What’s a prototype?
1951 How it all began
1952 Corvette EX-122
1954 Corvette Corvair Motorama showcar
1954 Corvette Hardtop Motorama Showcar
1954 Corvette Nomad Motorama Showcar
1955 Corvette Biscayne Show Car
1956 Harlow Curtis SR-2 Lookalike
1956 Corvette Impala Show Car
1956 Corvette SR-2 Sebring Racer
1952 EX-122 Concept Car
1957 Q Corvette
1957 Corvette SS Show Car
1957 Corvette SS XP-64
1958 XP-700
1959 Stingray Racer XP-87
1959 Corvette Stingray
1961 Corvette Mako Shark XP-755
1962 C2 Prototype XP-720
1962 Four Seat Stingray Corvette XP-720 2+2
1963 Corvette Rondine Pininfarina Coupe
1963 Corvette Grand Sport
1963 Wedge Corvette Split Windshield
1964 World’s Fair Styling Study
1964 Clay model for '66 update
1964 Grand Sport GS-II(b)
1964 CERV II
1964 Pontiac Banshee XP-833
1964 Corvette XP-819 Rear Engine
1965 Corvette Mako Shark XP-830
1966 Mid Engine Styling Proposal
1967 Astro I
1968 Corvette Astro-Vette
1968 Astro II-XP-880 mid engine
1969 Astro III
1969 Manta Ray
1969 Mid Engine XP-882
1970 Scirocco Showcar
1970 Corvette XP-882
1973 Corvette 2 rotor XP-897-GT
1973 Reynolds XP-895
1973 Corvette 4 rotor XP-882
1973 Corvette XP-898
1974 Mulsanne Showcar
1976 Corvette XP-882
1979 Turbo Corvette
1978 Corvette Astro-Vette
1980 Turbo Corvette
1982 4th Generation Concepts
1984 Bertone Ramarro
1985 Corvette Indy
1986 GTP Corvette
1987 Corvette Geneve
1989 Corvette DR-1
1989 Corvette ZR-2
1990 Corvette Conan ZR-12 V12
1990 Bertone Nivola
1991 ZR-1 Snake Skinner
1992 Stingray III
2001 Corvette Tiger Shark
2003 Corvette Italdesign Moray
2009 Sideswipe

Chervolet XP-700

Designed and built under the personal supervision of Bill Mitchell, the wild-looking XP-700 used many regular Corvette components, such as the frame, chassis parts and engine. Bill Mitchell had a lot of “customs” built for himself. This XP-700 previewed the new tail of the upcoming 1961 Corvette. The elliptical grille cavity strongly resembled that of a one-off Ferrari 250GT by Pininfarina. The fiberglass body was extensively redesigned with a “grand prix” appearance. The long, low front overhang, large air scoops, exposed frontal areas and wire wheels with racing hubs were a few of the ‘grand prix’ touches.

The XP-700 received the blessing of management and was going to be used to travel the show car circuit after it had been Mitchell’s personal car for a year. Before this, the car received an extensive remodelling.

The grille cavity was refashioned in a more elliptical shape and the car was resprayed metallic gold. The front under-tray air scoop seems inspired by aircraft design. Harley Earl liked bubble-tops, hence the XP-700’s Plexiglass top.

The bubble-shaped laminated plastic canopy – coated with vaporized aluminum to help block the sun’s rays – was one of the most memorable features of the car. A metal strut in the center of the canopy featured louvered vents, which enhanced circulation in the passenger compartment. Among the more exotic concepts: An overhead mirror, mounted above the windshield with a viewing porthole in the roof structure. The rear end styling influenced the second generation Corvette models.

Automotive enthusiasts can thank Bill Mitchell for a lot of things. The charismatic, often tyrannic Mitchell served as GM's vice president of design from 1958 through 1977. Many of the best-ever Corvettes (not to mention many, many other important GM products) were created on his watch. Some were personal pet projects, like the original Mako Shark, which later became the new-for-'68 Corvette. One less than successful venture was this XP-700 concept car that bowed at the New York Auto Show in April 1960.

The XP-700 clearly stemmed from the '60 Vette, then went on a bit of a rampage from there. While its ducktail rear end foreshadowed the look worn by the '61-'62 models, the front resembled botched plastic surgery. Aircraft canopy-style "bubble tops" were the rage of the day, so the XP-700 got one. Mitchell and company then fished up an incoherent variety of air intakes and glued them to the nose and flanks. The sidepipe exhausts and wire wheels were decidedly Euro-racer touches-inspired by the Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, perhaps? The coolest detail was the XP's "periscope rearview mirror, which provides a completely unobstructed view of the road behind."

GM brass wisely elected to obstruct any further view of the overly festooned XP-700. And what we got instead was magic: the '63 "split-window" Sting Ray.

- Matt Stone

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