By the early 1960s, the Corvette had triumphed over the Thunderbird and was now firmly America’s sports car for the second-gen’s arrival as a 1963 model. Car guys, pilots and engineers all over America had taken the lightweight-big engine formula to heart with their prized first-gen Corvettes , but now they wanted more performance by every measurement. Much more speed, in particular.
Chevrolet had similar ideas when brainstorming ways to replace the C1 as far back as 1957. The Q-Corvette concept was a working idea of a smaller, lighter and nimbler Corvette than ever before. Four-wheel discs were to be standard, and the car was could hold its own on a racetrack right off the showroom floor.
Over the C2’s relatively short time — until 1967 — this Corvette became the quickest factory machine ever in the quarter-mile with the 11.02 second time recorded by the 1967 Corvette L88 Sting Ray Convertible .
Click past the jump for the full history of the 1963-1967 Chevrolet Corvette C2, with highlights from two prize-winning concours examples.
The dream factory inside Harley Earl’s General Motors was flying high during this time period. The refresh of the `Vette for 1958 was a huge hit, and the company could barely meet demand for it.
Harley Earl’s designs were continually updated to fit Zora Arkus-Duntov’s latest suspension layout or engine position. So the Q-Corvette became the Grand Sport concept, which led to the 1963 styling.
1957 Q-Corvette Concept - Detail
A few years down the drain while spinning their wheels with mid-engine designs was ultimately beneficial for futuristic looks the Corvette C2 of 1963 - if not the placement of its engine.
The Split Window look and speedboat fender peaks were instant classics for this series of Corvettes that came standard as a real fastback coupe versus just a cabrio.
Beautiful White Sting Ray - Example
1966 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray 427/425 Coupe - Details
- Chassis no. 194376S110901
- 425 bhp, 427 cu. in. L72 V-8 engine with Holley four-barrel carburetor
- Four-speed manual transmission
- F41 special suspension,
- Four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes.
- Wheelbase: 98 inches
- Genuine, matching-numbers, black-on-black “big block” Corvette
- Two documented owners from new; accompanied by original Bill of Sale, title, and owner’s notes
- 28,000 believed actual miles
- Complete frame-off restoration to exacting standards of authenticity
- Date-coded glass, shocks, and original wheels
Gallery Chevrolet Corvette C2
This is generally thought of as one of the most exaggerated features for the new Corvettes of 1963. Despite the C2 badge, a heavy revamp in 1958 had already lavishly decorated the original color-matched dashboard and rear bulkhead almost ad to its breaking point.
The standard coupe body style of the Corvette C2 also required much more of a rethink to packaging the interior, including an open cargo hold for the first time behind the front seats.
As quite a different type of car versus the standard steel bodies elsewhere in the Chevy lineup, the shaped cowls and huge single-piece dashboard taught the team some lessons later applied inside its mainstream cars. The plastics were wild, with shapes that were pure fantasy material. Dark bucket seats from this example and a thin center stack emphasized performance over cruising to some tunes.
Drivetrain, Suspension and Brakes
These two examples are some of the quickest C2’s ever made. The 427/425 Sting Ray coupes of 1967 brought a 430-horsepower, big-block V-8 engine and four-wheel disc brakes to slow things down again.
The pace was accompanied and amplified by the huge engine rumble from up front and the side pipes. Even so, the Corvette was one of the best-handling cars on the road in the 1960s.
C2 Corvette Engine Details
|Engine||Model Year(s)||Horsepower||Acceleration (0-60 MPH)||Quarter Mile|
|327 Cubic Inch, Small-Block V8||1963–1965||250||8.2 Sec, Est||16.3 Sec, Est.|
|327 Cubic Inch, Small-Block V8||1963–1967||300||7.2 - 8.3 Sec||15.5 - 16 Sec|
|327 Cubic Inch, Small-Block V8||1963||340||7.5 Sec, Est||14.5 Sec, Est|
|327 Cubic Inch, Small-Block V8||1965–1967||350||6.2 - 7.4 Sec||14.4 Sec, Est|
|327 Cubic Inch, Small-Block V8||1964–1965||365||7.3 Sec, Est||14.3 Sec, Est|
|327 Cubic Inch, Small-Block, Fuel-Injected, V8||1963||360||5.8 - 5.9 Sec||14.9 Sec|
|327 Cubic Inch, Small-Block, Fuel-Injected, V8||1964–1965||375||5.6 - 6.3 Sec||14.2 - 14.4 Sec|
|396 Cubic Inch, Big-Block V8||1965||425||5.4 - 6 Sec||14.1 Sec|
|427 Cubic Inch, Big-Block V8||1966–1967||390||5.8 Sec Est||14.2 Sec, Est|
|427 Cubic Inch, Big-Block V8||1966||425||5.6 Sec||12.8 Sec|
|427 Cubic Inch Big-Block Tri-Power V8||1967||400||5.7 Sec, Est||14.1 Sec, Est|
|427 Cubic Inch Big-Block Tri-Power V8||1967||435||5 Sec||13.8 - 13.9 Sec|
The Corvette Sting Ray C2 retailed for about $4,300 as a convertible when new, and about $4,400 for a coupe.
This beautiful original big-block Corvette Sting Ray 427/425 Coupe sold on April 27th, 2013 by RM Auctions for $151,000.
Corvette Family History
Stretching since 1953, the Corvette is the longest-running sports car brand in the world. This predates Ferrari road cars, and the continuous sales of the Corvette even defied the fuel crisis of the 1970s.
The Sting Ray really shows where the Corvette legacy came into its own. After the original chassis and straight-six rally failed to quench buyers’ thirst for speed, so big changes had to be made in what was then one of General Motor’s longest product developments ever.
Luckily, the ideas for the C2 Vette were born in a wind tunnel and made real with the biggest, most powerful V-8 engines ever made until that point.
The legendary style of the fastback coupe? Still quite popular for the highest-performance cars out there. The profile almost directly previews both that of the current Ferrari F12 and the stunning 2014 Corvette Stingray .
- Really beautiful and simple shapes, defined by fastback roof
- Tall fenders and other aerodynamic ideas were far ahead of their time
- Turbo-Jet 427/425 Big Block shows there is some history of "turbo" Corvettes
- The C2 used the word "turbo" liberally to describe its racing-level fuel injection and intakes
- Huge production volume, but far fewer really special cars like these loaded 427 models
- Be careful of problem cars with unmatched serial numbers for the engine and chassis