1963 Chevrolet Corvette C2 Sting Ray
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The details of this Chevrolet Corvette C2
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Silverstone Auctions - NEC Classic Motor Show Sale 2018
11th Nov 2018
1963 Chevrolet Corvette C2 Sting Ray
Fresh styling, independent rear suspension, and the "Sting Ray" name mean the '63 cars have always been special
Imported from California in 2013 and subject of a £25,000, nut and bolt, restoration over the last four years
More recently had a £5,000 total engine rebuild by Frank Griffin Engineers of Warwick
New wiring loom. Hurst 'Quickshifter'. Original factory hardtop, fully restored
Fitted with American Racing Classic Alloys. Restored original wheels with new tyres supplied
Prior to the auction will bear the age-related registration, NSX 437A
Now in its sixth generation, the Corvette began life in 1953 with the C1 - a model that inspired a generation of young Americans and gave the Ford empire a nine-year headache. However it was the C2, the immortal Sting Ray produced between 1963 and 1967, that really set Chevrolet's cash registers ringing and left us with the most desired and collectable Corvette to date. Designed by Larry Shinoda under the guidance of the legendary Bill Mitchell, influences on the Sting Ray's unique and unforgettable form are said to include: the E-type Jaguar, a Mako shark once caught by Mitchell, the 'Q Corvette' concept car of 1957 and the 'Mitchell Sting Ray'. By the autumn of 1959 elements of the two unique Corvettes had been built into XP-720 - the design programme that led to the production of the Sting Ray as we know it.
The aims for the new car included: improved passenger accommodation, more luggage space and superior ride and handling and with this in mind a new ladder chassis was created for the car by Zora Arkus-Duntov, the most important element of which was the move away from a live axle to independent rear suspension, courtesy of lateral struts, radius rods and transverse leaf spring. The independent front suspension was much as before, as were the recirculating ball steering and there were a number of drivetrain options available including four small-block V8 engines, three transmissions, and six different axle ratios. One major innovation was that the C2 was available in both Convertible and Fastback Coupé form. The latter initially featured a dramatic split rear window, but rear vision was poor so this was discontinued a year into production. Detailed changes were made through the years, with the first of the big block engine options occurring in 1965 (the same year four-wheeled disc brakes became standard); the big-engined cars are notable for their pronounced power bulge on the bonnet. By 1966, the output of the optional 427ci (7-litre) engine had risen to around 425bhp and a stump pulling 460lbft of torque. By now sales volumes had climbed to 27,720 units.
NSX 437A first graced our shores in 2013 after arriving from sunny California and shortly thereafter, in 2014, was purchased by our vendor. The car was very presentable and ran well, however, he had always been really keen to create the best C2 Corvette he could and NSX seemed the perfect candidate, so the decision was taken to strip the car completely and commence a full, nut and bolt rebuild, a task that was eventually to take him four years of weekends and holidays, truly a labour of love.
The car was fully stripped and carefully prepared before applying a number of coats of Riverside Red. A new wiring loom was fabricated and installed and the interior was completely retrimmed in the appropriate materials. The engine was stripped and rebuilt by Frank Griffin Engineers in Warwick, who are local V8 specialists, generating an invoice of some £5,000. The Sting Ray was then completely reassembled in time honoured tradition with immense attention to detail. Our vendor placed a lot of emphasis on sourcing correct 1963 parts even if this was an expensive option. For example, the dashboard clock was beyond repair and the correct '63 example had to be sourced from the States at a cost of £500, and it was a similar story trying to find a '63 radio. Within the Corvette's history file there are detailed invoices and receipts amounting to around £25,000 demonstrating our vendor's commitment to making this C2 one of the best available.
There are a number of aspects of this Sting Ray that do not appear standard (American Racing alloys, Hurst Quickshifter, chromed Edelbrock air filter bowl, polished alternator etc.) and these have been added as a matter of personal choice, however our vendor has been fastidious in keeping all the original parts (restored and ready for use-see photograph) to enable the car to be returned to 100% original 1963 spec.
This is a serious C2 and a real drivers car especially with its Hurst Quickshifter and big wheels, and with the ability to return it to factory specification, it's doubly desirable. As the late American singer-songwriter, Prince once wrote;
“Little red Corvette
Baby you're much to fast, yes you are
Little red Corvette
You need to find a love that's gonna last”
Maybe that love affair will begin at the Silverstone sale.
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