Corvette Mako Shark II
The Corvette Mako Shark II
‘As an overall design it kind of fills the mental outlines
of the car Kato always had ready in that seemingly abandoned warehouse
for the Green Hornet to rocket off into the night.’ -Hot Rod
The Mako Shark II show car made it’s first public appearance at the New York International Auto Show in April, 1965.
It’s lines were the culmination of two beasts of the oceans, the Manta Ray and the Great White Shark. It was timeless.
This was GM’s design chief William Mitchell’s greatest achievement. It was the ultimate example of Mitchell’s demands of his designers when he told them to make every car they design ‘look like it’s moving when it’s standing still!’
As a show car, it contained many gadgets of that period in history.
As Mitchell’s car, it was road worthy. It’s initial designs began as soon as the Split Window’63 Coupe was in production.
It had a tilt front end and a one piece removable roof panel, true knock-off aluminum wheels, and a 427 cubic inch Mark IV big block engine mated to a then unavailable turbohydromatic three speed automatic transmission.
The interior contained controls for remote control operation of the automatic transmission, a digital read-out for the speedometer and fuel gauge, and stereo speakers in the headrests for the driver and passenger.
The rear end continued the “boat-tail” theme, but now with esthetic slats.
From a switch in the interior, a flush panel would become operational and block the rear license plate from view.
This concept was quite popular with the ‘street racing’ crowd!
Also with the touch of a switch, the rear bumper could be extended for parking protection, and a concealed aerodynamic aid could be deployed.
The rear spoiler was adjustable from the drivers seat for improved high speed stability!! All of these concepts are dated from 1965!!
The Mako Shark II was such an incredible hit, that work was begun right away for a production model for the 1967 model year.
Initial high speed tests revealed that the car was unstable at high speeds. The nose was too low, the front fenders were too high and obstructed the drivers visibility. Rear visibility was next to nothing and the overall ‘lift’ of the car at speed was unacceptable.
So much work needed to be done that there just wasn’t enough time for a 1967 introduction for the new body style. 1968 would be the year that we would all see the newest Corvette.
The front and rear fenders were more proportional, visibility was good, lift was minimal with the standard front air dam, and of course, the legendary 427 big block engine was available in FIVE different versions.
The new body style assured enthusiasts success on the street, strip, and road racing courses.
It was truly a winner in every sense of the word. This new body style made the Corvette a bonafide 200 MPH car. The Corvette was finally on it’s way to greatness as a production sports car.
Zora’s dreams were finally coming true, as the Corvette began it’s assault on the raceways of America and the world. It would attain greatness in GT racing and club racing in the SCCA.
The dream of walking into a Chevrolet dealership, buying a Corvette with the proper options, prepping it, racing it at the speedways, and emerging victorious against the world’s finest was finally here!!