In 1959, the bones of the SS were revived when Bill Mitchell secretly funded the Stingray race car. Mitchell purchased the chassis of the 1957 SS race car mule for $500 and had Larry Shinoda create a new body.
The shape of the Stingray racer was inspired by the 1957 Ghia IXG Turin show car, designed by Tom Tjaarda.
The Stingray used elements of the still-born "Q-Corvette" design study as well as the SS underpinnings, featuring a 92-inch wheelbase. The new car was exceptionally light, with a dry weight of 2,200 pounds, nearly 1,000 lb lighter than a 1960 production car. Its fuel-injected 283-cubic-inch (4.6-liter) V-8 engine produced 315 hp at 6,200 rpm. The car had a thin fiberglass skin with aluminum (initially) and balsa-wood (later) reinforcements in high-stress areas. The Stingray's body design strongly influenced the styling of the next generation Corvette, which saw production as a 1963 model year. It also was a test bed for many technical developments with a four-speed manual transmission, extensive use of aluminum and a de Dion rear suspension. The Stingray exists today with a 327 cubic inch (5.4 liter), fuel-injected V-8 of 375 hp (280 kW).
Billed as a car "built to test handling ease and performance," Mitchell arranged to race the car quite extensively. In the hands of Dr. Dick Thompson, it made its debut at Maryland's Marlboro Raceway on 18 April 1959, finishing in fourth place. It went on to win an SCCA National Championship in 1960. The Stingray was then retired from racing and modified by Mitchell with, among other things, a passenger seat added.
The modified vehicle was exhibited as an experimental show car even while Mitchell regularly drove it personally on weekends. After its career as a concept car was finished, it was retained by the GM Design Studio as a historically significant vehicle.
When an all-new Corvette finally arrived in the 1963 model year, the origin of its distinctive shape was quite evident. The "mid-year" 1963-67 second-generation Corvettes are considered by many enthusiasts to be the ultimate in sports car design. In its October 2004 issue, Automobile magazine editors ranked a 1967 427 Corvette roadster number one on its list of 100 Coolest Cars.