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Retro-Styled 2004 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Is a Questionable Throwback to Yesteryear

Classic American styling meets 21st-century performance thanks to the 53-03 Commemorative Edition kit, but the looks are definitely love-or-hate.

So you’re in the market for a Corvette but you’ve arrived at an impasse: nothing beats the styling of the original, but you want something that can make today’s crop of supercars nervous. Which do you choose? If you can’t decide, this C1-inspired C5 Z06 currently for sale on Bring a Trailer might be the best of both worlds. Or not.

The car up for grabs is a 2004 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 that has been converted to a 1953-2003 Commemorative Edition by Advanced Automotive Technologies (AAT). Not to be confused with the much more subtly-styled factory 2004 Z06 Commemorative Edition Chevy itself put out, this kit fuses the original Corvette’s looks with the underpinnings of a top-of-the-line C5. AAT built approximately 200 Commemorative Editions, helping to celebrate 50 years of American supercar dominance.

The package’s most obvious changes are its new fiberglass panels that give the car the C1’s signature brace-faced front end, quintessentially-1950s rear, and retro chrome bumpers that snake all the way around the exterior. In addition, the engine has had many of its components painted red and features C1-style valve covers.

As a primarily aesthetic kit, the 53-03’s modifications leave much of what makes the Z06 a Z06 alone. Thus the car retains its 5.7-liter LS6 V8 and six-speed manual transmission, although it has been fitted with an aftermarket ProCharger supercharger. That’s quite the step up from the 3.9-liter I-6 and 3-speed automatic transmission found in the 1953 ‘Vette it honors. The car has remained in Michigan for most of its life and currently shows 24,000 miles on the clock.

What do you think? Is this conversion a worthy commemoration of the Corvette’s heritage or another poorly-executed kit car?