Split Window Survivor: 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe

It is incredible today to think that when they were new, some owners so disliked the Split Window feature of their 1963 Corvette Coupe that they had the rear windows replaced with a dealer-supplied one-piece Plexiglass item. Even more astounding is the fact that Chevrolet eventually supplied a one-piece conversion for owners to have installed. Thankfully, this Split Window hasn’t been desecrated in that way, remaining an unmolested survivor. It has recently come onto the market, meaning that you will find it listed for sale here on Craigslist. It is located in Beverley Hills, Michigan, and is being offered with an asking price of $89,000. A big thank you has to go out to Barn Finder Rex M for spotting the Corvette for us.

The Corvette is a stunning car that has received a repaint in its original Riverside Red. The paint shines beautifully and is complemented by chrome and trim that does likewise. The fiberglass appears to be free from any issues, and the owner says that the frame and birdcage are in good order, with no rust problems. The vehicle rolls on a set of distinctive alloy knock-off wheels, but it isn’t clear whether these are genuine Chevrolet items or whether they are a later addition. At $322.80, these were not a cheap item that year. When you combine this fact with a few legal problems at the time, it is easy to see why very few buyers owned a ’63 with these wheels. I also don’t believe that these are early wheels because while these spinners have three “ears,” early examples had two. The glass all appears to be free from issues, and this is a classic that would seem to be ready to hit the road for a bit of fun.

While buyers were faced with a raft of choices when it came to engine specifications in 1963, all of these revolved around the 327ci V8. That’s what we find lurking under the hood of this Corvette. In this case, it is backed by the optional 4-speed manual transmission. It isn’t clear which version of the 327 this one is, and the owner provides no information on that front. What he does indicate is that this is a non-original motor. This will impact the Corvette’s potential value, but it will be up to prospective buyers to determine just how significant that impact is. The engine bay presents well, but the owner doesn’t indicate how well the Corvette runs or drives. If the car is taken at face value, then the news on this front should potentially be quite positive.

The photos that the owner supplies are quite limited and this is the only one that we receive of the interior. The condition looks encouraging, although we can’t see much of the upholstered surfaces. The dash and console are in good order, and I can’t spot any trim pieces that might need replacing. The biggest disappointment for me is that the original radio has made way for an aftermarket AM/FM radio/cassette player. The buyer might choose to leave that in place, although anyone concerned with originality would probably want to search for a factory radio to slot back into its rightful spot. This will require that person to swallow pretty hard because these aren’t cheap. Good genuine examples generally sell for $600 or more, but this could be a small price to pay to capture originality.

This 1963 Corvette Split Window could never be considered to be a cheap car, but they very rarely are. Pristine examples can easily sell for six-figure sums, which is a clear indication of their desirability. It is possible to find some tidy examples that have received motor changes for around $70,000, but these tend to be the exception rather than the rule. This one has been listed for a few weeks now, so it would be interesting to know whether the seller has received any interest from potential buyers. If he hasn’t, I would be quite surprised. The engine change makes me think that the price might be a bit high, but I believe that it could still be headed to a new home relatively soon. What do you think?

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Comments

  1. Classic Steel

    A very nice looking SW.

    If it was original engine it would be the 327 340 hp. The smaller engine has the two snorkel extension breather.

    I bet replacement engine due to pricing.

    I have a 63 SW all numbers matches etc.

    The rear window doesn’t bother me at all…

    Good luck with sale…,

    I love the wheels .. mine is orig hubcaps…

    Like 10
    • Rick

      According to the Redline on the Tach this originally would of had the 250 or 300hp 327. The valve covers, and Air cleaner look like what the 340 hp had, but the Tach is the give away !

      Like 16
      • Larry

        The valve covers are not 63….you can see the casting flaw for a later design…and the shifter does not look like a 63 either….lots of questions on this find but a nice driver.

    • ACZ

      Unfortunately, I sold mine long ago. I was never bothered by the split rear window. Visibility was just fine. I always hear about “people” that were so dissatisfied with this that they had the center bar cut out. I’ve been around Corvettes for well over 50 years and have never see one of those yet. Has anyone ever seen one first hand?

      Like 7
      • Stan Marks

        ACZ, . It’s not a center bar. It’s part of the roof, that goes from the front windshield to the rear of the car. You would have to redesign the entire rear window. We’re talking major body work. Is it really worth it?

        Like 2
      • Stephen C McAfee

        Just on the cover of Rod & Custom magazine shortly after they came out. I couldn’t believe anyone would do that at the time!

      • ACZ

        I realize that, but there are people stupid enough to do anything. There have been stories of this since I had my 63. I never saw one. Is it fiction that people keep repeating?

        Like 2
    • Rick

      Look at the Tach, and if it is original to the car then the redline indicates this car originally had the 250 or 300 hp 327. The air cleaner, and valve covers look like the 340 hp had, but the Tach is the give away !

  2. Dusty Stalz

    A repaint.
    Non original motor.
    Nice car but not a survivor.

    Like 25
  3. DRV

    A surviver on that every old car is.

  4. jon

    Anything over 50 years old is a survivor…

    Like 10
    • AnalogMan

      I guess that makes me a survivor…

      Like 18
      • Dave

        Low RPM tachometer shows 250-300 Hp 327. Tach has been redone. Looks …..too nice

        Like 2
      • jon

        exactly!

  5. Roger Hackney

    I couldn’t , wouldn’t call this car a survivor.

    Like 7
  6. Paul

    Same as as me, but in way better condition.

    Like 2
    • PatrickM

      Before buying anything like this, get it up on a lift and give it a very close look. Also look under the floor mats. Don’t be shocked.

      • Joel S.

