At the 1962 Riverside Grand Prix, two new production cars faced each other for the first time. These were the Corvette Stingray and Shelby Cobra. Both had to impress Chevrolet and Ford respectively, but since the Cobra was 50% lighter it naturally ran away from all the Corvettes. This was an embarrassing result for Chevrolet and all aces for Ford. GM’s Engineer Zora Duntov, the father of all performance Corvettes, knew a lighter Stingray would be needed immediately and thus the Grand Sport was conceived.
In 1963, the ‘big three’ were restricted from racing due to a ban on official race programs by the American Manufacturer’s Association (AMA). To stay ahead of the gentlemen racers in Shelby Cobras, Zora convinced Bunkie Knudsen to build 100 lightweight Corvettes, enough to satisfy the FIA’s homologation requirements.¹ The idea was to sell these cars to privateers and not directly participate in racing.