History/News/Commentary from K. Scott Teeters

amazon store

Vette Videos: The STUNNING Corvette Classic 1959 Stingray Racer

Dateline: 3.2.12 –

A Timeless Corvette Beauty

Every so often a car design comes along that is “perfect.” It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, you end up stopped dead in your tracks. You find yourself almost unable to STOP looking at the car’s shape. For me, the 1959 Stingray Racer is such a car. The 1959 Stingray Racer was an outgrowth of the dead-on-arrival 1957 Q-Corvette, which never made it past the full-size clay model stage. But the pint-sized concept had a nuclear-powered punch because it set in motion a design process that is still with us today. Consider the lineage…

Q-Corvette leads to…
1959 Stingray Racer leads to…
Mako Shark I show car leads to…
1963-1967 Sting Ray leads to…
Mako Shark-II-inspired C3 “shark” Corvette… that leads to…
C6 Corvette (look closely at the front and rear fenders of the C6 – there’s a C2 Sting Ray in there).

 

Back to the timeless ‘59 Stingray. Clearly, Bill Mitchell wasn’t done with the design of the proposed Q-Corvette. So, with a borrowed chassis from the aborted ‘57 Corvette SS racer (1957 was a VERY GOOD year for the Corvette!), Mitchell designed a roadster version of the interesting Q-Corvette around the small, lightweight birdcage tube chassis from the mule version of the Corvette SS project. The results were astonishingly original. The Stingray Racer just screamed “FUTURE!!!” I only have one small quibble – that Mitchell didn’t also do a coupe version (I just might have to draw one now!)

Bill “Mr. I’ve got gasoline in my veins!” Mitchell mostly wanted to go racing. Why should Duntov be the only hot shoe at Chevrolet? That aside, the crafty Mitchell also wanted to test the response of the public to the design he saw as the Corvette’s future. The response was overwhelming! The Stingray Racer HAD TO BE the next Corvette. And so it was.

As futuristic as the Stingray Racer was, the inherent aerodynamic design flaws were obvious from the first high speed blast – the front end wanted to life OFF THE GROUND! Cars aren’t supposed to go airborn, despite all the ‘50s styling elements that mimicked jet aircraft. In retrospect, the front end lift issue could have been solved with a few minor adjustments:

1. The leading edge of the nose could have drooped down another inch.

2. The body could have been raked a degree or two.

3. A small chin spoiler, similar to the one used on the ‘68 Camaro would have reduced the airflow under the car.

Hindsight is 20/20 and its easy to play sidewalk superintendent. But out on the race track arena, Mitchell and his crew adapted and improvised. By the end of the 1960 season, Mitchell and John Fitch, with engineering assistance from Eddie Zalucki, Dean Bedford, and Duntov, won the SCCA C-Modified Championship with the Stingray.
From there, it was off to the show car circuit and a few appearances in movies, such as Elvis Presley’s 1965 film “Clambake” (yawn) where the car was painted red.

Fortunately, the Stingray Racer is still around and was completely restored in 2006. The above video must have been made in off hours, as the photographer had unfettered access to the car. The Stingray Racer is, for me, one of those special cars that my mind’s eye never gets tired of seeing. Despite some of the exaggerated shapes, the overall design is perfect from every angle. The last time I saw a car that was this spot on was in 1994 when I saw the electric blue with white stripes Dodge Viper GTS Coupe at the New York Auto Show. I must have looked at that car on the turntable for 45 minutes. Like the Stingray Racer, it is perfect from every angle.

Enjoy the video and if you ever get the opportunity to see the Stingray Racer in person, DO IT! – Scott


Related:

Corvette Timeline Tales: July 1997 GM’s Chief of Styling, Retires, CLICK HERE.

 

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, of 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, of 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, of by calling 1-800-858-6670, Monday through Saturday 10AM to 9PM Eastern Standard Time.


Here’s the BEST way to keep up with K. Scott Teeters’ Corvette blog!

Enter your email address:

Sign Up


newsletter sign up
FREE Updates
newsletter sign up
Amazon Store

C6 Review Art Print Available:

Sidebar ICS-194-C6-Review-375px

But-Order-Here
K Scott teeters Fine Art America Store
Zazzle Tees
Corvette Neon Clocks
Zazzle Gifts
Topics