear on it and chained it to another gear on a short shaft on the other side. While it worked good for a film production, I would NOT want to be driving this if the chain decides to let go (it is a 30 year old car afterall).

    As for the lack of a model kit of this beast, it had a lot of angles on it that were not exactly easy for injection tooling to replicate. Plus, this car was essentially a one off (or two off in this case). The movie was made at the end of the 1970s, and custom car model kits were starting to decline a little (the custom vans were more king) and companies were repopping older customs instead of doing new ones (such as MPC repopping the Monkeemobile as a Fonzie car from Happy Days). Sure AMT did Farrah Fawcett's custom vette, but that wasn't as radical a change from a standard Vette as this beastie was. I recall about 17 years ago there was a modeler in Finland who did the Corvette Summer Corvette in 1/25 and took it with him when he visited the AMT/Ertl factory. He got it pictured in an issue of AMT's Blueprinter magazine and it looked pretty good.

    I remember in the film the car got repainted from red to gold and then back. I presume one of the cars was painted gold to make it easier to film rather than repainting the first one. Do we know which of the two machines this particular one was?
     
  35. micdavis

    micdavis Master Member

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    One of the cars was on display at a theater here in San Diego when the movie was out, you could sit in the car and take your picture. But I can't find mine.
     
  36. Objetivotuning

    Objetivotuning Member

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    Amazing ride !!
    Love the Stingrays ! i've only seen one in a car show :D
    Thanks for sharing !
     
  37. darth_myeek

    darth_myeek Sr Member

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    That's awesome! That car get's cooler with age.

    Check under the seat for a lightsaber!

    Mike
     
  38. Thumper

    Thumper New Member

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    You just took me back 20 + years, got me excited that its in the hands of someone who loves it, and depressed me with the pics of the destroyed Vette. I think I've had enough emotion for one day!

    Congratulations!
     
  39. the Pawn

    the Pawn Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    There were only TWO (2) Vettes made for the film. One was shown being built during the production of the film. One of the Vettes was stolen off the Studio Lot prior to release, but was found unharmed within a day.

    Its hard to say which Vette was the "Hero" Stingray and which one was built during production. I always thought my Stingray was the "gold" vette in the movie, but I now have a behind the scenes production picture that shows the cut-out hole for lighting the license plate on the rear clip, is identical to my Vette. The shape is unique and the Australian vette does not have the hole in the pictures that I have.

    I know that after production of the film, both Vettes were altered somewhat, possibly by Korky. My Vette's interior was died black at one time, and Mid-America restored it back to saddle tan.

    If you look at the pictures of the Australian Vette, the hood scoop had been cut out and altered at one time. Not much is known about the ownership of that Vette between the time Korky owned it and the Australian collector bought it.
     
  40. Psab keel

    Psab keel Sr Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    That's a cool looking car. I saw the movie years ago and thought it was a fun summer movie. Not spectacular by any means, but entertaining.
     
  41. JMChladek

    JMChladek Sr Member

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    Well, for what it is worth, you've certainly got the prettier of the two Vettes IMHO considering how altered the Aussie car is (it doesn't even say "Stingray" on the back anymore).

    As 1970s over the top as the nose section is with the custom fiberglass, the rear end alterations I always liked the best with the chevy bowtie shape and Stingray script built into the rear lights. That touch just seemed more timeless to me.

    As for the movie itself, I still enjoy it. It has a quest, it has coming of age, while the premise seems far fetched it at least looks somewhat believeable and the action didn't seem over the top either. Plus I think it kind of tapped in a bit into that American Graffiti vibe as well (so it influenced Mark Hamill's career a little in that respect). Whenever the film comes on, I still typically like to watch it regardless of what else might be on.
     
  42. maulprop

    maulprop New Member

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    Truly awesome, and great story!
     
  43. micdavis

    micdavis Master Member

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    Do you know specifically who designed the car?

    What alterations have been done to yours, if any?

    What is the base year the car is made from?
     
  44. Lear60man

    Lear60man Master Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Wow what a blast from our past. I remember thinking that this was the coolest car on the planet when I was 9 years old. Thankfully there wasnt the internet or widely available pictures to ruin that memory.

    I think I posted this before, but IIRC there was a Corvette Summer Stingray replica on an episode of Burn Notice. Unpainted primer sitting in a parking garage. This was 3 or 4 years ago.

    Anyway, Big thanks for keeping an eye on this * ride.
     
  45. Cpl Potter

    Cpl Potter Sr Member

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    if im not mistaken , wasn't this a tv movie , and didnt it show over two summers ? , i absolutely loved this movies , and im sure it was in two parts . i could'nt wait for the second episode ... cool car
     
  46. Madeye

    Madeye Active Member RPF PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Gods I remember that car and movie. Kudos on the ownership.
     
  47. JMChladek

    JMChladek Sr Member

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    It was a big screen film in 1978. I remember it airing as a network movie of the week in 1980 (on CBS I believe). Considering its runtime was 105 minutes, it "may" have been turned into a two parter film of 90 minutes long each with the commercials back then, unless it was run in a time slot originally slated for an hour long television show that got cancelled (it was the summer time period afterall).

    The thing is, I kind of have a memory of perhaps seeing it in two parts myself. Other airings I've seen have been the normal two hour type format though.
     
  48. micdavis

    micdavis Master Member

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    I've had this on DVD since it came out, doesn't everyone?

    It's a must buy.

    And aside from the car, Annie Potts is terrific in this movie.
     
  49. CJS

    CJS Well-Known Member

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  50. harpo568

    harpo568 New Member

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    I remember when this car came up for sale in the early 90's...my wife at the time and I came very very close to buying it but in the end she wanted a new (expensive) hotrod instead...I have regretted not buying it ever since.
     

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