Performance Bookends of the Shortest Generation Corvette, the C2 Mid-Year
Dateline: 6.23.17 – The difference between a 1962 and 1963 Corvette is staggering. In 1963, the new Sting Ray looks like the sports car from another planet! The only carryover components used for the new Corvette were the base and optional engines. Everything else (body, interior, suspension, and frame) was all-new. The C1’s basic structure was created in 1952, and over the years was given slight tweaks, such that by the late 1950s, the Corvette was holding on against the European cars. But the new Sting Ray was a game-changer.
We’re going to look back at the first and last “performance” Corvettes – the 1963 Fuelie and the 1967 L71 427/435. The Sting Ray had an all-new parameter frame that would ultimately serve as the foundation of the Corvette up to 1982! The new C2 frame allowed the passenger seats to be located “down and inside” the frame rails, unlike the C1’s frame that located the seats “on top” of the frame, thus allowing the overall design to be lower and more slender. Although the shape looked “aerodynamic, it suffered from severe “lift” at high speeds. The lift issue was a combination of the body shape, and the rear suspension “squat” upon hard acceleration – and was never really solved, just dealt with.The independent rear suspension and updated front suspension made the 1963 Corvette the only American car with four-wheel, independent suspension. This was a very BIG deal then. The new interior was just beautiful. The dash had double-arches with a perfectly laid out array of the proper sports car gauges. From 1953 to 1962, the Corvette was a convertible with an optional bolt-on hardtop. The new Sting Ray was a production of Bill Mitchell’s 1959 Stingray Racer – a beautiful car with big aerodynamic problems. Instead of a convertible-only version, there was a coupe version with the now classic “stinger” design. The hidden headlights were show-car-like, and rotated horizontally along the front leading edge when the lights were turned on.
The rear glass had a split down the middle so that the crease that started at the front edge of the roof could run uninterrupted back to the end of the car. This was the infamous “split-window” that was a love-it, or hate-it detail and was Bill Mitchell’s pet design element. The split-window was gone after 1963 – making the 1963 coupes a rarity. 1963 convertibles outsold coupes, 10,919 to 10,594. Some coupe owners replaced their split-window with a 1964-1967-style rear glass! Continue reading
A Corvette That’s Never Not Been a Racer!
Dateline: 6-15-17 – Ken Hazelton’s 1963 Split-Window Coupe Corvette Sting Ray is a unique car. Ken’s Corvette has never been a streetcar. Although born to be a street sports car, this Sting Ray has never been anything but a racecar. Zora Arkus-Duntov was the driving force behind making sure that production Corvettes could be easily turned into competitive racecars. He was famous for saying, “I want my customers to enjoy their Corvette.” Even though he was in the engineering department and not sales and marketing, he thought like a salesman. Duntov’s insistence that Corvette customers had access to Chevrolet engineered parts for racing, created the Corvette’s halo of racing.
Unlike any other American automobile, the Corvette was born to be a racer. In 1951 when Harley Earl went to his first sportscar race at Watkins Glen, he saw the raw enthusiasm for the new breed of small cars from Europe – sports cars. Earl was an automotive genius and pioneer, who often saw possibilities where most did not. For the most part, Americans preferred big cars. But Earl reasoned, “Why should the Europeans have all the fun and racing glory? There should be an America sportscar.” The rest, of course, is history.
Because “racing” was built into the Corvette’s DNA, the car attracted others that saw potential for greatness. Without men such as Ed Cole, Zora Arkus-Duntov, Mauri Rose, Bill Mitchell, and many others, Continue reading
by Jerry Heasley as republished from SuperChevy.com, Photos Vette Magazine Staff
Rare Finds: Mid-Year Driveway Discovery
Dateline 2.7.16: Do people park vintage Corvettes in their home driveways for decades without moving them? Apparently so, according to this story. An original owner actually parked his Corvette, a ’66 convertible with removable hardtop, in his driveway in 1990. Years later, he added a car cover, which cut down on the buy inquiries. Continue reading
by John Gilbert as republished from Super Chevy
The Green Weenie: How Much Will this Barn Find 1965 Corvette Bring on eBay?
