Friday, August 19, 2011
Car Of The Day: August 19, 2011
Today's car of the day is Topper Johnny Lightning's 1965 Chevrolet Mako Shark II.
The XP-755 Mako Shark concept car was designed by Larry Shinoda under the direction of General Motors Styling and Design head Bill Mitchell in 1961, as a concept for future Chevrolet Corvette production cars. In keeping with the name, the streamlining, pointed snout, and other detailing was partly inspired by the sleek, fast-moving shortfin mako shark. The '61 Corvette tail was given two additional tail lights (six total) for the concept car. The concept inspired the 1963 Corvette Sting-Ray.
For more information and pictures of the real car please visit: Chevrolet Corvette Mako Shark
This one joined my collection as a RAOK from bunkerjim (thanks Jim!). Topper's version of the Mako Shark is even more over the top than Chevrolet's original.
A widespread story has it that Mitchell had an actual mako shark mounted on the wall in his office, and ordered his team to paint the car to match the distinctive blue-gray upper surface gently blending into white underside of the fish. After numerous attempts to match the fish's color scheme failed, the team hit upon the idea of kidnapping the fish one night, painting it to match their best efforts on the car, and returning it to the office. Mitchell never realized the difference and pronounced himself pleased with the team's duplication on the car of nature's handiwork.
After a period, he removed the original body and redesigned it as the Mako Shark II in 1965. This concept influenced the redesigned C3 Corvette of 1968. The Mako Shark II debuted in 1965 as a show car. Chevrolet actually created two of them - only one of which was fully functional. The non-running show car (gallery) sported some interesting, futuristic details, such as square section side pipes and a squared-off steering wheel. While the functioning version didn't have these features, it did have a retractable rear spoiler, and a square section bumper that could be extended for added protection. The Mako Shark II was powered by a 427 Mark IV engine, which became available on production Corvette models. The paint scheme continued the Shark I tradition, with blue/gray on top and silver/white along the rocker panels. The original Mako Shark was then retroactively called the "Mako Shark I".
In 1969 the Mako Shark II was returned to GM design studios and transformed into the Manta Ray. Modifications include a front spoiler and redesigned grille and external exhaust pipes. Modifications were also made to the rear that included a buttress style rear window and a longer more horizontal end section. The Firestone tires were replaced with Goodyear tires. Both Mako I and Manta Ray are currently part of the GM Heritage Center Collection.