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Corvette Museum to Display Historic Corvette Concepts

by Keith Cornett on August 31, 2009

Corvette Museum to Display Historic Corvette Concepts

Visitors to the National Corvette Museum’s 15th Anniversary Celebration are in for a real treat as General Motors will be loaning for display four Corvette Concept cars from its Heritage Collection. The four Corvettes to be displayed are the 1961 Mako Shark Concept, 1965 Manta Ray Concept, 1973 Aerovette Concept and the 1959 Stingray Racer.

The four cars will be displayed in the new Exhibit Hall, part of the multi-million dollar expansion that was completed this summer. The temporary display begins Tuesday, September 1st and continues through Wednesday, September 9th.

Here are the four One-of-a-Kind Corvettes that will be displayed at the NCM:


Mako Shark – 1961 Mako Shark XP-755 The Mako Shark was designed by Larry Shinoda under the direction of GM Design head Bill Mitchell in 1961 as a concept for future Chevrolet Corvettes. In keeping with the name, the streamlining, pointed snout and other detailing were partly inspired by the look of that very fast fish. The “Mako Shark” was very similar to the 1963 production Corvette it inspired, with some alterations. These included adding two more brake lights in the rear (six total), making the nose of the car longer and more pointed, creating a clear glass roof with a periscope-like rear-view mirror and remodeling the interior.

1961 (Mako) Shark XP-755 1961 (Mako) Shark XP-755


Manta Ray – 1969 Manta Ray In 1969 development began on the Manta Ray, created through a transformation of the Mako Shark II primarily from the cockpit to the rear of this elaborate car. Only the tapered “boat tail” motif remained with the addition of a new and considerably longer rear end in place of the abrupt duck tail. During the winter of 1969-70, the Manta Ray underwent subtle additional changes. These were the last changes to a dream car that had since become reality.

1969 Manta Ray 1969 Manta Ray 1969 Manta Ray


AeroVette – 1973 Four Rotor XP-882 AeroVette In 1976, the 1973 Corvette 4-Rotor concept was taken out of storage and renamed the Aerovette. The double rotary engine was replaced with a transversally mounted 400 CID V8 engine. Bill Mitchell, Vice President of Design, lobbied for the Aerovette as the next Corvette and GM chairman and CEO, Thomas Murphy actually approved the Aerovette for 1980 production. In the end, management decided that they were selling every fiberglass bodied, front engine V8 “traditional” Corvette they could build, so why make a huge risky investment in a mid-engine car. The Aerovette project was cancelled.

1973 Four Rotor XP-882 AeroVette 1973 Four Rotor XP-882 AeroVette 1973 Four Rotor XP-882 AeroVette


Stingray Racer – 1959 Stingray Racer XP-87 Bill Mitchell wanted to build a Corvette racecar capable of beating Europe’s best. With an AMA ban on manufacturer-sponsored racing, the project had to be privately financed and the design could not have any recognizable association with Chevrolet. With Mitchell’s own time and money heavily invested into the project, he contracted Larry Shinoda to assist in the development of the revolutionary concept. Combining the 1957 SS chassis with the new fiberglass body resulted in a sleek and muscular roadster. Mitchell’s Stingray was completed in 1959 with the engineering help of Zora Arkus-Duntov. Accomplished SCCA driver Dick Thompson raced the Stingray and piloted it to two consecutive class championships. At the end of the 1960 season, Mitchell retired the Stingray from competition, detuned it, added a full windshield and passenger seat, drove it on the street and exhibited it as an experimental show car.

1959 Stingray Racer XP-87 1959 Stingray Racer XP-87 1959 Stingray Racer XP-87


Sources:
National Corvette Museum
Photos via Remarkable Corvettes

Related:
Corvette Museum to Raffle One-of-a-Kind 2010 Grand Sport at the 15th Anniversary Celebration

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