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Black Plate Survivor: 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Split Window

Is there anything better than a meticulously restored classic car? Yes, there is. Cars like this 1963 Corvette Split Window Coupe take the cake because it is a well-preserved original survivor. The Split Window is an American icon, and good examples tend to be highly sought. Barn Finder Ikey H spotted the Corvette for us, so thank you so much for that, Ikey. The owner has chosen to part with it, so he has listed it for sale here on Craigslist. Located in New City, New York, this classic’s asking price has been set at $120,000.

The owner says that the Corvette has never received any restoration work, which means that the Riverside Red paint that it wears is original. It shines beautifully, and the condition of the exterior chrome continues that theme. The fiberglass shows no signs of any damage or cracking, while the panel gaps are consistent across the entire vehicle. The owner makes no mention of any rust issues, and the overall appearance gives us cause to be confident. The history of the Corvette is not clear, but the black plates indicate that it has spent at least part of its life in sunny California. This will have aided the car in the rust stakes, and looking around at some of the more hidden metal components reveals no signs of corrosion that might indicate problems below decks. The hubcaps appear to be perfect, and the glass seems to be in a similar state.

The only engine offered in the ’63 Corvette was the 327ci V8. This did come in several states of tune and offered everything from 250hp up to 360. This one is the “baby” of the bunch, pumping out 250hp. It is backed by a 4-speed manual transmission. It might have the lowest output, but it could still push the 3,031lb Corvette through the ¼ mile in a respectable 15.2 seconds. The owner doesn’t provide any information on how well the vehicle runs or drives, and the state of the engine and its surroundings look to be about what you might expect from an unrestored survivor of this age. It seems like there might have been an oil leak around one of the valve covers at some point, but there is no other evidence of long-term fluid leaks or problems. The general listing information indicates that the odometer shows 60,000 miles.

The Corvette’s interior is very tidy, and there are no major issues for the buyer to tackle. There is a seam separation on the base of the driver’s seat, but with a bit of luck, this might be able to be repaired. Given this classic’s general originality, it would be a shame to have to replace the cover for such an insignificant flaw. The rest of the trim and upholstery look good, and I can’t spot any carpet or dash problems.

There is an aftermarket temperature gauge hanging under the dash on the driver’s side, and I find this to be an interesting addition. It appears that this photo was taken with the 327 on tick-over, and you can see that the original temperature gauge is not registering anything. It is also apparent that the battery gauge is faulty because the needle is pointing straight down. These issues would need to be addressed properly if the originality of the Corvette is to be preserved.

When they were new, the base price difference between a ’63 Corvette Convertible and a Coupe was a single dollar. Today, that difference has ballooned markedly, with the Coupe commanding a premium of 35% over an equivalent Convertible. It also means that 6-figure sale prices for Split Windows are not unusual if the condition is good enough. This one is an original survivor, which is a factor that will help its cause. It also has a few flaws, and these will need to be addressed if the buyer is seeking something close to perfection. With those factors in mind, is this a classic that you might be interested in pursuing further?


  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    I read where Bill Mitchell was the impetus behind the split window, but I guess the Feds killed the idea after ’63 because of visibility issues. Shit, you can barely see out of today’s vehicles, which might account for the way people drive.

    Also from ’63 was Mitchell’s masterpiece Riviera. That guy was good.

    Like 15
    • Patrick Kelly

      The riviera is one of the most beautiful cars ever made, imho.

      Like 15
      • Lance

        I have always loved the ’65 Riv GS… looking car ever!

        Like 1
    • JoeNYWF64

      & WHERE they drive today – like into buildings & pedestrians.

      Like 3
    • Jcs

      Aling with David North, Bill Mitchell also had his hand on the absolutely gorgeous design of the 66 Toronado masterpiece. Incredible talent.

      This Corvette is beautiful. I am shocked to see what appears to be a 5250 redline unless my eyes are fooling me. I thought that all 327s were revers.

      The fact that it comes with a Road Runner rear window makes it worth every bit of the ask for sure.

      Like 1
  2. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Nice looking car, not $120K worth of nice, but nice none the less. There was a time when I would have given my eye teeth for a 63 SWC, but prices have gone beyond ridiculous IMO.

    Like 11
  3. Classic Steel

    Its worth 120 to the right buyer.

    Its what the market will bear 🐻.

    I would take this one as is and leave alone .

    I have a 63 split window thats numbers matching 340 hp 4 speed. I had to rebuild engine and paint.
    These are sweet fun weekend cars.

    To the owner congrats !

    Hey is someone can pay 400 k for a 65 shelby GT350 why not this iconic piece of American history.

    Like 16
  4. Bobby Member

    I don’t believe the factory paint was that glossy. Looks like it is clear-coated. It can have a repaint and still be considered unrestored.

    Like 1
  5. Bobby Member

    One picture looks like the back window of a Mopar. I guess that one was accidentally slipped in.

    Like 2
  6. hooterhead

    I like the ’69 Z/28 in the background of a couple of those shots

    Like 2
  7. DRV

    This is a prime example with red over red. No way is this the original finish. Yes it can be original with a repaint, but wrong to say it hasn’t been repainted.

    Like 4
  8. Super Glide Member


    Like 1
  9. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Is there a New City, New York?

    Love the the Rivs Rex.

  10. gb354vos

    A 63 coupe project vette

    Like 1
  11. JBD

    Stunning and believable Survivor! A good detail guy can cut/polish/finish paint to look as good as factory. Lacquer paint is espacially forgiving. Not looking to debate, but clear coating an original paint car doesn’t necessarily devalue the car. The factory paint/fit/finish of these cars wasn’t all that great, especially a car built on Monday or a Friday.

  12. PatrickM

    19 pics in the CL ad and not one of the underside. Before I fork out 120K, I’d have to put it on a lift and give ‘er a thorough going over. Beautiful car but, not that much out of this guy’s wallet.

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