Cheap Project? 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

This 1963 Chevrolet Corvette convertible is selling at no reserve, and despite being a near completely bare roller, the seller indicates it is largely rust-free and an ideal candidate for either a complete restoration or a resto-mod creation. The body is sitting on the original frame, but there is very little attached to it in terms of mechanical components – some suspension parts are included, but there’s no other major equipment to note. Of course, the all-important VIN plate and clear title are included. Find it here on eBay with bidding just under $8K and located in Austin, Texas.

The body looks surprisingly straight for a car that is completely stripped. The seller says the car is completely solid, with the exception of the nose – but doesn’t indicate what, exactly, gives him pause about the front clip. The listing also says that the body panels are believed to be original to the car, which makes you ask the question as to why this convertible was hacked up in the first place. It seems like a decent car, and even if the original engine imploded, wouldn’t it have been worth a rebuild or replacement mill, rather than stripping it down and leaving it parked?

Or, was it a restoration project that never got past the disassembly phase? It does have that feel, as the Corvette looks like it was carefully stripped down, as opposed to an accident victim that was parted out in phases by a former owner or bodyshop. It does beg the question as to where all the original components disappeared to if it was intended to be a restoration project, but sometimes, projects like this are simply abandoned by the owner and there’s no chance of grabbing the removed parts. I wonder what the final tally will be once the door panels, dash, carpeting, seats, and more are all tracked down.

So, this empty engine bay begs the question as to what would you drop into it? While the purists will want to see this Corvette nursed back to OEM health, so much is missing that I doubt you’ll ever see much of a return on investment on the basis of selling it as a sympathetic restoration project. With this much bare canvas to work with, I would absolutely choose the restomod route as the preferred option. Lower it a bit, throw on a roll bar, some period-correct wheels – yes, this could be a very slick summer cruiser that doesn’t require the painstaking chore of setting it back to original specifications. How would you bring it back?

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Comments

  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Just like you said Jeff. Just like you said. Good project. Should be fun.

    5
  2. J_Paul Member

    The nose has a big crack in it, so that’s probably what the seller is referring to.

    As for the car itself…since so much is missing, a full back-to-1963 restoration doesn’t seem like the best plan. I agree with you that a restomod is probably the way to go here—and with such a blank slate, the only limits are your bank account and imagination.

    7
  3. Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

    LS. 6-speed. Big disc brakes. Corner carving suspension. Laguna Blue with a white top. Sticky tires on not ridiculous but larger than stock wheels. Drive frequently and fast. Repeat.

    10
  4. dogwater

    Everything important you can see birdcage, frame,body etc at the right price I would put it back stock. LS 6-speed NOT,Up grade to 17’s wheels and tires what’s a sticky tire? are they made out of gum ……………

    2
    • Tom Bell

      I agree–have respect for what it once was and bring it back as close to period correctl as possible.

  5. Michael Babinetz

    This car is like a wooden boat. If you got it for free , you paid too much.I bought one 10 years ago and do all my own work and I’m so upside down its unbelievable

    5
  6. Cam W

    I got a ’65 Corvette late last summer in nearly identical condition, right down to the crack in the nose. Mine came with a rebuilt 355 and 4 spd ,partially installed, but missing pedal assembly,Z bar, and other linkage. It came with boxes and boxes of parts. Some parts were decent, like the grill and headlight buckets. Some stuff like the gauge cluster was rebuildable, but top-frame and seats were too far gone. It was also missing the steering column and some of the lights.
    I rebuilt it over the winter,using inexpensive parts left from other peoples restomods and NCRS show-car projects. It was too far gone to return it to original, as-new condition. It could have been done, but would have cost way more than the car would ever be worth. I built it to look like a early 70s street-racer. It has a L88 hood, and ’69 wheels (with spinner center-caps, and no trim-rings). I did the fiberglass repairs, and painted it semi-gloss “Hot Rod Black”, with black interior. It is a “nothing matching” car.
    I finished it a few weeks before COVID hit, which was fortunate as it is licenced and insured.
    It looks great, sounds great, and is a blast to drive.
    The ’63 here could be a great project……if the price is right. For comparison, I paid about $12K for mine.

    4
  7. Mike

    Oh My…. the Hours… the Nights.. The weeks.. The months.. They Years it would take… and the Dollars… WHy People buy these and think they can do this for 20 grand… just astounds me… especially at todays parts prices… Personally.. if this car was free… and if you did it right… you would still be upside down so far.. it would make you sick…

    3
    • v

      i like your idea . take any and all items that are strictly corvette and massage all the parts into and on to this vette . and if any one asks what year it is . tell them to pick a year and you will not be lying. i like 69 vette tail lights and of course a fuelly engine pick a year. 2006 vette interior gently filled into the oldie but goodie. it would be a great cruiser and it would still be all vette. and this way you could keep prices all the way down to minimums of the cheapest vette parts . if there are any cheap vette parts. it could be a FRANKENVETTE…or a CORVISTINE…you have got to dream big in this wacky world of ours… be safe.

      1
  8. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD for $9,525 after 29 bids, so there were several people who saw potential in this project.

    1
  9. Steve Brown

    Perfect project for someone who has an engine and trans laying around. I would be sorely tempted with a lower price.

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