That time when Chevrolet made a four-seater Corvette

T​he signature split-window design first surfaced here first

7w ago

Back in the 50s, speed wasn’t something offered in abundance like today. Hence, luxury became the next best alternative to offer. And on that front, Ford ruled the sales records with its iconic Thunderbird offering. General Motors with its Corvette couldn’t match up with it, and for once, even resorted to converting the Corvette into a four-seater.

The official ‘generalmotorsdesign’ Instagram account recently shared a picture of the four-seat Corvette concept model. Designed in 1962, this fibreglass model was shelved much before the model’s topic could even be raised in the production meeting agenda. Though, not all of it was scrapped.

The split window design was a distinct element that saw the light of the day in future iterations of the Corvette. Corvette enthusiasts would be quick to notice the doors are longer than usual. That was to allow easier ingress and egress for rear-seated passengers. Even the wheelbase was extended by a whole six inches to accommodate the extra two seats. The sloping roof height was increased as well to provide better headroom for the rear passengers.

But the reason behind this four-seater Corvette was also the cause for its termination - the rear seats. A report by Corvette Blogger recalls an interview by this Corvette’s designer, Larry Shinoda, where he mentions an incident involving one of the bigwigs at General Motors and the four-seater prototype. According to him, the GM executive tried to get in the rear seats to assess the same. Though, the attempt of exiting the car didn’t go well as the front seats locked, leaving him stuck inside. To get this rear seated executive out of the car, the entire front seat had to be removed, and with it, the hopes of a Thunderbird competitor got dashed.

The blog further reported the prototype got destroyed by the GM officials themselves a few years down the line. Fortunately, the firm was considerate enough to retain the concept’s pictures, and that’s how we can witness the same.

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Comments (14)

  • This would have failed. By 1963, the Corvette was established as a sports car. Likewise, the Thunderbird was established as a personal luxury car. The Corvette would have struggled mightily to gain ground against the Thunderbird, all while diluting its design focus. I'm glad the paths of these two storied models diverged from the start and stayed apart.

      1 month ago
    • The T-Bird definitely worked in that layout since it was made to be used everyday. Meanwhile Corvette was dominating the track and beating MGs, Triumphs, Porsches, and whatever else the rest of Europe had to offer.

        1 month ago
    • Yep. As much as I love the 1955-57 Thunderbird, the sales increase it experienced in 1958 said all that needed to be said about which direction (luxury or sport) the model's focus should be.

        1 month ago
  • Everything comes from somewhere…

      1 month ago
  • Many other models have sub models. Some lasted some didn't. The customers ultimately decide. They should have made it.

      1 month ago
  • Not strictly as a Corvette, but a submodel. That said, GM had plenty of sporty coupes at the time. But a Corvette GT is a cool idea.

      1 month ago
  • I am your 69th bump. Congratulations

      1 month ago