The C2 Corvette History: A Blend of Design, Performance, and Innovation.


In the realm of classic American sports cars, few models capture the imagination quite like the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray. With its groundbreaking design and enhanced handling capabilities, the Sting Ray marked a significant evolution in the Corvette lineage, becoming a symbol of automotive innovation and performance.


The Sting Ray emerged as a lighter variant in the Corvette family, a change that, despite the engine's horsepower remaining unchanged, resulted in noticeable improvements in acceleration. The 1963 model year saw a remarkable production run of 21,513 units, a 50 percent increase over the record-setting figures of 1962. This production was almost equally divided between the convertible and the newly introduced coupe models, with 10,919 and 10,594 units, respectively. Interestingly, more than half of the convertibles featured the optional lift-off hardtop. However, the coupe model would not experience such high sales figures again during the Sting Ray years, with the convertible variant maintaining its popularity until the introduction of the T-top in 1969.


As the automotive market began to show a preference for more refined sports cars, the equipment options for the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray reflected this shift. Options such as power brakes were included in 15 percent of the models, while power steering was added to 12 percent. Yet, only a fraction of buyers opted for air conditioning or leather upholstery, underscoring a still prevalent desire for performance over luxury. Despite this, the Sting Ray was predominantly sold with a four-speed manual gearbox, chosen for over 80 percent of the units.


Under the hood, the 1963 Corvette was powered by a 327cid engine, offering a standard 250 hp with options for 300 hp, 340 hp, and the top-of-the-line 360 hp Rochester fuel-injected engine. The model year also introduced the Corvette to an array of new options, including AM-FM radio, air conditioning, leather upholstery, and, notably, the RPO Z06 performance equipment package. Priced at $1,818.45, the "Big Tanks," as they were known, featured an oversized 36.5-US-gallon gas tank for endurance racing, initially available only for the coupe due to size constraints.


The exclusivity of the Z06 package was underscored by its limited production, with only 199 units made, six of which were specially designed for Le Mans racing by Chevrolet. One such vehicle, prepared for the Daytona 250 – American Challenge Cup, was significantly modified to meet NASCAR's stringent requirements, including an experimental 427 cu in engine and extensive weight reduction efforts. Despite adverse weather conditions, the Z06, driven by substitute driver Billy Krause, secured a commendable third-place finish, showcasing the Corvette's competitive prowess.


A notable innovation for the 1963 model was the introduction of an optional electronic ignition system, the breakerless magnetic pulse-triggered Delcotronic, highlighting Chevrolet's commitment to adopting advanced technologies for enhanced performance.


The 1963 Corvette Sting Ray, with its blend of aesthetic allure, dynamic performance, and cutting-edge options, not only set new standards for American sports cars but also solidified its legacy as one of the most iconic models in automotive history.



The 1964 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray stands as a testament to the brand's commitment to continuous improvement and refinement. Building on the success of the revolutionary 1963 model, the 1964 iteration introduced a series of evolutionary changes that further solidified its reputation as America's premier sports car. These modifications were designed to address customer feedback, enhance driving comfort, and improve performance, without sacrificing the Corvette's iconic appeal.


One of the most notable exterior changes for the 1964 Corvette was the modification of the coupe's rear window. Chevrolet replaced the distinctive split rear window with a single piece of arched glass to improve rearward visibility, a response to concerns raised by Corvette owners. Additionally, the simulated air intakes on the hood were removed, leaving only their indentations, and the decorative air-exhaust vent on the coupe's rear pillar was made functional on the left side. The car also saw aesthetic adjustments to the rocker-panel trim, wheel covers, and the fuel filler/deck emblem, which received concentric circles around its crossed-flags insignia. Inside, the transition to a simulated walnut for the steering wheel rim added a touch of elegance to the Corvette's sporty interior.


Chevrolet didn't stop at cosmetic upgrades; the 1964 Corvette also received significant suspension refinements. The introduction of progressive or variable-rate front coil springs, adjustments to the leaf thickness of the rear transverse spring, and reworked shock absorbers contributed to a smoother ride that did not compromise the car's handling prowess. The new standard shock incorporated a small bag of Freon gas within its fluid reservoir to absorb heat, further enhancing ride comfort. Additional sound insulation, revised body and transmission mounts, extra bushings to quiet the shift linkage, and a new boot around the lever made the 1964 Corvette more suited to everyday driving without losing its sports car edge.


