Sting Ray Racer Part Two
Dr. Dick Thompson, The Flying DentistClose
The Sting Ray Racer did more than just look great; it also had a very successful racing career. It finished fourth in its first race. Driven mostly by Dr. Dick Thompson ("The Flying Dentist", above) it dominated the Sports Car Club of America C-Modified class in 1960. The Sting Ray Racer had the championship wrapped up only half way through the season. In ten races, Dr. Thompson had more than twice the points of the nearest competitor.
Following it's show circuit career, Bill Mitchell then used it as his personal car, which was his typical way of doing business. It also had a cameo roll in the Elvis Presley movie, "Viva Las Vegas".
1959 Sting Ray Racer side pipe detailClose
1959 Sting Ray Racer Special wheelClose
Above: Early publicity for the 1959 Sting Ray Racer, which was sometimes known as XP-87.
1959 Sting Ray Racer hoodClose
Hood vents also appeared on the 1963 Corvette. While they were functional on the 1959 Sting Ray Racer, they were for style only on the stock 1963 Corvette (below).
1963 Chevrolet Corvette hoodClose
Famous GM designer Chuck Jordan and his son Mark Jordan test drive the 1959 Sting Ray Racer at Michigan International Speedway, mid 1970s.
Photo: Gary Smith, Dean's Garage
Bill Mitchell discusses his 1959 Sting Ray Racer with Italian designer Battista Pinin Farina, founder of the Pininfarina coachbuilding company.
Elvis Presley Pulicity Photo for Clambake MovieClose
The 1959 Sting Ray Racer played a part in the Elvis Presley movie "Clambake". Filmed in 1967, it was a typical Elvis movie and as such did not win many awards. The Sting Ray Racer, painted red with a gussied up hood scoop, did have a significant role in the film.
Archival photographs from "back in the day" are courtesy of the Chuck Jordan Archives. The Sting Ray Racer evolved constantly during its early career, first painted red and then silver. Engines and chassis items (such as brakes) also changed. Note for example the more minimal hood louvers.
The 1959 Sting Ray Racer, unknown locationClose
The 1959 Sting Ray Racer continues to attract fans as seen at the 2013 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. The car has been used extensively by GM as a promotional vehicle, a task for which it is eminently qualified.
Auto Art 1959 Sting Ray RacerClose
1959 Sting Ray Racer model available from AutoArt