top of page

Covering Sports cars & Supercars

The Design of Speed

1963 Corvette Stingray "split window" coupe

📸: Photo courtesy

"Cool Design" elements have been around as long as car have had designers, so it's only fitting that we go back in time to check out some of the best styling cues ever. This one is simply iconic: the famous dual rear backlight of the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray coupe. Why this beautiful design never made it past one year mystifies me. Was it impractical? Sure. Unsafe? Possibly. I've never driven one, but the view to the rear is reportedly terrible, with that not inconsiderable blind spot right in the middle. Too expensive to justify? Most likely this was the final nail in the coffin for the split window, as it cost at least twice as much to build as a single rear backlight.

📸: Photo by Paul Willis/The Design of Speed

Apparently, the split window came about as a result of the "spine" that ran the length of the car, a design element that was central to designer Bill Mitchell's "mako shark" theme for the car (hat tip to for a brief history of the design).

📸: Photo courtesy

It's not as if this was the first time a split window was ever used on an automobile. The venerable VW beetle featured a split window from 1938 to 1953 (with a halt in 1945). Actually, split windows were reportedly common in cars in the 1940s, mostly due to the fact that curved glass was not yet in use, and the only way to maneuver flat planes of glass around a curved roof line was to use two or more pieces of glass. But that is not "cool"... the '63 Stingray is.

  • Black Instagram Icon
Follow on Instagram:
bottom of page