C7 Corvette Body Kit History – Have You Seen Any?

C7 Corvette Body Kits History (Part 6 in the Series): The C7 Era

The Corvette is one of America’s most iconic sports cars. The 7th generation Corvette, also known as the C7 has many options for Corvette owners to personalize their cars with a wide variety of body kits. In this blog post, we will take a look at some of the different types of body kits available for the C7 Corvette. Some of the Corvette C7 ground effects can include products like C7 Side Skirts and Rocker Panels, Front Splitter, and Bumpers. As you will see there is a wide variety of Corvette Parts for the C7 Corvette.

The seventh generation Corvette was produced from 2014 to 2019. In 2015, Chevrolet introduced the Corvette C7 Stingray Z06. This model featured a supercharged 6.2L V8 engine with 650 horsepower. The C7 saw both the ZO6 and Grand Sport models. The big news for 2017 was, of course, the reintroduction of the Grand Sport. 

Since the 2014 Corvette C7 was released in 2013, many different body kits have become available to allow owners to give their cars a wide variety of new looks. Owners of the 2014-2019 Corvettes can choose from full body kits, wide body kits, rear body kits, hoods, carbon fiber pieces, custom grills, trunk spoilers, and even fender flares. The C7 Corvette Body Kits History will explain the various options available.

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The C7 Corvette Body Kit History is a reprint of an article that ran in the October 2018 issue of Vette Vues Magazine by Corvette historian, Wayne Ellwood. You can find links to the other parts of the Body Kit Series at the end of this blog post.

The 2011 roadster variant on the 2009 transformer car gave a much clearer look at the next generation….but still successfully failed to divulge the real "look."
The 2011 roadster variant on the 2009 transformer car gave a much clearer look at the next generation….but still successfully failed to divulge the real “look.”

The newest Corvette was barely on the market before ten companies lined up to offer significant visual advances on the stock model. Hennessey, Lingenfelter, and Callaway have all placed their bets in the horsepower game.

These days, even more models are emerging to attract sophisticated aftermarket customers. TS Designs has their widebody variant introduced at SEMA.

Callaway has their shooting brake. Jeff Nowicki is offering his Concept 7 version. Customizing cars and developing full-build spin-off models is a major component of the worldwide automotive industry.

THE START POINT –  ADD-ON COMPONENTS

There is a growing trend for eye-popping wraps….amusing cartoon images, advertising logos, matte finishes, etc. These are all an evolution of earlier applications for vinyl film.

The use of film for window tinting has been around since the C3 era and has been an expanding market ever since. This latest application allows the owner to reflect more fully on their personal life view through their car. However, it is still just early stages, no telling where this trend will go.

Vinyl Wraps

Vinyl wraps are offered by a very wide range of manufacturers and design companies; this is a Vettesthetics product at SEMA
Vinyl wraps are offered by a very wide range of manufacturers and design companies; this is a Vettesthetics product at SEMA
Solid colors are used for basic color changes…cheaper than paint and offer less complexity/cost
Solid colors are used for basic color changes…cheaper than paint and offer less complexity/cost

Another product that is gaining popularity is the vertical-opening (or Lambo) door system. There are maybe four primary manufacturing companies. And there are many more installation companies. These are often confused, as the installation companies tend to imply certain product excellence for whatever kit they are promoting.

Most manufacturers are smaller agile companies that can produce a wide range of models for different cars using computer-based systems. The installers are normally custom or mechanical shops. Their role is often critical to a customer’s satisfaction.

VERTICAL DOORS

There are only a few manufacturers but many installers
There are only a few manufacturers but many installers
These C7 Corvettes were captured at the Corvette Expo, 2001
These C7 Corvettes were captured at the Corvette Expo, in 2001
Installation is the key to a satisfactory experience
Installation is the key to a satisfactory experience

Some custom touches are perennial. They are not linked to any one era. But this is most obvious in examining the C5, C6, and C7 era cars.

