Corvette’s Founding Fathers, Larry Shinoda, Pt 5 of 6: Sting Ray & Mako Shark Designer

Larry Shinoda was the perfect designer/stylist for GM VP of Styling Bill Mitchell. In the same way that Mitchell fit with Harley Earl, Shinoda clearly understood what Mitchell wanted. As VP of Design, Mitchell’s job was to hold the vision for what he knew would be new and fresh, then lead his designers and stylists to bring his vision into reality. Corvettes were always Mitchell’s pet projects and he was famous for saying, “Don’t get cocky, kid! I design Corvettes around here!” Mitchell’s Corvettes were about design, speed, power, and performance. And for that, he needed a designer/stylist equal to Duntov’s engineering/racing prowess. Larry Shinoda was his man. Read More

Founding Fathers Pt 3 of 6: Bill Mitchell, Creator of the Corvette Look

A few years before his death in 1988, Mitchell has this to say about the C4 Corvette, “That square box is pretty near plastic… the instrument panel – Dracula’s dressing room… it rides like a truck… it isn’t a style car, it’s an machine car… engineers are running it. Earl would never let that – I would never let that happen, and I condemn the guys for it!” Read More


Inside Bill Mitchell’s Secret Garage – 2 VIDEOS

My monthly column in VETTE Magazine, “The Illustrated Corvette Series” is now in its 21st year. I’m in the middle of a series I’m calling, “The Corvette’s Founding Fathers” that covers the careers of Harley Earl, Ed Cole, Bill Mitchell, Zora Arkus Duntov, Larry Shinoda, and Peter Brock. Each of these men played a foundational roll in setting the pattern and personality of the Corvette. Without them, the Corvette might not have survived the 1950s. Read More


The History of Mid-Engine Corvettes, 1960 to C8: Part 2

But at the height of the Corvair’s popularity, V.P. of Design, Bill Mitchell saw “potential” in the Corvair’s unique platform and set two of his sharpest designers to work on a radical Corvair; Larry Shinoda and Tony Lapine. Two cars were built; the Monza GT was a mid-engine coupe and the Monza SS was a rear-engine open-roadster. Neither car looked like anything else on the road, let alone a Corvair. If you ever wondered where the big front fender humps on the Mako Shark-II came from, now you know! Read More

NEW Mako Shark Tribute Art Print From K. Scott Teeters

It’s only been a week or so since the photos of a disguised C7 Corvette surfaced and already the critics are weighing in. One report commented that the profile and proportions look too much like the current C6. And therein lies the designer’s dilemma when it comes to designing a new Corvette. The new design has to “look like a Corvette,” but has to “look new.” This isn’t a new problem actually. But before we come down on the Corvette design team too harshly, we should all just breath… and be patient. Those disguised cars always look bad. Read More

1974 Maco Shark Corvette Build Project

If you have ever considered taking on such a project or wondered what’s involved in building a kit car, we have we got a site for you! Steven has done an astonishing job chronicling the process. I’ll tell you at the outset that the car is about half way to completion, so things still look kind of messy. But, that’s just the nature of this kind of art. I call it “art” because projects such as this require skills beyond spinning wrenches. From start for finish, the process is a series of problems to be solved and creative solutions considered. This is WAY beyond bolting a Meyers-Manx dune buggy body tub on a shortened VW chassis platform. Read More

Mako Shark Attack Week!!! The Running 1966 Mako Shark-II

Even though the new production Corvette would use the existing frame, suspension, engine/transmission, and drive train from the then-current Sting Ray, getting everything to fit within an even tighter package was a major challenge. There were issues with front and rear bumper requirements, headlight height and configuration, interior ergonomics, and forward visibility of those gorgeous front fender humps. Getting the design right, plus making all of the parts for tooling was impossible to accomplish in one year for the new design to be a ‘67 model. It’s surprising to me that GM’s upper management couldn’t see that. Another year was added to the development schedule and in retrospect, it should have been two years. Read More

Mako Shark Attack Week!!! The 1965 Mako Shark-II

No sooner had the‘63 Corvette Sting Ray been released, Bill Mitchell was at it again with another one-of-a-kind concept car. Never one to rest on his laurels, (you know the saying, “He who rests on his laurels, gets knocked on their rears!”) Bill went for something really far out. Now, it’s essential to know this first. Mitchell was often the generator of ideas, but didn’t necessarily pen out all of the details. That’s where the “stylists,” such as Larry Shinoda came in. So, if you were a stylist/designer, how’d you like to get an assignment like this… Read More

Vette Videos: SUPER RARE, One-of-a-Kind 1972 Motion Moray Eel Corvette

The last of Rosen’s Sharks was the Moray Eel. Built on a ‘72 Corvette, the Moray Eel was part Maco Shark, part Manta Ray. The flip front end was devoid of scoops, vents, pop-up or fared-in headlights and featured the Mako Shark II-style hood bludge. The roof section was pure Maco and the back end had the rear flipper-spoiler from the Manta Ray. The car shown here was the one and only Moray Eel built. As an aside, when the car was originally painted, something went terribly wrong with the paint. What was supposed to be pearl yellow turned out to be lime green. The paint was corrected when the car was totally restored in 2006. Read More

Barn Find Maco Shark Corvette at 2011 Corvettes at Carlisle Show

Every year the Corvettes at Carlisle show has a theme. The theme for the 2011 Chip’s Choice Display was “Barn Finds.” Who doesn’t love an old barn find story? It’s a topic that cuts across all car interests. Today, barn finds have become a special interest category of its own. It seems that barn finds have sifted out into two groups. First there are the cars that look like they were just taken out of the barn – dirt and everything. What was once decades of dirt, blistered paint, animal droppings, sticks, and twigs has now become “patina.” And second are the cars that a normal human would have let rot back into the earth, only to have been beautifully and lovingly restored back to running and sometimes show car condition. For these cars, the “before and after” photos are a lot of fun. “You started with THAT?” Is a common comment. Read More