The C8 Chevrolet Corvette was not a car General Motors needed to build, but it did anyway. That makes it cool, and worthy of respect. It's also a fact I have to regularly remind myself of any time I catch sight of the car, when all I can seem to concentrate on is how terrible it looks. Fortunately, a coachbuilder in Ontario, Canada has been working to remedy that for a little while now, with a few tasteful tweaks baked into an all-new carbon-fiber body. Unfortunately, the work costs $135,000, and that's not factoring in the price of the sports car itself.
Caravaggio Corvettes' Unica Series 1 doesn't completely upend the C8's infamous Cheshire grin or Grand Theft Auto Ferrari silhouette. The triangular headlights, still overlarge and weirdly high as ever, remain in place. Sadly nothing can be done about them, nor the taillights. Rather, the adjustments here are subtle, mostly consisting of softening surfaces and removing needless go-faster trim. The C8's maw has been scaled back, with the outer intakes taking on a more sculpted shape and now bridged between a thinner central aperture. Underside winglets carry upward to divide these sections, creating a more refined look that strikes more purposeful than the original car's.
The massive side intake, previously accentuated with a needless black boomerang, has also been reshaped and molded. The sharp creases are gone, and the space now appears to be molded by airflow. Out back, the wing is now integrated into the bodywork, taking on a duckbill-style shape in profile. Also, the vents below the taillights are wider to more closely match the extra-wide clusters themselves. Those two graphics didn't meet in a particularly congruous way before—nothing really does on the C8 as standard—so the change definitely helps, even if you might not be able to put your finger on it without comparing the designs side by side.
And that's what sticks out most to me about the Caravaggio Unica Series 1. It's still recognizable as a C8, but the creators changed just enough, and precisely so, that the end result fixes a lot of the original machine's design faux-pas. Of course, with the $135,000, you're getting an all-new carbon-fiber body which promises to shed some 40 pounds from the 'Vette's curb weight, with new interior materials as well. Performance-minded upgrades covering the brakes, powertrain, cooling and wheels are available, too. The rims are a must; the base Stingray wheels are simply tragic, befitting both of a much cheaper and older car without the C8's sporting pretense.
I'm not telling any C8 owners to run out and take Caravaggio up on its offer, of course. Frankly, I'm not sure you even could if you wanted to, as it's only doing up a total of 30 cars, each in a customer's bespoke style preference. The latest Corvette is an amazing feat of relatively accessible engineering, and the mere fact that a giant-killing, American mid-engine sports car continues to exist is something we shouldn't quickly forget, while automakers are desperately searching for ways to consolidate and cut costs from performance vehicles left and right. I simply wish it looked better, and at least for some 'Vette owners, now it can.