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Driver Quality: 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Split Window Coupe

I’ve discussed the relative merits of owning a driver-quality classic versus a spotless vehicle in previous articles. It tends to be a “horses for courses” argument because some enthusiasts can’t resist the lure of a pristine car, while others prefer the more relaxed experience offered by a driver. This 1963 Corvette Split Window Coupe takes the question a step further. Few American vehicles are more desirable than a Split Window, and pristine examples command eye-watering values. However, this car is not perfect, and someone has made some changes. That poses the question of whether the buyer will perform some form of restoration or if they’ll be happy to retain this classic untouched. Located in Cincinnati, Ohio, the owner has listed the Corvette for sale here on eBay. They have set a BIN of $129,000 but leave the way clear for interested parties to make an offer.

The Corvette has been with us for nearly seven decades, and as someone who grew up on foreign shores, I can state that two versions remain instantly recognizable to enthusiasts across the globe. The distinctive shape of the C3 Corvette is unmistakable, while the single-year Split Window Coupe is the other. Considering many buyers weren’t that fond of the concept when it arrived in showrooms, it has become a foundation of the current classic car scene. The company rolled 10,594 Coupes off their production line that year, and well-healed enthusiasts clamor for them today. That is why prices remain high and continue to climb with each passing day. Our feature Corvette wears Ermine White paint that shows flaws and defects. There are chips and marks and a matte appearance developing on the roof. That will leave potential buyers to ponder whether they would retain the car as a driver-quality classic or if treating it to a refresh would be a more appropriate path. Adding to the complexity, Ermine White is not this Coupe’s original paint shade. The Trim Tag indicates that it wore Sebring Silver when it was shiny and new, but someone performed a color change. That shade was chosen by 16.3% of buyers, making it relatively rare. Therefore, if the buyer places a refresh on the agenda, a color change to the original shade may be a wise plan of action. The fiberglass generally looks good, with no significant flaws or issues. The seller states that the frame and birdcage are rock-solid, and the supplied underside shots support this. The chrome and glass present well for a driver-grade vehicle, meaning that the buyer could enjoy the car untouched until they develop a plan of attack for the future.

The original owner ordered this Corvette equipped with the L75 version of Chevrolet’s iconic 327ci small-block V8. They elected to back this with the two-speed Powerglide transmission, giving the Coupe the ability to cover the ¼ mile in 15.2 seconds. That would make it relaxing to drive, but the Powerglide saps performance potential. If they’d selected the four-speed manual instead, the figure would drop to 14.5 seconds. However, for coping with the cut-and-thrust of city or suburban travel, the automatic would be an easier option in those circumstances. It is worth noting that this Corvette is no longer numbers-matching. The seller states that the engine block carries a “CE” designation and is a warranty block from 1966. However, the impression is that the rest of the engine components and drivetrain are original. The car still runs and drives nicely and is a turnkey classic ready to be enjoyed as the warmer weather approaches.

If a buyer ordered their new ’63 Corvette wearing Sebring Silver, they could choose interior trim in Black, Dark Blue, Saddle, or Red. The original owner selected the last option in vinyl, and it continues to present acceptably for a survivor-grade classic. However, if the buyer seeks perfection, they may need to raid their bank account before heading out on a shopping spree. The dash top has a crack on either side, while the armrests are faded, and the steering wheel has a series of small cracks. Replacement parts are available, but they may be the only pieces required. The carpet looks good, and the remaining upholstered surfaces are free from significant wear or other issues. Once again, the buyer could bide their time with any changes while assessing the best attack plan.

At $129,000, this 1963 Corvette Split Window Coupe is not even on speaking terms with the word “cheap.” Buying a classic in this price bracket involves a leap of faith, and most enthusiasts will consider it beyond their reach. The seller is locked into a limited pool of buyers with the financial wherewithal to drop a six-figure sum on a driver-quality classic. That raises the question of whether the price is justified, and I’m willing to stick my neck out on this point. If this car was 100% original and numbers-matching, it might command a value of around $140,000. The figure could have been higher, but the Powerglide transmission slightly undermines the potential. The factory replacement engine block means that it is no longer numbers-matching, which adds another layer to the puzzle. However, the color change probably has the most significant impact short-term. It still looks nice, but the panels would need to wear their original shade to maximize this Corvette’s value. Therefore, it probably isn’t the most outstanding investment in the short term, although it might not be all bad news. Split Window Corvettes remain one of the strongest performing models in the classic market, with values climbing at a head-spinning rate. If someone were in a position to purchase this beauty, treat it to a cosmetic refresh that included returning the paint to its original shade and then keeping it for a few years, they could come out at the end smelling like a rose. It could be a case of short-term pain for long-term gain. As usual, I would encourage interested parties to do their research first. It might be worth the effort if the final result sees this Corvette parked in your garage.

