Celebrating B Movies, Cult Films, and Indie Classics.

Corvette Summer (1978)

by  |  May 18th, 2011  |  Comedy

Specialty cars have traditionally been the province of Men.  Rather they be Sports Cars, Muscle Cars, etc… Men are more stereotypically associated with restoring classic cars, making up the pit crews for racing teams, even stuff as being the simple neighborhood Mechanic.

Now that's not to say that woman don't have these types of cars, or can't do these types of Automobile related professions, as a matter of fact they both do drive these types of cars, and have these types of professions…

But in this case I am talking about the more traditional, with the importance that us guys put on our vehicles, and the lengths that some of us guys will go to, to keep them maintained, and protected…

A great movie that really showcases this type of love between a man and his car is Corvette Summer (1978):

Written and Directed by: Matthew Robbins (7 Khoon Maaf) and also written by: Hal Barwood (Warning Sign). Starring Mark Hamill (The Star Wars series), Annie Potts (The Ghost Busters series), Eugene Roche (7th Heaven) and Kim Milford (Laserblast)

Corvette Summer tells the story of Kenny Dantley (Hamill) and the extremes that he will go to, to save a restored Corvette Stingray…

You see Kenny is a Car nut, his life's passion is cars, and everything about them.  Since he was young, in some capacity Kenny has been working on cars, rather it be under the hood, or under a car itself…

Now Kenny is in his last few months of High School, and of course with his obsession being Cars, he spends most of his time in the Auto Shop. His best friend is his Auto Shop teacher, Mr. McGrath (Roche), and the crowd that he seems to mostly hang out with is his friends from the Auto shop class (although most of his time is spent in the Auto shop rather or not his friends are there.)

With that said, one of the last projects that Kenny is gonna be working on while he is still in High School is restoring some sort of vintage car…

So Mr. McGrath takes his students out to the local scrap yard to find something that would be worthy of restoration.  The class looks through many wrecked Vehicles (and there are plenty of truly incredibly vintage, classic cars to choose from.)

While the class is searching for the right car for them to restore Kenny gets tired of the search and sits down on an old decaying back seat to rest, of course the moment that he does so, he finds the ultimate wreck of a car that, after being restored would be an epically classic (now vintage) 1973 Corvette Stingray.

The Stingray as Kenny (Hamill) is trying to rescue it!

Well this immediately catches ole Kenny's eye, but of course he notices that the Vehicle itself is being carried away via a crane to be crushed together with other vehicles for scrap… Kenny panics, and runs towards the crane shouting for the crane operator to stop the crane before the car is destroyed! Kenny finally makes it to the station of the guy responsible for crushing the cars and throws him out of the way and then stops the press from destroying the car!

Well of course with this heroic rescue, the car is the one that the class chooses, and they take it off to be restored to it's former glory! After this is done, the class heads to LA for the test drive (The school itself is a school in Newhall California.)

The Class taking a joy ride in the newly restored Corvette Stingray.

When they get in to LA (and more directly Hollywood) the class breaks up in to teams so that one person can navigate and communicate with the rest of the class (who are anxiously awaiting their opportunities at the wheel) and then of course the driver.

With that said, of course the first team to take the car out for it's inaugural test drive after being restored to pristine status is Kenny and his friend Kootz (Played by: Danny Bonaduce).  During the ride they do all the classic things that teens will do (go fast, try to impress girls, etc…)

Now after all of the teams are done with their turns in the car, an impatient Kootz, whom after begging and pleading with everyone to get a chance at the wheel, gets his chance! After promising to keep the car safe and protected, Kootz peels out of there and heads off fo

r some fun.

When he gets by Tommy's Burgers though he pulls over, and is asked by Mr. McGrath to buy some sodas for the class.  So Tommy parks the vehicle, and takes the keys with him and heads in to grab the drinks…

A long while later the class, who are all now pissed off with Kootz are searching for the kid… After awhile they find him walking down the street carrying a box full of sodas…

Well the Police end up getting called in. The class tells the Police what happened (During this time, Kenny finally freaks out at Kootz about the car).

Kenny sitting next to his Soda ready to flip out about the car.

The next day though is when plans start getting formed… You see a Police Detective comes in to explain the scene to the class and the fact that the car will probably never be retrieved and that it was probably out of state by now and in pieces (well he ended up getting it half right anyway.)

Of course Kenny doesn't like this, and decides to do the only thing that he can do, he puts up signs with pictures of the car.  With that said, a man who sells booze and what not to kids drives in to the Gas Station that Kenny works at, and just after the man gets out of the restroom, he notices Kenny's signs.

The man proceeds to tell him that he had seen this very car in a Hotel lobby in Las Vegas…

This is where a plan begins to develop in Kenny.  Kenny decides to hitchhike to Las Vegas. On his way toward Vegas he meets up with a group that look like they are gang bangers (But they don't break the law, as a matter of fact they only end up going about 15 miles an hour all the way to Vegas!)

Well Kenny can't have the fact that these sweet cars are going so slowly, and has the driver of the car that he is in let him out!

This is where Vanessa (Potts) comes in…

You see Vanessa is a girl who is living in the back of a van that has been tricked out so that she can live in it… She is a girl who has decided to head out to Vegas with the intention of pursuing her interests in becoming a Call Girl.

Kenny (Hamill) and Vanessa (Potts) as they head to Las Vegas.

Anyway Vanessa happens to be driving down the same highway that Kenny is walking on when she notices him at the side of the road she decides to pull over and pick him up…

Now with a ride in hand, it is up to Kenny (with Vanessa's help) to get to Vegas and find the stolen Stingray before something terrible happens to it, and so that he can return his masterpiece to the highschool!

What I truly believe makes this movie an awesome B movie is a couple of things:

1. First off I gotta say that it was interesting to see Mark Hamill in a non-Star Wars or Star Wars related role! Don't get me wrong, I love Star Wars as much as the next Scifi geek does, but when you only have that, or movies that show case him in similar roles (The only other role that I have seen Mark Hamill in besides Star Wars and Corvette Summer is as Cocknocker (Basically a major parody of Darth Vader from Star Wars) in Jay and Silent Bob Strike's Back (2001). So seeing him in this movie was very interesting, because it showcased the versatility of Mr. Hamill's acting talent, and I personally will no longer see him only as Luke Skywalker from Star Wars…

2. With that said, another one that I have to admit that I had kind of type cast, was Annie Potts… You see, up til Corvette Summer, the only movies that I have ever seen Annie Potts in, are as the some what geeky assistant Janine Melnitz in the Ghost Busters series of movies from the 80s!  And I gotta say that seeing this girl who I had pegged as the nerdy assistant, who got her start on the big screen as a girl going to Vegas to becoming a hooker, was not only fascinating, but a little shocking just in the differences in the characters that she has played!

3. The next thing that I thought that I would mention are the fascinating appearances by some of TV's elite actors of the 1970, 80s (And in the case of Stanley Kamel 2000s!) I mean you got Danny Bonaduce (The Partridge Family), Jane A. Johnston (Double Agent), and Stanley Kamel (Monk).

As a side note, I was doing some research on the movie, and it actually turns out that Corvette Summer had originally been titled 'Stingray' until it was discovered that another movie with the same title had been released first.

Well folks, if your looking for a hilariously fun time, then I highly recommend checking out Corvette Summer.  It truly is a high octane good time!



Nathan Strack


Nathan Strack is a Writer/Director/Filmmaker & Owner/Founder of: Hell In Space, Strack Web Design Service & Strack Store.

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