A “shooting brake” is a British term with roots in the horse-and-carriage days that later came to describe two-door station wagons built by upscale brands like Jaguar and Aston Martin.
But American tuning house and General Motors go-fast specialist Callaway has finally introduced its long-awaited conversion kit for turning the current-generation C7 Corvette coupe into the most American interpretation of the shooting brake concept we’ve seen: the Corvette Aerowagen.
While Callaway is best known for strapping superchargers to V8s and creating super-quick Corvettes, Camaros, and even big pickups and SUVs, the Aerowagen – drawings of which first went public in 2014, when Canadian designed Paul Deutschman thought up the concept – is one the few Callaway kits that is purely aesthetic.
At first glance, the Aerowagen conversion looks like a complicated job. But Callaway says the carbon-fibre Aerowagen kit is a “part-for-part” replacement of the Corvette coupe’s rear hatchback that uses all of the original car’s hardware and latches, and “operates in an identical fashion,” and that even comes with tempered safety glass and an electric defroster grid.
Plus Callaway says it’s just as straightforward to swap the original fastback back on to the car if you ever get tired of the new Aero look.
The Aerowagen conversion also keeps the coupe’s removable targa top, creating the closest thing we can think of to a drop-top station wagon.
Conceptually, we’re reminded of the Nissan Pulsar NX of the 1980s, which could be had with interchangeable hatchback sections that transformed the car from a fastback to a shooting brake. Among more recent cars, the Hyundai Veloster seems the closest twin, minus the interchangeability factor. And, of course, the Corvette’s obvious performance advantage.
Functionally, our only concern is what the Aerowagen treatment does for rearward visibility, though we suspect the taller hatch enhances the Corvette’s already useful 427-litre trunk.
Callaway’s Aerowagen FAQ says not to hold out hope for a 2+2 version of the car: the company says the ‘Vette’s structure and rear-mounted transmission make it impossible to fit rear seats for a four-place Aerowagen.
However, Callaway is quite clear its kit is good for stock C7 ‘Vettes, as well as any fitted with its SC627 and SC757 supercharger packages. A 757-hp Corvette wagon sounds just fine to us, thank-you-very-much.
Expect to be able to purchase one shortly after the kit’s official debut April 27.