Comments

  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Pretty much an example of design perfection. Everything balanced, flowing, and smooth on the outside with an interior that’s functional and good looking at the same time. The varied power trains sure don’t hurt their appeal either. Beautiful cars.

    Like 3
  2. Mikefromthehammer

    The only negatives I can honestly come up with are 1). It’s not the original paint/color. 2). It has a powerglide instead of a 4-spd. 3). It has a 1966 warranty replacement block.

    None of these matter much to me (other than the transmission). If I had the spare cash I might be tempted. Unfortunately I am not on a first-name basis with my banker.

    Like 7
  3. Ike Onick

    My “only negative” is the price. Another one out of the “Crazy Eddie Price Guide” Google “Crazy Eddie TV ads” if I have lost anyone under 50 years old.

    Like 3
    • gaspumpchas

      Yea, Ike, his prices are INNNN-SANE!!!! In reality, what do you guys feel would be an attractive price for this beauty, is it worth 100k?\
      Cheers
      GPC

      Like 1
  4. MH

    Never.. ever bring that kind of money in the condition it is in…. too many negatives…and a stupid PowerGlide… UGH

    Like 0
  5. Frank D Member

    Nice color combo!

    Like 0
  6. Joe Haska

    I have seen 3 1963 split windows this morning ,one on C/L Phoenix AZ, and two on Barn Finds, all priced on or around a 120 K. If I could buy one,I am ,not sure which one I would chose. Maybe i am lucky because I don’t have too, my bank account dictates that I pass on all three.

    Like 1
    • ruxvette

      Joe, I agree. I lean toward the Phoenix CL car.
      The author of this ad left out a critical letter and word in the description”
      “OriginalY somewhat very rare and desirable Sebring Silver…”

      Like 0
  7. Big Len

    Completely agree with bobhess. One of the strongest American sports car designs ever.

    Like 1
  8. Craigo

    A survivor with a color change? Hardly

    Like 2
  9. gbvette62

    The CE warranty block designation began in 1969, it wasn’t in use in 66. CE blocks came as either a bare block, or a fitted block with pistons, crank and cam. They were also occasionally sold as an over the counter replacement block. I don’t know what’s in the seller’s car, but I doubt it was replaced under warranty, since 63’s came with a 12/12 warranty. If it is a CE block, then it has to be a later engine then 66.

    With the original engine gone, there’s no way to know if it had a 327/300 or 250. Both used the same 5300 redline tach, and both came with 2″ exhaust when backed up by a Powerglide.

    Current asking prices for splits are crazy, and it makes no sense. Other than the funny back window, they have far less to offer than other mid years, which have better engines, disc brakes, better visibility, better seats…. This seller has a wrong motor car in the wrong color, and is asking $129,000? I don’t know who’s crazier, the people asking these prices, or people willing to pay it?

    Like 8
  10. Rex Kahrs Rex Kahrs Member

    Barnfinds= Corvette, Mustang, Camaro, GTO, Tri-5, repeat.

    Like 0
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Nah, we feature all kinds of stuff. There’s just a lot of those still out there.

      Like 3
      • 370zpp 370zpp Member

        Jesse, keep em’ coming. No complaints here. The day I stop wanting to look at C2s is the same day I stop wanting to get out of bed.

        Like 2
  11. V12MECH

    Look at yesterday’s BF cars, read the comments on the red SWC. They have ,in today’s market a special following, it is emotional, for some, nostalgic, that’s what a ” market” is. The I can buy a blah – blah car for less, is not relevant to these and other special cars with continued demand.

    Like 2
  12. George Mattar

    Not only was there a color change, but no one mentioned Sebring Silver was an option at $80.70 and 3,516 buyers checked that option. So, it wasn’t all that rare, a word grossly over used in these write up and on other sites and magazines. Yes, 63 mania is among us and this car is way overpriced. But unlike the $200,000 jobs that sit in a heated garage on $5,000 non DOT tires, you can drive this. CE stood for counter exchange. I worked at a busy Chevy dealer nearly 50 years ago when these cars were $5,000 for a good one.

    Like 0
  13. Bamapoppy

    Well, no Powerball win again this week, so…

    Like 1

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