Written by Eric Becker
The second-generation Corvette changed the way people viewed America’s sports car; it was now decidedly bolder, sleeker and, above all, faster. The second-gen, known as the C2, was instantly recognizable, penned by the legendary design team of Pete Brock, Larry Shinoda and Bill Mitchell. The car’s design was transformative and suggested the basis for models to come. The boattail roofline and spine-divided rear window were elegant in their simplicity, while the muscular fenders, long streamlined hood and trademark pop-up headlamps all added to the Corvette’s mystique and appeal. Here was an exotic-looking machine born not in the design studios of Europe, but Detroit.
To many Corvette enthusiasts, the 1963 Split-Window stands as the highpoint of style for the second-generation Corvette. Its elegance and innovation go beyond the myriad of facts and figures, as today, some 60 years after its debut, the C2 remains a top-tier representation of an outgoing, aggressive and optimistic America. All of this makes the C2 a perfect candidate to be brought back as a spectacular Resto-Mod, taking an icon of the 20th century well into the 21st.
Offered with No Reserve at the inaugural 2021 Barrett-Jackson Houston Auction, September 16-18, is a beautiful reimagining of the 1963 Split-Window Corvette (Lot #733). Built by the esteemed Jeff Hayes, this striking C2 represents the pinnacle of the Resto-Mod ethos, demonstrating a seamless blend of classic style and modern performance.
This C2 began life as a clean, original GM donor car before every component, whether mechanical or merely cosmetic, was thoroughly inspected and upgraded. Painted in an arresting red, this Split-Window was completed in March 2021, and represents a master class in automotive craftsmanship. Underneath the hood is an all-new 540hp GM LS3 engine. The powerful Hot Cam V8 channels its might through a 4L70E 4-speed automatic overdrive transmission. Beneath the Corvette’s svelte bodywork is an Art Morrison sport chassis, with custom front and rear sway bars ensuring form follows function and marrying the ’Vette to the road. Bringing things to a halt are Wilwood brakes with 6-piston polished aluminum front calipers, 4-piston rear calipers, and drilled and slotted rotors at all four corners. Keeping the custom Split-Window sticky at the pavement is a staggered set of custom Schott Mach 5 wheels wrapped in Toyo red line tires.
The custom distressed saddle leather interior wraps around the Corvette’s iconic dashboard cowls and complements the chromed and polished switchgear. The beautiful instrument cluster relays the happenings under the hood to the driver, and a Vintage Air climate control system keeps the cabin comfortable and temperate. A carbon-fiber center console shrouds the polished shifter and the driver takes control via a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Additional amenities include power steering, power windows, power hood and AM/FM Bluetooth stereo to play your favorite tunes – not that you’ll notice or hear it over the delightfully affirmative sounds coming from the Hot Cam LS3 up front.
The classic look of the mid-year Split-Window combined with the technology of the new chassis, along with the striking red paint and impeccable interior, are absolutely timeless. This is a Resto-Mod of the highest order and is sure to delight the winning bidder on auction day.