Prepare to be amazed as we delve into the captivating story of the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray Convertible Show Car. A true gem in the Corvette lineage, this extraordinary vehicle was specially crafted by GM Design as a showstopper. With two distinct versions produced, one unveiled at the 1963 Chicago Auto Show and the other gifted to the esteemed retired designer Harley Earl, these Corvettes were meticulously modified with unique features and exquisite details that set them apart from their production counterparts.
One of the defining characteristics of these special Corvettes is the iconic independent side pipes, reminiscent of the revolutionary Mako Shark concept car. These pipes attach to headers that pass through the battery box, necessitating the relocation of the battery behind the passenger seat. Further enhancements include the addition of 1965-spec chrome trim, body emblems, interior control knobs, and four-wheel disc brakes, making these show cars truly exceptional.
Step inside these extraordinary vehicles, and you’ll discover a departure from the standard 1963 production specifications. The seats boast luxurious blue upholstery with striking white inserts, exuding elegance and sophistication. The switchgear, unique to these show cars, was later utilized in the 1965 model, showcasing their innovative design and forward-thinking approach. Notably, Earl’s version features a second instrument binnacle on the passenger-side dashboard, complete with a large clock and accelerometer. With a unique aluminum insert in the floor mats and factory-installed air conditioning, no detail was overlooked in creating these remarkable machines.
Harley Earl, a prominent figure in the Corvette’s history, received his Sting Ray in 1963. Originally painted red on red, the car underwent a transformation under the skilled hands of GM Design through Shop Order 10323. Noteworthy upgrades included an enhanced 327in³/300 bhp engine, elevating the car’s performance to new heights. After being cherished by Earl for two years and making appearances at notable events, the car found its way into the hands of Corvette enthusiast Joe Clark in 1981. Subsequently, a meticulous restoration by renowned specialist Bob Gold brought this automotive masterpiece back to its former glory.