Here’s one for the Kawinkydink Department. I thought we were all done with our look back and the life and career of Larry Shinoda – wrong! This morning while surfing around the net, I found a video about Bill Mitchell. Before I knew it, there’s Larry Shinoda telling stories about his former boss, Bill Mitchell! Read More
In November 2011 there were a few automotive bomb shells dropped on the MCACN Muscle Car Show. Namely three unique Baldwin Motion Corvettes. One Survivor Phase III 454 Corvette, one restored Motion Mako Shark Corvette, and one garage/barn find Corvette, the ‘76 Can-Am Spyder.
Since I have covered all of the Motion Performance Corvette cars in my Illustrated Corvette Series column, I decided to create a new print depicting all of the Motion Performance Corvettes. The basic Phase III Corvette, the Phase III GT Corvette, the Motion Maco Corvette, the Motion Manta Ray Corvette, and the Motion Moray Eel Corvette. Hopefully, more of the Motion Performance cars will surface. From survivor cars to extreme barn finds, it’s a good thing when they are brought back to life. Read More
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. Read More
Bill Mitchell and his design team cranked out an amazing number of concept and show cars through the ‘60s. The ‘69 Manta Ray was the end of the line for Mitchell’s shark theme that started in ‘61, and was somewhat overlooked for a time. Those were heady days between the new production Corvette, Chevy and other exciting muscle cars, and tremendous advances in all kinds of race cars. The Mako Shark-II-based Manta Ray was kind of, “been there, done that” by 1969. Designers often have concept ideas that they just want to try out in full size, and it seems that the Manta Ray was such a car. Read More
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
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
In their day, Corvettes offered more GT (grand touring) potential than any other American car. While the Phase III SS-427 Corvette could easily smoke any factory 427 Vette, Rosen’s GT Corvettes took things to the next level with unique, custom body work to go along with already stout engine, drive train, and suspension. Read More
Simply stated – Silva wanted the new Corvette to be the Mako Shark II show car Corvette. By the time Silva got around to designing a body kit for the production Corvette, Joel Rosen had already made a name for himself with his Baldwin-Motion Phase III Supercars. Since Rosen’s Corvettes had a considerable amount of custom fiberglass work, Silva worked out a deal with Mr. Motion. Read More