Northeast Wheels Events interviews Rick Walker about his rare Silva-built 1976 Maco Shark Corvette.
Dateline: 8.29.18 –The 2018 Corvettes at Carlisle event is history and from what I have heard from Vette Vues editor, Bonnie Wolf and out Corvette friend, Rick Walker, it was a beautiful show! Rick is no stranger to Corvette Report. I met Rick at the 2011 Corvettes at Carlisle show when he was part of 2011 Chip’s Choice Display of “Barn Finds.”
Pamela Hirschhorn of NortheastWheelsEvents.com caught up with Rick and his beautiful Maco Shark, and posted this very nice video on their YouYube channel.
Hanspeter Boehi from Muenchenstein, Switzerland builds a spot-on replica of the most important concept Corvette ever!
Dateline 2-4-18, Photos by Hans Peter Bohi and GM Archives – This article first appeared in the April 2018 issue of Vette Magazine.
The 1965/1966 Mako Shark-II set down the basic look and proportion for all Corvettes going forward. To understand the Mako Shark-II, we have to get into the mind ofGM VP of Design, Bill Mitchell. His task was to see the future and then pull it into reality through his designers and stylists. Mitchell didn’t “draw” a single line of either the Sting Ray or Mako Shark-II, but he knew what he wanted.
Here’s how Bill commanded his troops; he wanted,“…a narrow, slim, center section and coupe body, a tapered tail, an all-of-a-piece blending of the upper and lower portions of the body through the center (avoiding the look of a roof added to a body), and prominent wheels with their protective fenders distinctly separate from the main body, yet grafted organically to it.”
Mitchell was almost there with the 1962 Monza GT. After the design was nailed down, a full-size, non-running version was built and shown to management in March 1965. It was unanimous; the Mako Shark-II HAD TO BE the next Corvette.
So, you want to build yourself a Maco Corvette? Get your work clothes!
We were very pleased with the response to our Mako Shark Attack Week from the beginning of January 2012. I first saw the Mako Shark-II back in ‘66 and thought it was the most stunning car I’d ever seen. It looked like what I had imagined “cars from the future” would look like. Obviously, I wasn’t the only one that was touched, moved, and inspired.
The Cliff Notes version of the Mako Shark-II story is this. Chevrolet blows minds with the non-running Mako Shark-II at the New York World’s Fair in 1965. The crowds went wild and told Chevrolet, “We want one!” And Chevrolet said, “We’ll get right on it!” The running Mako Shark-II with it’s big 427 big-block engine was just “out’a sight!” But when the Mako Shark-II-inspired ‘68 Corvette came out, some said, “What’s that? That’s not a Mako Shark!” One guy took it upon himself to build his own Mako Shark-II body for the new Corvette. John Silva’s “Maco Shark” Corvette body kit filled the void that Chevrolet created. Silva’s Maco kit got the attention of Motion Performance’s Joel Rosen, who had recently unleashed his Phase III GT Corvette, and was looking for something even more exotic to offer his Motion customers. Rosen and Silva made a deal and the rest is history. Motion and Silva made a few turnkey Maco Sharks and sold LOTS of body kits and parts.
The kit car industry has come a long way since the ‘60s when Meyers-Manx, Fiberfab, Silva, Motion, and others were selling kits. The nature of kits cars is that most are never completed, with electrical issues usually being the number one issue. What it comes down to is that for a kit car to turn out great, you need excellent craftsmen and a fair amount of cash. A fully-functional kit car can be as complicated as a manufactured car. Continue reading “1974 Maco Shark Corvette Build Project”→
As groovy as the new C3 1968 Corvette looked to most Vette fans, for some, it wasn’t what they were expecting. What they were expecting was what they’d been drooling over since ‘65 – a production version of the “Mako Shark” show cars. They didn’t want to hear a lot of bunk about what can or can’t be manufactured or that the Mako’s front fender humps were too tall. They wanted the Mako Shark-II, period!
