It’s one of the legendary stories of American car history—how, one day, head of General Motors Styling, William Mitchell, was out fishing off the Florida coast when he reeled in a short-fin mako shark. So smitten was he with this beautiful fish that he had it mounted on display in his office— its shimmering blue-to-white, graduated scales inspiring one of the most famous show cars General Motors ever produced.
The XP-755 was a glorious and arch two-seater roadster seemingly perfect for California living—a heady mixture of Italianate lines, racing car inspiration, and custom car detailing.
Outshining even the pointed prow and stern of the car, the snug cockpit with its panoramic windshield, transparent double- bubble hardtop with periscope rear mirror, and ostentatious exhaust pipes festooned along the body sides, the car’s paintjob was breathtaking. A deep dark metallic blue on the top half of the body gradually faded to gleaming white, matching the oceanic shark’s coloring.
Far from being a simple show exhibit, the XP-755, later christened Mako Shark I, was an important interim Corvette development. Clearly developing the theme of the 1961 Sting Ray Spider race/show car of 1961, the Mako Shark paved the way stylistically for the slightly toned-down 1963 Corvette Sting Ray cars, both designed for Mitchell by Larry Shinoda. The Mako Shark’s supercharged engine was later swapped for a standard Chevrolet V8.
“The iridescent blue top body fading to a white underbody was a real challenge for the paint technology of the day, but, when you look back, it was really a show-stopper.”
Larry Shinoda, Designer Of The Mako Shark I
Video: Model of the car Chevrolet Corvette Mako Shark Xp-755
Specification: Model of the car Chevrolet Corvette Mako Shark Xp-755
YEAR REVEALED: 1962
PLACE OF ORIGIN: Detroit, Michigan
HISTORICAL STATUS: prototype
ENGINE: V8-cylinder, 328ci (5,360cc)
MAXIMUM POWER: 456bhp
LAYOUT: front-mounted engine driving the rear wheels
BODYWORK: two-door, two-seater roadster
TOP SPEED: unknown
NUMBER BUILT: one