Vette Videos: Larry Shinoda and Peter M. De Lorenzo Talk About Corvette Design Legend, Bill Mitchell
Shinoda shares his Mitchell “fish story” and De Lorenzo shares his “”neighborhood kid on a bike” Mitchell story!
Here’s one for the Kawinkydink Department. I thought we were all done with our look back and the life and career of Larry Shinoda – wrong! This morning while surfing around the net, I found a video about Bill Mitchell. Before I knew it, there’s Larry Shinoda telling stories about his former boss, Bill Mitchell!
Most of us in the Corvette community are very familiar with the unique “shark” paint style used on the Mako Shark-I, Mako Shark-II, and the Manta Ray concept/show cars. Larry shared a wonderful story about how the guys in the painting department perfected that distinctive paint scheme.
Also interviewed in the video is the late David E. Davis, former Campbell-Ewald Advertising man, former editor of Car and Driver, and founder and former editor of Automobile Magazine. Here’s the video…
The Civilized Grand Sport Corvette Replica – Sort of…
Today you can go to your local Chevrolet dealer today and buy a Grand Sport Corvette to your liking. Almost 50 years ago, there were only five Grand Sport Corvettes in existence and they were NOT for sale. “Unrealized potential,” “the ultimate could’a been Corvette” and many other expressions tell the original Grand Sport Corvette story. Unlike today’s C6 Grand Sports, the originals were all-out racing Corvettes, designed to give the Cobras a good run for it.
But GM had a completely different attitude about racing back then that can be nicely described as “backward.” Fortunately, all five original Grand Sports are still around. Along the way, there have been numerous companies that offered Grand Sport replicas – some, better than others. But today there is only one “officially licensed” by GM, Grand Sport replica, and that is the Duntov Motors Grand Sports.
Bill Mitchell’s longer, lower, louder, sleeker Mako Shark
Bill Mitchell and his design team cranked out an amazing number of concept and show cars through the ‘60s. The ‘69 Manta Ray was the end of the line for Mitchell’s shark theme that started in ‘61, and was somewhat overlooked for a time. Those were heady days between the new production Corvette, Chevy and other exciting muscle cars, and tremendous advances in all kinds of race cars. The Mako Shark-II-based Manta Ray was kind of, “been there, done that” by 1969. Designers often have concept ideas that they just want to try out in full size, and it seems that the Manta Ray was such a car.
Perhaps the most unfortunate part of the whole Mako Shark-II story is the fact that the configuration of the the running Mako Shark-II is gone! When Mitchell decided to try out a few more design elements for the Shark Corvette, the quickest way to get there was to start with the ‘66 running Mako Shark-II. The running Mako Shark-II was a stunningly beautiful car, so can you imagine what it might have been like for the designers and builders that were tasked with the job of CUTTING THE CAR UP to make the Manta Ray? Oh, that first cut must have been painful! It must have felt like sacrilege taking a zip saw to such a beauty. Continue reading
Chevrolet’s general manager Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen had some very cool perks. So did Mrs. Knudsen!
Yesterday we told you about Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen’s factory custom ‘64 Blue Fire Mist Corvette Coupe. Well, what a NICE husband Semon must have been! Here’s the ‘64 Corvette Bunkie got for his misses. (I know, what’a guy!) What’s not known is if Mrs. Knudsen said, “Semon, so where’s MY Corvette?” or if he just surprised her one day. I’ll vote that he surprised her one day.
This is another example of what the GM Design Center was capable of creating. In retrospect GM “could” have spun off a little boutique business offering customized luxury V.I.P. versions of their top cars, but that’s just a bench racing fantasy of mine. Florence Knudsen’s Corvette Sting Ray was just dripping with special features and some interesting preproduction features.
This car was once part of former Chevrolet dealer, Bob McDorman’s very large Corvette collection. In November 2010, 150 of McDorman’s collection of Corvettes were auctioned off by Mecum Auctions for a total of $4,599,000. Bunkie Knudsen’s Blue Fire Mist ‘64 Corvette Convertible went for $400,000 and Mrs. Knudsen’s ‘64 Corvette Coupe went for 280,000. A slide show of Jerry Heasley photos and a video are below. Here’s a list of the production options that were on the car, custom features, and hand-made fabricated parts.
