GM Was Smart Not To Produce The Four-Seater Corvette
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GM Was Smart Not To Produce The Four-Seater Corvette

Meet the Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray XP-796 that never saw the light of day

Manufacturers have created a number of weird one-off concepts and design studies over the years. Some were brilliant ideas, while others incorporated components that were later employed in other vehicles.

The folks at General Motor Design recently published photographs of a 1962 2+2 Corvette concept that never made it to production.

The idea behind the ’60s four Seater Corvette

GM Was Smart Not To Produce The Four-Seater Corvette
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What if Chevy had gone ahead with this four-seater based on the 60s Corvette? The story of the 1963 four-seater Corvette is amongst the most intriguing ones surrounding a car that was never built.

Chevrolet’s General Manager at the time, Ed Cole devised this concept in order to keep the competition at bay. The competition being the Ford Thunderbird. 

The Thunderbird's sales figures in the early 60s were remarkable, and they had a direct impact on Corvette sales. In response, Cole came up with the idea of adding two more seats to the Corvette.

Cole predicted that with the ability to transport more passengers, Thunderbird sales would suffer when these four-seater Vettes hit the market.

GM Was Smart Not To Produce The Four-Seater Corvette
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However, most people at GM despised Cole’s view, but since Cole was the boss, they reluctantly began work on a prototype with Larry Shinoda at the helm, who was responsible for designing the concept. Their plan was to create a working prototype. It was a design study to gauge market response.

Here’s what Changed on the Four Seater Vette

GM says that the Corvette’s wheelbase had to be extended by up to six inches to fit the two rear seats, bringing the total length to just over 8.5 feet. The doors also had to be lengthened to enable easy ingress and egress, especially for passengers in the rear. The roof was also modified in order to make way for more headroom.

Simply put, pretty much everything that made the ['63 Corvette->art15064] so attractive was redesigned. The proportions were just wrong. 

The prototype was eventually finished in early 1962 and it was displayed next to a 1962 Thunderbird. According to rumors, General Motors Chairman Jack Gordon became trapped in the back seat on a test drive of the four-seater Corvette. Engineers had to disassemble the seat to free Gordon, and this mishap was the tipping point that caused Gordon to abandon the project altogether.

What’s next in the Corvette chapter?

2020 Chevrolet C8 Corvette ZR1
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But that was then, and the market conditions are completely different today. Earlier this year, Chevrolet insiders said that the automaker was looking at a number of Corvette-inspired designs with the intent of appealing to a wider audience. Essentially, the goal is to combine the Corvette’s superb sportiness and sleek look with extra space and cargo room, while also providing more comfort.

So, just as Ford unveiled the Mustang Mach-E, an electric crossover clearly influenced by the legendary Mustang, it looks like GM is also working on a plan to produce at least one electric vehicle based on the Corvette. Let’s just hope that it’s not a crossover, like Ford, because putting the Mustang name on a crossover did raise a lot of eyebrows. Will people be more forgiving if the Corvette name was borne by a four-door performance sedan?

2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray gallery Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The four-door luxury and performance EV segment is really hot these days with several options from Tesla with the Model S, Mercedes with its EQS, and the Porsche Taycan & Audi e-Tron GT cousins. It wouldn’t be a bad idea for GM to get in on the action, would it? We’ll have to wait and watch.

Source: Motor1

Khris Bharath
Khris Bharath
Khris is a classic car aficionado and adores his Jags and Alfas, although he keeps tabs on everything from super exotics like an old EB 110 to the latest from Lucid. Formula One is very close to his heart, and he diligently makes time to tune in for the Grand Prix on Sundays. Khris also loves his road trips and he prefers stick shift over an Auto any day.  Read full bio
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