Larry Shinoda – Corvettes Designs

I ran across on ton and thought I pass it along. If only they made some of these!!!  You got to check out the 1991 C4 body.

Wow – Thanks for reading.  Tim

A Look Back At Corvettes Designed by Larry Shinoda

Dateline: 3.30.12

Hot rodder Shinoda teams up with Bill Mitchell and defined the “Corvette look.”

Perhaps it was “in the stars” that Larry Shinoda was in the right place at the right time. If you strictly look at Shinoda’s resume in 1956, you might ask, “How did this guy get in the front door?” As a young man, the only thing Larry ever graduated from was high school, Army boot camp, and the School of Hard Knocks. Twelve-year-old Larry had his life turned inside out when along with thousands of Japanese-Americans, he and his family were sent to interment camps for the duration of WW II. The experience had a profound effect on his personality. A self-professed “malcontent” Shinoda could be a little difficult to work with.

After his Army tour of duty in Korea, Shinoda attended Art Center School of Design in Los Angeles, but truly hated being there. He could see no purpose in taking the classes in design and the various art mediums, such as watercolor painting. He was a car guy/hot rodder and he wanted to draw and design cars! So he left Art Center without graduating and based strictly on his car illustrations, landed a job at Ford, then Studebaker/Packard. Just a year after starting his career, he landed a job as a designer at General Motors.

The rest is the stuff of legend. Street racing and blowing the doors off of Bill Mitchell’s souped up Buick and quickly being taken under Mitchell’s wing. Things like that happens, but rarely. There was obviously some chemistry between the two men, perhaps it was because both men could be brash and had strong opinions.

Shinoda got his first big break when Mitchell tapped the 28-year-old to translate the body design of the ‘57 Q-Corvette on to the mule chassis from Duntov’s aborted Corvette SS project. The finished car became Mitchell’s 1959 Stingray Racer, which formed the styling theme for the ‘63 Corvette. From there, Shinoda got one peach project after another. It’s worth noting that the design of the Stingray Racer is held in such high esteem that current Corvette chief designer, Tom Peters (C6 Corvette and late model Camaro designer) is on record stating that his ‘09 Corvette Stingray Concept (aka Transformers Corvette) was influenced by the ‘59 Stingray.

During his almost 13 years at GM, Larry designed numerous special Corvettes, Corvairs, and several race cars, as well as his usual duties working out the styling details of various production cars. Presented here are Larry Shinoda’s most important Corvette designs. Later this week, we’ll take a look at Larry’s very slick Corvairs, and race cars, including the body design for Pat Flaherty’s 1956 Indy 500-winning Watson-Offenhauser.– Scott

1959 Stingray Racer
The 1959 Stingray Racer is still a stunningly beautiful car design. The idea of a “broad, flat top surface” was to create a reverse airfoil that would pull the car down. The problem was that the sharp leading edge was too high and at high speed, more air was knifing under the car rather than going over the car, causing a serious front lift problem. The production Sting Rays and even the Grand Sport Corvettes all had the same trouble. This could have been corrected with a slight forward rake, if the nose had drooped down a n inch or so, and a chin spoiled was added. The Grand Sport replica cars from Duntov Motors use these corrections and front end stays where it belongs at high speed – DOWN.

1963 Sting Ray Concept Art
The road to fully worked out new car designs was littered with concept art – most of which was probably thrown away. Here we see a headlight treatment study. Sorting out the production car’s rotating hidden-headlight design was a brilliant but challenging project. Note the absence of hood lines and windshield wipers. It also looks like they were considering scoops on the back edge of the doors.

1961 Mako Shark I Showcar – AKA “The Corvette Shark”

With the basic Sting Ray design approved for production, Bill Mitchell had Shinoda design an exaggerated version for a teaser show car. Known today as the Mako Shark-I, the car’s original name was simply, “Corvette Shark.” 1961 was still the “Jet Age,” so the car was originally shown with a plexi bubble top. It was kind of “Jetsons” neat-looking, but would anyone really want one for their daily driver?

1963 4-Seater Sting Ray Split-Window Coupe

The XP-720 4-Seater Corvette Sting Ray was an exploration into the possibility of the Corvette competing with the much better-selling Ford Thunderbird. Ed Cole, head of the GM car and truck group, thought it was a pretty good idea. After all, GM is in the business of selling cars – LOTS of cars. Since the public bought 73,051 Thunderbirds in 1961, compared to 10, 939 Corvettes, it seemed like a no-brainer. The story goes that a tall executive got stuck in the back seat and needed quite a bit of help getting out. The 4-seater concept was quickly dropped. Good!

