The 50th anniversary of the Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray will be celebrated at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance 2013, to be held March 8-10 in Amelia Island, Florida.
By 1963 the Corvette had existed for a decade, but the addition of Chevy’s small-block V-8 engine, and the close attention of General Motors engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov, created a world-class sports car that was sold from the showrooms of the world’s largest automaker.
On its introduction the Sting Ray instantly made everything else look old, staid or tired. Its shape was the happy offspring of gifted design and the no-limits styling direction of GM Vice President, Bill Mitchell. The Mitchell Sting Ray, which won the 1960 Sports Car Club of America’s C Modified National Championship, was driven by the ‘Flying Dentist’, Dr. Dick Thompson. Upon retiring as an active race car, the original Sting Ray was given a coat of bright red paint and driven regularly on the streets of Bloomfield Hills by Mitchell. The car was also driven by a young Elvis Presley in the movie, Clambake. It was this car that influenced the striking and innovative design of the 1963 production car. Underneath all that leading edge styling, was an independent rear suspension, with design roots in the new wave of rear engine grand prix cars of the late Fifties. Good weight distribution, lots of horsepower and a friendly price tag made the new Sting Ray an overnight hit. The Sting Ray bumped Corvette sales by 50 percent in 1963.
It didn’t hurt that Chevy gave their new sports car the perfect name: STING RAY. When the Corvette was restyled again in 1967 the Sting Ray name was dropped; the legions who loved the Sting Ray nameplate protested. That marketing miscue lasted just one model year. “STINGRAY”, now one word, returned to Chevy showrooms in 1969. The name has since become synonymous with Corvette.
“The Sting Ray changed everything,” said Amelia Island Concours Founder and Chairman Bill Warner, “More power and a longer options list made the Sting Ray better, not bloated. Men liked it, women liked it and you could get a Sting Ray serviced at any Chevy dealer. That’s the real brilliance of the Sting Ray’s world class performance. It didn’t hurt that the new sports car actually looked crisp, fresh, and beautiful.”
To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of this sports car, noted designers Peter Brock and General Motors Vice President of Global Design, Ed Welburn will head a 90 minute seminar on the development of the ground breaking design on Friday, March 8th in the ballroom of The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island.
The 2013 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will be held March 8-10, on the 10th and 18th fairways of The Golf Club of Amelia Island at Summer Beach adjacent to The Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. The show’s Foundation has donated over $2 million to Community Hospice of Northeast Florida, Inc. and other charities on Florida’s First Coast since its inception in 1986.
For more information, visit www.ameliaconcours.org.
[Source: Amelia Island Concours; photo: General Motors]