Prepare to have your mind blown! In a recent Facebook poll, we asked you, our dedicated Corvette enthusiasts, to vote for the greatest second-generation (C2) Corvette of all time. And the results are in! The clear winner, as chosen by YOU, is the awe-inspiring 1963 Split-Window Corvette. It’s time to delve into the captivating history of this legendary machine and explore what makes it the undisputed champion among C2 Corvettes.
To truly understand the magnificence of the 1963 Split-Window Corvette, we must trace its origins and the events that led to its creation. This iconic model evolved from two separate projects backed by General Motors: the Q-Corvette and Bill Mitchell’s race-version Stingray. The Q-Corvette made a brief appearance in 1957 as a revolutionary concept, featuring a rear-mounted transaxle and a rear-suspension package that offered exceptional front-to-rear-wheel weight balance. Its sleek exterior showcased peaked fenders, a long nose, and a short, bobbed tail, significantly improving aerodynamics.
Simultaneously, in 1959, the Corvette Stingray Racer took shape as a concept car personally funded by Bill Mitchell, GM’s Vice President of Styling. Designed based on a sketch by the talented Peter Brock, who also played a crucial role in shaping the Q-Corvette’s overall design, the Stingray Racer gained popularity. It made its racing debut in April 1959, driven by Dr. Dick Thompson, finishing fourth overall and first in its class. The following year, with Will Thompson behind the wheel, the 1959 Stingray Racer clinched the SCCA National Championship in 1960.
Despite its success as a private entry, GM pressured Bill Mitchell to withdraw the Stingray from competition due to the AMA racing ban. Mitchell eventually complied, and the Stingray retired from racing. He then modified his beloved racer, adding a full-width front windshield and a passenger seat to meet road-legal requirements. Mitchell transformed the Stingray Racer into his personal vehicle and leveraged its exceptional design cues when developing the second-generation Corvette. Now, with the 1963 Split-Window Corvette earning the coveted title of the greatest C2 Corvette ever, its legacy as a true automotive masterpiece is forever sealed.