1963 Production Corvette Sting Ray Split-Window Coupe

Look at 1963 cars from America and Europe and there’s NOTHING like the Corvete Sting Ray. The split-window was one of Bill Mitchell’s pet design elements and was a one year deal. Although the design concept of a “split rear window” wasn’t new with the Sting Ray (the 1950 VW Beetle had a “split” rear window), the overall presentation of the Split-Window Coupe Sting Ray looked like NOTHING else.

1964 XP-819 Rear-Engine Corvette Engineering Study

The Corvair was the only production car to come out of Ed Cole’s ‘57 Q-Chevrolet initiative and was considered very exotic when it came out in 1960. But trouble quickly set in and it wasn’t just Ralph Nader’s doing. The early Corvairs were not good cars. But the “rear-engine” concept was very alluring to Chevy engineer Frank Winchell. Frank insisted that with the correct size tires the inherent oversteering problem could be corrected. Winchell envisioned a rear-engine Corvette and Zora Duntov said, “No!” To prove his point, Winchell had Shinoda design a pretty body to cover the big V8 engine hanging out behind the trans-axle. Upon seeing Shinoda’s rough full-size drawing, Duntov asked, “Where did you cheat?” Where he cheated was that there were no real rear bumpers or crash zone on the back end. The concept was quickly dropped. it was also discovered that the car did excellent wheelies!

1966 Running Mako Shark-II Showcar

Bill Mitchell verbalized the parameters of the design and Larry Shinoda and a small group of designers and stylists worked out the details. It was as if lightning had struck twice – first with the Sting Ray and a few years later with the Mako Shark-II. The exaggerated fender humps have become THE signature Corvette profile. A non-running full-size version was shown to GM’s management in ‘65 and received unanimous approval as the next Corvette. While the new body and interior designs were being worked out, a second “running” Mako Shark-II was built to keep the Corvette fans stoked. Almost 50 years later, the Mako Shark-II is still a jaw-dropper!

1991 Mears-Shinoda C4 Corvette Body Kit

Larry left GM in 1968, stayed at Ford for one year, then formed his own design studio where he worked on all kinds of automotive and non-automotive design projects. Corvette body kits and add-on parts became very popular though the ‘70s and ‘80s. Three-time Indy 500 winner, Rick Mears teamed up with Shinoda and businessman Jim Williams in 1991 to create and offer the Rick Mears Special Edition Corvette.

Arguably the cleanest full-body-kit ever offered for a C4 Corvete, the coupe version lowered the coefficient of drag on the car from .34 to .30. The complete kit cost approximately $5,200, plus $3,000 for installation, and around $1,000 for a new paint job. With a cost of just over 10 grand on top of a $32,455 new ‘91 Corvette, there weren’t many takers. But, it was a very nice design.

Shinoda C5 Sting Ray Concept

The all-new C5 1997 Corvette was released in the Fall of ‘96 and Larry Shinoda got right on it. Note the date on the rendering, “1-6-97.” Obviously, Larry wanted to see more “Sting Ray” in the new C5. If you’re a mid-year Corvette fan, Shinoda’s concept looks pretty good. Larry died the following November and to the best of my knowing, there was never an effort to make a full-body kit based on what may well have been Larry’s last Corvette design project. Any fiberglass fabricators out there that would like to take a shot at the Shinoda C5 Sting Ray???

Gorgeous ˜Wood Vehicles 1948 – Part III

Continuing with this series we’ll look at what Pontiac offered up in 1948 as a woody.

In a previous blog entry (Project Pontiac 1949 Silver Streak Delivery Van I gave you a look at a Silver Streak owned by a co-worker.

1949 Silver Streak

Well one year earlier Pontiac offered the Silver Streak as a woody.

Side the big fenders.

That is a lot of wood on that woody.

These were low production cars with most being build on the 6 cylinder chassis.

1948 Pontiac 6 cylinder power plant


These were the most commonly used power plants mated with an Automatic Hydra-Matic transmission.  It spec’d out as follows:

Cubic Inch         Horse power                   1bbl carb

239.2 93 (68.45) @ 3400 Carter WA-1 (1)

A very limited  were built with 8 cylinders engines.  Interesting enough these 8 cylinders were called “Silver Steak”.  It boosted the specs:

Cubic Inch                             Horse power                         2 bbl carb

248.9 cu in (4,079 cc) 108.00 (79.5) @ 3700 Carter WCD 630 (2)

Total Pontiac production for that year was only  333,957 cars.


Thanks for reading.



Toyota Drifter

These guys are having fun. Just proves you don’t need gobs of HP to have fun   . On a track with safety gear.    Come on…that’s fun!!!!

