History of the 1960 GM Stingray
(predecessor to the '63 production Sting Ray)
Bill Mitchell had been heavily involved with preparation of the late 50's GM Motorama show cars. When he succeeded retiring Harley Earl as chief of GM styling in 1958, he created the XP-700 show car. About the same time, Mitchell began designing a body for the Sebring SS "mule" chassis using the design of a styling study, a roadster known as the "Q" model. Assistant Larry Shinoda adapted the lines of the Q-model to create Mitchell's new race car. Mitchell wanted to call the car a Corvette but GM brass overruled him, so he called it the "Stingray Special". (note that Stingray is one word)
The Sebring SS "Mule" was a vehicle that Zora Arkus-Duntov had prepared for the 12-hour Sebring race in 1957 and was driven at one point by Sterling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio. It was being readied for a trip to Le Mans but the venture was cancelled when the GM ban on racing became effective.
This car became Bill Mitchell's "baby" and he actually had to purchase the car from GM when they initiated their "official" ban on racing involvement in the late 50's. He then funded the racing of this car largely with his own money and the car bore no Chevrolet identification on its body at that time. It was driven by Dr. Richard Thompson in 1959/1960 and, powered by a 283 c.i. engine, won the SCCA Class C sports/racing national championship.
After its brief racing career, the car was returned to Mitchell who had it completely rebuilt, painted silver and given silver leather seats. It was also fitted with curved plastic windscreens and dual racing-style mirrors. On each side, a single large chrome exhaust pipe ran along the rocker panel beneath the door, which was cut higher than normal. The hood and front fenders, and also the entire rear deck tilted up as single units. In this form, the car toured the show circuit and created quite a stir. Mitchell later had the car converted for his own personal use, and Duntov also used it to test the new 427 c.i. engine. After that, the car was once again rebuilt and put back on the show car circuit.
Mitchell convinced GM's board of directors that a design based on this car would sell to the public.... and how right he was!! The design became the 1963 Sting Ray, which, along with its successors has become some of the most desirable collector vehicles.
Bill Mitchell, by the way, was also the 'father' of the Buick Riviera, spearheading the design of the original model which started production in 1963. This original design remained essentially unchanged through 1965.

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