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TACOMA, Wash. (Aug. 1, 2013) – There will be loads of automotive all-stars at the Aug. 9 opening of the Chevrolet Corvette display at LeMay – America’s Car Museum (ACM), which celebrates the 60th anniversary of the American sports car classic. However, three of the vehicles will only be appearing for a limited engagement. The 1959 Stingray Racer, 1961 Mako Shark and 1969 Manta Ray, historic vehicles that laid the foundation for generations of Corvettes thereafter, will make their first Pacific Northwest appearance Aug. 9, 10 and 11 courtesy of the GM Heritage Center in Michigan. The cars will then be shipped south to participate in the Pebble Beach Concours the following weekend.
“Our Corvette exhibit, which will showcase the amazing power, performance and history of a true American masterpiece, will run through December,” says ACM founder and President David Madeira. “But we will only have the concept vehicles for one weekend, so sports car fans, Corvette lovers and people who appreciate classic automotive design should make plans to visit during that weekend.”
1959 Stingray Racer – This is a favorite of Tonight Show host and car buff Jay Leno, who says the vehicle is “the rarest and most valuable” Corvette in existence. Designed by GM’s former VP of Styling Bill Mitchell and automotive designer Larry Shinoda , the racecar was built to test handling ease and performance and served as the styling influence for the next-generation 1963 Corvette.
1961 Mako Shark – Another Mitchell-Shinoda collaboration, the blue and gray experimental vehicle with the “shark-like” appearance was inspired by the ’59 Stingray Racer and, in part, a Mako Shark caught by Mitchell in Florida. The sleek concept was a design presage of the ’63 Corvette, made a guest appearance on the television show Route 66 and many of its styling cues made it into production.
1969 Manta Ray – GM design head Mitchell, and his affinity for deep sea fishing, conceived the Manta Ray, which evolved from his 1965 Mako Shark II. The sports car’s distinctive redesign features a new front spoiler, reworked grill and side exhausts, with flying buttresses added to the rear to replace horizontal slats that were fitted to the back window.
“The GM Heritage Center is an amazing showplace and ACM is indebted to GM for allowing us to host three of its masterpieces,” says Madeira. “Beginning Aug. 9 and through the end of the year, ACM, in conjunction with the Northwest Chevy Dealers and generous donations from private collections, will be displaying all seven generation of the Corvette – a sports car that is loved and admired around the world.”
About LeMay – America’s Car Museum (www.lemaymuseum.org)
State Farm Presents LeMay – America’s Car Museum, which June, 2012 in downtown Tacoma, Wash., explores how the automobile has fulfilled a distinctive role at the core of the American experience and shaped our society. The spacious Museum with rotating exhibits is designed to be the centerpiece for automotive history as well as an educational center and library. The campus, located adjacent to the Tacoma Dome, also contains a 3.5-acre show field, theatre, café, banquet hall and meeting facilities. To get information on museum hours, becoming an ACM member, volunteer opportunities or to make a donation, visit www.lemaymuseum.org.