[vodpod id=Video.16297291&w=425&h=350&fv=video%3Da26ce6b3-f8ae-47e4-801c-9ff0009b6720%26amp%3Bservicecfg%3D386]

Toyota Drifter, posted with vodpod

2007 Corvette Official Daytona 500 Pace Car Give-A-Way PIC 2

No it’s not real Corvette – but the Collector’s Promo Revell Model.  In the original box.

All you have to do is guess the year of the Corvette the part pictured belongs too!!!  First one to post the answer gets 1 point.  The first one that gets 4 correct wins the car.

I’ll post pics here.  You need to go here:

and post your answer….you have to include year of the Vette and the words “Average-Guys-Car-Restoration-Mods-and-Racing” in your post.

Here is the next pic:


Good Luck.





2007 Corvette Official Daytona 500 Pace Car Give-A-Way.

No it’s not real Corvette – but the Collector’s Promo Revell Model.  In the original box.


All you have to do is guess the year of the Corvette the part pictured belongs too!!!  First one to post the answer gets 1 point.  The first one that gets 4 correct wins the car.

I’ll post pics here.  You need to go here:

and post your answer….you have to include year of the Vette and the words “Average-Guys-Car-Restoration-Mods-and-Racing” in your post.

Here is the first pic:

Good Luck.


Automakers World War II Efforts – Nash

Does time fly or what?  I started this series last year and is the next installment.

As you know the US government asked and eventually forced the auto industry to contribute to the war effort.  This series is to highlight some of the major contributions.  This time is Nash.

As many know Nash was a premier car manufacturer prior to the war.

Here is their 1942 Nash Ambassador

During the war Nash used it plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin to produce engines for (among others) my favorite aircraft of all time…the Corsair.

The WWII Corsair.


Nash build the Pratt & Whitney engines that powered this awesome aircraft.


Nash produced Pratt and Whitney Aircraft Engine


There work force consisted mainly of women.

Here they are being sworn in at the WI Plant


Late on Nash would morph into the American Motors Company (AMC).


Thanks for reading



To Restore or Not to Restore

From an article by HVA


To Restore or Not to Restore

March 16, 2012

The question of whether to restore a historic vehicle or leave it alone can spark a thought-proving debate. Here, two long time veterans and experts offer some of their insights.

The decisions surrounding restoring a vehicle or keeping it just as your grandfather left it in the barn are as personal as they are complex. This is a question and discussion that seems to be coming up more often these days.

Blame it on the economy or simply a new appreciation for vehicles preserved in a “roughly original” state. Either way, says Scott George, President and curator of The Collier Collection in Naples, Florida, determining whether a vehicle should be fully restored or basically left alone has classic car lovers asking new questions about how restoration work (or the lack thereof) might impact the value and enjoyment of their favorite vehicle.

No Going Back

“You should really think hard about any restoration work before you just go in and do it,” says George, “because once you restore you can never go back.”

George has seen the trend for “originality” grow in the last decade, a movement he traces to Europe where car enthusiasts have always believed that a car’s condition helps tell its story.

“In America, we are just catching up to this notion that cars can be beautiful without being perfectly clean,” he says. “There are even some cars in the Collier collection that we now regret restoring.”

George points out that it is unlikely that an un-restored car will ever win best of show at a major American car show. But to most classic vehicle owners, winning an award at a major show doesn’t factor into their decision making. However, if you would one day decide to have your car judged, most major shows now have a “preservation class.” George believes it is a great step in the right direction, not to mention the fact that it opens the door to many car enthusiasts who would otherwise never think to give car show competition a try.

Finding the Right Balance

George is one in the growing crowd of “original or survivor” proponents. But his new guiding philosophy is balanced with the reality that a car is not like other collectible items such as coins, furniture or fine art.

“Cars are mechanical,” he says. “Unless you just have a car to sit and look at, there comes a point where originality needs to be overridden in the interest of preserving the vehicle.”

On the subject of whether to restore or preserve, it’s not a “one-way-or-the-other” mentality. This change in attitude means that a historic vehicle owner can now enjoy the best of both worlds. George says the best way to do that is by carefully balancing a vehicle’s functionality and design features with a watchful eye for preserving original authenticity.

Giving a Car a Second Life

In the last decade, Jim Stranberg, owner of High Mountain Classics in Berthoud, Colorado, has also watched as a new trend toward “preservation and originality” emerged. But that doesn’t mean he likes it.

“A lot of people now seem to think that if you have a valuable car that looks like you just pulled it out of a barn that this is really the way to go,” he says. “I don’t generally agree with that.”

