The Jaguar XKE design was interpreted from its Le Mans winning D type race car – so Corvette looked to the race circuit for its inspiration. It was found in the Pete Brock designed Stingray racing car owned by GM’s new Chief designer, Bill Mitchell. The production Sting Ray name was split in two and sported a radical new body design that mimicked the Stingray Racer. The revised Corvette sat on a redesigned steel chassis with independent rear suspension. A steel sub-frame was integrated into the body to support the fiberglass body panels. The big excitement for Corvette fans in 1963 was the introduction of the Sting Ray coupe. It featured a split rear window, curved side glass and a cutout on the roof to ease entry and exit into the cabin. Hide-A-Way headlights were standard on coupes and convertibles.
The split rear window caused many arguments inside GM between styling and engineering. Duntov believed it harmed rearward visibility and Mitchell thought it made the Corvette unique. Duntov won the day when the split rear window was removed from the coupe in 1964. GM parts even offered a modification kit to convert a 1963 split window coupe into a single rear window design. The engine lineup stayed the same as it did in 1962. This included the 360 HP fuel injected 327 CID small block V-8.
The production Sting Ray was an absolute sales sensation and demand was so high that the assembly plant in St Louis ran on a two-shift basis. Dealers reported selling their quota at full price on the first day it was released for sale. A total of 21,513 units were produced – 10,594 coupes and 10,919 convertibles. The Sting Ray helped GM make money from Corvette for the first time in 10 yehttps://ryno-blog-post-images.s3.amazonaws.com/dd29a3c0-988a-488e-bbf4-dfa9e7decac5.jpgars. Today the iconic split window is coveted by automobile collectors. GM even honored the 1963 Sting Ray by reintroducing the name for the C7 Corvette Stingray.
Story by Walt Thurn
Photography courtesy of Dream Giveaway Garage