Completely Original: 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray

Throughout the long history of the Chevrolet Corvette, there is probably no car more distinctive than the 1963 Split-Window Coupe. Available only during the 1963 model year, and with 10,594 Split-Windows being produced, they weren’t the rarest car to roll off the line, However, today they remain one of the most desirable. This Split-Window has belonged to the same family since new, and it remains completely original and unmolested. It is located in El Cerrito, California, and is listed for sale here on eBay. While bidding has been set to open at $70,000, there has been no action to this point. However, at the time of writing, there are 134 people who are watching the listing.

While the Corvette has been through the hands of a few different people, it has always remained in the same family. It wears its original Sebring Silver paint, which was the second most popular color choice in 1963. The paint is showing its age, with some noticeable fading. There is also some minor accident damage around the rear of the car and a good collection of minor chips and scratches. The car has been garaged for most of its life, and if you couple that with a life spent in California, it gives some cause for optimism on the rust front. The only note of caution that I would sound is the fact that the owner acknowledges that the passenger side door will require alignment. This could be nothing, or it could be a sign of something more sinister. Thankfully, the owner appears willing to allow a personal inspection of the car, so this is something that can be properly checked by any prospective buyer. The car does remain in very limited use today and still wears its original black plates.

The originality of the Corvette extends to the drive-train, which is completely numbers-matching. In this case, what you get is the 327ci V8 engine, a 4-speed manual transmission, and 4-wheel drum brakes. For me, the transmission choices made by buyers in 1963 makes for interesting reading. The 3-speed manual was the standard transmission, but out of the total production of 21,513 cars built in 1963, four-out-of-five buyers ticked the box beside the 4-speed unit. With 2,621 choosing the Powerglide, that means that Corvettes fitted with the 3-speed manual transmission remain the rarest of the bunch, as only 919 of these were built. This particular Corvette runs and drives, but it only gets very limited use these days. The owner reveals that the car blows smoke on hard acceleration, and he believes that the engine may be due for a rebuild. He also suggests that all of the fluids should be flushed before the next owner undertakes any extended driving. The other issue that I would be attending to before I drove the car would be the fact that the owner says that none of the gauges currently operate. That is something that would be a priority because monitoring the health of that original 327 remains extremely important.

While we can’t see the condition of the passenger seat, the rest of the black vinyl interior trim appears to be in quite reasonable condition. As previously noted, none of the gauges in the Corvette are currently functioning, and fixing those would be a priority. The carpet is also a bit faded in some areas, but it isn’t looking particularly worn or shabby. The headliner looks to be quite good, so the interior is definitely serviceable as it is.

In 1963, the Corvette Convertible outsold the Split-Window Coupe, but only by 325 cars. The Split-Window remains a 1960s icon today, and although values haven’t been increasing dramatically in recent years, they have been increasing slowly. Immaculate examples will frequently fetch healthy 6-figure prices, although you will occasionally see them come onto the market for as little as $80,000. However, those cars tend to be the exception to the rule, but it is worth knowing that they are out there. This Corvette is an original, numbers-matching car, and if properly restored, then that 6-figure value is well within reach. To be completed properly, a restoration is not going to be a particularly cheap exercise, but if the car is free of any major rust issues, then it would seem to be well worth the effort.

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Comments

  1. Pete R

    Perfection.

    Like 5
    • bruce baker

      Yup, well put.
      Dan from Phantom Works had a great comment about the 63 split window Vett being the most beautiful car design ever. Thank’s to my poor memory i can’t quote him word for word.

      Like 4
  2. Johnzlithum

    Nice car.

    The engine breather eliminates the 340 high po and fuelie but sweet anyway.

    If the owner is reading up on car posts then know the car blue smoke last very high probability needing just the rubber seats on the valves in heads switched and your smoke goes away. A car not driven drys these out and causes this issue.

    I have actually changed them out carefully without pulling the heads in last successfully and I am sure if you find an older mechanic he can do it too on the cheap (couple hundred dollars or new owner for less than 50 bucks (corvette parts pricing ..lil

    Good luck in sweet car .

    I have a 63 SW and had to rebuild my 340 horse 🐎 engine. Not so lucky but like you my numbers match.

    This should bring close to 80 as isnumbers matching.

    Cheers !

    Like 3
  3. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Unfortunately the images won’t open for me on the ebay ad. Regardless, other than the damage I can pick up around the tail lights, the rest looks decent including the hubcaps which are something else to find. Go through the mechanicals and fix what needs to be fixed. If a driver, consider putting on disc brakes otherwise leave the rest alone and get it on the road where it should be.

    Like 5
  4. ken tilly Member

    Checking out the pics on e bay, I can’t see any noticeable misalignment of the passenger door while it is closed. Maybe it drops on it’s hinge when opened, and that could be a big problem to sort out.