Stranberg says every car has “a half-life”. When a vehicle reaches a point of becoming worn out, that’s when it’s time to consider an inside and out restoration job that brings the car back to life.

But first, according to Stranberg, a person should ask themselves a few important questions:

What do you plan on doing with the car?

Stranberg and his partner Victor Holtorf are restorers who generally believe in doing everything necessary to make a car look new again. High Mountain Classics restoration jobs typically require at least 5,000 shop hours—a major commitment of time, resources, and money. It’s the sort of work demanded by people with an eye for car show competition. But even if a customer isn’t interested in having a car judged, to Stranberg’s way of thinking there’s always some degree of restoration work that needs to be done.

“When it comes to old cars, nothing is truly original,” he says. Strictly speaking, anything done to a vehicle inside and out over the course of its life—from changing an engine’s spark plugs to replacing a front fender—takes away from the originality of the car. Do you want the car to be able to compete in the show realm, or simply have a vehicle that presents and runs reliably at rallies and cruise-ins? Stranberg believes people must ask themselves how far are they willing to go—and for what purpose—in an effort to give the vehicle a second life.

How valuable is the car?

High Mountain Classics has never had a customer spend more on a restoration job than their vehicle was worth. But, admittedly, Stranberg and partner Holtorf work on coveted and exceedingly rare types of historic cars that only increase in book value when treated to topnotch restoration work.

A vehicle’s value, however, can’t always be measured in dollars and cents.

Take the hypothetical example of a dearly departed relative’s 1950 Ford F-100 half ton found under a tarp in the garage. Maybe it was used in a family business: a once reliable working truck that now sports a few dings, a crumpled fender, and an engine that spits and sputters but still runs. Such a truck would not pull much at an auction, but it may have deep sentimental value.

“If a person only wanted to occasionally drive the vehicle at a rally or a cruise-in—and the body, upholstery, and engine were in good shape—then, yes, I probably would not advise restoring it, except mechanically,” Stranberg says.

The Historic Vehicle Association would like to know what you think. Take the example above: That old 1950 Ford F-100 half ton truck that’s been in the family for years and earned its keep through hard work before it was put away to languish under cover in the garage. It’s battered and bruised, but still runs and has a lot of important memories attached to it. Would you restore it or leave it alone? Head on over to the HVA’s Facebook page or comment below to tell us what you think and to see what other members are saying.


To Restore or Not to Restore.

Karl Kustom – Part II

WOW…I apologize for leaving you hanging for so long without finishing this interview.

Here is the link for Part I.

So while at first glance it did appear that there were just newly built vintage shaped bodies, placed on the C6 chassis, a really close look and you can see something very different about the shape.

The door is clearly still a C6 and the windshield is C6.


So you can tell that they didn’t just pull off that old C6 body and dump it out behind the barn.

You can tell this is the original C6 hatch. The rear end is has been changed but where the hatch meets the roof line is the same.

So how do they do it?

Well the make body panels that fit to the framework of the exiting parts.  For instance, the rear hatch is striped of the outer panels leaving just the framework and the split window panels are fitted.  The rear panel is pulled off and the rear panel with the split bumpers is placed on.

Jim showed me the shop photos of a C6 – skinned.   They also retrofit C5.

C5 Rear hatch frame. The split window panel is manufactured by Karl's Kustoms to snap right on.


It is a pretty intense process.

They all the do is custom bodies?  Oh wait until you see what’s next.   (Yes I promise I’ll get right to it.)

Thanks for reading.




Gorgeous ˜Wood Vehicles 1948 – Part III

When you think of Woodies, you don’t think of Bentley, at least I never do.  But in 1948 Bentley produced a woody.

Bentley was the first car produced by Rolls Royce after World War II.

'48 Bentley Countryman

The 1948 Bentley Mark VI with the wood body was dubbed the Countryman.

1948 Bentley.

The body build by coachbuilder Harold Radford and was  aluminum over ash  framing with wood paneling on the sides.  The rear is mahogany veneer on alloy panels.  There were only eight bodies built between 1948 and 1949.

Very nice wooden dash.


48 Bentley was 4.3 liter 93 hps

No way I’m going to not mention the engine.  Here are the specs:

4257 cm3 / 259.8 cui displacement with advertised power kW / hp / PS ( ) / and Nm / lb-ft / of torque. Dimensions: this model outside length is 4877 mm / 192 in, it’s 1752 mm / 69 in wide and has wheelbase of 3048 mm / 120 in. The value of a drag coefficient, estimated by a-c, is Cd = . Standard wheels were fitted with tires size 6.50 – 16

Willys is up next.

Thanks for reading.