Understanding the Split Window Corvette Legacy

After the early success of the first Corvette in 1953, there was a lot of pressure on the second generation of Stingray, Split Window Corvette models to solidify the iconic image that the brand was slowly but surely establishing. First generation Corvettes managed to become All-American icons because of their unique designs and powerful builds. Starting with 1963, however, General Motors shifted its focus to a completely new design for its second Convertible C2 generation of Corvettes. This is how the famous Stingray models came to be. The idea for the Stingray design was based on the shortfin mako shark. Bill Mitchell, the head of the GM Design department at the time, had a miniature shortfin mako shark in his office and drew inspiration for its shape when designing the Stingray.

 

Designing the 1963 Split Window Corvette

The ’63 split window Corvette was the first model to be produced as part of the second generation of Corvettes. Bill Mitchel worked alongside Larry Shinoda to design the concepts for what would later become the XP-755 Mako Shark and the XP-720 4-Seater. These were the two designs that inspired the Stingray.

1963 split window corvette

At the time, the 1963 Corvette Stingray was first launched there was a growing distinction between the race cars and the roadsters. Zora Arkus Duntov, the brilliant engineer widely credited for keeping the Corvette performance up to par and improving its speed and power, had to struggle with the less than ideal design when turning the new Stingray into a racing car.

Duntov and his team managed to turn the roadster into a race track-worthy option by making some upgrades meant to help the Stingray keep up with the competition. The alterations managed to keep the 1963 Split Window in the racing car game until the launch of the Shelby Cobra.

Despite the short-lived success the 1963 Corvette had as a race car, it managed to garner a massive fan base as a roadster. It was the first time that a Corvette was available as a coupe and the unique split rear window design was a crowd favorite almost instantly. Both the coupe and the convertible version were based on the same type of fiberglass body fitted to a steel ladder frame chassis. This unusual rear split window was later removed from the 1964 Chevy Corvette models as it imposed serious vision limitations for drivers and posed a safety risk.

1963 corvette interior

Introducing the ‘63 Split Window Corvette

The value of the 1963 split window Corvette has dramatically increased over the years. Because the split rear window feature was only installed for the 1963 production year, this is the only C2 Corvette to have this design. Its rarity and history have made the ’63 Vette become a desirable collectible vintage car, bringing a pretty hefty price at the car auctions. The other Stingrays, starting with the ’64 Corvette and ending with the ’67 Corvette, were still based on the Stingray design but did not feature the split window that the ’63 Corvette had. This has made the first Stingray even more desirable for car collectors nowadays.

Corvette Split Window Appeal: Why We Can’t Stop Loving It

Widely regarded as one of the most revolutionary and appealing designs of its age, the first Stingray, split window Corvette became an instant crowd favorite. Still considered an iconic piece of Americana history, the 1963 split window Corvette had a dramatic, game-changing design. It shocked its way into the hearts of American sports car lovers with its bold mako shark-inspired rear and it raised the bar in terms of design and speed.

Chevrolet released the first Stingray at a time when car manufacturers had started to realize that competing for the hearts of fans would take more than engine power. The battle had turned to getting your car’s poster on every teenage boy’s bedroom wall. It was, in other words, a battle or the hearts and wallets of young Americans. Car manufacturers realized that sports cars, roadsters, and muscle cars were a dream that young Americans grew up with. And like some of us, a dream that they would fulfill once they grew older and had the financial means to do so.

1963 corvette on the road

The Stingray was launched at a time when television shows, magazines, and entertainers were looking to create the ideal American man image. Car manufacturers in the United States realized that they were all competing to supply that American man with the ideal vehicle. With its game-changing design, a V8 engine to give it the power a true sports car needed, and the Corvette legacy that had already amassed a legion of devoted fans, the first Stingray managed to take the world of American sports cars by surprise and swoop car enthusiasts everywhere off their feet.

 

The Split Window Vette Today

Nowadays, the 1963 split window Corvette has become an iconic vehicle that every serious car collector dreams of having in his collection. When it first came out in 1963, the Stingray had a base price of $4,037 for the convertible model and $4,257  for the coupe version. Since it was an instant success with the public, the production factory in St. Louis, where the 1963 split window Corvette had been assembled, could not keep up with the customer demand for the new Stingray.1963 Corvette Split Window Coupe

The initial sales were so overwhelming that production had to be increased. In fact, production for this year went up by 50 percent compared to the previous year, bringing it to a total of 22.000 units manufactured in 1963. Stingrays became notoriously desirable and popular after the debut of the 1963 split window Corvette.

General Motors and Chevrolet kept improving on the horsepower, design, and speed of the next models. Stingrays were produced until 1967, with a different model hitting the market each year. The last Stingray was the 1967 Stingray Corvette. The ’67 Corvette ended the C2 line of vehicles and was the last car to be part of the second generation of Corvettes. Still considered one of the most iconic cars of its generation, the 1963 split window Corvette launched what would be the beginning of a new era of Corvette cars.

1963 Corvette Split Window Restoration

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