C2 Buyer’s Guide – Midyear Corvettes

Everybody Wants A Midyear Corvette!

C2 Chevrolet Corvette ConvertibleA C2 Corvette was only built by Chevrolet from 1963 to 1967. All built and assembled in St. Louis plant of Missouri in the United States of America. A total of 117,964 cars were produced in these five model years with the convertibles in high demand. Almost 2 of every 3 Corvettes built in this short time span were convertibles. The American public was definitely in love with the looks of the convertible Corvette. This became by far the shortest generation range of Corvettes ever produced as well as the most sought after vehicles in history.

Now that we have placed a distinguished value on this classification of the Corvette, it is only fair to tell you that you must be very careful when purchasing one of these classic automobiles. There are five years of different body styles, many different engines with various horsepower ratings and all kinds of things to look for to ensure your getting the best classic Corvette for your money! The Corvette of the 1960’s is considered a timeless beauty that captures the engineering skills, explicit body style designs, and muscle power of GM’s glory days.

C2 Corvette Vintage Racing

The main characters behind the introduction of the C2 Corvette were Zora Arkus-Duntov, Larry Shinoda, and Bill Mitchell, three of GM’s most creative design and engineering gentleman. Together, they have created a legendary Corvette that turns all heads to this day and will live on in history. The mid-year Corvettes brought innovation, creativity, speed, character, uniqueness, and most of all fun to the American public. Another large side to the Corvette history of the mid-years was Corvette racing. Without the sleek design of the mid-year Corvette, racing just would have never been the same.

There Are A Few Things To Consider

From The Frame Up: Rust is one of those things that comes back to bite us! All this car’s steel is underneath it where you can’t see it. Put it up on a lift at some place you can trust to have an inspection of the frame completed. You should be able to spot the rust as well as any damage to the frame and its integrity. Rust hides out in lots of places so be sure to check inside and underneath anything that you can. It will be well worth it.

Front/Rear Suspension: Ball joints are used for steering knuckle on the front suspension. This needs your attention to detail as worn bushings and cracked coil springs can lead to more danger on the road. Now the rear has gained its independence, independent suspension that is! There are U-joints, trailing arms, and half shafts that need your keen eye. Check for wear, misalignment, and damage.

Check The Glass: All Corvettes in this era were made of fiberglass that came in ten different colors and each wears differently than a steel body. Fiberglass bodies were know to have stress cracks over time. The fiberglass pieces were joined together with bonding strips. When a car has been in an accident and repaired, you may be able to spot where it was damaged by how even and smooth the fiberglass appears. You should also check for stress cracks around the windshield posts and wheelwell areas.

Tires And Brakes:
Tires came as 7.75 X 15 in mostly white or black wall, however some had a redline on them. You can buy new tires that will replicate the original tires that came on these Corvettes. Power brakes were an option, so check out brakes lines, shoes, drums and springs. Also, four wheel disc brakes were new for 1965, so you will need to inspect the calipers, discs, and pads.

Check Alignments: You will need to crawl all over the car checking the alignment of the bumpers, doors, hood, and trunk lid. Many of these cars have been taken apart, check to see if the spaces line up all the way around each of these items. Many of the chrome bumper parts will be warn if they are original. You can buy most all of these like new parts online to replace any warn out parts you come across. Also check the glass in each door for cracks as well as the windshield and rear window.

Ragtops Roadsters: If the Corvette you have your eye on is convertible, and lots of them were, you will need to operate the top making sure it folds properly. Check the condition of the top for rips and tears or worn spots where the material rubs on the metal folding frame. Check out the compartment where the top is stored for hidden rust and cracks in the fiberglass.

Flip Up Headlights: 1963 was the first year for the ‘hidden’ headlights, so test these electric motors out on the vehicles. You may run across one that is up and one that is down. Check the headlight itself for damage while you have them exposed.

1963 Corvette Stingray Headlights

Under The Hood: If you are looking for originality, then a “number matching” Corvette is what your looking for. Research the VIN number and engine serial number to make a match. Many have had engine replacements so check all the specs you want to be original on your motor. Typically the more original the engine and drive train, the more expensive the Corvette will be to purchase. There are, of course, many other components under the hood to check, such as belts, hoses, missing screws or bolts, cables, harnesses, filters, etc. Sweep around the engine compartment and look for anything that looks out of the ordinary.

Temperature Controls: If your interested in the optional air conditioned Corvette, ensure that you run the a/c to see how cold it gets. All of the refrigerants that were used in this generation have long gone by the wayside, however you may still be able to purchase some aftermarket type that will work. Run the heat as well to see if it is in proper working order. Look at all belts and hoses for each of these components.

Get Behind The Wheel: Most importantly, drive the car. Ensure it drives smooth, handles properly and stops safely. Most of these Corvettes are very fast and stopping power is extremely important not only for your safety, but for the safety of your new purchase. While your inside, turn all the knobs you can fine, open the glove box, ensure all the lights work, feel the air coming through the vents, move the seats back and forth, run the car through all the gears if it is a standard transmission. Make sure to put the car in reverse to ensure this is working as well!

What Will It Cost: We not really talking about the purchase price of the vehicle. That is really up to you. After you have done your due diligence and researched your car, you should probably know what it is worth to purchase. This may also depend on how bad do you want this particular vehicle. We’re talking about the cost of maintenance, insurance, storage, etc. These are all soft costs after the car becomes your possession that most new vintage car owners don’t think about.

 We strongly suggest you research your particular desires and educate yourself on what’s out there and how much you can expect to pay for it! There are plenty of resources online.

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray - Blue1963 Chevrolet Corvette

  • Fauve hood louvers
  • Simulated hood vents
  • Fender and roof scoops and ribbed rocker panels
  • Split rear window
  • Steel “birdcage” frame – 90 percent stiffer
  • 327 ci small block with 250 hp up to 360 hp
  • 3 or 4-speed manual or Powerglide automatic
  • 10,919 convertibles of the 21,513 units produced

1964 Chevrolet Corvette1964 Chevrolet Corvette

  • Indentations on hood with no louvers
  • One-piece wrap around rear window
  • Fauve louvers on hood were removed
  • Indentations left on hood
  • A new rocker panel trim added
  • Door release knobs now chrome
  • 327 ci small block with 250 hp up to 375 hp
  • 13,925 convertibles of the 22,229 units produced

1965 Chevrolet Corvette - Black Roadster1965 Chevrolet Corvette

  • Functional three-slot fender vents
  • Rear drum brakes replaced with discs
  • Former non-functional horizontal louvers now three vertical slots and fully operational
  • Knockoff wheels
  • Telescoping steering wheel
  • 396 ci with 425 hp
  • 15,376 convertibles of the 23,562 units produced

1966 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray1966 Chevrolet Corvette

  • 427 ci with 450 hp
  • The side vents on the coupe were removed
  • Backup lights now standard item
  • Holley carburetors now standard on all engines
  • Seats updated for better wear and tear and optional headrests
  • Interior door pulls are bright metal
  • The headliner of the ’66 changed to foam
  • Engines rated at 300 hp in small block to 427 ci with 450 hp
  • 17,762 convertibles of the 27,720 units produced

1967 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible1967 Chevrolet Corvette

  • Five-slot fender vent
  • Unique rally wheels
  • A stinger hood scoop
  • Optional back-up light mounted above the license plate
  • 427 ci available with Holley triple two-barrel carburetor
  • 300 hp up to 435 hp
  • 14,436 convertibles of the 22,940 units produced

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