The Chevrolet Corvette has had some iconic looks over the decades. And many believe the sleek Stingray design of the 1960s is one of the best cars ever made. But for a time in the early 1960s, Chevy considered turning the famous sports car into a family car with four seats.
GM Design posted a photo of the four-seat Corvette to its Instagram last week.
“In response to the popular Ford Thunderbird, GM designed this four-seat Corvette fiberglass model in 1962, but the vehicle was never produced,” the caption reads.
While it’s not an ugly design, seeing the back seats in a Corvette just seems — off. And apparently, General Motors thought so as well. Designers never got past building a fiberglass mock-up of the car, and they destroyed it after GM decided not to move ahead with the project.
The idea for the car came from then-Chevy boss Ed Cole, who, in 1962, was struggling to keep up with Ford’s sales, GM Authority said. The four-seat Thunderbird was massively outselling the Corvette. He turned to his design team to come up with the four-seater without sacrificing the aesthetic or feel of the car that had then only been in production for a decade.
GM designers bought a 2 + 2 Ferrari for inspiration. Though they planned on extending the body to accommodate larger Americans, GM Authority said.
GM executive Bunkie Knudsen never liked the idea and pushed to have it scrapped. He thought it would “taint” the Corvette brand. And he worried it make it appear as if they were trying to copy Ford. After seeing the first mock-up, other executives agreed with him.
Afterward, GM crushed the fiberglass mock-up and scuttled the project.
This Wasn’t The Only Four Seater Corvette
In the late 1970s a Pasadena-based company called California Custom Coach built a four-door Corvette, Fox News said.
You can see photos of one here.
However, this wasn’t a mass-produced vehicle. California Custom Coach only built six of them. One was a prototype while the five others were designed and built to the owner’s specifications.
According to Car Buzz, the auto shop made these four-door cars by effectively smashing two Corvettes together. They would cut two cars in half and extended the wheelbase by some 30 inches then put the front and back halves back together.
Only two of those six cars exist today. And in 2018, the owner of one of these put it up for sale. The car is a 5.7-liter V8 that has a four-speed automatic transmission and around 200 horsepower, Car Buzz said. But if you want it, it’s going to cost you. The dealer who was selling the car was asking $217,000 for it.