Car StoriesCorvette

Larry Shinoda

Brand Loyalty or Bigotry?

In our last post we raised the question is Brand Loyalty Bigotry. There are lots of examples of people going overboard thinking their brand of car is the only one worth driving and all the rest are just stupid, dangerous, slow junk! Well, maybe these folks should do a little thinking about the parents of that junk they so despise.

For the auto industry competition is key; it makes for better cars, better races and better shows. This diversity can also lead to new found loves and treasures. Before you become too critical of that “Brand X” car your buddy is looking at, learn about how it came about.

Larry Shinoda is a good example of car design diversity. You might also want to remember that Carroll Shelby first went to Chevrolet with his ideas before being rejected and going to Ford. Also Remember Shelby and Mopar?

Larry Shinoda

Larry Shinoda was a native of Southern California and had a significant impact on automotive design in a number of arenas. He designed passenger cars, land speed record cars, Indianapolis and Can-Am Racers, Motor Homes, heavy-duty truck, dragsters, snowmobiles, go-karts, farm tractors, farm implements, garden tractors, portable hi-pressure washers and even lawn mowers. Obviously he was a man of many talents.

-Larry Shinoda was born in 1930. In 1954 Shinoda began his automotive career with Ford. He was only there for a year but did work on the Mercury Turnpike Cruiser Show Car.

-In 1956 he could be found at Studebaker-Packard. While with ill fated Studebaker-Packard Shinoda worked with such other stars as John Z. DeLorean, Dick Teague and Dick Macadam who later went to Chrysler. Shinoda and DeLorean quickly bailed out of Studebaker-Packard and went to GM.

-Shinoda spent over 12 years with General Motors resigning as Chief Designer/Coordinator for Special Vehicles in 1968. He left his imprint on every 1963 production and special show Corvette of the era.

-When GM Vice President Semone Knudsen resigned in 1968 to become President of Ford, Shinoda soon followed. Once there Shinoda was responsible for all high performance vehicles and show cars. He designed the: Boss 302 Mustang; Boss 429 Mustang; Torino Talladega; Cougar Eliminator; Cyclone Spoiler. In addition he designed such special cars as the King Cobra, Torino Design Study; Cyclone Spoiler II; Torino Pace Cars and Mustang Pace Cars.

-In spite of all these accomplishments both Knudsen and Shinoda were fired by Ford after 2 years!

-From there both became involved in the recreational vehicle development and designed the Discoverer 25 rear drive Dodge chassis and front wheel drive Oldsmobile powered Discoverer 27. He continued on with his own design business doing work for GM, Ford and AMC.

-Larry Shinoda died in 1997.


1970 Ford Boss 302


A passion for anything is good. A passion carried out to the exclusion of all else is bad. Shinoda contributed a great deal to our hobby. He was all about good design and quality products. He didn’t care if it was a Chevy, a Ford, a Studebaker, an AMC or a motor home; he wanted the best.


Look closely at the drawing above and note this Sting Ray has 4 seats! In 1958 Ford introduced the first 4 seat Thunderbird. How would Chevrolet respond; would the Corvette become a 4 seater also? This design study proves it was under consideration. Were we close to seeing the death of the Corvette or did we almost have two models (one two seater and one four seater) like later Jaguar XKE or Datsun Z cars with 4 seats?


This early rendering of the 1963 Corvette by Shinoda shows a different headlight treatment, different grill, turn signals. Look on the side of the car right in front of the rear wheels; there is a scoop. The front fender scoop as we know it today was originally at the rear.


Here is a late prototype 1969 Ford Boss 302 Mustang.


Here is a significantly different rear end design treatment by Shinoda for the Sting Ray Corvette. This may have been another 4 seat version since the door seems extremely long and has an extra side window behind the door.


This may be one of my favorite prototype images. It is obviously and early Sting Ray. It incorporates the wrap around windshield and rounder body lines of the C1 straight axle Corvettes with the new C2 Sting Ray design.

Here is another Corvette by Larry Shinoda.


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I grew up and lived in Iowa for a good portion of my life before moving to Southern California. After 20+ years we now live outside Nashville Tennessee. I have been into cars since I was old enough to remember. I don't have a brand loyalty although I do prefer American Muscle especially the 1969/1970 NASCAR Aero Cars. (Check out our other web site at site) As long as it has four wheels and an engine I get excited. Few men are lucky enough to be able to share their passion for cars with the woman they love. Fortunately, my wife, Katriana, is also a gear head and many of our activities revolve around the cars. We have a small collection that includes at least one car from each of the Big Three. It includes a Best of Show winner, a survivor, a driver with lots of patina and several others. Katrina prefers all original cars while I like to modify them so we have a few of each. When we aren't playing with cars we are out working with or showing our miniature donkeys. You can see more about that part of our lives at

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