Dateline 12.18.15: On eBay recently, the question is who molested this 1965 Corvette Sting Ray? Was it Dr. Timothy Leary, the LSD guru, or an unknown customizer? As a rule, when a car is described as a survivor most folks would perceive it to be an unmolested example of a factory original car. All of the things that usually get lost or modified are still intact and with the car. Continue reading
Terry Muniz of Pittsburg, poses with the 1966 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray belonging
to her husband Guillermo Muniz in Pittsburg, Calif. (Photo by David Krumboltz)
By David Krumboltz as republished from ContraCostaTimes.com
Beloved Corvette StingRay has several lives
Dateline 11.18.15: The Chevrolet Corvette has an interesting history. It started as a concept car for the 1953 GM Motorama Auto Show in New York. GM management thought Chevrolet needed a model that would put some pizzazz in the line. The original idea was to produce a sporty car using off-the-shelf parts to keep the cost around $2,000 (about $17,600 in today’s dollars). Continue reading
by David Kennedy as republished from HotRod.com
Anytime you try to look for the origin of an automotive legend, things get murky
Dateline November 2015: Time and memories (not to mention secret plans) shroud the path every vehicle and engine takes from concept to conqueror. Typically, something’s history only begins to be recorded when the success is imminent, which means a lot of early motorsport history never got recorded well. Continue reading
by Scott Parker as republished for SuperChevy
Built vs. Bought: Pitting Brian Hobaugh’s Pro Touring ’65 against a stock 2015 Z06
Dateline October 2015: Hot rodding is as American as apple pie. It embodies some of the most fundamental American concepts such as the ability to accomplish anything. An OEM can spend millions of dollars developing a car like the 2015 Corvette Z06, but we believe we can make it better. More over, we believe we can make a much older car even better than a brand-new car. Is it arrogant and even foolish? Probably, yeah… But this is the land of opportunity. And out on track, it doesn’t matter whether each part was meticulously designed by a separate engineer with FEA and CAD software, or grabbed from a rusty parts bin on a shop floor. Whoever crosses the finish line first wins. Continue reading
by John Gilbert as republished from SuperChevy.com
1963 Sting Ray a Split-Decision
Dateline October 2015: The expression hindsight is 20-20 takes on a completely different meaning when the subject is being able to obtain a totally un-obscured rearview from a 1963 split-window Corvette. This is going to sound strange to younger readers or older ones that weren’t into Corvettes back when the 1963 Sting Ray coupe was introduced, but one of the biggest complaints was the obstructed rear view caused by the split rear windows, and consequently kept the ’63 split-window Corvette as the least desirable model of the ’63-67 run. Continue reading
by Scott Teeters as written for Vette Vues
62-Thankfully, Chevrolet cancels the 4-seater Corvette “Thunderbird Fighter
In the 1950s and 1960s, unlike some of the small, low-volume European carmakers, Detroit was all about “how many cars did we sell.” From 1955 to 1957 the Corvette and Thunderbird were obvious competitors with the T-Bird vastly outselling the Corvette in 1957, 21,380 units to the Corvette’s 6,339 units – over three-to-one! Then Ford shocked everyone by walking away from the 2-seater sports car platform to a 4-seater, almost mid-size coupe and convertible. Sales shot up to 37,892 in 1958 and by 1961, Ford sold 73,053 Thunderbirds, compared to Chevy’s 10,939 Corvettes. Cole wanted Chevrolet to have a piece of the action, so he suggested (ordered) that a 4-seater ’63 Sting Ray Coupe be built as an R&D project. Continue reading
Video from the Tv Show, Jay Leno’s Garage
Joe Rogan stopped by Jay Leno’s Garage with his sexy, supercharged 1965 Corvette restomod for a longer-than-average interview. Continue reading
Words and Art by Scott Teeters as originally written for Vette Vues.
