55K Mile Split Window! 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe

Split window! There, I got your attention. There are “trigger” words, depending on your preferred marque, that get car people revved up and split-window works for the Corvette faithful. That being the case, let’s take a closer look at a 1963 Chevrolet Corvette “split window” coupe, located in Billings, Montana and for sale here on craigslist for $109,950. Thanks to Pat L for the tip!

The story of the ’63 split-window Corvette is pretty well known as it was a struggle between engineering and styling. Styling won the contest in ’63 but engineering got a leg up in ’64 and the C2 defining split window was no more. I have never driven a ’63 split-window model but I am told that the shortcoming was rearward visibility. Well, I have driven innumerable late model cars with their built-in bunker aesthetic and if I can deal with one of those, I’d be comfortable with the split window design of the ’63 Vette, if for nothing else, the iconic styling which is the payback for the diminished rearview.

Corvettes of this era were known for power (mostly) and the seller of this ’63 tells us that this ‘Vette is equipped with a 327 CI, 340 HP engine. One of the unique features of this 327 engine is the solid lifter valve train which requires occasional valve adjustments but does dole out power excellently in the upper RPM range without valve float. And this is where I am surfacing my first concern. My memory, as well as research, tells me that this engine should be equipped with a Winters Foundry aluminum intake manifold and cast aluminum valve covers, two readily identifiable items that are clearly absent, though the air cleaner looks correct for a 340 HP engine. The typical ignition shielding is missing too so there are some cautionary items to consider. The seller does state that the numbers match, and that’s encouraging, but are they a match for a 340 HP engine or one of a lesser nature? As always, I welcome comments on this item from our notably informed readership. There is no reference to the transmission other than to state it is a manual which is all that was available with the 340 HP engine. While a three-speed manual was standard with a four-speed as an option, and I can’t make out the shift pattern diagram on the console, I’ll assume this is a four-speed. The three-speed manual is pretty rare, amounting to only about 4.3 % of total ’63 production. There is no confirmation given as to how this Corvette runs other than the toss-away line of, “gone through again front to back to ensure years of pleasurable driving/showing.” I don’t know exactly what “gone through” is supposed to mean but I found one instance in the case of a car that I bought were “gone through” meant checking the oil level. At this price point, I would want specific details.

No comments on the interior but the black leather-grained vinyl and carpet looks great. This Corvette is a 55,000-mile example so the interior is in keeping with the expectation for that kind of low mileage. The cheesy aftermarket radio is a real detraction but, thankfully, the seller states that he has the original and it is included in the sale.

Body panel fit and the Daytona Blue finish on this ’63 looks strong! No mention if the finish is original but I know from experience that Daytona Blue had a real tendency to oxidize when left outdoors in sunlight for an extended time frame. Supposedly this car was in storage for 30 years so that would mitigate damage to the finish but there would be other attendant things to consider on a vehicle that has been sitting so long. Hopefully, that’s what “gone through” translates into.

Well, this ‘Vette looks sharp, no doubt about it! While I love the split-window design, I prefer the ’64 hood without the fake chrome vents. I think I would have also gone for something other than white-letter tires too. The seller does mention that he has the stock bias-ply tires, wheels and wheel covers if originality is important to you. I like the aluminum wheels but could do without the “spinners” unless they do the same thing that James Bond’s DB5 could do – all subjective on my part of course; it’s all about what you prefer. If I were really interested in this Corvette, I would have to either head to Billings for a total inspection or hire a knowledgeable agent to handle the task for me. This is just too much scratch, in my mind, to make any kind of a commitment on a car, sight unseen. How about you, how would you handle this potential acquisition if you were interested?

Like This? Get Our Daily Email

Comments

  1. Dan

    Why would you take the intake and valve covers on this nice car?….would have to see the numbers on the block for proof.

    Like 4
  2. Haig Haleblian

    Love the color, but too many unanswered questions.

    Like 3
  3. gbvette62

    That is a 340 air cleaner, but the 340 also came with finned aluminum “CORVETTE” script valve covers and an aluminum intake. The 340 also had a idler pulley, a five blade clutch fan and a Carter AFB. It’s a little hard to tell, but I don’t think that’s an AFB. There’s a number of other little things wrong and/or missing under the hood. The 340 also had a 6500 redline tach, while this car has the 5500 redline tach that came with 250 and 300 horse engines, and it looks like the car’s missing the grill moldings.

    From my years of inspecting Corvettes, I’ve learned that many people claiming “matching numbers”, really have no idea what it is. If you’re going to claim matching numbers, you should include a picture of the stamp pad, maybe instead of the one with the cover on the car.

