The First Stingray (1963-1967)

Corvette Earns The Name “Stingray1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray - Blue

Five decades after its introduction, the 1963 Corvette remains one of the most daring, comprehensive and completely thrilling automotive sports car designs of the century. Many sports car admirers would proclaim, the ’63-’67 Corvette Stingrays are the most animated of all the years.

Bill Mitchell, GM’s design chief, working along with his assistant Larry Shinoda, redesigned a new body for Corvette with protruding fender lines and a chiseled down nose calling their new creation…Stingray! Along the same time, Corvette Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov developed a new ladder frame for Corvette, much stiffer than the previous X-member chassis.

The 1963 Corvette Stingray roadster, sometimes called the fastback coupe, was the consummation of Bill Mitchell and Larry Shinoda’s creative new body styling along with Arkus Duntov’s masterly engineered innovative ladder frame chassis. This newly formed icon also featured rotating hidden headlamps, fauve hood vent grilles, and a boat tail shaped rear window. Perhaps the most graphic image of the ’63 Corvette Stingray was a thick center bar splitting the rear window in two, nicknaming it forever…”split-window coupe.”

Most all the engine options carried over from the ’62 to the ’63 Corvette with a new 360-hp fuel-injected version for the 327. A three-speed manual was still the standard transmission. Also available was the legendary “Z06” race pack option for the coupe that included such things as metallic brake pads, a heavy-duty suspension and an oversize fuel tank.

A love affair developed with the new nimble American sports car named Sting Ray and over 20,000 hit the market and sold!

1964 Chevrolet Corvette

1964 Chevrolet Corvette

1964 Model Changes

In 1964 removal of the Sting Ray’s fraudulent hood vents and the famous but distracting split rear window to improve visibility were by far drastic reductions to the almost perfect ’63 coupe. New options included a 360 horse power four-barrel 327 and the fuel injection optioned motor was now cranking out 375 horse power. Also Corvette introduced a new color, “Satin Silver” for ’64 with door release knobs now finished in chrome. A total of 22,229 Corvettes were built for model year 1964 of which 8,304 were convertibles. ’64 also received some new insulation efforts and the transmission and motor mounts were revised in an effort to cut down road and mechanical noise.

Look What’s Coming For 1965

It was not time for Corvette to rest on its laurels, so 1965 brought with it an all new 396 cubic inch “Turbo Jet” big block V-8 now sending Corvette to a striking 425 horse power! A new special hood with a funnel shaped air scoop had to be crafted to give clearance for the larger 396 motor. The exterior changes sported the three functional vertical louvers in each front fender. Also new were knock-off 15 inch wheels with a dark grey look in between the fins. An aggressive looking side exhaust pipe was optional this year along with redesigned larger seats to offer drivers more supportive cushions and comfort. The dash was positioned with aircraft design looking new gauges along with telescoping steering wheel. Now that a big-block power house was on board, Corvette’s mechanical fuel-injected 327’s days were a thing of the past.

1966 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

1966 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Corvette quickly grew the big-block 396 cubic inch engine to its big brother, the 427. 1966 produced several engine options by providing the standard 327 with 300 horse power, a single four-barrel 350 horse power version, the “L39” option cranking 390 horse power, or the “L72”, a 427 generating 425 horse power. The 427 engine options produced a ‘bubble’ hood to accommodate the new “Big Block”. Back-up lights were a new standard for Corvette blending them into the existing tail lights. The side vents on the coupe were removed and this is one of the few years that convertibles out sold the coupe almost 2 to 1. The seats got another upgrade to decrease wear and tear and optional headrests were available for the first time.

1967 Chevrolet Corvette

1967 Chevrolet Corvette

Louver count grew in 1967 on each front fender, stretching to five. Perhaps the ’67 Stingray will always be famous for the monarchial “L88” 427, with an aluminum cylinder head and an aggressive 12.5:1 compression ratio known to make 500+ horse power partnered with a huge four-barrel carburetor. As not to scare people off, Chevrolet would only admit to 430 hp. Racing the L88s, where most of the small number of examples, only 20, were used for was the main theme for Corvette. Today they are the most desirable of the first Sting Rays.

The ’63-’67 Corvettes also became popularly known and nick-named as the “midyear” Corvettes. Some Corvette enthusiasts proclaim the 1967 Stingray was the ‘peak’ of the Corvette era. This could possibly explain the complete redesign for Stingray in the newest models coming around the corner by Chevrolet. The 1960’s is famous for creating the ‘muscle car’ era as well as some of the most collectible Corvettes in history. A drive down a country road with the top down in one of these historical beauties would make anyone a Corvette Dreamer for sure!

Trackbacks

  1. […] what would be one of many in his 2 years of road racing Corvettes. Seeing Dave’s 1st production ‘63 Corvette Z06 when he drove up in this car after picking it up from the factory two weeks before its maiden race […]

  2. […] the time, the 1963 Corvette Stingray was first launched there was a growing distinction between the race cars and the roadsters. Zora […]

  3. […] 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 […]

  4. […] and numerous high performance Dodges and Plymouths. What really got my attention was when a yellow 1967 Corvette convertible with black interior and a wicked 4-speed came rolling in. Wow, that was an awesome […]

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