1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray ‘Split Window’


Above Images ©General Motors Corporation

In its second generation (C2) the Corvette stood out just as much as it did when the radical project was launched in 1953. The car's striking styling solidified it as an American icon, but left the competition department struggling to make amends.

Inspiration for the car's styling came from the shortfin mako shark which was mounted in miniature in Bill Mitchell's office. He was the head of GM Design and had concept cars designed by Larry Shinoda that became the XP-720 4-Seater and XP-755 Mako Shark. These provided a basis for the C2 corvette which was named the Sting Ray.

With his bold new direction, Bill Mitchell made moves with the Corvette that caused much dismay in Chevrolet's competition department. Zora Arkus-Duntov, who was considered the savior of Corvette performance, had to work around the styling which less than ideal for racing.

When the Sting Ray was launched in 1963, the distinction between road and race cars was growing. Duntov did what he could with the road-gong design and created the Corvette Z06 which featured a competition upgrades that were good enough to immediately help race teams take the Sting Ray to the track. Success was initially limited to a few of the very first races until the much more purpose built Shelby Cobra came along and started winning everything.

As a road car, Bill Mitchell's design was an overwhelming success. For the first time, the Corvette was offered as a coupe and featured a split rear window that caught almost everyone’s attention. Realistically, this styling cue was a mistake as it impeded rearward vision and had to be later removed in 1964.

Both coupes and convertibles featured the same specification that included a fiberglass body supported by a steel ladder frame chassis. The rear end was upgraded by Duntov to include an independently sprung suspension by half shafts and a transverse leaf spring. This design was initially developed in the CERV I Concept. The front suspension was almost unchanged from the C1 generation, using unequal A-Arms and a standard anti-roll bar. Braking was provided by 11-inch drums which were replaced in 1965 with discs.

Almost all of the Sting Ray’s details could be optioned and some of the greatest-such as L88, Z06 or COPO427-became later known for their rarity and performance. Because so many engines, transmissions and differentials were available, most Corvettes had different performance potential. Less popular options included a leather interior, Kelsey-Hayes cast aluminum wheels, air conditioning and power brakes.

Like all Corvettes since 1955, the '63 was powered by a V8 engine that steadily grew as the years progressed. The 327 was offered in four states of tune including a $480 fuel injected version that offered 360 bhp. These were attached to either a three-speed manual, Powerglide automatic or a Borg-Warner manual four-speed on request. Even the 360 bhp engine was virtually replaced in 1965 by the big block 396 Turbo Jet. Eventually, a 427 was offered, and produced around 600 bhp in 1967 with the potent L88 option.

With incredible style, brute power and a well appointed interior with power everything the Sting Ray was an instant success. It had a base price of $4,037 USD for the convertible and $4,257 for the coupe. Initial sales were tremendous and the St. Louis factory couldn't keep up with demand. Production for 1963 alone was up 50 percent from the previous year at almost 22 000 units.

Sting Rays were produced up to 1967 when the third generation Corvette (C3) was released.




Chassis & Sales

963 Chevrolet Corvette Split Window 327/360 HP - sold for $115,000 No detail, no matter how small, was left untouched in the frame-off restoration of this expertly finished 1963 Corvette Sting Ray split-window coupe. Its code 934 Saddle Tan metallic paint and Saddle leather interior are a particularly rare combination, especially in concert with the most desirable powertrain in the first-year Sting Ray, Chevy's high-winding, Rochester fuel injected 327/360 HP smallblock coupled to an optional close ratio Munc... more
Gallery: 2010 Mecum Kissimmee, FL Auction



1963 Chevrolet Corvette Fuel-Injected "Split Window" Coupe - sold for $132,000 This Riverside Red fuel-injected example received a cost-no-object, “nut and bolt” restoration by Glenn Vaughn Restorations and remains in high-point condition. The engine is a correct, later-1963 matching-numbers block mated to a Muncie M21 four-speed transmission. Other features include a black interior, a G81 Posi-Traction rear end, a U65 Signal-seeking AM radio, A01 Soft Ray tinted glass, an original-type Delco battery and a set of period-... more
Gallery: RM Auctions' 2010 Sports & Classics of Monterey



