Here's the story:
Illustrated Corvette Series No. 11 - 1959 Sting Ray Racer
In December of 1958 when Bill Mitchell was 46, he was head of GM's Styling Staff and at the top of his career. Bill had always been a car guy and had a passion for performance, but had never actually raced. With a VP's salary and inside connections, Bill had a race car built that thrilled thousands and shaped the Corvette's history.
Due to corporate politics, the 1957 Corvette SS was a fond memory. Mitchell was able to obtain one of the two SS chassis, the Mule version that had been sorted out at Sebring in 1957. The chassis would have to be privately raced and would need a new body so it wouldn't be recognized as a Chevy. Under Mitchell's direction, stylist Larry Shinoda adapted the Q-Corvette body design by Pete Brock and Bob Veryzer, to the Corvette SS chassis. Shinoda made the Q-Corvette a roadster and gave it a teardrop fairing around the rollbar, similar to the 1956 SR-1 Corvette. A short windscreen completed the roadster. When it was done, it was totally original and drop-dead gorgeous, an instant classic in the making.
Even though Bill Mitchell officially raced his Sting Ray out of his own pocket, he had ample resources from within Chevrolet. The main problem with the SS Racer's chassis was the braking system. This was due to the SS Racer's complex double-booster setup. Later in the first season, a single Hydrovac power assist system was installed. Disc brakes were ruled out due to cost.
A disc brake system was ruled out due to cost. Another problem that made racing particularly challenging was the Sting Ray's aerodynamics. Designers thought that by making the body flat on the top and rounded on the bottom, they would create an inverted airfoil, a huge air wing that would push the car down onto the track. What actually happened was just the opposite. At speed, the 2,154 -pound car would sometimes lift the front wheels off the ground. This was corrected by raising the back end, thus raking the overall stance. The car 's top speed was around 155 mph.
Using a fuel injected 283 engine similar to the SS Racer, Mitchell entered the Sting Ray in SCCA C-Class. During the two seasons, Bill had help from Zora Arkus-Duntov and Chevrolet mechanics Eddie Zalucki and Dean Bedford. Dick Thompson and John Fitch bravely handled the driving duties of the Sting Ray.
Mitchell's adventure in racing netted him the SCCA C-Modified Championship in 1960. In 1961 the car reverted to a show car to tease the public as a possible 1963 Corvette. For a time, Mitchell actually drove the car on the street! The Sting Ray Racer still is seen at events and after 38 years is still drop-dead gorgeous. - K. Scott Teeters