The Story Behind Kelly Fromm’s Intense Widebody C7 Corvette Stingray
Just by looking at Kelly Fromm’s C7 Corvette Stingray, you might think that it’s a dedicated show car – we’re happy to tell you it most definitely isn’t just a show car and that it is driven every day! If you’re thinking that the name, Kelly Fromm, sounds familiar, you’d be 100% correct, because we featured another one of his badass rides last year – Project Freedom Fighter.
For those of you that are not up to speed, Fromm served in the Army for 15 years before retiring as a Staff Sargent with the 82nd Airborne Division in 2001. Project Freedom Fighter, Fromm’s awesomely detailed 2012 ZL1 Camaro, was built to honor all those that have served, and that will serve in the armed forces. Now, a brand new C7 Corvette Stingray is in Fromm’s stable and it is almost time to give Project Freedom Fighter the exit it deserves – auctioning it off at Barrett-Jackson. We couldn’t imagine that all of the proceeds would go anywhere else besides some of his favorite non-profit organizations, the Active Dogs Academy Service Dog Foundation and Homes For Our Troops.
Fromm’s C7 isn’t just any C7, though. Yes, it’s really wide, but we’ll talk about that later – just wait until you hear how he obtained his Stingray!
Most of you are probably thinking that Fromm’s C7 was purchased and transformed into the beautiful widebody C7 that you are currently feasting your eyes on – well, you’re half right. Fromm bought a black C7 Stingray outright on October 23rd of 2013 – The C7 that he ended up buying on the spot was, in fact, ordered for the owner of the dealership and rejected due to some minor scratches and imperfections in the paint. After Fromm purchased the car, the dealer agreed to tow it to their detail shop of choice and get the scratches buffed out while he was at SEMA.
To his surprise, when he got the car back, it looked even worse than before – while the body shop was buffing out the scratches, they managed to strip quite a bit of clear coat on the passenger side of the car. Aside to that, there were misaligned panels and a lot of shady business. However, after weeks of going back and forth with the dealer, Fromm got word on December 2nd that the dealership would buy back the car – the dealer didn’t take delivery of the problem-plagued C7 until one month later, on January 6th. The four weeks that went by before delivering the car to the dealership were filled with mileage and lots of tire smoke – not a bad going away party for the car, right?
I had gotten five minutes down the road when I got the call from the Corvette museum saying that I won it – I actually thought it was rigged or someone was playing with me. – Kelly Fromm
Fromm submitted the build form for his C7 after getting the call and picked it up at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky about two and a half months later on March 5th. Instead of having his brand new Stingray trucked home, Fromm wanted to drive it all the way back to Waddell, Arizona – we don’t blame him, driving across country in a brand new C7 Corvette sounds like an amazing idea right about now.
The C7 that Fromm had built is an automatic transmission car, and has all of the options from the factory, besides the dual roof option – it’s as loaded as a C7 will get from the dealer. Literally, a week later, Fromm dropped the car off with Topo, of TS Designs, for a complete exterior makeover.
Looking at the exterior of Fromm’s C7, you will notice that it is really wide – like, really wide. And if you’re thinking that his C7 looks very similar to Forgiato’s C7 that was showcased at the 2013 SEMA show, you’re absolutely correct. Topo, A.K.A. The Widebody King, of TS Designs, built the custom widebody for Forgiato’s C7 as well as Fromm’s C7. Topo also had his hands on Fromm’s Project Freedom Fighter, the first widebody ZL1 Camaro, which we talked about earlier in the article.
TS Designs has built various custom wide-bodied vehicles over the years and a lot of their work can be seen in DUB Magazine and RIDES Magazine. Topo and his crew have been contracted by Forgiato to build as many widebody C7s as they get orders for, so if you ever see one at an event or driving around, just know that TS Designs built it. Their first widebody C7 that was at SEMA was loved by so many, it took home the GM Design Award, Gran Turismo People’s Choice Award, and DUB Magazine Builder of The Year Award.
To achieve this wide look, Topo and his crew removed each SMC panel on the car that needed modification and got to work. The front fenders each have two-inches of material grafted on and the front bumper was customized to give the widened front end a uniform look.
The same was done to the rear quarter panels, rear bumper, and part of the side skirts, except the rears had three-inches of material grafted into each side. All of TS Designs’ body work is done by hand and that’s what makes their cars so unique – anybody can have custom panels made or have over-fenders grafted onto the current body panels, but it takes true skill and craftsmanship to do a full custom widebody kit by hand and come out flawless every time.
After eight weeks of customizing Fromm’s C7, Topo and his crew sent the car over to JC Customs, where it was given a beautiful paintjob to bring the whole project together. JC Customs repainted the entire car in the Laguna Blue color that the car came with, as well as added a uniform black stripe down the center of the car.
The stripe starts at the hood vent/extractor and flows all the way to the trunk, and damn, it looks great. Once the painting was complete, JC Customs let the paint cure and then fully wet-sanded and buffed the paint, getting rid of any little imperfections and orange peel.Another cool touch to the paint work is the custom airbrushing by Jason Oberly – he airbrushed the inner hood liner, engine covers, and intake manifold with some really awesome patriotic artwork. Fromm had the engine covers and intake manifold airbrushed to pay homage to his eight-years of service with the 82nd Airborne Division.
When the paint work was all complete, it was finally time for the car to be re-delivered to TS Designs for the final finishing touches. A set of custom Forgiato Artigli-ECL wheels were installed to fill out the wider wheel wells of the car, which go perfect with the whole color scheme of the car. The wheels are 21 x 10 in the front and the rears measure out to 22 x 13, but before installation, the Forgiato wheels were wrapped in Toyo Proxes 4 rubber, 255-width in the front and 315-width in the rear.
On June 6th, 2014, Fromm took delivery of his C7 from TS Designs with the fresh widebody makeover and couldn’t be happier. After having the car back for two weeks or so, Fromm made his way back out to Southern California to take care of some business with sponsors and ended up swinging by our office to say hello – we even got to take it for a little spin around the block, how awesome is that? When Fromm stopped by to see us, the car had an AFE Power intake system, and a freshly-installed Corsa Performance exhaust, which sounded amazing.
Since Fromm came to see us, he’s put a bunch of miles on the car driving it back and forth from California to Arizona, as well as other adventures. Last week, he even made the trip out to Cars and Coffee in Irvine, CA to show off the ‘Vette. “We went to the Lamborghini dealership after Cars and Coffee – they had their own version of Cars and Coffee right after and the car drew more crowd than the Lamborghinis that were there,” Fromm explained.
Wrapping it up
Fromm’s Stingray is one of the nicest we’ve seen – not because it’s wide or has flashy wheels, but because the car has a great story, a story that can be told over and over that never gets old. This is the stuff we live for, and the car is not done by any means. Fromm has a lot more planned – he’s going to throw on a supercharger, American Racing headers, Banks Power methanol kit, a cam from Livernois Motorsports, and a nice big brake kit. Before Cars and Coffee, he had a ZLR door hinge kit installed from Vertical Doors, which actually fits the car pretty well. He is also going to have Jason Oberly do a complete ghost-airbrush paintjob over the whole car. From afar, the car will still look blue, but once the car is seen up close, all of the detail in the airbrushing will pop out – we can’t wait to see how it turns out! Fromm also has plans to tour this car around the country, starting in September – the car will also be at SEMA, so come check it out if you have a chance.
We’re thankful that Kelly Fromm reached out to us to feature his car first, and we damn sure can’t wait to show you what it looks like once it’s all completed – stay tuned!