Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Chevrolet Corvette Mako Shark 1

Chevrolet Corvette Mako Shark 1
The Mako Shark prototype was one of the most stunning conceits in motoring history.  An exotic blend of supercar styling and supercharged grunt, it preceded one of the most spellbinding production cars the world had yet seen.  The Corvette Stingray would take low-slung chic to another level.  A roadster had seldom, if ever, looked so good - and the Mako Shark dream car paved the way.

Actually, a marine mammal was the real inspiration!  William Mitchell - head of General Motors Styling - was fishing in Florida, one day.  His luck was in, and a fish took his bait.  After landing it, Mitchell was overwhelmed by its beauty.  He had caught a mako shark - a streamlined slab of predatory power, with blue and white colours to die for.  Straightaway, his automotive design sensibilities kicked in.  He envisioned a way to bring to the roads what had been previously confined to the deep.  That short-fin shark was about to go global - for that was the impact that the Stingray would make! 

In fact, the Stingray Spider was the first iteration of that iconic machine.  A race-going concept car, it was the high-performance platform upon which the Mako Shark would build.  The Stingray roadster would be the final link in the chain.  Of course, many of the Stingray's styling motifs can be seen in the Mako Shark.  In fact, Larry Shinoda designed both of the cars.  But even the Stingray had its work cut out to compete with the Mako Shark's plethora of shapes.  Yes, the projectile-style bodywork, and gradational paintwork take pride of place - but they are only the start of the story.  Not only the car's surface, but its interior, too, were a futuristic work of avant-garde art.  It was the beginning of the Sixties, so the perfect time to get radical with form and function.  With plastic the new gold standard, the wraparound windscreen and see-through hardtop were invaluable commodities of space-age style.  And to top them off was a periscope rear-view mirror.  Ranged along the flanks were two banks of exhausts, catering to the car's V8 motor.  All 456bhp of it!  But power output is an afterthought with a car such as this.  When that mako shark gave up its life that day - in the waters off Florida - an American legend was born! 

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