Run down the entire list of modifications made to San Diego native Alex Lawn's Pandem widebody 2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 and it won't take you very long to get to the end. Where you've often spent quite a bit of time sifting through various turbo trim numbers, engine internal specs and different JDM "doo-dads," this build's resume is quite a bit shorter, yet it had a huge impact upon its unveiling during Toyo Tires' Virtual Treadpass 3D event. The online experience replaced Toyo's regularly scheduled Treadpass gathering at the cancelled 2020 SEMA show, which usually serves as their "event inside of the event," packed with debuts and industry-leading builds side by side.
Talk of the Town
The shock factor of a widebody-converted Corvette C8 is to be expected, seeing as how the car is virtually brand new. Adding to that are the much wider corners of the American sportscar that are the result of a Japanese manufacturer who wasted no time in jumping on the highly-anticipated mid-engine offering, and, if you sprinkle in adjustable suspension that places the belly of the car just an eyelash off the ground, then you understand why so many have been talking.
The combination of JDM and USDM puzzle pieces isn't new, but often relies on a U.S.-based engine swap or rear end making its way into a Japanese chassis, which is then often adorned in aero and wheels from overseas. Alex has had his fair share of builds, a few of which have been displayed at SEMA previous to this undertaking, but this is his first dive into these somewhat uncharted waters.
Seed Planted Early
Like many, Alex was always playing with cars as a kid before jumping into gas-powered RC cars when he got a bit older. That tinkering, understanding and problem-solving came in handy for when he started making small changes to the cars of his friends and family. An '05 Explorer would be his first vehicle at age 16 and it didn't stand a chance of remaining stock, eventually being fitted with wheels, tires, suspension and a custom stereo setup. A few years later he went to his local dealership and plunked down the cash for a 2012 Camaro RS, his first muscle car, and built it up to a level that landed him a coveted spot at SEMA 2017. Two years later he'd revisit SEMA once again, this time after just 12 months of building up a 2019 SS Camaro. Then, in 2020, it was time for something brand new. He adds, "After 10 months of waiting, I finally got to take delivery of my 2020 C8."
If You're Not First, You're Last
As you might expect, there weren't a ton of upgrades available when Alex's new car arrived, but he had an ace in the hole seeing as how he'd been introduced to the owner of Air Ride Equipment and they agreed on a custom suspension setup to grant the sort of extreme drop he had in mind. According to Alex, this system is the first of its kind, and although the initial meeting was by chance, the vision certainly wasn't. "People ask me all the time how I was able to be the world's first widebody C8 Corvette on full air suspension. Honestly, it was a lot of luck and meeting the right people at the right time. Months before I took delivery, I had the plan that I wanted to be first."
The Domino Effect
The newly forged relationship would then lead to meeting the owner of LD97 forged wheels, the group that provided their T6-V3 wheel in 19x9.5 front, 20x12 rear sizing with custom hardware. Toyo then set Alex up with 265/30-19 front, 325/30-20 rear Proxes R888R and the rollers are backed by a factory Z/51 Brembo brake package. The staggered wheels are tucked beneath reworked arches that, if not in place, would stick out well beyond the C8's factory fenders.
The domino effect continued as the wheel brand's owner put Alex in touch with LTMW, a group you undoubtedly recognize by now, as they've applied aero and paint to numerous Super Street features in recent years. It was there that the Corvette would be fitted with yet another industry first in Pandem's multi-piece widebody conversion. Painted and installed by LTMW, the body additions transform the sometimes-awkward proportions of the modern-day Vette, with a look that will wholeheartedly confuse the hell out of anyone not familiar with cars and aftermarket aero. Chants of "is that a Ferrari" are no doubt ringing in Alex's head.
Square is the New Round
Beyond the width of the Pandem kit's corners are the reshaping of the wheel arches. The original, heavily rounded wheel surrounds that dip down almost to the bottom of the car's wheels in stock form have been squared off and pushed outward. Some voiced their dislike of the angular treatment, while others praised it for stepping away from the almost "one-size-fits-all" flare approach that has taken hold of the industry. The exaggerated corners visually pinch and pull the front fender area and hindquarters upward, giving the car an even more muscular look from any angle.
To beef up the lines that run along the sides of the car and toward the rear, the side skirts, which are connected to the front fender lips with a pilar of sorts, start low in the front and increase to three times their size in the rear as they sweep upward, just behind the factory fender ducts where they connect to the rear flares. They remain completely flat on the bottom, further enhancing the kit's squared-off characteristics that also carry to the front lip which is wide enough to meet the flares that are bolted to the factory bumper and stretch the Chevy's look even further when viewing from the front. As your eyes scan the entire car, you'll notice hits of carbon fiber that were added courtesy of C7 Carbon.
An Extension Rather Than Extreme
Rather than an overshadowing, chassis-mounted mega-wing that interrupts the car's body lines, Pandem chose to accentuate with a version that again carries those lines up, but at a much lower rate than the GT-style wings used in the past. An extension of sorts, it kicks up toward its rear and extends enough to sit even with the rear bumper's outermost point.
Down below you'll spot the carbon-fiber finishers from Borla's prototype "Atak" exhaust system. In terms of performance, that's the only change that's been made thus far, but Alex mentioned that he's got quite a bit in mind to drastically increase the 500-plus horsepower factory power plant, with his end goal being north of 1,000whp. Industry-wide, those who have already dug into the new C8 have run into issues with the dual-clutch transmission holding more power. We're sure that's all going to change as this model continues to get picked apart and solutions come about, and with Alex's resume of builds, we expect he'll meet his goal without issue.
The Best of Both Worlds
After a few decades of fierce back and forth, domestic vs. import lines have never been more blurred. Builds like this Pandem C8 can attest to that, and builders like Alex Lawn, who remain open-minded and willing to give new things a try rather than avoiding something due to labels or pre-set rules, are one of the main reasons for that. Next up is a refreshed look with a custom designed vinyl wrap and then the performance upgrades, en route to quadruple digits, will begin. You can follow the build on Alex's Instagram page.