While some grumped and grumbled, one man did something about it. He made his own Mako Shark-II. And to prevent GM from crashing down on his head, he called it the “Maco Shark.” John Silva produced the first total body kit for the late model, C3 Corvette. The only part of the exterior body that was production Corvette was the windshield. While the completed kit wasn’t a 100% dead ringer for Bill Mitchell’s Mako Shark-II, it was close enough for many. But what put the Silva Maco on the map was the guy from Long Island that was already building Chevy supercars and could make sure the Maco had gobs of grunt. Yes, Joel Rosen.
Joel Rosen, along with PR master, Marty Schorr, editor of CARS Magazine, were already in the thick of things with their Baldwin-Motion Phase-III Supercars. Their line of turn-key, bad-ass Super Chevys was called, “The Fantastic Five.” You can get a heap’n help’n of Baldwin-Motion dishes at our sister blog site, www.BaldwinMotionReport.com. While the sales of Phase-III Supercars was cooking along in 1969, Rosen was thinking ahead and working out the details of his Phase-III GT Corvette. Rosen’s plan was to offer a true GT (Grand Touring) version of his Phase-III Corvette. The classic GT car configuration used a stout frame and chassis, plenty of power, excellent brakes, creature comforts, and room for travel bags. GT cars were essentially a sport coupe that you would use for a long trip – a “grand” “tour.” In other words, a “big trip.” C3 Corvette Coupes are short on usable space, so Rosen created a fastback rear window to open up the back storage area to hold those small travel bags for his customer’s, “Grand Tour.”
So, around the same time Rosen started offering his Phase-III GT Corvette, John Silva was making his own version of the Mako Shark, marketed under the name “Maco Shark.” The two men worked out a deal and Motion Performance started offering their own turn-key Motion Macos and Maco body kits. Here’s where things get a little muddy. Removing the complete production Corvette body and replacing it with the Maco was VERY labor intensive and expensive. So, very few Motion-built Macos were produced.
Dateline: 9.15.11 The last of Joel Rosen’s Shark Corvettes – The Moray Eel
As cool as the Mako Shark-styled production 1968 Corvette was, there were a few that were… disappointed. Why, you wonder? Because the ‘68 Corvette WASN’T the ‘65-’66 Mako Shark II show car. Making a show car is one thing, designing a car to be mass produced is another. While the Mako Shark II show car looked large on the stage, it was actually about 7/8s the size of the production Corvette. In other words, a VERY tight little package that could not directly translate into a production car.
But it was fiberglass man, John Silva that took it upon himself to make his own Mako Shark. “Kit cars” were all the rage in the mid-to-late ‘60s. Meanwhile, on Long Island, New York, Joel Rosen was building ground-pounding big-block Phase III Chevys and was looking for something really exotic to offer his Corvette customers. Rosen bought two complete Silva Maco cars and got permission from Silva to make molds off of the Silva parts to make his Motion Maco kits. The Maco kits were kind of a “love it, or hate it” thing. It wasn’t quite as svelte as the Mako Shark, but for many, it was close enough.
Joel Rosen’s meca for Chevy supercars – Motion Performance on Rising Sun Highway, Long Island, New York. Note the custom fish-scales paint job! The Phase III Vega behind the Maco Shark was the car that brought the Feds crashing down on Motion performance.
As the new ‘63 Corvettes were hitting the showrooms, GM’s Chief of Styling, Bill Mitchell, was dreaming up the next Corvette. With the help of stylist Larry Shinoda and a small team of designers, the radical Mako Shark II was shown to GM’s management in Spring of ‘65. The non-running full-size mock up made jaws drop. Before the car was shipped to the New York International Auto Show, the order was given, “build a running version!” By October ’65 the running version of the new design was complete and headed out to the show car circuit where it received rave reviews. It was obvious – the Mako Shark II HAD TO BE the next production Corvette.