60 years Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray: Legendary ray

60 years Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray: Legendary ray

The split rear window was only around for a year but it became a surprise

The Chevrolet Corvette is undoubtedly an icon of automotive history. One of the longest running names, if not THE longest running model of a current car. America’s cult sports car, President Biden’s favorite car. One model generation stands out in the true sense of the word: The Sting Ray, nicknamed the stingray, is now 60 years old.

The second-generation Corvette–named the Sting Ray after the 1959 concept racer that influenced its design–represented a revolution in styling, engineering, and performance. While the first generation Corvettes were based on a revised sedan platform, the second generation was. clean new construction according to special architecture.

Chevrolet Corvette C2 with the famous “Split Window”.

It allowed for a lower center of gravity and a lower, sporty seating position, while supporting an all-new rear suspension that greatly improved the car’s roadholding.

According to a one-off sports car written by design chief Bill Mitchell, the 1963 model year Corvette Sting Ray “split window” (ie 1962 in “real” years) may have been the most exciting American production car of its time. . In addition to its sleeker silhouette, the Sting Ray featured a new independent rear end and offered a powerful small-block V8 fuel-injected engine. New luxury options included air conditioning, leather seats and the latest news – AM/FM radio.

The new Corvette base also supported the “split window” style of the new coupe group. The 1962 Corvette is often cited as one of the most beautiful designs in automotive history. The term “split window” comes from the “spine” that runs through the center of the body and divides the rear window. The C2 Corvette also introduced retractable headlights, which would become a Corvette signature for the next 41 years. The “C2” generation of Corvette would last until 1967, but only the 1963 coupe featured the famous “split window” style.

The addition of the coupe to the Corvette lineup doubled sales over the next few years as the car became more popular with owners in northern climates, while the new frame design and independent suspension made the Corvette a world-class sports car.

The first Corvette Z06 was a 1963 option package developed by legendary Corvette engineer and racing advocate Zora Arkus-Duntov. He successfully convinced the 1963 Corvette to offer a package to customers who wanted to race the new car.

For those in the know, ticking the RPO Z06 box on a Corvette’s order slide means a 0.94-inch (24mm) thick front anti-roll bar, larger-diameter shocks and springs that are nearly twice as stiff as the original parts. normal. were added.

The Z06 package also included: improved brake components, including steel brake pads, which are more heat-resistant and wear-resistant than traditional materials, a dual-cycle master cylinder and brake booster to increase safety and reduce effort of the brake.

These features would later become the industry standard, but were still rare in production cars of the time. Perhaps most important for racing, the Z06 option can be paired with a large 36.5-gallon fiberglass tank, allowing racers to stay on the track for longer.

Models with the Z06 package quickly became known as the “big tank” or “tank” Corvette and were initially limited to coupes as the large tank was unsuitable for convertibles. Chevrolet later revised the package, making a 20-gallon tank standard and a larger tank optional.

These changes made it possible to order the Z06 package for the convertible as well. However, it is believed that only one example was built. The fund initially increased the Corvette’s base price by more than 40 percent. Alloy wheels were also offered.

Only one engine was available with the Z06 package – the 360 ​​hp, 327 cubic inch L84 small block, which featured an advanced fuel injection system. The Corvette introduced fuel injection, having introduced it in 1957. A four-speed manual transmission and Positraction rear axle were also standard equipment.

In the pre-internet era, few Corvette customers — even those with a racing mind — knew about the Z06 package. It was not announced so word of mouth was the main source of information. Since most models were bought and used for racing, the shock level was comparatively high. Surviving, inscribed specimens – especially vehicles with large tanks – have a high tax value.