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Corvette concepts on display this week at Bowling Green museum

Mon, 31 Aug 2009

OK, Corvette lovers, here's your chance to view some all-time classic concepts.

The 1961 Mako Shark Concept, the 1965 Manta Ray Concept, 1973 Aerovette Concept and 1959 Stingray Racer are all on display this week at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky. It's celebrating its 15th anniversary by showcasing the four concept Corvettes.

The Mako Shark is remembered for its streamlined design, pointed snout and detailing that made it look as fast as the fish it was named after. The concept includes six rear lights, a long, pointed nose and a clear glass roof with a periscope-inspired rearview mirror.

The Mako Shark II is what spawned the Manta Ray design. The Ray sports a boattail with hints of the Shark's cockpit. It started as a General Motors designer's idea and underwent subtle changes that made it into a concept.

In 1976, the 1973 Corvette 4-Rotor concept was dusted off and renamed the Aerovette, but the double rotary engine was replaced with a transversally mounted 400-cid V8 engine. GM CEO Thomas Murphy actually approved the Aerovette for 1980 production, but in the end, it was nixed because of its risky design.

The Stingray Racer was a pet project of GM Design head Bill Mitchell. At the time, the AMA banned manufacturer-sponsored racing, so Mitchell spent his own time and money on this project. The result was a combination of a 1957 SS chassis with a new fiberglass body. SCCA driver Dick Thompson piloted the Stingray to two consecutive class championships.

The display runs Sept. 1-9. For more information visit,

By Angie Favot