The Sting Ray is Born
BY: Bob Kroupa of Vette-N-Vestments
The 1963 Corvette was to be a record setter
This was the first year Corvette would be available in two
models, the Coupe
At introduction time, the general public
immediately gave high reviews to the
1963 model, especially the Coupe. The futuristic design of the
Coupe would become
one of the most recognized and sought-after Corvettes. Even
today, almost 37
years later, the design lines of the Coupe appears to be a
drawing board show
The public raved about the neat design of the
rear split window; however, the
press was very critical, and common complaints of poor
The split window was a one-year only feature which was
replaced by a single
window in 1964. To combat complaints, Chevrolet introduced a
rear window which would resemble the 1964 Corvette Coupe.
Numerous owners converted
their split window to the one-piece unit, which destroyed the
of their car.
No changes were made in motor offerings for
1963. They were a carryover from
1962 when the all new "327" was introduced. The base motor was
During 1963, the majority of buyers selected the 327-300 motor
at a cost of
$54. Close behind was the selection of the 327-340 at $108.
Only 12% of the
buyers selected the 327-360 fuel injected motor at a cost of
$430. In 1963,
this was an expensive selection since it represented 10% of
the base price of
the Corvette. However, today an original fuel injected 1963
Corvette will command
an additional $10,000 over the average price!
The response to the 1963 Corvette was truly
outstanding. Buyers were waiting
up to 60 days to take delivery on a purchase. The St. Louis
assembly plant started
a second shift to keep up with the demand. Before long, the
entire model year
was sold out. And of course, the 1963 Corvettes were being
sold at list prices.
(Note, we said list, not thousands over, which frequently
happens today when
a "hot" car is introduced).
Those were the days when Roadsters were
extremely popular, and the public was
also impressed with the styling lines of the '63 Corvette
Roadster. Demand for
the Coupe and Roadster was comparable, and Chevrolet set a
by building over 21,000 Corvettes, which was virtually double
that of any previous
model year. To be exact, 10,594 Corvettes Coupes were built,
and the final number
on the Roadsters was 10,919.
Also on the drawing board in 1962 was a 1963
four-seat Coupe, which reached
the completed clay model stage. This model had 10 inches added
between the front
and rear wheels, in addition to a higher roof line for rear
headroom. This configuration
certainly did not enhance the classic lines of the standard
Coupe, thus the
idea was scrapped. It's interesting to note that Jaguar took
this approach with
their E-type models. In today's market, the 2+2 Jaguar is the
in the E-type series.
The 1963 Corvette Coupe was introduced at a
base price of $4,257. We went into
our price database and noted the average price of the Coupe in
1981 was $9,700!
From a price perspective, the 1963 Coupe commanded top dollar
to the other Coupes in the 1963-67 series. Again, it was the
split window mystique
that made the 1963 Coupe a collectible. By 1985, the Coupe had
in average price and was poised for additional appreciation.
We've noted that
during the following three years, the 1963 Coupe had increased
$3,000 per year in average price. The average price reached
$26,400 during early
1990. This was a time when all sports cars reached their peak
Today, the average price of the Coupe is
$27,500. The high sale price reached
$55,000 for a restored fuel injected Coupe. At Bloomington
Gold this year, another
'63 Coupe with the fuel injected motor sold for $41,000. And
as reported in
this issue, at the Mecum Auction, a '63 Coupe with the Z06
package and big tank
was a no sale at $130,000! At the low end of the spectrum were
two in need of
paint and interior work. They sold for $18,000 and $19,250,
is the only Coupe in the 1963-67 series which commands $4,000-
$5,000 more in
average price than the Roadster.
The 1963 Roadster was introduced at a base
price of $4,037. On a comparative
basis, it was priced at one dollar less than the 1962 model.
Those were the
days! In 1981, the average price of the Roadster was $7,400.
The average price
during the mid-'80s was stagnant in the $10,000 range.
However, during the late
'80s, we noted the 1963 Roadster picked up appreciation
momentum. By 1990, the
average price of the Roadster reached $20,600.
Today, the average price is $23,600 with a
price of $44,000. At Bloomington
Gold, we recorded a number of '63 Roadster sales at a price
range of $15,700
to $38,000. Also, at the Mecum auction, there was a "pilot"
which was a no sale at $130,000.
From a rare option perspective, only 63
selected the "tanker",
a 36 gallon fuel tank that was only available on the Coupe at
a cost of $202.
Also, a special high performance package, Z06, was offered at
a price of $1,818.
Included was the fuel injected motor and 36 gallon fuel tank.
It was selected
by only 199 of the buyers. A last rare option was the factory
Only 278 were ordered with the price tag of $422.
We look for modest appreciation in both
for the upcoming year.
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