One of our favourite non-automotive occasions of the 12 months is upon us: Discovery’s Shark Week 2020 started on Sunday, Aug. 9. As such, we’re totally within the temper for some automotive sharkdom, and we figured this can be a nice time to look again at a few of Chevrolet’s cool shark-themed ideas of the 1960s.
1961 Mako Shark idea: Selling the brand new Corvette
Legend has it that the unique Mako Shark idea automotive’s identify and coloration scheme had been impressed by the true factor—particularly, a mako shark that GM styling chief Bill Mitchell caught himself and had mounted in his workplace. The story goes that Mitchell insisted that the blue-grey-white mixing on the present automotive precisely match the shark, and when his workers could not get the automotive painted to his satisfaction, they stole the shark from his workplace and repainted it to match the automotive. Mitchell, the story goes, by no means knew the distinction.
The Mako Shark, in any other case referred to as XP-755, was inbuilt 1961 as a preview of the second-generation Corvette, which was due as a 1963 mannequin. The styling theme for the redesigned sports activities automotive had lengthy since been developed, as seen on the 1957 Q Corvette concept and the 1959 Stingray racing car. The Mako Shark’s job was to journey the auto present circuit and get the general public prepared for the look of the brand new Corvette. The “gills” forward of the entrance fender and the double-bubble roof had been distinctive to the idea, as had been the flip-up “brake flaps” on the deck lid, however the common form was near the manufacturing C2.
In holding with its meant goal, the Mako Shark was absolutely practical, and you may see it driving in this clip from an episode of Route 66 that aired within the fall of 1961. The XP-755 was modified over its lifetime, shedding the double-bubble roof and gaining a brand new hood and a round emblem within the grille (and a miniature chrome bumper on the fringe of the nostril to guard it). The automotive was in the end powered by a 1969-vintage ZL1 427-cubic-inch (7.0-liter) big-block. Today, the Mako Shark I resides in the collection of the General Motors Heritage Center.
1965 Mako Shark II: The C3 Corvette emerges from the depths
In 1965, Chevrolet produced the Mako Shark II. Two of them, really. First a non-running full-size mannequin after which a working, driving prototype with a 427-cubic-inch V-Eight underneath the hood. Unlike the unique Mako Shark (now referred to as the Mako Shark I), the non-runner was the automotive that obtained administration approval for the third-generation Corvette‘s styling, which was subsequently scheduled for manufacturing as a 1967 mannequin, although growth was finally delayed till 1968.
Testing of the Mako Shark II revealed modifications required for manufacturing. The entrance fenders and rear window had been reworked for higher visibility, whereas the nostril was reshaped to scale back front-end raise. Still, when you evaluate the Mako II with the manufacturing C3, it is outstanding how shut the 2 vehicles seem. Not everybody was pleased with the adjustments, and a few firms produced kits to show the newest Corvette into something that more closely resembled the show car. More lately, a working reproduction was built by a Corvette enthusiast in Switzerland.
Unlike the Mako Shark I, the Mako Shark II is now not in existence—not precisely, that’s. The non-runner was scrapped, whereas the working automotive was restyled to develop into the 1969 Manta Ray concept, which might now be discovered with the Mako Shark I within the GM Heritage Center.
1964 Chevy II Super Nova: A shark by every other identify
In between the 2 Mako Sharks, Chevrolet created one other shark-themed idea based mostly on the Chevy II Nova coupe, with styling that adopted themes established by the 1963 Buick Riviera. Officially, the automotive was referred to as the 1964 Chevy II Super Nova. Unofficially, it was recognized merely because the Shark.
The Super Nova was proven on the 1964 World’s Fair, however alas, archrival Ford was exhibiting its own sporty two-door throughout the corridor. Ford’s Mustang was a production-ready mannequin, and whereas Chevrolet did not take it significantly on the time, its runaway gross sales proved that Chevy would wish one thing higher than a restyled Nova to be able to compete. Chevy went again to the drafting board and developed the 1967 Camaro. However, a number of of the Super Nova’s styling cues had been seen on the facelifted 1966 Chevy II.
The caption for the picture above, taken at GM’s space-themed World’s Fair show, exhibits the Super Nova with its “performance analyzer capsule” and precisely predicts a future innovation: “In the year 2000, mechanics will be highly-trained technicians capable of operating the electric performance analyzer capsule. A computer supplies the DelcoNauts with information concerning the car’s operation according to manufacturer’s specifications, tells them what needs to be repaired, and how much the service will cost the customer.” GM was proper in regards to the machine however off on the timing, as the corporate carried out a fledgling on-board diagnostics system in 1980, and OBD-II grew to become necessary in 1996.
Chevrolet’s Shark Concept Cars
Mako Shark II
- Introduced in 1965
- Served because the styling idea for the third-gen Corvette
- Running model restyled because the 1969 Manta Ray idea
- Manta Ray preserved on the GM Heritage Center
Chevy II Super Nova
- Introduced in 1964
- Previewed updates to the 1966 Chevy II and the 1967 Camaro
- Modeled a primitive model of on-board diagnostics (OBD)
- Disposition unknown