Too often, cars such as this are bought and sold over and over to the point of becoming a derelict. This is what happened to the beautiful Bob Wingate FS&O 427 ‘67 Corvette. When the current owner bought the car, it was an abused hulk of what was once an awesome automobile. We’ll be covering the Wingate car tomorrow.
Here are the features of Florence Knudsen’s customized 1964 Corvette.
Factory Production Options:
* AM/FM radio with power antenna.
* Air conditioning.
* Telescope steering column and teak wood steering wheel. Continue reading
Dateline: 8.28.11 (Our 150th post!)
All you’ll need is a knockwurst with mustard on a bun and a tall, frosty root beer!
Perhaps you are simply too far away from southeastern Pennsylvania to attend. Fret not, we’ll bring the show to you. Unless you have been holed up in your Corvette or in your man-cave, you may have missed the news that a hurricane zipped up the East Coast. Hurricane Irene made a mess here and there. While the southeastern part of Pennsylvania only caught the western edges of Irene, Saturday was a yucky day and Sunday was only better in that it was not raining like it was Saturday night. While Irene didn’t deliver a washout, it didn’t help.
I can only describe the Corvettes at Carlisle experience as a “happening.” Pardon the 60s expression, but I AM a baby boomer. There’s so much to see, look at, oggle, take in, sounds, smells, talking, laughing, smiling. Plus, the Corvettes! (12 more videos below) Continue reading
Dave MacDonald – “The Master of Oversteer”
“I think Dave had more raw talent probably than any race driver I ever saw.” – Carroll Shelby
The original Grand Sport Corvette is considered by many to be the ultimate “could have been” Corvette. Well, when it comes to drivers that raced and loved Corvettes, El Monte, California race car driver, Dave MacDonald is arguably the greatest “could have been” Corvette race car driver. That’s not just my opinion – that’s what I learned from researching Dave MacDonald’s racing career, from his contemporaries. Many drivers and team owners from Dave’s day are on record stating that had Dave’s life not been cut short at the ‘64 Indy 500, he would have likely been one of the greats. MacDonald’s shining star was about to go super nova!
While I was familiar with Dave MacDonald from books in my Corvette library, it wasn’t until I started researching Dave’s background while working on a story for VETTE Magazine that I learned what a terrific guy he was. If you look in your Corvette books that have chapters covering the early ‘60s road racing scene, look for the “00” Corvette with the tail hanging out. That’s Dave “The Master of Oversteer” MacDonald. Continue reading
Corvette Timeline Tales: July 14, 1985 – NBC Premiers Two-Hour Pilot for Steven Cannell’s New Series, “Stingray”
Sometimes the “car as the star” just isn’t enough.
The NBC series “Stingray” only ran for two seasons and stared Nick Mancuso in the lead roll of “Ray.” No last name, just “Ray.” He’s kind of a Robin Hood, gritty urban “Pay it Forward” mystery man. Ray drives an awesome-looking black ‘65 Corvette Sting Ray Coupe with knockoff wheels, is an expert driver, martial arts master, a speed reader with a photographic memory, master computer hacker with very fast fingers, Vietnam Vet, possibly CIA, AND doesn’t charge for his problem solving services. Just a loose IOU, collectible by Ray… some time… some day in the future… maybe.
Who DOESN’T want to be this guy?
In the ‘80s TV producer and writer, Steven J. Cannell was on a roll with hugely successful programs including “The Rockford Files,” “The Greatest American Hero,” “The A-Team,” “Wiseguy,” Continue reading
1963 Gulf One Z06 Corvette – “The $1.113 Million Sting Ray”
Million Dollar Classic Corvette Racers – Intro to Part Two.
By the end of the first generation of live-axle Corvettes, Chevrolet’s fiberglass sports car had become a solid competitor in sports car racing. Race cars, for all their glory, often times are quickly forgotten as a result of faster, more modern, more outrageous race cars. Corvettes are just the same. When the C2 ‘63 Z06 Corvette Sting Ray racers were unleashed, there was a mad dash to the new independent suspension car. The Fuelie Sting Rays yielded to the big-block Vettes, and the adventure just rolled on.
62 and 63 Gulf One Racers
Two of the winningest Corvette racers faded into racing history in the process – the ‘62 Gulf One Corvette and the ‘63 Gulf One Z06 Sting Ray. Continue reading