While the engines themselves may change from year to year and with a model, the dress-up theme is quick to adapt. This particular theme is included here, but not in previous blogs, simply to make sure every taste gets some exposure.

ENGINE DRESS-UPS

Engine dress-ups are varied, but they always draw attention
Engine dress-ups are varied, but they always draw attention
Engine dress-ups are varied, but they always draw attention
Engine dress-ups are varied, but they always draw attention
Engine dress-ups are varied, but they always draw attention
Engine dress-ups are varied, but they always draw attention

Another item common to all Corvette customizations since the C3 era is rear window replacement systems. From the late C3 Corvettes through to C7, there have been companies that manufacture replacement systems that offer a new style option. Obviously, however, rear hatch replacements are often the product of short-run production companies, as the market is relatively small.

REAR HATCH REPLACEMENT SYSTEMS

An effective C7 hatch replacement invokes a star wars theme
An effective C7 hatch replacement invokes a star wars theme
Rear hatch styles will vary from a high-end design theme like this version from Ivan Tampi
Rear hatch styles will vary from a high-end design theme like this version from Ivan Tampi
This C4 replacement uses a retro look with a C3-style sugar scoop style
This C4 replacement uses a retro look with a C3-style sugar scoop style
This unidentified C5 treatment is a rare item
This unidentified C5 treatment is a rare item
This C6 piece is also a rare item. Demand was lower in this era.
This C6 piece is also a rare item. Demand was lower in this era.

An oddball item that will not get much traction with “customizers” but does prove attractive to both real and street racers is the roll bar and/or harness bars. These are not often seen at car shows, but RPM Motorsport presented its new roll bar design at this year’s SEMA. Because the Corvette offers some rather tight confines, so the design is critical to installation and preserving storage space.

ROLL BARS AND SAFETY ITEMS

RPM Motorsport roll bar is a relatively easy install…as these things go
RPM Motorsport roll bar is a relatively easy install…as these things go

But now we come to the question of how to characterize the more complex types of pf custom cars.

The traditional “custom” car is built by (or for) an individual customer, generally for occasional show and light-duty street use. Commonly, this would involve one or more add-ons and possibly paint or engine work. Moving upscale,

Such customs can get quite elegant, involving a more aggressive application of purchased panels (flares), suspension systems, and/or pre-packaged items (stereo systems, seats, engines, etc.). These are followed by the fully modified vehicles that are either designed to move a stock Corvette up the ladder in terms of “quality and/or performance” (Lingenfelter, Callaway) or a full custom designed to be sold as a turnkey car or to live the life of an exclusive show car.  

In looking at the C7 Corvette Body Kits, starting with the first category of customs, the use of basic add-ons, one combination with a long history is the application is the use of wider wheels and tires.

Obviously, there are far too many variants to isolate just one or two trend-makers. But adding fender flares and an air lift system to the equation makes for a definite classification as an entry-level custom.

Everyone will recognize that applying fender flares and air lift has become a mandatory combination at all levels of customization.

“AERO” Edition by International Aero Products

Designed by ABBES Design, this C7 featured a full suite of aero add-ons. International Aero Product is the thrust behind the project, but actual construction was by MRT Engineered Performance. The car is called the “AERO” Edition. The wheels on the car were designed in consultation with Jo Coddington (wife of the late Boyd Coddington) and were scheduled for an upholstery upgrade at their office in Bellflower(CA).

SC7 Wide Body Conversion by Stance Craft

The SC7 wide body conversion by Stance Craft features a full set of fenders, skirts, splitters, and bumper extensions. The most notable feature of the body kit is that it is designed so that the distance/gap between the tire and the bottom edge of the fender is the same as a stock C7 Stingray. It was designed this way so the customer could keep a stock ride height and not worry about scraping, or they could put a lowering kit.

