The Vette spare is in a panel below the rear underside that, in the rain, may give AAA reason to upgrade its rates. There is room for perhaps two suitcases behind the seat.

It takes a while to get used to the stiff-riding Corvette, and the low driver position. Once we became oriented, however, we went along with the "true sports car" claim. The Vette is a lot of fun, but discretion must be used in driving around town. It's awful easy to bound past speed limits unknowingly.

Less of an all-out sports car, the G.T. 500 is more at home on the street than on the track. We received many more comments on the 500's styling than we did on the Chevy sportster's, but this can be attributed as much to its being new as anything.

Our forecast of how the cars would compare on the track turned out to be accurate. We were highly impressed with the solid-as-a-rock cornering of the G.T. 500, and its agility in quick turns. It ran impressively in acceleration tests, staying straight when the tires were spun, and it stopped quick straight. But even with this good performance record, it fell short of outrunning and outmaneuvering the Corvette.

Unfortunately, Chevrolet couldn't find enough room under the fender wells for a tire comparable to the E70-15 nylons standard on the G.T. 500, so it suffers in this department. Standard 7.75x15 rayon tires are fitted, and this makes cornering and starting difficult. Gobs of wheelspin are all that result from a high-rpm start, but proper feathering of the gas pedal will help. The independent rear suspension gets an unfair shake when these regular tires are installed, and the rear end tends to leave the course when the car is pushed. Hooking up tires equivalent to the Speedway 350 Goodyears on the test G.T. 500 solved the Corvette's problems quickly. The potential is built in, but anyone desiring to put a Vette in proper handling form will have to start with a set of tires and the realization that lock-to-lock cornering will be slightly restricted.

It's quite a foe that Shelby's G.T. 500 has taken on, but not an unconquerable one. The Corvette is designed as a sports car, and that's what it is. It suffers somewhat as a street machine, but in no way is it reminiscent of early English sports cars with fold-down windshields and side curtains.

The 500 has more passenger-car than sports-car feel, but this could hardly be helped, as the Mustang from which it stems has this quality. With a bigger engine (horsepower, not displacement), it would be close to the Corvette's acceleration times.

The two cars are apart yet fairly close. Shelby American built the G.T. 500 with the idea of getting more customers for street-type vehicles than they could with the race-oriented G.T. 350s of the past. Oddly enough, this is what Chevrolet's theory has been too. They've been building a "hot" car for the street that would qualify for competitive use. Shelby's just reversed the game and taken a competition-type car and turned it into a street machine. Both gain in some respects and suffer in others from the compromise.

Sting Ray at a Glance

  • Easily the most powerful production car made
  • Designed and built as an all-out sports car, yet fairly suitable for everyday use
  • Stiff-riding suspension makes around-town jaunts and long trips uncomfortable on the torso, but free of handling problems
  • Styling exhibits a "going" look, even when standing still
  • Practiced drivers can feel safe at all speeds and in all conditions, due to four-wheel disc brakes, quick steering, and good stability

How the Car Performed & Specifications
Acceleration (two aboard)0-30 mph 2.5 sec/0-45 mph 3.8 sec/0-60 mph 5.5 sec/0-75 mph 7.5 sec
Time and distance to attain passing speeds 40-60 mph 2.1 sec, 151 ft/50-70 mph 2.0 sec, 172 ft/Standing-start quarter-mile 13.8 sec, 104 mph
Best speeds in gears at shift pointsFirst: 65 mph @ 6,500 rpm/Second: 87 mph @ 6,500 rpm/Third: 112 mph @ 6,500 rpm/Top Speed: 143 mph @ 6,500 rpm/Mph per 1,000 rpm: 22.0
Speedometer errorCalibrated speedometer 30 45 50 60 70 80/Car's speedometer 28 44 49 58 67 77
EngineOHV V-8
Bore and stroke (in)4.251 x 3.76
Displacement (ci)427
Torque (lb-ft)460 @ 4,000 rpm
Horsepower435 @ 5,800 rpm
Compression Ratio11.0:1
CarburetionThree two-barrel Holleys
TransmissionOptional four-speed manual, floor-mounted lever, all forward gears fully synchronous; ratios of 2.20 in First, 1.64 in Second, 1.27 in Third, and 1.00 in Fourth
Final Drive Ratio3.55:1
SuspensionIndependent front, single-lateral-arm type with coil spring, tube shock, and spherically jointed steering knuckle at each wheel; fully independent rear with fixed differential, transverse multi-leaf spring, lateral struts, and universally jointed axle shafts; tube shocks at each rear wheel
SteeringOptional linkage-type power assist, with semi-reversible recirculating ball nut; 17.6:1 overall gear ratio; turning diameter--39.9 feet, curb to curb; number of turns lock to lock--2.92
WheelsShort-spoke disc steel, 15x6
Tires7.75x15 rayon
BrakesFour-wheel hydraulic, caliper disc operated by dual system; power optional; diameter of disc front and rear--11.75 in; effective lining area--78.1 sq in
Fuel Capacity20 gal
Mileage range9.0-12.0 mpg
Body and frameSeparate construction; all-welded, full-length, ladder-constructed frame with five crossmembers; fiberglass body
DimensionsWheelbase--98.0 in; Track front 57.6 in, rear 58.3 in; overall length--175.1 in; width--69.6 in; height--49.8 in
Usable trunk capacity8.1 cu ft
Curb weight3,340 lbs

