1. home
  2. news
  3. Nine Shark Cars For 2013 Shark Week

Nine Shark Cars For 2013 Shark Week

We've jumped the proverbial shark.

You've seen the ads, marked your calendars, and set your DVRs. Sunday, August 4th, marks the return of the greatest pop culture phenomenon of all time.

That's right: we're talking about Discovery Channel's 2013 Shark Week.

We can't explain exactly why Shark Week is as popular as it is, but on the offhand chance you shark lovers can't get enough Selachimorphae in your life, and don't want to watch Sharknado on your TiVo for the umpteenth time, we've rounded up nine fine shark-themed cars in honor of the week's festivities.

1961 Chevrolet Mako Shark I/ XP-755

The second-generation Corvette, or Sting Ray, wouldn't launch until 1963, but by 1961, designers essentially had its styling - inspired by design chief Bill Mitchell's '57 Stingray racer - locked in. Even so, GM wanted something for the auto show circuit to tease the new car's look ahead of schedule. Thus, the Mako Shark was born. The show car essentially took a C2 Corvette convertible but fitted it with all sorts of unique touches, including a supercharged V-8, side-exit exhausts, split bumpers, a periscope roof mirror, and "gills" placed in the front fenders. The Mako Shark name came from a fish Mitchell had caught on vacation and had mounted in his office; legend has it he repeatedly demanded that employees paint the car to perfectly match the fish until, after several attempts, his employees finally painted the fish to match the car.

The Mako Shark still exists today as part of the GM Heritage Center collection, but now boasts an aluminum-block ZL1 427 cubic-inch V-8 in lieu of the original engine.

(Photos courtesy of General Motors)

(Photos courtesy of Gooding & Company)

Monteverdi's approach to building luxury sports cars was simple: take a massive Chrysler V-8, place it on a custom-built Swiss chassis, and wrap all that in luscious Italian bodywork. When the automaker pursued a rear-engine sports car design in the late 1960s, it abided by its own rules. A 426-cubic-inch Hemi V-8 was placed almost in the middle of the car, while Italian coachbuilder Fissore whipped up slender, curvaceous sheetmetal with rakish sides and muscular flares. The aggressive snout helped inspire the Hai - or "shark" in German - moniker. The prototype Hai 450 SS' VIN started with TNT; fitting, considering its performance was nothing short of explosive. The car was clocked running from 0-60 mph in 4.7 seconds, and allegedly had a top speed of over 176 mph.

The Hai 450 SS debuted at the 1970 Geneva show, and Monteverdi hoped to sell 49 copies, but didn't. An updated Hai, known as the 450 GTS, was shown a few years later, but production was still a flight of fancy. The SS was eventually sold into private hands, and two additional copies of the SS and GTS were built decades later from leftover spare parts.

(Photos courtesy of Gooding & Company)

It could have been called Scoupe, but when Hyundai launched a new compact sports coupe in our market back in 1998, it christened the car Tiburon, Spanish for "shark." Equipped with a 140-hp four-cylinder, it didn't exactly have much teeth or a bite remotely close to that of a Great White, but its curvy, flowing exterior design may have had a shark-like feel to it. The car was awkwardly restyled in 2000 with quad headlamps, and disappeared after the 2001 model year. An all-new model debuted for the 2003 model year, and finally boasted the option of six-cylinder power. The second-generation Tiburon was facelifted in 2007, and dropped from Hyundai's lineup in 2008, making way for the new rear-wheel drive Genesis Coupe.

What does a semi-topless version of a two-door 1999 Chevrolet Blazer ZR2 have to do with a shark? We sure don't know, but when Chevy decided to transform the two-door S/T Blazer into a convertible for the 1999 SEMA show in Las Vegas, it decided to name the oddball creation the Shark. Perhaps it referenced jumping one: after 2004, two-door sport utilities were entirely eliminated from GM's product portfolio.

2012-2013 Volkswagen Shark Cage Beetle

No, it's not named after a shark, nor is it designed to look like a shark - but the Shark Cage Beetle was certainly designed and built to swim with sharks. As part of VW's sponsorship of Discovery Channel's 2012 Shark Week, it commissioned a custom underwater dive cage shaped like the restyled 2012 Volkswagen Beetle. Thanks to an electric propulsion system, the cage could even scoot about underwater.

The ploy must have been successful, as VW created another Beetle shark cage - this time shaped like the 2013 Beetle Convertible - for this year's Shark Week festivities. Because, of course, it's best to have less protective structure between you and hungry, carnivorous sharks while diving underwater….

Honorable Mention: 2002-2004 BMW Z4

We always thought the first-generation Z4 looked a bit like a shark. Apparently, so too did BMW's marketing team, as they whipped up this cheeky ad that paid homage to the legendary Saturday Night Live "Land Shark" sketch.