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

1992 Stingray III

In 1989, design honcho Chuck Jordan staged an internal competition between three studios to style the C5 Corvette. His favorite was that penned by the newly established Advanced Concept Center in Southern California. This roadster explored a radical rethink of the Corvette's proportions, stretching the wheelbase 6.7 inches and the width 3.3 inches, bobbing the tail by some four inches, and pulling the steeply raked windshield way forward. The seats were fixed in place, and the steering wheel and pedals moved. A unique safety idea was a rollover bar that popped up when needed (Mercedes and BMW have offered the same feature in recent years).

The original running prototype proposed fitting a high-output V-6 engine (which may have influenced the odd three-spoke, three-lug wheels), but by its 1992 Detroit show debut it was packing 300 horses' worth of LT-1 V-8 muscle.

The active suspension's optical sensors shine four beams of white light down from the undercarriage and the car also has four-wheel steering. The seating position, rakish windshield, and accelerative force would all feel familiar to a Lamborghini or mid-engine Ferrari owner.

Climbing into the fixed seats is made easier by low side sills and an instrument-panel pod that articulates up when the door opens for improved knee clearance. The seatbacks are raked to a nearly recumbent position, and the hybrid analog/digital gauges are visible over the top of the small, fat steering wheel. Organic dash forms and featureless door panels surround occupants without crowding them.

The car was considered for production, but the $300,000-plus price tag was deemed prohibitive for a Chevy--even a 225-mph one. Elements of the three different Corvette proposals were blended into the final design of the C5. If he were here, Bill Mitchell would probably counsel his successors that this amalgamated committee approach was responsible for the lukewarm reception the 1997 Corvette's styling received. And he'd probably coach current design chief Ed Welburn to take just one more stab at a mid-engine, fixed-seat Corvette dream car.

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