Corvette Stingray (Concept car)

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Corvette Stingray
ManufacturerGeneral Motors
Production1959
ClassSports car (experimental)
Body style(s)2-door convertible

Stylist Bill Mitchell’s XP-87 "Stingray" project was a privately funded project that was to lead to the development of the next generation of the Chevrolet Corvette.

Design and development

The Corvette Stingray Racer was designed by Bill Mitchell, GM Vice President of styling, and Larry Shinoda in 1959. The basis of the "Stingray" was the 1957 Corvette SS, an engineering test mule chassis for the creation of an official Chevrolet race effort culminating with the 24 Hours of LeMans. Soon after its race debut, the Automobile Manufacturer's Association banned manufacturer-sponsored racing, and the SS had been relegated to test track duty.

The Stingray used elements of the still-born "Q-Corvette" design study as well as the SS underpinnings, featuring a 92-inch (2,337 mm) wheelbase. The new car was exceptionally light, with a dry weight of 2,200 pounds, nearly 1,000 lb (450 kg) lighter than a 1960 production car. Its fuel-injected 283 cubic inch (4.6 L) V-8 engine produced 315 horsepower (235 kW) at 6,200 rpm. The Stingray's body design strongly influenced the styling of the next generation Corvette, which saw production as a 1963 model year. It also was a test bed for many technical developments with a four-speed manual transmission, extensive use of aluminum and a de Dion rear suspension. The Stingray exists today with a 327 cubic inch (5.4 L), fuel-injected V-8 of 375 hp (280 kW).

Operational history

Billed as a car "built to test handling ease and performance," Mitchell arranged to race the car quite extensively. In the hands of Dr. Dick Thompson, it made its debut at Maryland's Marlboro Raceway on 18 April 1959, finishing in fourth place. It went on to win an SCCA National Championship in 1960.

The Stingray was then retired from racing and modified by Mitchell with, among other things, a passenger seat added. The modified vehicle was exhibited as an experimental show car even while Mitchell regularly drove it personally on weekends. After its career as a concept car was finished, it was retained by the GM Design Studio as a historically significant vehicle.

Specifications (1959 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Racer)

  • Year: 1959
  • Make: Chevrolet
  • Model: Corvette Stingray Racer
  • Frame:Space frame
  • Body: Fiberglass
  • Engine location: Front
  • Drive type: Rear wheel
  • Weight: 2,200 lb (1,000 kg)
  • Engine
    • Engine configuration: V
    • Cylinders: 8
    • Aspiration/Induction: Normal
    • Displacement: 283.00 in³ | 4638 cc
    • Valvetrain: OHV
    • Power: 315 hp (235 kW) @ 6200 rpm
    • Torque: 295.00 ft·lbf (400 N·m) @ 4700 rpm
    • Power to weight ratio: 7.0 lb/hp
    • Power to volume ratio: 68.5 bhp/L
    • Bore: 3.87 in | 98.3 mm
    • Stroke: 3.00 in | 76.2 mm
    • Compression Ratio: 11.0:1

References

  • Friedman, Dave and Paddock, Lowell C. Corvette Grand Sport: Photographic Race Log of the Magnificent Chevrolet Corvette Factory Specials 1962-1967. St. Paul, Minnesota: MBI Publishing Co., 1989. ISBN 0-87938-382-8.
  • Mueller, Mike. Corvette Milestones. St. Paul, Minnesota: MBI Publishing Co., 1996. ISBN 0-7603-0095-X.
  • Nichols, Richard. Corvette: 1953 to the Present. London: Bison Books, 1985. ISBN 0-86124-218-1.

External links

See also