Pop-Up Headlights Were Cool, But Have You Seen The Corvette Manta-Ray’s Pop-Up Taillights? - story fullscreen Fullscreen

Pop-Up Headlights Were Cool, But Have You Seen The Corvette Manta-Ray’s Pop-Up Taillights?

The 1965 Manta-Ray not only inspired the C3 Corvette, but featured the most unique taillight design ever seen on a concept car

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.

Pop-Up Headlights Were Cool, But Have You Seen The Corvette Manta-Ray's Pop-Up Taillights?
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The car proudly sits at the GM Heritage museum, to this day.

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.

Pop-Up Headlights Were Cool, But Have You Seen The Corvette Manta-Ray's Pop-Up Taillights?
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While the production car had pop-up headlights, the concept also featured pop-up taillights.

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.

Pop-Up Headlights Were Cool, But Have You Seen The Corvette Manta-Ray's Pop-Up Taillights?
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The Manta-Ray was powered by a 427 cubic-inch V-8, rated at 430 hp.
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.

Dim Angelov
Dim Angelov
Born in 1992, I come from a family of motoring enthusiasts. My passion for cars was awoken at the age of six, when I saw a Lamborghini Diablo SV in a magazine. After high school I earned a master’s degree in marketing and a Master of Arts in Media and Communications. Over the years, I’ve practiced and become skilled in precision driving and to date have test driven more than 250 cars across the globe. Over the years, I’ve picked up basic mechanical knowledge and have even taken part in the restoration of a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. Lately, I’ve taken a fancy to automotive photography, and while modern cars are my primary passion, I also have a love for Asian Martial Arts, swimming, war history, craft beer, historical weapons, and car restoration. In time, I plan my own classic car restoration and hope to earn my racing certificate, after which I expect to establish my own racing team.  Read full bio
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