At the 1963 New York Auto Show Chevrolet displayed a specially built Corvette Sting Ray convertible incorporating various design concepts conceived at GM Design, most notably a unique interior and prominent chrome-plated side exhaust headers exiting through the front fenders. Its origins reached back to the 1959 Sting Ray racer, which inspired the XP-755 concept car designed by Larry Shinoda and also known as the Mako Shark. The car scored a hit not only with New York Auto Show crowds but with Chevrolet brass as well, particularly Chevrolet Division General Manager Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen, who arranged for Chevrolet Engineering to build a copy for his personal use.
Like the New York show car, Knudsen’s personalized Corvette was distinguished by its intricately constructed side exhaust and custom paint, in Knudsen’s case combining prototype Crimson Firefrost metallic lacquer with a full-length White stripe and White soft top (the car also retains a matching hard top). This combination was mirrored in the extensively modified interior, where a unique custom shift console assembly was flanked by 1964-type seats upholstered with White Naugahyde and Maroon accent stripes. The exquisitely-finished door panels were covered with White Naugahyde trimmed with unique chrome-plated brass trim plates and crossed-flag emblems, and slotted stainless steel floor grille plates - a common feature in GM styling cars of the era - replaced the stock floor mats. The distinctive twin-spoke steering wheel featured two types of wood on the rim, behind which 1964 instrumentation was used in the color-matching dash. The interior was later upgraded with changes to the instrumentation and the addition of 1967 seat belts.
Chevrolet Engineering also went to work under the hood, substituting chrome plating and crinkle-finish Black paint in place of the cast aluminum surfaces on the fuel injected 327 CI small block. The engine bay was also modified to accommodate the special exhaust system, including trimming the heater box for clearance and relocating the battery to the area behind the passenger seat.