Step Into My Sting Ray Spaceship
Over the weekend I was looking a photos online of ‘63 Split-Window Coupe Corvettes. I especially like the GM studio shots. Not only are they uniquely lit and posed, sometimes little clues are there if you look closely. Any way, they’re a lot of fun to look at.
The above picture caught my eye because the father of the production ‘63 Sting Ray, Bill Mitchell’s Stingray Racer, is in the background lit with blue light on its silver paint.
The red roadster and coupe have no fender vents, but substantial scoops that go into the doors with two horizontal spears. The roadster has side rocker panels that almost look like the side-pipe covers that would arrive in ‘65. And it appears that the gas filler cap is located on the driver’s side rear fender.
The silver split-window coupe has little shark gill decorations going on that awkwardly cut behind the bumpers. This looks like one of Bill Mitchell’s frills he liked adding on the show cars. “Elements of Discovery” was the idea. But with an overall outstanding design shape, do-dads aren’t needed.
But look at the rear deck of the silver coupe.There’s a seamline that runs forward to the B-pillar, up , and over the roof. It’s a LIFTBACK! I’m not sure of what year this photo was created. I can well imagine that the hatch got “closed” because of cost. It would have meant more interior finish, flooring, carpet, interior panels, hinges, latching, and locking hardware.
In the delightful book, “Corvette prototypes & Shaw Cars Photo Album” published by Iconografix © 1997, one page 39, there a photo from the same shoot, but the Sting Ray racer is in the foreground and the roadster and coupe are in the background. Unfortunately, it’s a black & white book, so the subtle details on the darker roadster aren’t visible, but a close look at the coupe shows the hatch lines. The caption says that the photo was taken in 1960. That’s how early the overall shape had been defined.
Perhaps there’s an argument that favored the GM bean counter’s bottom line. But in the Dept. of Cool, a liftback Sting Ray Coupe would have been “Cool Daddy-O” back in ‘63! It would have been like the hatch to your own spaceship was opening. And then you add lambo doors that go out, then up, and… Okay, I’m getting carried away with the spaceship thing.
But back to the above picture. I’m glad they documented where they were at the time with the finer details of the car’s design. It would be a very cool poster, too. – Scott
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