1963 Chevrolet Corvette Split Window Coupe 327/340 HP - sold for $75,000 Rare and eminently desirable, this 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray split window coupe has undergone an award-winning nut and bolt body-off restoration, one that has already earned it the Chevy Vettefest Gold Spinner Award. Based on a rust-free example with just 54,000 miles, the car is correct down to such details as the bond seams and fender lips, hoses and clamps, ignition shielding and frame and suspension details, all rendered to factory... more
Gallery: 2011 Monterey Daytime Auction by Mecum



1963 Chevrolet Corvette Split Window Coupe 327/340 HP - sold for $68,000 Matching numbers. Frame-up restoration with receipts. Reproduction knock-off wheels. Trim Tag shows Sebring Silver with Red interior. Very rare desirable color combination. Drives like new. Very correct mechanical restoration.
Gallery: 2011 Monterey Daytime Auction by Mecum



1963 Chevrolet Corvette Split Window Coupe 327/360 HP - sold for $102,500 Factory original engine, fuel injection, transmission and rear end. 50% original paint. Known in the Corvette Community for the past 50 years. Preserved to much of it's originalty. Believed to have had 3 owners. Original Black Plate bought in San Francisco and issue plate # AAA. Riverside Red with Tuxedo Black interior. Matching Numbers.
Gallery: 2012 Daytime Auction by Mecum



1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray Split Window Coupé - sold for €45,000 Left-hand drive, as were all Corvettes at this time, this first-year Sting Ray was first registered in the UK on 13th July 1989 and was acquired by the current vendor in November 2002. The accompanying Swansea V5C document states that there have been three former keepers since date of first registration in this country, the immediately preceding being Mr David McMillan of Romford, Essex who acquired the car in February 2000. Finished in blue w... more
Gallery: 2012 Goodwood Revival Sale by Bonhams



1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray Split-Window Race Car "7 11" 30837S102899 - did not sell for $325,000 Used on screen in Viva Las Vegas. Extensive Southern California race history. Z06 competition components installed in period. NCRS American Heritage Award certified.
Gallery: 2013 Monterey Auction by RM Auctions



1963 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe L75 327/300 HP - sold for $78,000 Matching numbers 327 CI V-8 engine. Manual 4-speed transmission. Factory air conditioning. Mostly unrestored and well maintained. Original White color. Only production year of the Iconic split window coupe.
Gallery: The Daytime Auction in Monterey by Mecum



1963 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe L75 327/300HP - did not sell for $120,000 Original paint and interior. 1 of 278 produced with factory air conditioning. 327/300 HP engine. 4-speed manual transmission. Two owner car since new. Sold new at Rudolph Chevrolet in Phoenix, Arizona. Documented with the Corvette dealer's copy, copy of the original title and registrations from new. Purchased new by George Beiswinger of Phoenix, Arizona. Sold in the mid 1980s to Bruce Bean of Burley, Idaho. Classic color combination, Ermine Wh... more
Gallery: The Daytime Auction in Monterey by Mecum



1963 Chevrolet Corvette 327/300 HP Styling Car - did not sell for $340,000 Mrs. Harley J. Earl's Pink Pearl Corvette. Shop Order 10324, in direct sequence one number after Mr. Earl's 1963 styling car. Unrestored with one repaint in the special Pink Pearl formula that Roger Dean Chevrolet obtained from General Motors. Complete known ownership since new. Custom Pink leather interior with White accents on the seats and door panels. 27,457 original miles. Air conditioning, knock-off wheels. Power steering, brakes and wi... more
Gallery: Kissimmee 2014, #WhereTheCarsAre by Mecum



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