Paul Zazarine samples a custom Corvette with a German background.
Photographs by the author.
Archive pix courtesy the manufacturer.
Walk through most any Corvette show and you'll notice a pattern. There sit the cars, hoods up and bodies polished, awash with the same bits of easy-to-unbolt detailing—Corvette-logo hood pads, composite-look intake parts, polished-aluminum plenums and rocker covers, chromed accessory drives and PS pumps. The more ambitious owners then add hand-painted engine covers and fluid reservoirs and airboxes—figure it's mostly flames, American flags, and pinstripes for those. Then there's fancy new wheels, catalyst-back exhaust systems, and a whole raft of possible cabin tweaks—contrasting seat piping, a carbon-fiber cigarette lighter (saved you two grams right there, pal), body-color IPs, hand-sewn console pads.
No question about it—C5 owners love to trick out their machines—and that's great by us. This desire keeps the cars looking distinctive, gives owners an outlet for their creativity, and makes aftermarketers want to keep buying those four-color ads, bless their cash-minded souls. Nevertheless, after a while we hardcore show junkie would love to see something different. Well, this here is different.
Yes, there are already handfuls of body and aero kits out there for C5s—kits running the gamut from the blatantly cheesy to the extremely well thought- and laid-out. But to my mind, nobody has yet done a series-built C5 rebody that smoothly re-imagines the car's naturally fluid lines in a totally new yet fully coherent way. Nobody until an unpretentious German named Axel Jasiek, that is.
Axel is the stylist/entrepreneur behind the re-thought C5 you see here—a design that's already sold well in Germany and is now being brought to America under the US-market moniker "Extreme Wide Body Corvette."
Architecturally, what makes Jasiek's concept so intriguing—besides, you know, the wild proportions and unabashed sense of drama—is that it's neither a wholly American nor wholly European design. Instead, this is a red-white-and-blue kind of car that's been re-imagined and re-interpreted through a European perspective; in other words, an American icon re-done how the rest of the world would see it.
Jasiek's education and background aren't in car design. He was trained as a Bäckermeister—a head baker—and still co-owns a hotel with his sister and brother back in Germany. He is a longtime and resolute gearhead, however, and spent the first part of his grownup life ripping up Germany's autobahns in 911 and 928 Porsches and other European exotica. During that period Jasiek knew of Corvettes, obviously, but the model was rarely that big in his mind. Then a 1991 vacation to the US brought a life-changing encounter with a white '88 Corvette roadster. Jasiek drove the car and fell in love with its looks, handling, and brute power. He bought it on the spot and, at the end of the trip, had it shipped back to his native country. "That car was so great," the ex-baker recalls now, "that I decided to soon buy another one—a '91—and have that car shipped over as well."
Corvette Magazine - Extreme Makeover Article