G.T. 500 at a Glance

  • Eye-catching styling is product of good judgment in restyling already good-looking Mustang fastback
  • Well-suited for street duties, but refinements needed to make it an all-out champ on the track
  • One of the most comfortable cars for touring we've driven, but in-and-out from driver's seat is a tight fit
  • Fiberglass additions would benefit from tighter quality-control inspection
  • Shoulder harness impressed us to the point of dissatisfaction with all others

How the Car Performed & Specifications
Acceleration (two aboard)0-30 mph 2.9 sec/0-45 mph 4.4 sec/0-60 mph 6.2 sec/0-75 mph 9.5 sec
Time and distance to attain passing speeds 40-60 mph 2.6 sec, 190 ft/50-70 mph 3.0 sec, 264 ft/Standing-start quarter-mile 14.52 seconds, 101.35 mph
Best speeds in gears at shift pointsFirst: 51 mph @ 5,500 rpm/Second: 68 mph @ 5,500 rpm/Third: 93 mph @ 5,500 rpm/Top Speed: 120 mph @ 5,500 rpm/Mph per 1,000: rpm 21.1
Speedometer errorCalibrated speedometer 30 45 50 60 70 80/Car's speedometer 27 40 45 55 64 72
EngineOHV V-8
Bore and stroke (in)4.13x3.984
Displacement (ci)428
Torque (lb-ft)420 @ 3,200 rpm
Horsepower355 @ 5,400 rpm
Compression Ratio10.5:1
CarburetionTwo four-barrel Holleys
TransmissionFour-speed manual, floor-mounted lever, all forward gears fully synchronous; ratios of 2.32 in First, 1.69 in Second, 1.29 in Third, and 1.00 in Fourth
Final Drive Ratio3.50:1
SuspensionIndependent front with coil spring and ball joints, modified for flatter cornering, 0.94-in (diameter) front stabilizer bar; straddle-mounted HD rear axle, single unit, suspended with longitudinal four-leaf springs with special rebound dampers to control rear spring windup; preset adjustable shock absorbers at each wheel
SteeringRecirculating ball and nut, linkage-type power assist standard; 16:1 overall gear ratio; turning diameter--37.16 feet, curb to curb; number of turns lock to lock--3.74
WheelsShelby steel, 15x6.5
Tires"Speedway 350" Goodyear low-profile, four-ply nylon; E70-15 140-mph rated (standard)
BrakesDual-system hydraulic; front disc/rear drum with power assist and high-speed linings on disc caliper; diameter of front disc--11.3 in; diameter of rear drum--10 in; effective lining area--191.0 sq in
Fuel Capacity16 gal
Mileage range7.6-14.6 mpg
Body and framePlatform-type unitized construction with reinforced floor side members and export front-end reinforcement
DimensionsWheelbase--108.0 in; Track front 58.0 in, rear 58.0 in; overall length--186.6 in; width--70.9 in; height--51.6 in
Usable trunk capacity5.1 cu ft
Curb weight3,360 lbs