RETURN OF THE SPLIT-WINDOWS: Four ’63 Corvette Resto-Mods

Credit: Original article published by Barrett-Jackson.

Written by Eric Becker

 

 

One shining example of the incredible 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Custom Split-Window Coupes heading to the 2021 Scottsdale Auction with No Reserve.

 

By now most people know the story of Chevy’s Corvette. It was GM’s answer to the popular and spritely European sports cars that enamored American GIs while stationed overseas. The powerful engine and nimble handling endowed the Corvette as a heroic automobile; a car enjoyed by everyone, from racers and designers to astronauts and the local grocer. Chevy’s homegrown performer was emblematic of the times, and the optimism and freedom the open road presented. It was America’s take on the sports car, and one it certainly got right. When the time came to introduce a new second-generation of Corvette, GM looked inward, encouraging their top designers to create something unique, a design that reflected on the successes and opportunities that lay ahead. The result was a timeless and legendary automobile, one that took the Corvette to new heights.

Cover of the “New Corvette” brochure from 1963. (Photo courtesy GM Heritage Center)

As the story goes, Pete Brock – then a young designer at GM – sketched the initial idea for what would become the body of the second-generation (C2) Corvette in 1957. Based on the Q-Corvette concept, the exotic and shark-like styling of the Q-Corvette would go on to form the bones of GM Design Director Bill Mitchell’s self-funded 1959 Stingray race car. Mitchell’s Stingray Racer would inspire the styling direction of the second-gen Corvette. The results went beyond all expectations and, whether convertible or coupe, the new Corvette took command.

As engineers and designers know, everything comes from something, and the 1963 Corvette’s famed split window owes a nod to the little-known German race car from 1938: the Adler Trumpf Rennlimousine. While a mouthful to say, once in sheet metal, the boattail roofline and spine-divided rear window were uncanny in their similarities and elegant in their simplicity. Thus was born the classic 1963 Split-Window, and a second ’Vette legend was born.

Offered with No Reserve at the 2021 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction, March 20-27, are four 1963 Split-Window Corvette Resto-Mods. Each is a beautiful reimagining of the timeless C2 Corvette design shared with the precision and power of modern performance.

 

Starting things off is this 650hp LT4-powered 1963 Corvette Split-Window Coupe. The 6.2-liter supercharged V8 channels its might through a GM 8L90 8-speed automatic transmission and roars to life thanks to a custom side-exit exhaust. The Split-Window’s classic body was set on a bespoke frame and uses a modified C7 Corvette suspension with RideTech adjustable coilovers and brakes courtesy of the C7’s Z51 performance package. The no-expense-spared build is finished in custom-mixed PPG Black Diamond paint over a tan Kalahari leather interior. Keeping the cabin temperate is a vintage air climate control system, and the driver looks out onto a leather dashboard and Dakota Digital carbon-fiber gauges. No stone was left unturned nor detail left untouched in the build of this Corvette. It’s a true stunner and only the first of four.

 

The second in our quartet of Split-Windows is a tribute to Corvettes past, present and future. The ’63 coupe’s body is finished in show-quality Torch Red Axalta paint from the 2020 Corvette. The beautiful C2 coupe underwent a frame-off build and rides on a Roadster Shop Fast Track chassis with a 525hp GM Performance 6.2-liter LS3 engine driving the rear wheels. The V8 is mated to a 4L65E 4-speed automatic transmission and connects to the pavement via 20×15 rear and 18×9 front Budnick wheels wrapped in Mickey Thompson rubber. The stance and presence of this ‘Vette is truly something to behold. A set of 14-inch drilled and slotted Wilwood disc brakes helps ensure modern drivability, while the fully custom interior elegantly marries the world of 1963 with today’s luxuries. The cabin is wonderfully outfitted with fine Italian Hydes Leather as well as Dakota Digital gauges, a Billet Specialties steering wheel and Restomod Air climate control. Hard to miss, this Torch Red sensation is a true standout and sure to delight one lucky bidder come auction.

 

 

Built by the renowned Paul Atkins, this Corvette is a world-class example of impeccable detail and stunning craftsmanship. Beginning life as an original Split-Window, the stunning coupe was professionally frame-off restored and modified. Power comes from the supercharged heart of a C7 Z06 and produces a staggering 650hp and 650 ft/lbs of torque. The 6.2-liter V8 is equipped with a dry-sump lubrication system and fitted with a custom mandrel-bent exhaust with heat wrap throughout and Borla mufflers. If seeing is believing, then hearing this predator fire up will make for an out-of-body experience. The engine is mated to a T56 6-speed manual gearbox with a Monster twin-disc hydraulic clutch. Stopping power comes from C6 disc brakes all around. The timeless body is finished in Maserati Silver Grigio Nuvolari metallic PPG paint and rides on a custom-built SRIII chassis with C6 suspension parts and trans-axle with QA1 adjustable shocks. The custom ’Vette hugs the road thanks to Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires wrapped around a set of custom Mike Curtis Design wheels. The highly detailed all-leather interior was completed by Paul Atkins Interiors and features bespoke seats done in Lipstick Red with Charcoal accents. Matching the seats are a set of custom Dakota Digital HDX instruments complete with a custom black overlay with a red accent finish. Additionally, the cabin features a custom dash by Dashworks, as well as Vintage Air Gen IV climate control with a fully electronic microprocessor-controlled system. Other features include Billet Specialties steering wheel, Pioneer speakers and an Alpine amplifier with Bluetooth capability. Best of all, the interior retains its original stainless trim. This custom ’Vette has been driven less than 400 miles since completion is ready to explore the optimism and freedom the open road presents.

 

Rounding things off is this 700hp Lingenfelter-powered ripper. The Glossy Black finish is draped over an original Split-Window body and rides on a custom Street Shop frame. Under the hood sits a LS3 V8 topped with a Magnuson Supercharger. The 6.2-liter V8 features a host of upgrades from famed Corvette tuner Lingenfelter, including an upgraded camshaft, ported cylinder heads and long-tube headers. A sturdy TREMEC TKO600 5-speed manual transmission fitted with a hydraulic clutch and Lokar shifter translate power to an aluminum driveshaft and on to 18- and 19-inch Billet Specialties wheels wrapped in meaty Kumho Tires rubber. Unafraid to hide its brawn, the ’Vette features has 2-inch rear quarter flares and uses a set of Wilwood brakes to provide maximum stopping power. The powder-coated Street Shop chassis has been upgraded with C4 Corvette suspension and uses control arms and QA1 coilovers. Inside, the tan leather-wrapped bucket seats are finished in the same leather trim as the dashboard, door panels and rear cargo area. The Corvette uses a center-mounted boost gauge in place of the original vertically mounted radio, and an array of AutoMeter silver-faced gauges keep a silver theme going throughout the cabin. Additionally, the cabin is kept cool thanks to a Generation IV Vintage Air climate control system.

Each beautiful in their own unique way, these “land sharks” offer a lens back in time, connecting the works of Pete Brock, Bill Mitchell and a little-known German racer to the present. Don’t miss your chance to slide behind the wheel this March as these four Split-Windows command maximum attention as they cross the Barrett-Jackson auction block.

For up-to-date information on these and other vehicles headed to the 2021 Scottsdale Auction, check out the Special Preview (with more vehicles being added daily) HERE.