Aero Add-ons, Flares, and Air Lift

Aero devices by MRT Motorsport
Aero devices by MRT Motorsport
Aero devices by MRT Motorsport
Aero devices by MRT Motorsport
StanceCraft suspension systems allow a car to be drooped to the ground
StanceCraft suspension systems allow a car to be drooped to the ground
StanceCraft suspension systems allow a car to be drooped to the ground
StanceCraft suspension systems allow a car to be drooped to the ground
Flares by Fat Factory
Flares by Fat Factory
Flares by Karbonwerx 
Flares by Karbonwerx 

Of course, there are C7 Corvette Body Kits, and then there are kits. Companies that produce carbon fiber and offer higher-end packages (which require more sophisticated installations and a full paint) are priced upscale. Other kits are designed to be “applied” to the existing body and can be painted separately…or applied in a clear-coated carbon fiber finish.

Many companies are offering quite sophisticated kits. Several companies tend to focus on the race image as these transmit a more “performance” image. Full customs, while always intriguing, are favored by people interested in pure design. For example, companies active during the C7 era included Competition Carbon, Ivan Tampi, and many others.  

Competition Carbon

Another new entrant to the field of custom panels for the Stingray C7 is Khoa Nguyen, a designer, and manufacturer linked to Signature Wheels and with manufacturing facilities in Taiwan (China).

The front-end body kit comprises one piece for the front and fenders and (optional) a hood with a large opening for any enhanced engine add-ons. In addition, there are minor panels for the rear bumper and a rear splitter.

All-in-all, it is difficult to offer much detail as the whole thing is fairly new, and the owner’s response seems limited to one Corvette Forum member who indicates he is very good. Service from Khoa in respect of the signature wheels he has ordered.

Competition Carbon, also out of Los Angeles, is a full-body kit with both street and race applications.
Competition Carbon, also out of Los Angeles, is a full-body kit with both street and race applications.
The business links with Signature wheels serve to emphasize the need for a complex business structure to survive in this field
The business links with Signature wheels serve to emphasize the need for a complex business structure to survive in this field
The race theme is not accidental; it is, in fact, a large part of the aesthetic.
The race theme is not accidental; it is, in fact, a large part of the aesthetic.
As a personal thought, this design has captured the mood of the times.
As a personal thought, this design has captured the mood of the times.

Ivan Tampi

Ivan Tamp began working on his C7 Corvette Stingray designs in 2014. His dream was a curvaceous C7 conversion called the XIK Widebody kit. (Initials are a play on the expression “it’s sick.”)

The massive, bulging fenders make an impressive visual statement, as do several upgrades to the exterior, with extensive use of carbon fiber. So much so that it is nearly unrecognizable as a Corvette, with the look of a European exotic.

The first body conversion had fifteen main components: front and rear splitters, vents, overlays, and bezels. The interior includes cover pieces for the dash, console, door panels, suede-style Alacantara, and leather upholstery. The rolling stock is much meatier than the factory, with Kompression Wheels’ Murci Twisted, measuring 20×10 up front and 21×14 in the rear, wrapped with Pirelli rubber (285/25/20 fronts, 355/25/21 rears).

Over the following years, Ivan evolved his ideas and developed more panels, producing different effects.

IvanTampi's "Copper Penny" is a 22-piece widebody kit.
IvanTampi’s “Copper Penny” is a 22-piece widebody kit.
IvanTampi's "Copper Penny" has captured public attention with its bold paint job.
IvanTampi’s “Copper Penny” has captured public attention with its bold paint job.
Ivan Tampi's ZR-1 style kit at 2018 SEMA.
Ivan Tampi’s ZR-1 style kit at 2018 SEMA.
Ivan Tampi's 2019 XIK model is in blue.
Ivan Tampi’s 2019 XIK model is in blue.

R1 MOTORPORTS

Located in Chatsworth (CA), R1 Motorsports specializes in custom exhaust systems for exotics but is also a full-service race shop. At SEMA, they brought this C7 with body panels by Karbonwerx.

