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1958 Chevrolet Corvette XP-700 Concept by Bill Mitchell

Designed and built under the personal supervision of Bill Mitchell, the wild-looking XP-700 used many regular Corvette components, such as the frame, chassis parts, and engine. Bill Mitchell had a lot of "customs" built for himself. This XP-700 previewed the new tail of the upcoming 1961 Corvette. The elliptical grille cavity strongly resembled a one-off Ferrari 250GT by Pininfarina. The fiberglass body was extensively redesigned with a "grand prix" appearance. The long, low front overhang, large air scoops, exposed frontal areas, and wire wheels with racing hubs were a few of the 'grand prix' touches.

The XP-700 received the blessing of management and was going to be used to travel the show car circuit after it had been Mitchell's personal car for a year. Before this, the vehicle received extensive remodeling.

The grille cavity was refashioned in a more elliptical shape, and the car was resprayed metallic gold. The front under-tray air scoop seems inspired by aircraft design. Harley Earl liked bubble tops, hence the XP-700's double bubble Plexiglass top that was added in October of 1959. Also, the rear of the XP-700 is revised, lengthened, and exaggerated, and a periscopic rear-view mirror is added. These new looks were revealed to the public in April 1960 at the 4th International Automobile Show in New York. Originally painted red, the version that appeared during the 1961 Chicago Auto Show was finished in pearlescent silver, which matched the silver cockpit. The exposed side pipes were retained from the 1959 version, as were the rear wraparound bodylines that predicted the design used on the 1961-1962 production Corvette.

The rear-end styling influenced the second-generation Corvette models. The bubble-shaped laminated plastic canopy – coated with vaporized aluminum to help block the sun's rays – was one of the car's most striking features. A metal strut in the center of the canopy featured louvered vents, which enhanced circulation in the passenger compartment. Among the more exotic concepts: An overhead mirror mounted above the windshield with a viewing porthole in the roof structure.

Source: Remarkable Corvettes


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