History/News/Commentary from K. Scott Teeters

Vette Video: 1960 Mako Shark-I Corvette At The Georgia Aquarium

Dateline: 3.5.12

What A Better Place To Show Off the Mako Shark-I

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.

Here’s what “the future” for the Corvette looked like in 1957!

It’s almost impossible to try to envision what the Corvette would look like today if Mitchell had never caught that shark. Really, think about it. Would the basic design of the Q-Corvette still made it into production had Mitchell and his designers not developed the shape through the Stingray Racer? Possible not. Or would the ‘63 Corvette with it’s new frame and suspension been dressed more like the Chevy “look” for 1963? Look at a ‘63 Sting Ray Coupe and a ‘63 Impala, Chevelle, and Nova – the Corvette looks NOTHING like them. Or, perhaps something completely unlike the regular Chevys and the Sting Ray? Who knows.

What we do know is that even though Corvette sales were vastly improved over the first few years, in the big scheme of things in GM, Corvette’s 14,531 units sold in ‘62 looks pretty small next to 704,000 Impalas sold the same year! Even though the Corvette’s sales performance was strong enough to justify a completely new design for the car, there were forces at work inside Chevrolet to make the car into “something else.”

Had Chevrolet gone forward with a four-seater Corvette, it certainly would have been the end of the line.

Case in point being the 4-seater ‘63 Split-Window Coupe. The mockup obviously went to the crusher, as the only time it’s ever seen is in archive photos. If the car was still around, it would have been shown. You could make an argument that it was perhaps the only experimental Corvette that deserved its fate. Chevrolet can’t keep all of their experimentals and no one missed the 4-seater 1963 Sting Ray.

But back to the Mako Shark-I at the Georgia Aquarium. Yes, the styling is dated and there are elements that are over festooned and exaggerated. Heck, that’s what show cars are supposed to be. But despite a few aesthetic liberties, it all fits together and is perfectly balanced. All the lines flow. It’s a 50-plus year-old design and it’s still HOT. Lucky for us that Mitchell was over his “fins” thing. He did do the ‘59 Cadillac Eldorado. But we still love him! – Scott

Related: We made the first week of January 2012 “Mako Shark Attack Week.” To access our Mako Shark / Maco Shark stories, go to the top of this page and look for the “Search” box.


The above 11×17 Parchment Paper Print is available for just $24.95 + $6.95 S&H. Each print is signed and numbered by the artist. You can order your with the secure PayPal button below, or by calling 1-800-858-6670, Monday through Saturday 10AM to 9PM Eastern Standard Time.


The above 11×17 Parchment Paper Print is available for just $24.95 + $6.95 S&H. Each print is signed and numbered by the artist. You can order your with the secure PayPal button below, or by calling 1-800-858-6670, Monday through Saturday 10AM to 9PM Eastern Standard Time.


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3 Responses to Vette Video: 1960 Mako Shark-I Corvette At The Georgia Aquarium

  • Scott,

    this are the toys our dreams are made off. You nailed it again by 100%.
    Very very few concept cars have a timeless design, the Mako Shark I. and II. belong to those.

    Great article
    Thanks
    Robert

  • Bill Mitchell’s Mako Sharks are the ultimate classic Corvette designs. The Mako Shark I was designed over 50 years ago and it can STILL raise your blood pressure. And the Mako Shark-II is just sex on wheels! THAT’S what Corvettes are supposed to do to you. We’re supposed to LUST for one, not “get used to it.” – Scott

  • Robert, you’re not a “little” partial to Shark Corvettes, are you? :-))) Check out the video from today, 3-21-12.

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