Neither did we.
Which is why our heads nearly exploded when we saw this Instagram post from generalmotorsdesign.
Turns out, GM boss Ed Cole was concerned with the growth track of Ford’s new Thunderbird. While the T-bird started out as a two-seater, it gained a backseat in 1958 and had just launched a third-gen refresh in 1961.
So as the Corvette’s C1 Generation was entering its twilight, Chevy designers went to their drafting tables to figure out how to add another pair of seats to Bill Mitchell’s new C2 Sting Ray set to debut in 1963. They stretched the ‘Vette’s wheelbase, elongated the doors, bumped out the roof, and ditched the rear package area.
The new Corvette concept car existed solely as a full-size fiberglass model, and was destroyed some time later—thankfully, pictures still exist.
The result? Pretty good actually, considering the car was never intended to be a four-seater. But we uncovered this CorvetteBlogger article with an anecdote from Corvette designer Larry Shinoda. A tight fit for sure, Shinoda explains how a stuck folding seat may have ultimately doomed the four-seater Corvette. Click the link above, it’s chock full of more pics and a really, really good read.
Curiously, the family-friendly Vette reminds us a lot of the Jaguar E-Type. It too began life as a two-seater, adding the rear seats in an elongated 2+2 model a few years later in 1966. The larger E-type has a stretched silhouette that’s eerily similar to GM’s concept four-seat Corvette here.
Anyway, the four-seat Vette is an amazing sidebar in GM history that leads to a lot of “what ifs.”