The $2.85 Million Dollar L88 Corvette Racecar!
Dateline: 10.15.15: This a Corvette racecar story with a happy ending and a big, “Cha-KING!” Racecars are a lot like racehorses, most live hard lives and tend to get used up and discarded. Some cars are saved and later surface as “survivor” cars (the horses go to stud farms). What happens to most is that after the cars no longer competitive; they’re sold off, often for not much money. The next owner applies a new livery and makes modifications that take it farther away from the original configuration. A few accidents or a fire later, and the cars are scrap. Continue reading
CBS pulls the plug on the popular series, “Route 66” – Videos
Dateline 9.18.15 – After 116 episodes, CBS pulled the plug on their anthology drama series, “Route 66.” Herbert B. Leonard and Stirling Silliphant created the series as a spinoff of their popular “Naked City” series. “Naked City” was set in New York City and “Route 66” was set in a different location for every episode. Watching the series is a genuine travel log of early 1960s America, in black and white. The “Tod Stiles” character (played by Martin Milner) was in the entire series. The character “Buz Murdock” (played by George Maharis) exited the show midway through the third season and was replaced by the character “Lincoln Chase,” a recently discharged Vietnam veteran, played by Glenn Corbett.
“Route 66” lives on today on DVDs and many – perhaps all – of the episodes are on YouTube! In 1993 a revival/sequel was launched by NBC with Continue reading
BY PAUL NIEDERMEYER as republished from CurbsideClassic.com
1963 Corvette Sting Ray: Ravishing New “Lust” Object Appears Out Of The Depths Of The Ocean for Sixties Era Pre-Teenager
If you were ten or so like me in 1963, these two were likely the most memorable (good) things that happened that year–provided you either had the the kind of parents who’d let you see Dr. No or had an older accomplice willing to sneak you in via the fire escape door in the alley. All of which was still easier than seeing a new ’63 Sting Ray in the flesh, at least in Iowa City. Of course, once one had finally arrived at the dealer I could actually run my hands over it, check out its innards and even slip right inside it. Ursula Undress-ing would have to stay in the realm of imagination. Continue reading
Corvette Timeline Tales: 9.13.01 – TV Show Route 66 Inducted into Cruisin’ Hall of Fame at Route 66 Rendezvous 4-Day-Event in San Bernardino, CA – Vids
Actor and star of “Route 66” Martin Milner accepted the award.
Dateline 9.13.15 (videos at the end of this post) – What a cool concept for a weekly TV drama. Two dudes, tooling around America, working odd jobs, looking for adventure, flirting with pretty girls, and generally being good-guys on white horses. Only instead of horses, the dudes, “Todd Stiles” (played by Martin Milner) and “Buz Murdock” (played by George Maharis) got around in a brand new Corvette. The Corvette wasn’t a “star car” like “The General Lee” from The “Dukes of Hazard,” but it was always “there” and confidently got the boys from adventure to adventure.
At the Simeone Automobile Museum in Philadelphia, you can actually see, hear,
and smell the Wintersteen 427 L88 Grand Sport Roadster.
Words and Art by Scott Teeters, written for Vette magazine and republished from SuperChevy.com
The Grand Sport is well storied, so here’s the short version. Zora Arkus-Duntov was a racer/engineer first and foremost. Racing and race cars was always first in his thinking, with production cars a distant second. He essentially used General Motors as his race car shop.
When Duntov learned that Carroll Shelby was building Cobras he tried outflanking Shelby with his own lightweight. Five prototype tube-framed coupes were based on the ’63 Sting Ray wearing Halibrand wheels and side-mounted exhausts. Though Duntov had the backing of Chevrolet general manager Semon “Bunkie” Knudsen and Ed Cole, on January 5, 1963, GM’s hammer came down and the Grand Sport was officially dead. Continue reading