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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

In the Shadows: XP-700 Corvette, Chevrolet's Hidden Gem

Missing Link - Long before Chevrolet earned its legendary status among American muscle cars, the brand experimented with various car models, some of which have faded into obscurity. One such forgotten gem is the Chevrolet XP-700 Corvette concept car, sandwiched between the 1959 Stingray Racer XP-87 and the 1961 Mako Shark XP-755.
The looks of the Chevrolet XP-700 Corvette in the first year of its existence and used as Bill Mitchell's personal car. (Picture from: ChevyHardcore)
The tale of the XP-700 dates back to 1958 when Bill Mitchell, then Vice President of General Motors Styling, collaborated with the Chevrolet design studio to birth a groundbreaking concept car, the XP-700. According to internal documents, Chevrolet envisioned the XP-700 Corvette as a cutting-edge experimental vehicle that not only showcased novel ideas but also promised to steal the show.

The Chevrolet XP-700 Corvette is featured with a special bubble top roof that was said to eliminate glare, a ventilating system built into the bubble, and a periscope-type rear view mirror to provide a completely unobstructed view of the road behind. (Picture from: ChevyHardcore)
Originally based on the 1958 Corvette, the XP-700 underwent substantial modifications to sport a race car-inspired look. The low hood overhang, broad frontal air scoops, transparent passenger canopy, and snubbed rear quarters transformed it into a futuristic marvel reminiscent of advanced race cars from its era. Initially, the car sported a striking red hue, serving as Bill Mitchell's personal ride for its first year.
The Chevrolet XP-700 Corvette's rear-styling also states is credited with influencing the second-generation Corvette. (Picture from: ChevyHardcore)
One of the XP-700's standout features was its special bubble top roof, installed in October 1959. Crafted from laminated plastic coated with vaporized aluminum, the bubble top aimed to eliminate glare, creating an interior resembling a high-tech terrarium. This transparent canopy, acting as a one-way mirror, also featured a unique rear-styling, influencing the design of the second-generation Corvette.
The Chevrolet XP-700 Corvette uses a small 283 cubic-inch block engine with 230 horsepower under the hood, and is paired with a four-speed manual transmission system. (Picture from: ChevyHardcore)
Inside, passengers faced a metal strut in the center of the canopy with louvered vents, ensuring a comfortable bubble-covered interior through a ventilation system. Despite its avant-garde design, the XP-700 retained its roots with a 283 cubic-inch block engine boasting 230 horsepower under the hood, coupled with a four-speed manual transmission.
The Chevrolet XP-700 Corvette concept car was revealed to the public for the first time at the 4th International Automobile Show in New York before it's gone. (Picture from: ChevyHardcore)
In 1959, the concept car underwent a striking transformation, donning a futuristic metallic silver coat. Finally, the public got a glimpse of this dream car in April 1960 at the 4th International Automobile Show in New York. However, after this grand reveal, the XP-700 seemingly vanished.

According to internal sources, around 1961 and 1962, the XP-700 evolved into the XP-755 Corvette (Mako Shark). There's a peculiar similarity in shape, leading enthusiasts to ponder whether the XP-755 is merely a refined version of the XP-700, with the primary difference lying in the front fascia.😕
The XP-700 Corvette, though largely forgotten, remains a testament to Chevrolet's innovative spirit during an era of automotive experimentation. As automotive enthusiasts delve into the archives, the mystery of the XP-700's disappearance and its connection to the XP-755 Corvette adds an intriguing chapter to the evolution of Chevrolet's iconic lineup. What do you think? *** [EKA [30122020] | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | CHEVYHARDCORE ]
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