Credit: Original article published by Barrett-Jackson.
Written by independent automotive journalist David Neyens
A sensation with bold and futuristic – almost otherworldly – styling, the second-generation Corvette left the “dream car” styling cliches and occasional excesses of the 1950s firmly in the rearview mirror upon introduction in October 1962. Based on early sketches penned in 1957 by a 19-year-old Peter Brock, one of the youngest designers ever at GM Design, the new-for-1963 Corvette was also heavily influenced by then GM Design Chief Bill Mitchell’s personally funded Sting Ray racing car, which took a 1960 SCCA class championship with famed driver Dick “The Flying Dentist” Thompson. Having already helped Mitchell design and build his Sting Ray racer, GM stylist Larry Shinoda also led the development of the new Corvette’s stunning body design to production readiness.
For the first time in 1963, two Corvette models were available – a rakish convertible, supplemented by a sleek new coupe, featuring a daring split rear-window treatment. Featuring a broad and growing array of factory-available power teams and competition options, the 1963 Sting Ray also featured a new independent rear suspension design developed by American engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov and his Corvette engineering team. Record Corvette production for 1963 reached 21,513 total units, including 10,919 convertibles and 10,594 “Split-Window” coupes. While certainly a bold design statement, the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray’s unique split rear window was somewhat controversial, resulting in its one-year-only status. However, its popularity has only grown over the past six decades, making these handsome Corvettes some of the top collectibles of today.
These “bookend” 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Split-Window Coupes are each selling at the upcoming Scottsdale Auction, one configured with right-hand-drive (RHD) and the other equipped with the customary left-hand-drive (LHD) setup. Combining iconic classic styling with the best modern components and build quality, their bodies were entirely stripped down to fiberglass, painstakingly prepped and given high-end custom refinishes, including their undersides and smoothed engine bays. Additionally, the RHD Corvette was fitted with a remote-actuated hood, custom billet hood grilles, new glass and power-actuated headlamps.
Powering the RHD car is a new 6.2-liter fuel-injected LS3 V8 engine, breathing out through a ceramic-coated exhaust system and running cool with a custom Dewitt polished radiator. A GM 6L80E overdrive automatic transmission delivers the power. An upgraded frame, driveline and Corvette suspension, plus dual adjustable coilover shocks, provide modern ride, handling and performance. Electrically assisted hydraulic Baer brakes deliver anchor-like stopping power with 14-inch drilled and slotted rotors all around.
The LHD ’Vette is powered by a new GM 6.2-liter LS3 V8 engine, fortified with Borla 8-stack EFI and paired with a GM 4L70E automatic transmission. The Corvette’s new custom frame was fabricated by Street Shop and powder-coated in silver for a lasting finish. Side-exit exhaust pipes deliver a classic 1960s look. Riding on a new C7 Corvette suspension, the ’Vette offers the stopping power of Wilwood power disc brakes at all four corners, including drilled and slotted rotors. Fully independent underpinnings also include a set of adjustable coilover shocks.
Both Corvettes feature custom interiors and form-fitting, low-profile contoured seats, trimmed by Recovery Room Interiors in two-tone Garrett tan leather with tan Alcantara. The RHD-configured Corvette features a Billet Specialties wheel atop an Ididit column, with RHD Flaming River power rack & pinion steering gear. Features and amenities shared by both cars include Dakota Digital gauges, a Vintage Air system, a power emergency brake, power door locks and power windows. Numerous modern updates include remote start/stop capability with a key fob or mobile phone app, and you can also set the Corvette’s doors to open as you approach the vehicle with Passive Keyless Entry capability.
The RHD Corvette’s custom center console includes a Sony amplifier enabling a wireless Bluetooth connection to your iPhone or Android device. Road contact for the right-hand-drive car is delivered by a set of C7 Z06 replica wheels, measuring 18 inches in diameter up front and 19 inches to the rear, all wrapped in red line performance tires. Choice features specific to the LHD Corvette include a C8 Corvette shifter, wireless CarPlay or Android Bluetooth connectivity and a pop-up DVR stereo system with a backup camera. Road contact is provided by a great-looking set of Schott custom wheels, measuring 19 inches in diameter up front and 20 inches to the rear, again mounting red line performance tires.
Each of these stellar custom Corvettes will be offered with No Reserve at the 2023 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale Auction. Be sure to register to bid today for your chance to experience all the action and make one, or both, of these “bookend” Split-Window Corvettes yours.