The 1965 Manta-Ray not only inspired the C3 Corvette, but featured the most unique taillight design ever seen on a concept carby Dim Angelov, on
Throughout the years, there have been many design features associated with a certain time period. Cars from the 1950s often featured tons of chrome, fins, and sometimes exhaust tips integrated into the rear bumper. The 1980s saw the use of flared fenders, especially by tuning companies like Gemballa, Koenig, Strosek, and others. Pop-up headlights were also quite popular, but one car took things even further. The Mako Shark II (XP-830), also known as the Corvette Manta-Ray, was a concept that technically wasn’t produced, but that didn’t stop it from boasting some interesting design choices, especially with regards to its taillights.
While the Mako Shark I inspired the C2 Corvette Stingray, the Mako Shark II, or Manta-Ray, influenced the design of the 1967 C3 Corvette. The Manta-Ray moniker is shared with another very exclusive C3 variant, modified by Baldwin Motion. Only three were built from that one. That said, GM’s concept car had one of the most distinctive features.
The C3 Corvette always had pop-up headlights, but the concept car had pop-up taillights too. Moreover, the actual taillights stayed in place, while the covers, which had mirrors on the inner side, popped up and reflected the light coming from the taillights. A very interesting design decision indeed, which sadly wasn’t the most functional.
The Manta-Ray is equipped with the 427 cubic-inch Mark IV V-8, which makes 430 horsepower.
It later became available on production C3 Corvette models.
The Manta-Ray’s back end was certainly among the most illuminated out there, having not one but three sets of lights. It is unknown, whether the “pop-up” rear lights were the actual taillights or the stoplights. It is also unknown whether they operate through a vacuum, like the headlights, or not. Concept cars like the Manta-Ray often feature unusual and often purely aesthetic features with no practical use, but these pop-up mirrored taillights are certainly a memorable sight and one that probably won’t be replicated any time soon. To this day, the Corvette Manta-Ray resides at the GM Heritage Collection, next to its predecessor, the Mako Shark.