Brian Snelson, CC BY 2.0, resized
The ethereal, beautiful, and powerful Sting Ray
– Mechanically innovative
– One of the best-looking cars ever made
– The greatest Corvette ever made
When we’re talking about the ultimate classic Chevrolet, there are a lot of choice cars to discuss. The Camaro is the obvious candidate, but the Chevelle, the Bel Air, and the Impala all deserve mention. All of these pale in comparison to one other car. The Chevrolet Corvette C2, AKA, the Sting Ray.
The Sting Ray was based upon the Stingray Concept, designed by Pete Brock and Larry Shinoda. This was a car that was too insane for production. It featured an extremely aerodynamic body shape matched only by the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Stirling Moss, which came 50 years later. A full-length windshield and a passenger seat made it road legal, but only barely. The car that grew out of it would change the face of Chevrolet, and motoring, forever.
The birth of the Sting Ray
While the Stingray is the most obvious parent of the classic Chevrolet C2 Corvette, it’s not the only one. Another concept, the Q-Corvette, helped to shape the C2’s mechanicals. It contributed the ideas of independent rear suspension, hugely innovative at the time, and disc brakes on all four wheels.
GM’s aim with the C2 was to develop a lightweight racer, something speedier than the convertible GT of the C1. The design program that led to the Sting Ray, XP-720, also wanted to improve passenger comfort, luggage space, and a better ride.
To cut down on weight, the C2’s body panels were made of thinner fiberglass than its predecessors. Despite being shorter than the classic Chevrolet C1 Corvette, it had just as much room for its passengers, while a reinforcing steel girder made the cockpit more sturdy. The design was finalized by 1960, with wind tunnel testing being employed for the first time by Chevrolet, improving aerodynamics.
What made the Sting Ray great
The Sting Ray’s looks are instantly captivating. We challenge anyone to look at this car and not immediately want to own one. Its retro-futuristic looks are absolutely stunning. At the time, it looked like a machine from the far future. The curved, split rear windshield is one of our favorite parts, but there’s so much more to this car.
This classic Chevrolet was the first car since 1942 to feature hidden headlights. Faux vents on the rear pillars and hood helped project the image of this being a true race car. Inside, the traditional Corvette twin-cowl dash featured a bigger glovebox and a considerable set of gauges. Even the fuel filler cap is a work of art, hidden below the Chevrolet’s deck emblem.
Its retro-futuristic looks are absolutely stunning
Mechanically, the car featured a host of innovations. Steering was much improved over the C1 thanks to recirculating ball steering and its shorter wheelbase. This classic Chevrolet’s ride was much improved too, with its independent rear suspension carrying the differential on rubber-cushioned struts, which also helped grip on rough roads. Oh, and the 1967 models could hit 60 mph in just 4.7 seconds. This was a car for the ages.
Reception and legacy
This truly classic Chevrolet set the motoring world alight back in the 1960s. Critics couldn’t get enough of how it handled, its speed, and its grip. This wasn’t a stereotypical muscle car, fast on the straights but terrible at cornering; the Sting Ray could go toe-to-toe with European racers of the era. It was particularly praised for the mechanical ingenuity of its independent suspension, and the stopping power of the four-wheel disc brakes introduced in 1965.
Today, this classic Chevrolet model is remembered fondly by just about everyone who loves the Corvette. The Camaro may be one of the best muscle cars ever made, the Bel Air one of the prettiest full-sized cars, and the Impala a supreme cruiser, but if you’re looking for sheer speed combined with gorgeous looks, you can’t go wrong with the Sting Ray.
If you’re eager to get your hands on one today, be prepared to spend a lot of cash. It will be worth every penny.
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