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

What’s a prototype?

A first or preliminary model of something (a machine), from which other forms are developed or formed.

The difference between "Prototypes" and "Specials" is sometimes hard to determine. This is how I decide where a car belongs: Specials were built with the purpose to be sold to the public, Prototypes are built for development and/or research purposes. With these simple rules, some cars are still hard to catalog (as I will explain below), but I hope you will still find everything you need on this site.

Some exotic, one of a kind Corvettes are mistaken for prototypes, while they’re actually modified production cars. Special VIP customers or large dealers sometimes ordered an option on a car that was not available on the option list. These cars were called ”COPO” or Central Office Production Order. Such a car is marked as a Special, since it’s built for the market. Another example of such a special built car is the FSO, Factory Shop Order or Fleet & Special Order. This car was modified in the factory to celebrate a special occasion like a best selling dealer, a charity donation, etc.

A more covertly used code is ”SO”, or Shop Order/Special Order. These were special orders placed by the GM Engineering or GM Styling department. Think of standard Corvettes with exotic engine or drivetrain parts in it or special styling tests, like the four seated C2 you will find on this site.

GM built quite a lot of test vehicles. To try out new looks, a new technology or just to test the reaction of the public to a new style for the next generation Corvette. Cars falling under this category were not meant to be sold. Prototypes can be non-functional clay mock ups, like the early C4 design study shown below.

They can also be fully functional vehicles, like the 1954 Motorama showcar line-up shown below. Most often, after the prototypes served their purpose, the order was given to destroy it. This way, a lot of them are gone now. However, quite a few survived because the order was not followed through or the scrap yard secretly kept the car.


© 2011 High Performance Web Sites. All Rights Reserved


Year by Year
Pace Cars

Other HRDU Sites

Hot Rod Events
Hot Rod History
Hot Rod Hall of Fame
Hot Rod Magazines
Hot Rod Books
Hot Rod Tech
Hot Rod Tours
Show Rods
Land Speed Australia
Land Speed America
LSR History
LSR Historians

More HRDU Sites

All About 1934 Chev's
48-53 Chev Pickup's
History of the Corvette
Car Spotters Guide
Monaro Shrine
Aussie Utes


About Hot Rods Down Under
Contact Us
Terms and Conditions
Site Map

Hot Rods Down Under