Under the hood, the drivetrain options remained largely unchanged, but the high-performance engines saw notable improvements. The solid-lifter engine now featured a high-lift, long-duration camshaft and a big four-barrel Holley carburetor, increasing its output to 365 hp. The fuel-injected engine gained an extra 15 horsepower, reaching a total of 375 hp, albeit with a significant price tag. Transmission options were updated as well, with the two Borg-Warner T-10 four-speeds replaced by similar gearboxes produced at GM's Muncie, Indiana, facility. These new transmissions boasted stronger synchronizers and wider ratios, improving both durability and drivability.


The 1964 Corvette Sting Ray was met with acclaim from enthusiast publications and consumers alike, though some critics noted the convertible's tendency to rattle on rough roads. Sales figures reflected the model's popularity, reaching a new record of 22,229 units. While coupe sales saw a slight decline, the convertible variant more than made up for it, underscoring the enduring appeal of open-top driving.


In sum, the 1964 Corvette Sting Ray embodied Chevrolet's dedication to refining an already exceptional sports car. Through thoughtful design changes and mechanical upgrades, the 1964 model enhanced the Corvette's performance, comfort, and usability, ensuring its place in the pantheon of classic American automobiles.



Entering its third season, the 1965 Corvette Sting Ray underwent subtle yet impactful changes that further enhanced its aesthetic appeal and performance capabilities. With a renewed focus on refining its design and boosting power, the 1965 model solidified its position as a quintessential American sports car.


Visually, the 1965 Corvette received minor styling alterations aimed at creating a sleeker, more polished appearance. The hood was smoothed out, eliminating scoop indentations for a cleaner look. Vertical exhaust vents adorned the front fenders, replacing the previous nonfunctional horizontal "speedlines," while restyled wheel covers and rocker-panel moldings added to the car's refined aesthetic. Inside, minor trim revisions contributed to an overall sense of sophistication.


However, the most significant enhancement came in the form of performance upgrades. Midway through the model year, Chevrolet introduced the "Big-Block" 396 cu in engine, unleashing a staggering 425 hp of raw power. This marked the end of the road for the Rochester fuel injection system, as the carbureted 396ci/425hp option offered comparable performance at a more affordable price. Despite its superior horsepower, the fuel-injected models struggled to justify their higher cost, leading Chevrolet to discontinue the option after producing only 771 units in 1965.


In addition to the Big-Block engine, the 1965 Corvette also welcomed a new small block engine option, the L79, boasting 350 hp. Equipped with hydraulic lifters and a milder camshaft, this engine offered a more accessible alternative for enthusiasts seeking high-performance capabilities. Notably, the L79 engine could be paired with optional power steering for the first time, expanding the range of driving experiences available to Corvette owners.


A significant advancement in the 1965 Corvette was the introduction of four-wheel disc brakes, replacing the previous all-drum system. Featuring a four-piston design with two-piece calipers and cooling fins for the rotors, the new braking system offered unparalleled stopping power and improved durability. Road testers praised the all-disc brakes for their consistent performance, even under extreme conditions, highlighting the Corvette's commitment to both safety and performance.


Optional features further enhanced the driving experience, with offerings such as a side exhaust system, telescopic steering wheel, and alloy spinner wheels. These options allowed buyers to customize their Corvette to suit their individual preferences, further cementing its status as a symbol of automotive excellence.


In summary, the 1965 Corvette Sting Ray epitomized the evolution of American sports cars, blending style, power, and innovation in a package that captured the hearts of enthusiasts around the world. With its refined design and enhanced performance capabilities, the 1965 Corvette continued to set the standard for performance-driven automotive excellence.




As the automotive world transitioned into the dynamic landscape of the mid-1960s, the Chevrolet Corvette continued its legacy of innovation and performance with the introduction of the 1966 model. Building on the success of its predecessors, the 1966 Corvette boasted a range of enhancements that further solidified its reputation as an icon of American muscle cars.


