1981 Phillips Berlina – The Neoclassic Corvette

One of the most iconic cars ever created is the Mercedes-Benz S-Series. Produced between 1927 and 1933, these cars were the top performers of their time. The legacy of the Mercedes S, SS, and SSK cars lives on today, many decades after production ended.

In the 1970s and 1980s, a number of companies sprouted up to produce replicas of these famed automobiles. Excalibur, Classic Tiffany, Gatsby, Clenet, Besasie, and many others each took a turn at creating their modernized version of the classic Mercedes roadster.

In 1980, Charles W. Phillips of Pompano Beach, Florida decided to set about producing a replica of the 1934-36 Mercedes 540K Roadster, which was the follow-up to the famous S-Series cars. Neoclassic automobiles often use the chassis and powertrain of a mass-produced car, combined with custom bodywork. The Phillips Berlina is no exception. It has a fiberglass body riding on top of a stretched Chevrolet Corvette C3 chassis. This car, a 1981 model, wears a lovely shade of red with a white vinyl top.

Though it had a Chevrolet V8 engine under the hood, the Berlina Coupe produced just 190-200 horsepower. Factoring in the additional weight of the body and chassis, this is probably one of the slowest Corvettes around. But this is not a car to be driven swiftly or aggressively, this car is all about style.

The round headlamps, oversize horns, running boards, and spare wheels mounted on the fenders hearken back to the pre-war motoring era, when automobile ownership was reserved for the wealthy elite. With the long hood and short deck, it definitely resembles the Mercedes-Benz 540K. Look closely though and you can see the doors, windshield, and interior are unmistakably Corvette.

The stretched wheelbase really throws off the proportions of the car. It must have an absolutely terrible turning radius! Look at how ridiculous it looks from the side. The car’s 185/65R14 tires up front look especially small beneath the large wheel arches.

It does not appear as though there is a trunk or any kind of access through the rear bodywork. Not that Corvettes are particularly spacious cars to begin with, but from the looks of it, it wouldn’t have been that hard to make an opening rear hatch.

From what I can tell, the company wasn’t in business very long. Only 78 of these cars were produced between 1980 and 1983. If you have any more details about the Phillips Berlina Coupe, please post a comment below!