WHAT IS A CORVETTE STINGRAY REALLY?
Thank you for stopping by here at Hobby Car Corvettes in Martinsburg, PA. This week we want to talk about the history behind the Stingray emblem. While the Stingray is commonly thought of as a model of Corvette, that’s not quite the case.
Let’s dive into the history and making of the Corvette Stingray.
HOW THE STINGRAY CAME TO BE
The wheels set in motion for the creation of the beloved Stingray in 1957.
The Corvette SS (Super Spyder) was a racing car project headed by Zora Arkus-Duntov, the Father of Corvette. This project was born out of an effort to to get Chevrolet involved in racing. This Corvette SS was meant to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Before achieving this goal, the Automobile Manufacturers Association banned manufacturer-sponsored racing, retiring the SS to be merely a test mule chassis.
Bill Mitchell, ever the racing enthusiast, was not pleased with the AMA ruling. Ever the rebel, he continued to work on the SS in his secret studios, with the help of Pete Brock and Larry Shinoda. This venture came to be known as the Mitchell Sting Ray Racer Concept project.
In addition to pulling inspiration from the retired SS, Mitchell also used many of the design concepts he suggested for use on the Q Corvette project, another project forced to retire before reaching the finish line.
It was this privately funded project that laid the solid foundation for the second generation Corvette Stingray.
1959 XP-87 STING RAY RACER
In 1959, Mitchell debuted the Stingray Racer concept car, and the public was blown away. This concept car of course was not available for public purchase. It was, however, Mitchell’s weekend driver.
FIRST CAME THE STING RAY (1963-1967)
By 1963, the second generation of Corvettes was launched, officially introducing the Sting Ray to Corvette enthusiasts for purchase. Initially, the classic Stingray we know, was labeled as a Sting Ray; two words, not one.
THEN CAME THE STINGRAY (1969-1976)
In 1968, when the third generation of Corvettes launched, the 1968 model bore no Sting Ray OR Stingray emblem. However, in 1969, Corvettes once again bore the emblem, but it was rebranded to Stingray, the single word identifier we know today.
A STINGRAY REBORN
Up until 2009, the only Stingray emblems you would find would be on vintage Corvettes, years 1963-1967, and 1969-1976. In honor of the 50 year anniversary of the original 1959 XP-87 Stingray Racer concept car, Corvette revealed a newly designed 2009 Stingray Concept Car.
Five years later, in 2014, the seventh generation of Corvettes was introduced to the public, and reintroduced the Stingray name. The 2014 Corvette was the first Corvette available for purchase to bear the Stingray emblem since 1976.
THE BODY STYLE OF THE STING RAY
Contrary to popular belief, the Corvette Stingray is not so much a Corvette model, as it is a body style. The Stingray emblem was attached to 15 Corvette Years between the C2 and C3 Corvettes, the former bearing the Sting Ray emblem, and the latter bearing the Stingray emblem.
The Sting Ray combined elements from both the SS Racer and the Q Corvette. The new car was very light at 2,200 pounds. This new Corvette design had a highly styled fiberglass body and was smaller than the first generation of Corvettes.
From 1963-1982, the design influences that the actual oceanic sting ray had on the Corvette Stingray were visually notable in the raised fenders and the curved body lines.
At the end of 1976, the emblem was dropped in an effort to save money, but the public did not receive this change well. Dealers were literally drilling holes into customer’s new Corvettes and adding the old emblems back, to complete the sale to a happy Corvette customer. GM quickly came out with the cross flags emblem as a replacement. Despite the removal of the Stingray emblem, the Stingray body style continued through 1982.
Here at Hobby Car Corvettes, we are big fans of the Corvette Stingray! We imagine you are too, since we find you here reading this post, so we invite you to check out the impressive Sting Rays and Stingrays we have on our sales floor and in our private collection. If you want to be the proud owner of your very own Corvette Stingray, reach out today and let’s start the conversation!