    Like 2
  5. Rick

    That’ll need a frame off restoration. Noticing the rust around the door frames and the hinge area…yeah, there’s rot in there. Not good.. keep yer wallet open…

    Like 2
  6. Gaspumpchas

    Anyone serious enough to plunk down this kind of coin will have the car checked from end to end. Beware the ironworms. good luck!!
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 5
  7. TimM

    Nice looking on the outside but what is lurking underneath that body????

    Like 1
  8. PatrickM

    At first sight, I thought, “Ah, the Holy Grail of all cars.” It was for me and my friends. Every time we saw one, we drooled like babies and said, ” One of these days…!!!”. But, since reading the comments, I am just not willing to tackle the problems. My wallet and heart would not stand the strain (he says, weeping).

    Like 2
  9. chrlsful

    when I got under 1 it seemed like a truck (heavy duty) esp compared to the foreign of the era…

  10. Scuderia

    Very nice car. Yes there could be rust but then again given that it’s a CA car it is also likely to be just fine. The price however is pretty dear as it’s likely to need $20K to make it a nice safe driver which puts in the range of older SWC restorations. If it were an original black car I’d give it serious thought though as a black original paint ’63 is what will get me to part with my ’64 roadster. Still looking.

    Like 3
  11. Matt R Member

    Funny… I am reading this while sitting in a barber shop in El Cerrito California right now. I hope my Spidey senses are working, I would love spot this on the way home.

    Like 3
  12. bobhess bobhess Member

    Agree the prices are high, flippers are ruining the fun of acquiring and fixing up cars, and a good number of us can’t join the exclusive club, but cars like this are the ones you can put in your garage, climb on your workbench, grab a beer, and just sit and admire it.

    Like 2
    • PatrickM

      Yeah, except I don’t drink any longer. But, a good glass of cold water always hits the spot.

      Like 2
  13. gbvette62

    I don’t see the little bit of rust in the door jams as an issue. It’s pretty typical to see surface rust there on 63’s, and since the drip gutters look good (a more common and serious problem), I doubt it’s an indication of bigger rust problems.

    I have do have doubts about the seller’s claims that the paint is original. It looks like overspray on the tail lamp gaskets, indicating the car’s been painted. Also the black (primer?) showing under the silver on the rear panel, and the spots where it looks like silver has pealed off showing more silver underneath, leads me to believe the car has been repainted, or had some previous paint work.

    The master cylinder, water pump and radiator are replacements, and those two chrome things on the passenger seat back aren’t original to the car, but otherwise it looks like it retains most of it’s original parts.

    This split’s been on eBay for a week with no bids, and earlier today a beautifully restored black, red gut split sold for $102K at Mecum Harrisburg, somewhat less than it likely would have sold for a year or two ago. Could the market’s infatuation with split windows finally be over? I wonder if maybe the crazy prices we’ve been seeing for split windows the last 5 or 6 years, are finally coming back to earth?

    Like 4
    • Scuderia

      I too have noticed quite a few “good deals” lately on SWC’s fingers crossed the bubble has sprung a little leak.

      Like 1
      • bruce baker

        I bet the bidders are waiting to the last second to bid on this baby. Yeah as a big max bid early on can/does help you win but makes you spend too much money. The ebay clock can/does work against the seller. If the car doesn’t get bid on at all. Then the owner should take it to areal auto Auction with the $70,000 reserve safely net on.

  14. bruce baker

    This is my top “Bucket List” car! I just need more gold in my bucket to pay for it! Yeah It beats a 56 Packard Caribbean (clone of my grandfathers car) or a 67 RS/SS Camaro (clone of my long lost stolen car).

  15. Rube Goldberg Member

    I heard the ultimate remorse story on one of these. While vacationing in Florida several years back, one of the other couples at this motel, both elderly and were retired from GM in Lansing. She calibrated carburetors ( you know where her job went when FI came out) he was a maintenance man. Both had been there since the early 60’s. He said, in ’63, he bought a silver split window like this from the factory through some employee program, said they had the car for several years, but it began to wear, sold it because they needed a bigger car, and never thought it would be worth anything. He never got over that, he said. I’m sure he wasn’t the only one that did that. Unlike today, Corvettes were just used cars for some.

    Like 2
  16. Dave Rhodes

    a lot of money for a car that is going to need a lot more money

    Like 2
  17. Del

    This guy was on a Fishing Trip.

    There were four different 327s in the Vette for this year. Starting with the L30.

    He never said which one this is. Why not ?

    Smoking ? Piston rings ?

    Fix the car before asking money like that.

    Was there even one bid ?

    Like 1
  18. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Ended: Aug 04, 2019 , 4:28PM
    Starting bid:US $70,000.00
    [ 0 bids ]

  19. chillymost1

    No sale. Glad to see the market come to its senses.

    Like 2
  20. Scuderia

    says “ no longer available” might very well have sold off Ebay for a reasonable offer?

    Like 1
  21. Big Al

    Lots of shoddy repair on rear…didn’t sell anyhow…..hmmm….very scary.

    • Scuderia

      It sold. New, happy owner has already taken possession and posted photos on Facebook owners group. By the look of things it was bought and sold well.

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