At the heart of the 1966 Corvette were the big-block V8 engines, available in two formidable forms: a 390 hp option and a staggering 425 hp variant. The latter, featuring an 11:1 compression ratio, larger intake valves, a bigger Holley four-barrel carburetor, mechanical lifters, and four-hole main bearing caps, delivered not only impressive horsepower but also a substantial increase in torque compared to its predecessors. While official horsepower ratings often understated the true power of the 427-cubic-inch engine, estimates suggested figures approaching 450 hp, making it a force to be reckoned with on both the road and the track.


In response to the dominance of the big-block engines, the small-block offerings were streamlined, with only the basic 300- and 350-bhp versions retained. Despite their lower output compared to their larger counterparts, these engines still offered impressive performance, complemented by the flexibility of transmission options including Powerglide automatic and both three- and four-speed manuals.


Visually, the 1966 Corvette underwent subtle yet impactful changes to its frontal appearance, including the introduction of an eggcrate grille insert and the removal of roof-mounted extractor vents on the coupe model. These alterations not only refreshed the car's aesthetic but also improved functionality and aerodynamics. Inside, the addition of optional headrests and other amenities further enhanced the driving experience, catering to the demands of discerning enthusiasts.


Despite the relative lack of significant changes, the 1966 Corvette continued to captivate buyers and break records, with sales soaring to new heights. A testament to its enduring popularity and unwavering appeal, the 1966 model year saw production reach an impressive 27,720 units, surpassing the previous year's figures by over 4,200 units.


Looking ahead, plans were already underway for an all-new Corvette set to debut in 1967. However, the success of the 1966 model underscored the enduring legacy of the Corvette brand and its ability to evolve with the times while remaining true to its roots. As the golden age of American muscle cars unfolded, the 1966 Corvette stood as a shining example of power, performance, and innovation, leaving an indelible mark on automotive history.




As the final iteration of the second-generation Corvette, the 1967 Corvette Sting Ray marked the culmination of five years of relentless refinement and innovation. Despite being slated for a redesign, the 1967 model retained much of its predecessor's charm, embodying the pinnacle of automotive engineering and design of its era.


While the 1967 Corvette was originally intended to undergo significant changes, including the introduction of its successor, the C3, unforeseen aerodynamic issues delayed its production. Chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov insisted on further time in the wind tunnel to address these concerns before proceeding with the new model, resulting in a continuation of the second-generation Corvette for another year.


Modest yet impactful changes distinguished the 1967 Corvette from its predecessors. Smaller front fender vents replaced the larger ones, contributing to a sleeker profile, while flat-finish rockers devoid of ribbing imparted a more streamlined appearance. Notably, a single backup light positioned above the license plate replaced the previous dual-light setup. The traditional wheel covers were replaced by slotted six-inch Rally wheels, adorned with chrome beauty rings and lug nuts concealed behind chrome caps, adding a touch of sportiness to the exterior.


Interior updates were subtle, including revised upholstery and a relocation of the handbrake from beneath the dash to between the seats. Notably, the convertible model offered an optional hardtop with a black vinyl cover, reflecting a trend prevalent among automobiles of the time.


Under the hood, the 1967 Corvette offered formidable engine options, including the Tri-Power 427, equipped with three 2-barrel carburetors, and the legendary L88, a pure racing engine designed for the track. With a stratospheric compression ratio and an advertised horsepower rating of 430 bhp, the L88 was capable of delivering over 560 bhp in reality, making it one of the most potent engines ever offered by Chevrolet in regular production. However, the L88's high compression necessitated the use of specialized racing fuel and mandated several mandatory options, including Positraction, heavy-duty suspension, and power brakes.


Despite its exceptional performance and engineering prowess, the 1967 Corvette Sting Ray faced declining sales as anticipation for the next-generation Corvette grew. With a total production of 22,940 units, down over 5,000 units from the previous year, the Sting Ray bid farewell as Chevrolet prepared to usher in the third-generation Corvette for the 1968 model year.


In retrospect, the C2 Corvette Sting Ray remains a testament to Chevrolet's commitment to excellence and innovation, embodying the spirit of American muscle cars and leaving an indelible mark on automotive history.