The seventh generation of the Corvette is one of the most capable—and we think best looking—of its long and illustrious linage. But when you’re considering heading out to SEMA, you can’t just roll up in a stock C7 and think that you are going to get a gaggle of attendees halting in their tracks to take a look at a bone stock vehicle and, in turn, your booth. This is, in fact, the big leagues, and the guys over at Theory Communications & Design are more than aware that they needed to deliver a show stopper for one of the largest aftermarket shows in existence.
Enter this: the wide-bodied C7 they designed for Mobil 1 in partnership with Chevrolet Performance. It’s low-slung exterior and beautiful flowing lines drew us to it like a moth to the flame. And while there was no lack of exorbitant ride from renowned builders such as the Ringbrothers and Skunkworks within a stones throw, we were immediately drawn to this C7 for the simple fact that its exterior has been aggressively revamped in a manner that left us trying to put our finger on exactly what had been changed and how—we like it when a car plays hard to get.
For the answers to our burning questions, we turned to Andy Williamson—the CEO of Theory Communications & Design and the overseer of this gorgeous C7 build. Naturally, our first question to Andy was what really inspired Theory to build such a beast.
“Mobil 1 wanted us to work in conjunction with Chevrolet Performance to build something special,” Andy said. “So we opted for a base Z51, and the idea was to build it as if Chevrolet made an actual GT or club racecar.”
From there, a plan began to percolate. They wanted the car to have an aggressive stance, much like a GT racer would. They started by raiding the GM parts bin for a set of Z06 suspension and brake components. They also used many other “flow down parts” from the Z, including the improved cooling system, aero bits, and sway bars. They then brought the car even closer to terra firma with a set of lowering bolts.
After they had the car sitting just right, they turned to StanceCraft for a hand with the custom body work. Utilizing the stock molds of the C7, they widened the body by a total of 4 inches up front and 7 inches in the rear with 14 individual pieces that you can now buy directly from StanceCraft. Needless to say, this gives the car a very aggressive look. An APR Performance diffuser and Stage 3 Z06 spoiler sets off the rear of the car while a Z06 grille classes up the front end.
“What we had in mind was what a Z06 and C7.R would look like if they had a baby,” Andy joked. “So we ended up with something that was much more aggressive than the standard Z06 but was still a street version—basically like a club racecar.”
Andy continued, “Lots of guys have wide-bodied these cars, but they tend to lose the lines of the source material when they do that. We wanted this to look muscular and retain every line the original design had—not just look bloated. With that in mind, we scrutinized everything—even the crease from the fender to the door, everything. All of those lines continue through from the original body work to the new wide body.”
The Corvette’s aggressive posture is accented by a set of flat gold, three piece, 19-inch Fifteen52 wheels wrapped in Michelin Sport Cup 2 tires. The rears measure in at a massive 345 mm, utilizing every inch of space offered by the stretched bodywork.
And while the exterior of the car is about as menacing as they come, Theory wasn’t about to give this car a lot of visual bark without providing some visceral bite. They turned to East Coast Supercharging (ECS) for one of their centrifugal supercharger setups to add nearly 200 horsepower to the ‘Vette’s already potent 460 horsepower LT1. A Late Model Engines billet intake manifold adorns the engine and provides a focal point for the already outrageous build.
Kooks headers feeding a Kooks exhaust evacuate spent exhaust gases while an Alky Control water/methanol injection system keeps everything cool on the intake side of things. All of the engines’ mods add up to roughly 700 horsepower at the rear wheels.
“We were worried at first, because we really wanted to track the car, that we were giving it too much power,” Andy said. “But then we said, ’can you really have too much power?’ and that was the end of it.”
The subtle body improvements continue under the hood as the radiator fan shroud and several other panels have been handmade and festooned with speed holes—giving the car a bespoke look and feel.
One of the things we enjoyed most about the car was that none of it look rushed or half thought out. The wide-body was aggressive yet seamless, creating a severe juxtaposition when compared to the bolted-on fender flare look that seems to be so popular with most wide-body builds these days. As we mentioned before, the car is both outrageous and subtle all at the same time; an attribute the world could use a little bit more of these days.
The car is far from done, though, according to Andy. The LT1 is set to receive a set of Chevrolet Performance’s newly released CNC-ported cylinder heads as well as the accompanying Hot Cam to boost the car’s performance even further. The car will also receive a developmental catch can setup from ECS.
Retro Designs Speed and Custom out of Concord, North Carolina handled all of the assembly and engine work.