Body Not Included: 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Chassis

No doubt about it, this a weird one! I’ve written up cars without engines, and engines without cars, now I’ve got a chassis, and an engine, but no car! So, with no further delay, check this out, it’s a chassis from a 1963 Chevrolet Corvette, located in Huntington Beach, California and available here on eBay for a current bid of $5,150, reserve not yet met.

Having been involved with some mid to late ’60s Impala projects, I know that there is a market for used B-Body frames. The ’65s, in particular, are subject to cracking, and ensconced in the proper climatic conditions (salt & swamp) one of those can get devoured over time. But those are perimeter frames that are usually sold as a stripped frame, not with the suspension, tires/wheels, and powertrain still attached. And they don’t trade for a lot of value. One noteworthy item regarding this chassis is the fact that it is a first-year item with the newly introduced independent rear suspension, a design that would see use through the end of the C3 Corvette’s production run in 1982.

The seller states, “Surface rust and chassis is in generally very good condition for its age. No apparent damage on frame“.  The condition of the suspension components and powertrain are not disclosed. The seller has attached the trim tag from the donor Corvette to the rail where the VIN tag is riveted though I’m not certain of the actual location of this image. If I recall correctly, the VIN tag should be attached to a steel brace beneath the glovebox.

The 300 HP, 327 CI V8 engine is referenced as non-original, though the vintage appears to be era correct. The seller lays out the old “ran when parked” claim by stating, “Motor was running upon arrival and chassis was driving“. Actually, this perspective of the engine is a good one as you can see the ignition shielding in detail. The four-speed manual transmission appears to be a Borg-Warner T-10.

While this chassis-only sale may seem strange, there’s a lot here, actually, as the steering gear, all of the suspension, the drum brake assembly, and the fuel tank is included with the previously referenced powertrain pieces. And, that’s a sharp-looking set of American Racing Torque-Thrust wheels, with unworn tires – such a deal!

My only remaining thought is, what happened to the body? Hopefully, there’s a good story to go along with all of these underpinnings. I’m afraid that I don’t need a Corvette chassis right now but I’m sure there is someone, somewhere who does. Any takers out there?

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Comments

  1. Oldog4tz Oldog4tz Member

    In those days the plate would have been on the firewall right next to steering column.

    Like 2
    • gbvette62

      On 63-67 Corvettes the VIN and Trim tags are located under the glove box, attached to a brace, right in front of the heater box. No Corvettes have ever had the trim or VIN tag attached to the firewall.

      As to the writers question of what happened to the body, it’s no mystery. I’m sure it’s going onto an aftermarket frame with modern running gear, to become a restomod. One of my customers is getting ready to sell a completely restored 67 frame and engine, that came out from under a 67 coupe, that he’s decided to turn into a restomod. He’s already sold a couple 59 frames from cars he built restomods from, and has a 65 coupe he’ll be selling the frame from, when he finishes the 67. Lots of 53-67 frames, and newer ones too, have been showing up for sale ever since the restomod craze started 15 or so years ago.

      I’m assuming that the seller included the picture of the VIN and Trim tags, along with the pic of the VIN on the frame, to show they match. He states the title doesn’t come with the frame, and I guess he wanted to show the tags to indicate the frame wasn’t coming from a car that was stolen and stripped.

      Like 15
      • gbvette62

        By the way, I failed to mention that the “837” on the Trim Tag indicates the body originally on this frame was a coupe, painted Daytona Blue (416A) and with a dark blue vinyl interior (490J). Yes, this car started life as a split window.

        Like 10
      • Ward William

        One of those California based resto shows (can’t remember which one because I watch so many) recently put a new modern frame and engine in a beautiful red corvette recently. I suspect this might be the leftover from that resto because there was nothing wrong with the original frame or engine but they changed it out because they thought the original frame would twist too much with the 600 horses they put in the engine bay.

  2. alphasud Member

    Seeing a rolling power train and chassis tells me someone did a restomod with a custom frame and suspension with a modern drivetrain.

    Like 14
    • Chris M.

      Well, there’s no fooling you! Lol

      Like 1
  3. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    With the transaxle from James Dean’s Spyder selling for $382,000 yesterday on Bat, anything is possible.

    Like 6
  4. Steve R

    Hopefully the seller knows what he’s doing. A friend is a CHP officer, his station does VIN verifications. Not long ago he told me about someone that bought a muscle car from out of state. As part of the VIN verification process, before it can be registered in California, they look at the concealed VIN on the frame, it didn’t match the VIN on the dash it the paperwork, They started digging into the cars past, contacting previous owners, one of them who owned it several decades ago said it was a base model when he owned it. At that point, they reassigned the car to the match that on the frame. The owner of the car wasn’t too pleased, and now had to try and get his money back from the people who sold it to him.

    My friend says the a cars VIN follows the frame, regardless of what the plaque on the dash or registration shows. The only exception is if the owner can show proof the frame was damaged, then destroyed. He said the reason the for that is because the VIN on the frame is much harder to tamper with and the government needs to give priority to either the body or the frame. If you don’t prioritize one over the other, you can have two cars running around with the same VIN.

    Steve R

    Like 11
  5. Evan

    Quick, somebody find me a CJ-8 tub! The wheelbase is almost identical, and that would really mess with people’s heads.

    Like 1
  6. george mattar

    To each his own. I am not i to restomods despite the fact they are far superior to any C2 chassis. But if you have the original 63 chassis and body it seems stupid to me to separate them. Yeah some restomods bring $$$!! But nobody drives them for fear of getting whacked by some drugged out punk in a 30 year old Acura. 63 coupes are bona fide classics. I am just an OEM guy down to the smog equipment on my 73 coupe.

    Like 8
  7. Mike1955

    I found a 63 that had sit on a dirt barn floor since 1978. Frame was crap, running gear long gone to drag racers. I put a Billy Dawson frame under it with a LS3/5 speed. Left the body stock appearing. I don’t think it was stupid? The VIN and Body tag is attached to body brace,under glovebox, not the frame. Builder messed up not keeping tags with new build,imo.

    Like 4
  8. DRV

    There are so many altered and transferred numbers on Corvettes it has become a mute point unless you are counting on value at the time of sale. I know a few Top Flight cars and a few are fakes but can’t be proven otherwise.

    • Bill McCoskey

      DRV,

      In the mid 1980s, after the second Corvette we were restoring for a customer [he didn’t own the first car] was taken by the State Police as a stolen car that had frame parts changed, I made the decision to no longer work on vintage Corvettes.

      In both instances, I never got our final $bill paid by the owners, who both ended up losing their vehicles. And since we had a 3 year waiting list for full restorations, there was no need to take chances again with an early Vette.

      Like 4
  9. Kenn

    Finally, a Corvette worth somewhere near it’s ask.

    Like 6
  10. Glenn C. Schwass Member

    What would have to be done to it to throw it under a 55-57 3100 or GMC truck. The drive train especially the rear would be perfect. Oh, to win the lottery and play with the big toys….

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