R1 Motorsport out of California also incorporated a number of aero devices into their race-inspired design
R1 Motorsport out of California also incorporated a number of aero devices into their race-inspired design
The R1 Motorsport application of the Karbonwerx panels is aesthetically pleasing but hides their overall technical preparation
The R1 Motorsport application of the Karbonwerx panels is aesthetically pleasing but hides their overall technical preparation
R1 Motorsport w Karbonwerks flares
R1 Motorsport w Karbonwerks flares

TS DESIGNS

TS designs are responsible for developing the design and coordinating the work of several teams to develop this widebody C7 for Forgiato. Finished in what Forgiato describes as an “Aston Martin blue paint job,” the C7 parade car was a bit hit.

It is fitted with a wide body kit that adds several inches on both ends of the ride. This is to make space for the deep-dish Forgiato Maglia-ECL cut-spoke wheels (21-inches at the front and 22-inches at the back). These are in a two-tone shade that matches the rest of the build.

Other touches include the reworked rear diffuser and the new front grille that works together with a carbon fiber lip spoiler.

This version of the TS Design's C7 body is slightly updated to its original widebody to match the C7 body lines better.
This version of the TS Design’s C7 body is slightly updated to its original widebody to match the C7 body lines better.
TS Designs found themselves with a major success with the update.
TS Designs found themselves with a major success with the update.

GEIGER GMBh

Geiger Cars, a Munich-based US car specialist, has been developing custom body kits for the Corvette for many years. For the C7, Geiger clearly indicates that their custom body kit is not only for show. Their claims for improved performance include the improved aero effects from the body kit and improvements to the engine.

For the body kit, the carbon fiber lip reduces lift over the front axle, while the small flaps on either edge help to reduce turbulence around the front wheel arches. The kit even includes an undertray below the front bumper, contributing to the flat-bottom effect.

In fact, every visual update installed on the car has a way of channeling, creating downforce, from the side skirts to the underbody diffuser and the prominent rear spoiler. They also managed to squeeze some serious amount of grunt from the stock package.

Geiger boosted the V8 6.2-liter all the way to 730 Hp and 944 Nm (696 lb-ft) of torque, creating one raw Stingray in the process. To further assist in the performance category, the lowered Corvette’s suspension was tweaked for better handling and grip.

And, just for fun, you can have a 94 Decibel sport exhaust system with valve control to make the experience even more… lively…. for an additional €4,900 ($5,485).

Geiger GmbH has been creating fine automobiles based on production cars for many years.
Geiger GmbH has been creating fine automobiles based on production cars for many years.
The base Corvette update for the C7 is certainly one of their best in terms of appeal in North America.
The base Corvette update for the C7 is certainly one of their best in terms of appeal in North America.
Geiger GmbH produced a variant on the Carbon 65-anniversary model.
Geiger GmbH produced a variant on the Carbon 65-anniversary model.

LINGENFELTER C7 WIDEBODY

Lingenfelter Performance Engineering now offers a C7 Corvette with wide-body styling and a supercharger performance package that provides enhanced appearance and increases the LT1 engine’s performance to 624 horsepower. The new widebody package reflects the company’s extensive Corvette expertise. “It’s a special edition for Corvette owners that desire a unique look with more power than the factory C7 while remaining well under the Z06 price point.”   

Distinctive exterior restyling features include a carbon fiber extractor hood, splitter, and rockers combined with a widebody kit that flares the rear quarter panels two inches on each side to accommodate larger 20-inch Forgeline Wheels mounted on 335/25ZR20 Continental Extreme Contact EW tires. The Lingenfelter wide body package performance enhancements ramp up C7’s LT1 output to 624 horsepower with 600 lbs.-ft. of torque at 4,000 rpm, courtesy of an Edelbrock E-Force TVS2300 supercharger, Kooks headers, and a CORSA Performance cat-back exhaust system.