    The seller says the car is “priced to sell”, but even in today’s split window crazy market, I’d say this car is probably $25-$30K over priced. And that’s assuming that it might really be a 340, which I doubt.

    Like 30
  4. George Mattar

    Other than a few incorrect under hood parts, such as cheap distributor cap, aftermarket fuel filter, incorrect rocker covers and missing iginition shielding it seems very nice but I would want to see the car on a lift and really inspect the body. Car is 56 years old. And for $110,000, the price is too high. Otherwise a piece of history.

    Like 8
    • Robert Hedden

      George, imagine finding you here! If your still in Bucks, hit me up.

  5. R Soul

    I checked my bank account, I’m $109,900.00 short of being able to buy this car.

    Like 14
    • ccrvtt

      Count your blessings, R. You’re $83.62 ahead of me.

      Like 17
      • C & C

        Great reply!

        Like 1
  6. Classic Steel

    I own a 63 split that has matching numbers and the 340 hp.4 speed.
    My numbers run from engine to intake to fan to master cylinder all the way thru drive train . I also pictured the tear down of prof rebuild numbers internally etc.

    This car has many types of NOM showing from valve covers to intake to tach etc etc.

    This needs to be cleared up to get full price as a non original commands 70s to 80s only on good days .
    If the person knows nothing on vettes get in the National Corvette Registry to have members help.
    These are fun to drive and my torque and ponies run fast on new rebuild. It handles great and a very throaty car with stock 2 1/2 pipes

    Good luck and i love the color ..

    Like 11
  7. Al Johnson

    An apparently nicer one on BaT now with bidding at $85k, though a 327: https://bringatrailer.com/listing/1963-chevrolet-corvette-35/

    Like 4
    • Joel S

      Al theybare all 327, discussion was the horspower numbers. This car has concerns but still pretty as a 300 hp Vette. True knockoffs (repro so what) and Daytona Blue a favorite. Sadly passed on a 63 Air Coupe with a DZ 302 in it because I thought $20k for a wrong motor car in 1990 was too much. Still kick myself over and over.

      Like 1
  8. ken tilly UK

    Back in the day when I drove a ’63 Splitty, a couple of Lambo Espada’s, Mach 1’s and a Maserati Mistral, I found that the best way to drive this type of car in traffic was to be faster than everybody else. In that way you could head for the gap in front of you and change lanes in the knowledge that you weren’t going to take somebody out. Even my E Type didn’t have the best rearward vision.

    Like 4
  9. Bill Pressler

    I know the chassis was updated, but I much-prefer the looks of the ’62. And the two-piece back window? Come on! And fake vents all over it. Of the ’63-67, I’d take a light blue ’64 as the horizontal front fender vents fit the styling better than later cars–MHO only–and it has the one-piece rear window. Funny, I know the ’64 is considered the least-collectible of all the C2’s! I do love the wheels. At least this ’63 isn’t silver–then it would have the total ‘Buck Rogers’ look! Again, MHO only.

    Like 1
  10. John S

    If this is a “BarnFind”, I’ll eat my hat!

    Like 1
  11. dogwater

    Nice car for around 70k

  12. victor Sanchez

    Ok guys brace yourselves for this in 1974 I had a 1963 split window Corvette I had just gotten married when my new bride wanted a new washer and drier so being the good husband I sold my beloved Corvette for brace yourselves for $1,300.00 not a typo my car was white with red interior and FUEL INJECTION I kind of think I should have kept the Vette and sold the wife she ran off with another man later on oh the shame

    Like 6
    • Classic Steel

      Wow 😲
      Its s shame on the classic fuelie. I am sure the wife was worth it pre running out 😏😜 psyche ….

      This one is confusing on mismatch of parts as steel valve covers which are for 250-300 hp …

      • 68custom

        A friend of mine had a 365/327 complete from fuel injection setup to oil pan but could not handle the complexities of the mechanical fuel injection. This meant all the fuelly parts went in the trash, replaced by an eldebrock C3bx and 650 Holley center hung. I still give him a hard time about that one! The tech red line really leads me to believe this is a 250/300 horse car. Who replaces working factory tachs?

  13. TimM

    Gbvett62 made a bunch of point that makes me think this is not an authentic 340 hp car!! At this price point this should be etched in stone!! Or at least put the vin on there so it can be looked up!!!

