Lucky for us, GM design chief, Bill Mitchell had a fish fetish. Or should we say, a shark obsession. I once read an amusing story about Mitchell and his “shark thing.” He was talking with someone about the Mako Shark-I show car and he said, (sorry for the paraphrasing) “Look at the open mouth in that grille area. You can just see the blood dripping from the opening!” Yea, he was “into it.”
The story goes that Mitchell caught a big shark off the coast of Bimini and had it stuffed and mounted. It must have been his muse because he obviously picked up on three design elements.
1. The real shark’s side gills. On the car they show up just ahead of the front wheel wells and just behind the rear wheel wells. 2. The real shark’s open mouth snout. Gee Bill, no teeth for the car? I think over the years, a few show car Corvettes have been seen with shark’s teeth. 3. The real shark’s light underbelly and dark blue top. This became the signature “Mako Shark” paint job with lots of variations.
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I’m sorry, but some things just SHOULD NOT be done. Back in 1963 a high-ranking GM executive got the bright idea that perhaps, Chevrolet should make a 4-seater Corvette Sting Ray. After all, Ford was doing pretty good with their Thunderbird that was once a 2-seater sports car, so why shouldn’t Chevrolet do the same, RIGHT?
I’ve worked as a designer at Tyco Toys and Mattel Mt. Laurel in the R&D department and the ONLY way that bone headed ideas ever get past the verbal stage is if an executive makes the suggestion. Then you have to build one just to show the Mensa Society genius that it’s a dorky idea. A prototype 4-seater Sting ray was cobbled together and the story goes that an executive got stuck in the back seat and needed a lot of help to get out! I never heard of what happened to the prototype, but it probably went straight to the crusher where it belonged. Fortunately, that seemed to get Chevrolet off the four-seater Corvette forever.
So, is the four-door Corvette the solution to the “getting out of the back seat” problem? Oh, dear…