Lingenfelter again styled and contracted for widebody panels for the C7.
Lingenfelter again styled and contracted for widebody panels for the C7.
The powertrain is always at the heart of the equation.
The powertrain is always at the heart of the equation.
Corvette owners are always looking for a more unique look.
Corvette owners are always looking for a more unique look.

CALLAWAY SPORTWAGON

The Callaway C7 Sportwagon came about during a session with Reeves Callaway, designer Paul Deutschman, Pete (Callaway, son of Reeves), and Mike Zoner, managing director of Callaway Cars).

“Paul came up with the idea of entering into the shooting brake realm by extending the back of the car,” according to Reeves. That was back in 2013.

This item would be carbon fiber since Callaway makes carbon-fiber pieces for all kinds of applications, from cars to spacecraft. So, when they finally had a window, they started building their own shooting brake.

The design has many advantages over the back half of the stock C7 Z06. It’s an aerodynamic improvement, a slight weight-neutral (within a pound of the stock ZO6), and a volume improvement. And it is plug-and-play: It bolts right on the same hardware, the same latch point, the same gasket, everything.

Callaway shooting brake was an easy step for a company that specializes in bespoke automobiles.
Callaway shooting brake was an easy step for a company that specializes in bespoke automobiles.
The manufacture of the actual hatch section played to Callaway's experience with complex carbon fiber pieces.
The manufacture of the actual hatch section played to Callaway’s experience with complex carbon fiber pieces.
The hatch strategy adds to the overall utility.
The hatch strategy adds to the overall utility.

EQUUS AUTOMOBILES

Equus Automotive Inc. was an American automaker from Rochester Hills (MI). The company was registered in the US state of Georgia on August 6, 2009. One office was established in Auburn Hills (MI).

The company appears to have closed its doors six to seven years later. The first car (the Equus Bass 770) was introduced in 2013, looking very much like a beefed-up Mustang.

The second car, which looked like a C7 Corvette, followed shortly after that. A significant effort was made to gain some recognition in Europe….probably based on a more upscale pricing strategy. The founder and owner of the brand were Bassam Abdallah.

The cars were made of aluminum and carbon fiber reinforced plastic panels. The C7-style vehicle sat on an unspecified aluminum chassis.

The supercharged 6.2-liter V8 engine was a modified Corvette engine from General Motors, developing 640 hp / 649 hp (477 kW) at 6500 rpm and showing a maximum torque of 605 lb.-ft. (820 Nm) at 3800 rpm. The car was rear-wheel drive, had a six-speed dual-clutch transmission, and displayed an empty weight of 1650 kg. Acceleration from 0-100 km / h was listed as 3.4 seconds, and it was claimed to reach a top speed of 320 km / h.

As we conclude the C7 Corvette Body Kits, we want to include here a few more design elements.

Equus Automobiles briefly operated out of Rochester Hills/Auburn (MI).
Equus Automobiles briefly operated out of Rochester Hills/Auburn (MI).
Equus Automobiles offered a relatively upscale technological package.
Equus Automobiles offered a relatively upscale technological package.
Equus Automobiles attempted to add both European flair and overall performance.
Equus Automobiles attempted to add both European flair and overall performance.

Photo credits: KGP Photography, Geiger GmbH, Callaway, Lingenfelter, W Ellwood, and unidentified others from social media.

If you’re thinking about doing body work on your 7th-generation Corvette we have a Special Corvette Custom and Restoration Shops Directory by States that might be helpful to you. And to help you find those parts you need check out our Corvette Advertisers! If you are looking for a used C7 Corvette you can find the latest listings of personal people selling their cars in our Corvettes for Sale Classified ads.

C7 Corvette Body Kits History There are many different kits to choose from. Owners of the 2015-2019 Corvettes could add a full body kit, wide body, rear body, hoods, carbon fiber, front bumpers, custom grills, trunk spoilers, and fender if they chose to do so on their vehicle.

Here are the other Corvette Body Kit Articles:

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