Every time GM gets close to releasing the new generation of the Corvette and begins to build concept cars like the 1965 Mako Shark II, the rumor mill begins to go full throttle. Just take a look at how ramped speculation has become with the C7 generation that is due to come out in the next couple of years. But for all the speculation that goes on, GM remains tight lipped about what will be what.
There are times however, that GM will hide their new design ideas right in front of the world. When this happens they simply neither confirm nor deny anything or they will lead the Corvette Nation down a path of false promises and misdirection.
In the case of what would eventually become the “Stingray” the cues were indeed hidden in plain sight in the form of the 1965 Mako Shark II concept. While the finished product of the 1968 Corvette was different in many ways there was simply no denying the fact that the C3 generation of the Corvette was getting all of its ideas from the Mako Shark II Concept.
The 1965 Mako Shark II concept was so popular when it first appeared at car shows that it had the entire Corvette faithful buzzing and many practically demanding that the brass at GM put the car into production. Bill Mitchell and Larry Shinoda had created two Mako concepts for showcasing; one was a full runner and the other was only a mock up. The only difference between the two was that the mock up had massive side pipes and some other showcasing goodies and the runner did not.
The concept car seemed to take styling hints from an actual Mako shark which would explain the name. Mitchell had caught a massive Mako shark on a fishing expedition earlier and Shinoda was fascinated by the picture and the tough looking sea creature and incorporated many of the shark’s features into the prototype car.
As GM likes to do, the concept Mako Shark II also had something that would be used in the upcoming model year’s production. Distinct lettering on the hood hinted that a brand new engine was in the works and in fact it was the Mark IV big block that powered the concept and would also power the next model year of the Vette.
When the 1968 Corvette came out the end result was basically the same as the 1965 Mako Shark II concept, at least from the belt line down. The overall shaping of the two was similar, but the Corvette of 1968 had softer contours.
For all the hype that the 1965 Mako Shark II created no one was prepared for such a similar new generation of the Corvette to come out. But that’s what makes speculating so interesting and fun. Many conjured up their idea of what the C3 would look like but few thought that GM had already given them a practical actual taste of the real thing in 1965. When 1968 rolled around some may have loved the new Vette and some maybe didn’t like it so much, but what was to follow was the longest running generation of the Corvette that would see many highs and lows but prove to stand the test of time.
Once again GM has come out with a concept car in the 2009 Stingray and many are speculating that this will be the new Vette. GM is saying no, but then again they say maybe just a little bit. Either way let the rumors continue and in the end only time will tell if GM hid the new generation in plain sight like they did with the 1965 Mako Shark II concept or if they go in a totally different direction.