Bill Mitchell started working on the next generation Corvette the day production on the 1963 Corvette started. He knew that things change quickly in automotive styling , so it was critical that he go way outside the envelope. The first step was to build a functional, single seat, open-wheeled car that would push everything to the extreme. The "X-15", named after the experimental U.S. Air Force jet, was never shown to the public and was later sent to the crusher.
Shinoda and crew had to make a real car now. The styling elements of the hood bulge and the side exhausts were taken directly from the X-15 exercise. Back tracking from the extreme, Mitchell set the guidelines.
He wanted the following; "a narrow, slim, center section and coupe body, a tapered tail, an all-of-a-piece blending of the upper and lower portions of the body through the center (avoiding the look of a roof added to a body), and prominent wheels with their protective fenders distinctly separate from the main body, yet grafted organically to it."
The full-size mock-up just blew everyone away. Built on a production Corvette chassis, the Mako Shark also had a mocked- up interior.
The Mako Shark II had an interesting blend of soft curves and sharp break-lines. The tucked in center section, called the "coke-bottle" gave the center of the car a taut, trim look, while the curved fender lines made the car look like it had been working- out. The low, pointed nose made a bold statement while the tapered and pointed tail gave the car a high-speed, wind-swept look.
Since the Mako Shark II was a show-car, it had plenty of gimmicks and was overdone here and there. Some of the grille vents and other details were a little fussy. However, compared with other cars in 1965, the Mako Shark was a vision of the future.
When the car was shown at the New York International Auto Show in April 1965, the press and the public went wild. It was called beautiful, embellished, convoluted, aerodynamic, perfect, and many other things. And this was only the mock-up. On October 5, 1965 the fully functional Mako Shark II arrived.