It’s no secret that some sick, perverted part of me loves terrible ideas, especially terrible automotive ideas. I’m pretty sure the Convette qualifies. Think of the Convette as the Chevette for the person who loves weather, but hates speed, practicality, and, deep down, themselves.
At first I thought the Convette was a little pickup truck conversion for the Chevrolet Corvette, but then I realized I was wrong. Very wrong. See, the Convette is a convertible conversion kit for the Chevette – that’s why it’s a Convette! You know, one letter and one universe away from a Corvette.
It’s not the fact that it’s a kit (or a full car– the company made and sold completed Convettes) to make a Chevette convertible which is the issue. That in itself is a noble, worthwhile goal. It’s the way the Convette Corporation went about it, which seems to be a half-step up from you and a buddy getting liquored up on Cutty Sark and taking a Sawzall to the car.
The Convette people did basically that, and then added just enough rollcage tubing to keep the thing from folding in on itself like a person breaking down in tears.
I really like how this thing is pitched in these ads. “The Economical Solution,” they shout. Solution to what, exactly? Removing all resale value from your American, RWD shitbox while simultaneously making the car leak like a shower?
The little equation is fascinating as well. So, $500 for a tired, worn Chevette plus a Convette kit at a mere three times the cost of the Chevette itself equals about $2000 worth of roofless, body-flexing, leaky Chevette with some top and ‘side curtains’ that I’ve never been able to find a picture of. That’s the Economical Solution. $1500 to make the car you need just to get your ass to and from some shitty job far less practical and comfortable? SOLD!
I also like how these things were named BEST NEW PRODUCT of the prestigious 1991 Cincinnati International Kit Car Show. This was best new product? What was runner up, a kit that would make your Mazda GLC give you a rectal infection?
Conceptually, I’m all for hacking the roof off a Chevette and having some fun with it. That’s great, and basically free. I’m also for an insanely detailed and careful re-engineering a Chevette to be a proper convertible, with a top and windows that, um, exist, and an insane amount of attention and effort spent. That’s a noble venture.
In fact, there was a convertible of the Vauxhall-badged version of the Chevette that actually seemed really charming:
That I can happily support. But this sort of half-ass conversion for $1500? This I don’t get. Did anyone buy one of these?
(Pictures courtesy of AllCarIndex, and wherever the hell they found old Convette press materials)