    Like 1
  14. MOTHER JONES

    hey nice car is all i can say about it.Every thing else well we shall see. what i see here and every where else is a bunch of CRACK HEADS WHO WATCH TOO MUCH BJ OR OTHER AUCTIONS FOR CARS AND THINK THEIR ‘S IS WORTH THAT MUCH WHEN IT IS A PIECE OF ST RUSTY OR MISSING PARTS RAN WHEN PARKED SAYS MATCHING #’S YADA YADA AND SO ON. WHAT A BUCH OF LOSERS. OF COURSE BARNUM SAD THEIR WERE SUCKERS BORN EVERY MINUTE AND THERE ARE A LOT OF THEM OUT THERE. GOOD LUCK WITH THIS ONE. ma-MOPAR@YAHOO.COM

  15. clyde anderson

    Not an owner or authority of Corvettes, but remembering a cousin had bought a used pre ’62 body style in ’64 or ’65. And My brother-in-law bought a new ’66 coupe, 327/ 350hp . Both vetts had a chrome stubby ball topped shift with ears to lift for reverse. Am I correct in my memory as a 12 yr. old kid of the factory shifters ?

  16. Jim Speros

    This car is not a 340 horse car and not numbers matching and the owner knows it. The engine stamp shows only the last 4 of the VIN and 2 of the 4 are double stamped. The tach is wrong. The owner does not have the original radio. The car was neither rotisserie or frame off, when questioned it turns out it was a local body shop that does not do high end classics. For a car that has been restored and garaged for many years, then only having 2000 miles on it since then, the underside should look very crisp. There is oil and grease on the underside and around the engine compartment. Many of the components are painted black and it looks like they were painted at the same time. I am very sorry, I gave him a $1500 deposit to hold the car for 2 weeks while I checked on some of the claims. The more I questioned the more came out. The title is not in his name, in his “step brother’s” name, different last name. A reasonable story accompanied each discrepancy. Finally, not wanting to call him on his representations, when the Corona Virus gripped the nation a few weeks ago I told him I could not justify $100k for the car. I can understand not refunding the deposit but after a few weeks of regular amicable phone calls, exchange of photos of our collections and sharing personal stories, after my email it was crickets. No call, no email no response whatsoever. Then I see the posting update saying that the car was available again because the deposit fell through. Really? He sounds like a really nice guy, maybe one to have a beer with but not one to trust with $100k. A good friend of mine that has been doing frame offs for over 30 years had these observations from the number of close up pics we exchanged:
    Worn carpet
    Cracked steering wheel
    damaging plate adhered to dash
    damaged seat piping
    wrong crush to seat bottom (foam)
    old or unrestored windlace
    excessive large hood opening, hood is adjusted
    Headlight adjust is off
    Wrong radio No known condtion of orig
    missing windlace caps
    jamb rough glass and paint
    all components on firewall painted at same time likely no disassembly
    Wrong Dist cap
    Missing ignition shielding and plug shielding
    Wrong radiator cap
    Wrong heater hoses
    Wrong radiator and heater hose clamps
    Original damaged engine wiring harness, (Alt)
    unplated alt bolt
    wrong fuel filter
    cut fuel line and rubber hoses added
    Wrong fan belt
    exhaust manifolds unrestored
    voltage regulator missing
    Headlight harness painted and hanging without fasteners
    radiator painted and flaking
    Steering shaft unrestored old damaged rag joint
    wrong valve covers
    Wrong alternator pulley
    Missing Idler assembley and belt
    Wrong intake manifold
    Missing decals on radiator
    non GM radiator hoses
    Painted park brake cable
    missing fan clutch
    wrong accelerator spring and bracket
    Left valve cover leaked all over manifold and side of block
    scuffed non polished or restored sill covers
    old unrestored washer bottle
    low horsepower tach

    Like 1
    • ken tillyUK

      Wow! That’s a lot of discrepancies for just one motor car Jim! Glad you took the time to check it out otherwise you would be short of an extra $100k+ It’s also fortunate that you have a connection that could verify the originality of this Corvette.

    • Robert Hedden

      Excellent post Jim and a great example of Due Diligence

    • JoeNYWF64

      Can u b a bit more specific?
      This guy must have worked on the corvette assembly line, helped design the car, or even knew Duntov. lol

  17. Jim Speros

    Thanks, Yes I understood it was not “concourse” and I was very interested based on his representations but when things like the claim of being 340hp turned out to be wrong (and he knew it because it’s not a solid lifter engine), it was the wrong tach for the 340hp, the stamp on the block appears to be a hand stamp after it’s been milled,, a cracked steering wheel (a rotisserie or frame off would not have reinstalled a cracked wheel), the distributor shroud is missing (for an original car that was fully restored, who loses that?), it is really more of a $70k car, not a $100k car. I think the shame of it was when he failed to respond to me after giving him $1500 and then posting that the “deposit fell through”, that was the icing that made me want to alert others.

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks. Don't post your car for sale in the comments. Click here to get it featured on the homepage instead.

*

Notify me of new comments via email. Or subscribe without commenting.