Fifty years ago, a car salesman at Blackley Chevrolet in Hornbeak, Tenn., was related to the owner of the dealership. Back in 1963, most of the dealership’s sales involved pickup trucks and sedans.
Regardless, the salesman went ahead and ordered as a demonstrator one of the freshly redesigned 1963 Corvette Sting Ray split window coupes. He selected a new color that was offered that year — Saddle Tan. Because the salesman considered the sleek Corvette a “manly sports car,” he ordered the Sting Ray with no power brakes, no power steering, no power windows, no automatic transmission and no air conditioning. All such features, he believed, merely added weight and consumed horsepower.
Four variations of the 327-cubic-inch V-8 engine were offered. This particular 1963 Corvette is equipped with the 340-horsepower version. Also available was an engine that developed 250 horsepower, one that produced 300 horsepower and a fuel-injected, 360-horsepower V-8. The 340-horsepower V-8 under the hood of this Corvette is fed fuel via a Carter four-barrel carburetor.
Eventually, demo model was purchased by the dealer’s son-in-law who lived near St. Louis, Mo., where the Corvette served as a daily driver. Now, his grandson, Jim Board, is the proud owner of the 1963 Corvette. He remembers family trips in the Sting Ray — his parents nestled in the front bucket seats, as he and his sibling rode in the seatless back.
“We watched the world go by through those split windows,” he recalls. Board says that he couldn’t see out the sides of the windows, only a straight up view was possible.
From a styling perspective, racing was foremost with the aerodynamical style hidden headlights. “I get the styling, Board explains, “they got it right.”
— Vern Parker, Motor Matters
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Copyright, Motor Matters, 2012