1969 Corvette Stingray - Designed Like a Mako Shark

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    The 1969 Corvette Stingray , patterned after the Mako Shark II concept car, was a third generation Corvette.

    The car was lampooned by the auto press for its shoddy general built, small trunk space (fortunately, rear rack was installed to make up for that), styling eccentricities, and overall lack of finesse. Despite that, '69 Corvette outsold the previous year model by more than 10,000 units, to a handsome figure of more than 38,000, a Vette record that stood for 7 years.

    Two great engines saved it for them: the 327 cid and three incarnations of the big-block 427, with ratings of 390 to 435 horsepower. The hottest L88 version with the special aluminum-head peaked at 160 mph,  race-ready from the showroom floor and rated at a modest 430 bhp, its price of $1,032 price attracted just 116 buyers. For would-be buyers desiring more power, there was always the 500 bhp ZL1, a 170 mph racing option package that only attracted two buyers. They did not come with a heater to discourage amateur racers.

    Changes for the '68 to '69 Corvette were minor. The steering-wheel diameter was trimmed an inch, the pushbutton door openers ("thumb busters" from 1968) are dropped, the ignition switch is now mounted on the column instead of the dash, a flexible, three-section map pocket was installed on the dash to make up for the lack of a proper glovebox.

    1969 Corvette Stingray

    Half of 1969 production were coupes with twin lift-off roof panels and a removable window - making this Stingray almost a convertible. The 1969 Corvette Coupe outsells the convertible for the first time by 6,000 units. A major drawback of the 1969 Vette was its sharply raked seats, which prevented the arm-out-of-the-window pose - a Vette owner tradition. Fortunately, the glove compartment had been standard since the previous year, although the telescopic tilt column and leather trim were optional extras.

    Bill Michell, the American automobile designer, whose brainchild the Corvette Stingray was based on the prototype in 1960 called the Mako Shark based the 1969 Corvette Stingray on a further prototype in 1966. His love for the shark look excited him to produce the Stingray.

    Production  38,762

    Body Styles  Two-seater sports and convertible.

    Construction  Fiberglass, separate chassis.

    Engines  327cid, 427cid V8s.

    Power Output  300-500 bhp.

    Transmission  Three-speed manual, optional four-speed manual, or three-speed Turbo Hydra-Matic automatic.

    Suspension  Front: upper and lower A-arms, coil springs; Rear: independent with transverse strut and leaf springs.

    Brakes  Front and rear discs.

    Maximum Speed  117-170 mph.

    0-60 mph  5.7-7.7 sec

    A.F.C.  10 mpg

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