October 5, 1966, the Running Mako Shark-II Debuts at the Paris Auto Show
Forty-Nine years ago today, October 5, 1965, the automotive press got to see the first, running Mako Shark-II show car at the Paris Auto Show in France. The non-running full-size model of the Mako Shark-II had been shown in April ’65 at the New York Auto Show and was a knock-out. The response was so overwhelming, Chevrolet brass quickly decided to build a running prototype for the next phase of development.
As V.P. of Design, Bill Mitchell laid out what he wanted the next Corvette to be.See if you can follow this.
From Mako Shark show car to production Corvette – a little too quickly.
In retrospect, it’s amazing that the C3 Corvette wasn’t called the “C2.5 Corvette.” After all, the frame, suspension, chassis, and running gear was straight off the C2 Sting Ray. It all goes to show how important looks can be. Of course, today, we’re all used to the “shark” style, but in September ‘67 when the ‘68 cars made their grand debut, it was WOWZERS for Chevrolet! To really appreciate how advanced and completely original the Mako Shark-inspired ‘68 Corvette was, go back an look at what Detroit was offering back then. Yes, there are a dozen of so genuinely classic cars from the late ‘60s, but the ‘68 Corvette was even more original than the ‘63 Sting Ray. The ‘68 – ‘82 Corvettes were so iconic, they are forever branded the “Shark” Corvettes.
Since we’re rolling into the C6’s final year and looking forward to the new 7th generation Vette, the next several installments of my VETTE Magazine monthly column looks back at the “first” of each generation Corvette. So, let’s go back to the first of the Shark Corvettes! – Scott
Illustrated Corvette Series No. 183: 1968 Corvette – “The First C3 Corvette”
In March ‘65 Bill Mitchell showed GM’s upper management his new Mako Shark II. After the attendees got their breath back, the first question was probably, “When can we have it?” Publicity photos were made and the non-running Mako Shark II was shipped off to New York City for the 9th Annual International Automobile Show, then to the New York World’s Fair. Meanwhile, two orders were given: build a running prototype, and begin work on a production version. Unbelievably, GM management wanted the new design to be a ‘67 model! That meant only 18 months to design and develop the car. Continue reading “1968 Corvette – The First C3 Corvette”→
Feast your eyes on the lines and shapes of this classic Bill Mitchell Shark Corvette
For shark Corvette fans, this is a MUST-SEE Corvette video. The video looks to have been shot inside a long, lighted roadway tunnel because the light reflections is what creates this artistic, dreamy video.
A Look Back At the First of Bill Mitchell’s STUNNING Non-running Mako Shark-II Corvette Concept Car
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 that?
Bill told his designers he wanted the following; “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.” That’s all. Or as my grandmother used to say, “Yea, clear as mud!”
As his designers and stylists came back with their sketches, Mitchell would art/design direct from there. “I like this… I don’t like that… More here… Less there… That’s not it…That’s it…” etc. It seems that Mitchell had a vague notion of what he wanted and directed the design process. It’s also worth remembering that the design of a single Corvette concept car was just one of MANY design projects that Mitchell was responsible for. Continue reading “Mako Shark Attack Week!!! The 1965 Mako Shark-II”→
Dateline: 9.6.11 A rare Silva short-tail Maco Shark goes from orphan barn find to show car beauty!
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.
Here at CorvetteReport.com and BaldwinMotionReport.com we’re a little partial to not only Baldwin Motion Phase III Supercars, but also the Motion Maco and Silva Maco Shark Corvettes. Unfortunately, there are probably more barn find-type Macos than there are finished and running Macos. it’s just part of the nature of kit cars. While Motion offered turn-key Macos, Motion and Silva also sold the body kits. As is the case with all kit cars, about 80-percent of the kits are never finished. What usually stops project kit cars are electrical systems.
While any barn find car being nursed back to health can be a daunting task, a kit car barn find is definitely a few notches up on the difficulty scale. That’s what makes Rick Walker’s 1976 short-tail Maco Shark so interesting. Like a typical barn find car, the Maco had been left out in the elements (in this case, the blistering Florida sun) and had been through several floods, such that the radiator had about 6-inches of sand inside the core, as well as sand packed into the frame and suspension. Although the primer and paint was in bad shape, the fiberglass was unmolested. At one point, the city of Sarasota declared the derelict Vette an eyesore and required the owner to erect a stockade fence so the neighbors wouldn’t have to look at the hideous sight. (that is, from THEIR perspective!)
After three years of work and unspecified expense, (Walker did all the work himself) the Silva short-tail Maco Shark Corvette is now a street machine/show car! All Maco Corvettes are technically “kit cars,” so they are all different,.Walker’s Maco maintains the classic Bill Mitchell “Shark” blue with faded light gray, simulated shark coloring and the unique nose vents. “Custom” touches include Continue reading “Barn Find Maco Shark Corvette at 2011 Corvettes at Carlisle Show”→
Dateline: 9.2.11 2011 Corvettes at Carlisle Week continues with coverage of 1968 to 1982 C3 Shark Corvettes!
Bill Mitchell’s Mako Shark II Corvette show car is arguably THE most important Corvette concept car ever! This car literally changed everything the Corvette had ever been in terms of styling. The design was so fresh, new, original, dynamic, and dripping with sex, it just HAD TO BE the next Corvette. Oh, how I wish I could have been in the GM styling review yard in March 1965 when Mitchell and his team rolled the nonfunctioning Make Shark II out for review to GM’s upper management. Too bad it wasn’t filmed. Management was so blown away they wanted it as the next production Corvette in ‘67!
After some name swapping, the ‘61 Shark show car was renamed Mako Shark I and the new design was named Mako Shark II. new die-cast badges were quickly made, and the new Mako Shark II was shipped off to the 9th International Automobile Show in New York City for its public debut. Believe it or not, the non-running, full-size show model cost GM nearly $3 Million! The crowd also got to see Chevrolet’s all-new 386 big-block engine under the tilt-forward nose of the Mako Shark. Next stop was the New York World’s Fair to the GM pavilion. What a heady time for Corvette lovers.
Meanwhile, back at Chevrolet, the hard work had already begun. It was a case of exuberance vs reality. Management wanted the new Shark as the ‘67 Corvette, after all, it was just a new body and interior, so how hard could that be, right? it turned out to be more challenging than the suits realized and soon the release date was pushed back to 1968. Even with an extra year, it was still a rushed design, as it was soon discovered Continue reading “Vette Shows: The Sights of C3 Corvettes at the 2011 30th Corvettes at Carlisle Show”→