It wasn’t glamorous transportation, but it was reliable and got us from our parents’ homes to the campus of Sacramento State College. As a 17-year-old college freshman, I had yet to purchase my first vehicle (a ’53 Ford Victoria), so our arrangement couldn’t have been called a car pool. My part of the deal was probably to kick in for gas now and then.
The Giants met the Yankees in the World Series that October. Opting to hang out in the student lounge watching the games on TV, rather than attending classes set a bad precedent. I didn’t ever return to some of my classes. When the semester concluded, the authorities declared me to be academically ineligible for a year. I lost touch with Fred around that time but heard from mutual friends that Fred was doing well promoting a new musical group. Such was his success with the Beach Boys, in fact, that he’d bought himself a new ’63 Corvette—quite a coup for an 18-year-old. We all were jealous.
At TASTE Publications we celebrate travel with a culinary emphasis but believe getting there can be (at least) half the fun. The article below references a classic Corvette—the same year and model that our young friend Fred bought. We enjoy following the auctions, where enthusiasts with bucks can acquire cars the average Joe can only dream of owning. We’ll look forward to seeing this ’63 split-window coupe come up for bid at the annual Barrett-Jackson Auction from Scottsdale in January. Automotive journalist Steve Statham’s article will give you another perspective on this automotive classic. More information on this event is available at https://www.barrett-jackson.com/
UNFORGETTABLE: This 1963 Chevrolet Corvette 327/340 Split-Window Coupe is the Ultimate Lost and Found Story
By Steve Statham
Greatness in a car is measured in many ways, but one sure indicator is if an owner simply can’t let the car get away. That’s the story behind the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette 327/340hp Split-Window Coupe shown here that will be offered with No Reserve at Barrett-Jackson’s 2022 Scottsdale auction January 22-30. It is being consigned by the original owner, but the road from there to here has many interesting twists and turns.
After purchasing the car new, the consignor used the red Sting Ray as family transportation during its early years. Upon entering service in the Army, however, he made the practical move and sold the car. But as we said earlier, great cars grab hold of the imagination and never let go, and such was the case here. Years later he tracked down the Corvette in Cincinnati by way of Vette Vues Magazine, and repurchased it in 1983. He’s owned it ever since.
It’s easy to see why the owner would put in the detective work to track down his lost ride and buy it back. Besides the personal angle with this Sting Ray, the 1963 Corvette has long-since carved out a place among the automotive elite. It was the first year of the ground-breaking C2 generation Sting Ray, and the only year for the split rear window coupe. A favorite feature of GM styling chief Bill Mitchell, the split window was a controversial styling decision at the time. But as the decades have passed, opinion has reversed on the one-year design quirk, and the cars have risen to the top tier of collectible Corvettes.
The L76 327, rated at 340hp, was the most powerful carbureted engine available in the 1963 Sting Ray. A solid-lifter camshaft and 11.25:1 compression ratio separated it from the entry-level 327s. The finned valve covers were used exclusively on the L76 and the L84 fuel-injected 327. The best way to ride that V8 up to the redline is with a manual transmission, and this Sting Ray has that welcome 4-speed shifter between the seats.
Once back in his possession, the consignor was eager to give the car a new lease on life. He sent it to Zane Finney Corvette Restoration Company in Hancock, MD, for a full makeover, and the Sting Ray has been sent back there periodically over the years to keep the car in top condition. After the restoration and up until the mid-90s the Corvette was a high-profile regular at East Coast and Midwest car shows. Its collection of awards is impressive. It was certified number 1,500 at Bloomington Gold on June 28, 1987.
The buyer will receive a number of mementos from the car’s life, including the original window sticker, and a photo of the car in the Bloomington Gold Certification Lane plus certificate from their board. Fitting for a piece of rolling automotive art, this red blast of Americana comes with a numbered 1963 Giclee print by Scott Jacobs, a limited-edition autographed print #63 by artist Lee Self of Zora Duntov, and one of Larry Shinoda also numbered #63/1992.
This Sting Ray will have a new owner come January, but we have a feeling the winning bidder will likewise be determined to own it for the long haul.