327 V8 Project: 1963 Chevrolet Corvette

The long-awaited second generation (C2) of the Chevy Corvette debuted for 1963. Almost everything about the car was new including the split-window coupe that represented about half the sales. But the convertible accounted for the other half and could be had with a removable hardtop. This ’63 roadster is a project car, needing both mechanical and cosmetic attention, and may have last been on the road in the 1980s. Located in Apache Junction, Arizona, this ‘Vette is available here on eBay where the bidding has reached $26,200, but the reserve is still out there.

For the first time in the car’s history, both the Corvette’s body and chassis were completely redesigned and reengineered. Its name was expanded to include “Sting Ray” which was worn by the experimental cars that led to its production. The use of a fiberglass body was continued, and retractable headlamps appeared for the first time. These new Corvettes were two inches lower and four inches wider in wheelbase compared to the 1962 models. Sales would jump by 50% to 21,513 units as buyers liked what they saw in America’s only production sports car.

The seller acquired this ’63 ‘Vette from the previous owner last year and that party had owned it since 1972. He drove it for about 10 years before it was parked for reasons unclear. The gas tank has flown the coop, so that may have been the root of the problem. While the 4-speed manual transmission is original to the car, the engine is not. It now has an “SD” suffix code 327 cubic inch V8 from the same model year. Some of the parts from the original motor were transferred to this one, like the oil pan and finned harmonic balancer. This Corvette does not have power steering or brakes but does have a posi-traction rear differential. Whether it could run is not discussed.

Riverside Red was likely the original color on this Corvette with a matching interior. The paint has long since given up the ghost and we’re told the car has “typical Midwest frame rust.” The interior has seen better days and – with the seats out – the floorboards look like they may be okay. The “Vette is said to have both its tops, but we don’t see the canvas version to judge its condition or the hardware that supports it.

Brand new tires are on all four corners, so the car rolls and steers easily. Stopping is another issue as it will need brake work. Online sources suggest a nice ’63 convertible is a $75,000 car and the split-coupe is, well, in another dimension altogether. Hopefully, the reserve isn’t too high on this one to make it unfeasible to restore.

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Comments

  1. Camvette Member

    So the current owner is in Arizona and states it has Midwest rust? And no pictures of the rust? Sounds like to me he didn’t realize it was a rust bucket underneath and now trying to pawn it off.

    Like 11
  2. 86_Vette_Convertible

    No underneath pictures, sills look like they were cut out likely for side pipes, no gas tank and unknown mechanical condition – no thanks, too much IMO for a car in the condition this one is in.

    Like 7
  3. Larry D

    The SD code would indicate a 327/300 horsepower engine with a Powerglide transmission.

    Like 4
  4. George Mattar

    Money pit and what is a finned harmonic balancer. Never heard that. Who edits the stuff this old man writes?

    Like 1
    • Mark Member

      Chill George. We all make mistakes on this forum.

      Like 2
  5. Rob MacGregor

    George, there is a finned Harmonic Balancer available for the Corvette. Google it.

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