by Scott Teeters as written for Vette Vues
The King of Rock & Roll drives the 1959 Sting Ray Racer
By 1967 Elvis Presley was totally bored with making movies. Elvis could have been a good actor, but his fans wanted to see him smile and sing. His “serious” movies from the early ‘60s, “Flaming Star” and “Wild In The Country” didn’t do well at the box office and there were no soundtrack records. So, Colonel Parker set up long-term, million dollars-per-picture contracts, plus soundtrack LP records, and publishing rights with movie studios. For a solid five to six years, no one in Hollywood was making more money than Elvis and the Colonel.
Elvis so respected his elders; he just went along, memorizing silly scripts, and singing dopy mainstream songs. “Clambake” had a song titled, “Do the Clam.” (no joke!) Shelly Fabares (from The Donna Reed Show) was as cute as can be, Bill Bixby (from My Favorite Martian) was Elvis’ bumbling sidekick, and there were plenty of bikini-clad beach babes to keep things visually interesting.
But from our perspective, the real star of Clambake was the 1959 Sting Ray racer. After the car won the 1960 SCCA C-Modified Championship, Bill Mitchell turned the car back in to Chevrolet where the car was cleaned up, refurbished, and made into a show car to stoke the fans for the upcoming 1963 Corvette Sting Ray. After the Sting Ray’s debut, the car did some light show car duty. For the Presley movie, the Sting Ray racer was painted bright candy apple red and sported a unique clear plexi, snorkel-type scoop, and a big-block engine. The car must have been a beast! – Scott
PS – We have art prints of the Sting Ray Racer in our safe and secure Amazon store, HERE.