We’ve still got more Bloomington Gold coverage headed your way. We’ve already provided a Bloomington flavored Midyear Monday, taken a deep dive into the Gold Collection, and summarized the other aspects of the show. Now it’s time to turn to some of the unique Corvettes on site last weekend in Indy.
When entering the Gold Collection, owners and spectators were promptly greeted by the famous Manta Ray concept car which was on display courtesy of General Motors. Built in 1969, the Manta Ray began life in 1965 as the Mako Shark II concept car that foreshadowed Corvettes third generation. In 1969 it went back into the GM Design studio for a makeover. Out came what we now know as the Manta Ray.
Head of GM Design, Bill Michell’s love of fishing is widely known, and the Manta Ray’s styling reflects that. Outside we see colors of an actual Manta Ray or shark fading from dark blue and black on top to a whitish gray at the very bottom. There are even small gills ahead of the front wheels.
A ZL-1 engine motivates the Manta Ray and resides under clamshell type hood. Chrome abounds in the engine compartment as it’s prominently featured on the air cleaner, valve covers, ignition shielding and more. Outside we see production-like side exhaust and C2 era knock-off wheels. ZL-1 and Manta Ray emblems reside on the front, rear, and sides of the car. The longer you look at it, the more tiny details you’ll see. The roof section raises and lowers for easier ingress and egress while small doors above the brake lights open to aid in visibility when it’s time to stop. Inside there’s a blue-gray interior with a dash that wraps from side to side. A console filled with buttons and gauges runs between the 2 seats. Those seats feature headrests integrated into the rear bulkhead.
As the Manta Ray reaches 50 years old it’s still in remarkable condition. Like any 50-year-old car it does show some wear and tear like cracks in the paint and some light aging on the interior. The best thing about this car, though, is that it still runs and drives. The car makes lovely sounds as it exhales through the side mount exhaust. In fact, it even led the Gold Collection’s IMS track laps on Saturday afternoon pacing some of the cars that were inspired by its design.
Here’s a closer look at the Mako Shark concept.
Photos by Steve Burns