Three rare Corvette concepts you may have just read about and never seen in person will be making a public appearance this week.
The LeMay Museum in Tacoma, Wash., has been fortunate enough to lure the three concept cars out of the GM Heritage Collection in Michigan and will be showing the cars on Aug. 9, 10, and 11.
The special trio includes the 1959 Stingray Racer, also known as the XP-87 and a preview of the C2 Sting Ray. GM vice president Bill Mitchell asked Pete Brock to design the car in secret. The Stingray wasn’t your typical concept car, though. First, it was a success on the SCCA circuit with Dr. Dick Thompson driving it to the national championship in the C-Modified division in 1960, then after GM retired it from racing, Mitchell drove the car to work for awhile.
Also featured will be the 1961 Mako Shark, another preview of the C2. Unlike the XP-87, the Mako Shark (known as the XP-755) was more of a show car with its wild shark-inspired paint, full windshield, and unusual sidepipes.
The third car coming to Tacoma is the 1969 Manta Ray, which started life as the 1965 Mako Shark II and served as the inspiration for the third generation from 1968-82. It’s currently powered by a 427 ZL-1 and has many unusual features, including a power adjustable rear wing, a power retractable rear bumper, a digital speedometer, and stereo speakers mounted in the headrests. In 1969, the Mako II underwent surgery to become the Manta Ray, with a front spoiler, a grille surround, revised side exhaust, flying buttress rear window, and new badging added.
After their appearance at LeMay, the three Corvettes will head to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on Aug. 18 before heading back to their usual home in a Detroit industrial park.
In case you can’t make it to Washington this week, the LeMay is hosting a special “60 Years of Vette” exhibition for the rest of the year.