        What do you expect to find under the floor mats on a Fiberglas car? I would be looking at the frame and birdcage for the rust. Fiberglas repairs are not near as difficult as metal repairs done correctly.

  7. Bruce Rolfe

    Oh if I could show you pics of my survivor 63 SWC. This is nice, but not worth the asking price. Knock about $30k off the asking price IMO

    Like 6
  8. MH

    My friend has a 63 split window with a non original motor. He got a offer of $88K and he said no way. I think he was smart. There only going up in value!

    Like 1
  9. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

    BaT only runs their own auctions now so I’m not sure how they would have the same car three days before us. Please explain. Also, we don’t “make” anyone pay to look at the site. You’re not a member so you are looking at it for free right now. Finally, before you claim we are getting rich, you should do the math on what BaT is bringing in these days. You’ll be surprised…

    Like 9
  10. Charles Sawka

    I don’t have any concern what he numbers on the engine are, I’d love to have it even without an engine. I fully understand about the pristine #matching never driven waxed 4 days a week and detailed the other three. But at my age now, the fun is taking it out and driving, this car would do that just fine and Joe Schmuck at the Cars n coffee on Sat. can chastise me all he wants to about “the wrong “ engine.

    Like 17
  11. Bill kennedy

    Wow great find haven’t seen many in Australia Northern Territory had a few because of the Pine gap Airforce base 3,000 Americans The US dollar is dropping
    A bit more and I’ll be on the market for something Amazing like this 👍🇳🇿🇺🇸

    Like 5
  12. gbvette62

    I wish Barnfinds would stop repeating this story about Chevrolet offering a one piece rear window for 63 coupes. It’s not true, it didn’t happen, their was no such kit. After the 64 came out, some customizers started putting 64 rear windows, in 63’s. Chevrolet wasn’t involved, and it really wasn’t very common.

    In late 63, Car Craft Magazine ran an article on how to do the conversion, along with radiusing the wheel openings, adding a 3rd tail lamp and removing the parking lamp pods. This was done on what became a well known gold 63 custom, and the car still exists today. I have a copy of the magazine, and it’s not a simple conversion, there’s a lot more to it than just cutting the split out, and dropping the new rear window in.

    Like 13
    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Mortensen Staff

      Maybe you’re right but could it be possible that some dealers offered the modification?

      Like 2
      • Stan Marks

        Yes they did, Jesse…

        Like 2
    • Stephen C McAfee

      Wow- everything you would want in a 63-67 Vette NOT!!!!

    • 70/72 Monte Carlo

      Having heard this story repeated as fact for decades. Thank you for the clarity.

  13. jokacz

    Those wheels aren’t correct, probably reproductions. The first 63 knock offs were rough cast and unpainted and used the 2 eared spinners off the Corvair rare, real, wire wheels. They were ugly.

    • Rick

      There has been a lot of controversy over those wheels for 1963. Chevy had advertised them, but my understanding was that only about fifty got out of the factory, and then they were no longer available because of a patent infringement and were not available until 64. The 64’s had 2 bar spinners, and the fins were painted a lighter color than the ones in 65 that had 3 bar spinners with a darker accent color.

      • Joel Stieglitz

        Please do more digging. I believe a few race teams (VIP) got the 2 bar knockoffs and the 64 up knockoffs are 3 bar. The early wheels had porosity issues and leaked causing them to not be sold to the public in any kind of numbers. Yes some were made and some escaped but not certain how many sets.

      • Rick

        My Dad bought a 63 brand new in late 63. I was 14 at the time. I did see a 63 with the 2 bar spinner with the light accent painted fins aluminum knock offs during this time period. I know some got out. Also I am aware of the fact that Chevy stated that these had a problem holding air because of the porous material, but I believe the real reason was a patent violation with the inter workings of the wheel.

  14. Stan Marks

    Whatever your opinions, it’s still a sweet ride.

    Like 3
  15. Des Member

    I am pretty sure that although some pre-production photography shows ’63s with knock-offs they were not available as an option until 1964 due to issues, thus full wheel covers are correct for a 1963 only.

    Like 3
  16. Jeff

    Alot of questionable items on this 63. Too many to list here so let’s state this…. A wonderful car to begin with, anyone that knows this change of body style was short term for five years but the split window is iconic. For all the versions of the 2 bolt main 327 they were impressive. Big tank ZO6 racers and the history behind this year would make any corvette owner pay attention to ever having the chance to own one of these. Remember this, you can always go back to OEM with any car, time and money. But the 63 you can enjoy from day one.

    Like 4
    • Robert H

      It’s only worth what someone is willing to pay.

  17. Mountainwoodie

    Dude, Dudette……..you need to improve your reading comprehension. Unless you jammed some change into your keyboard, I think you are typing your …cough…cough…comment on a free site. I hope you aren’t old enough to vote.

  18. lbpa18

    Craigslist? Really? This is a nice car and will garner lots of attention wherever seen. As long as big ticket items like numbers not matching on the engine are mentioned from the outset, I would think some of the higher dollar internet auction sites where knowledge and money hang out would be an appropriate place to advertise this and get the most out of it. It would certainly avoid tire kickers.
    Restored a 67 big block roadster thirty-five years ago. Loved it. You couldnt pass a gas station but what thrust. Always thought the split window was the prettiest coupe.

    Like 1
  19. Mike

    Great looking car at a really great price. 63 coupes are getting hard to find just like unicorns. Will always be a desirable car especially as an original unmolested split window.

    Like 1
  20. Robert H

    It’s only worth what someone is willing to pay.

  21. jokacz

    I’d like to put this rear window mod into historical perspective. In 1962 you could pick up a new ’63 coupe for a bit over $4k. Not a tremendous amount of money even corrected for inflation. The visibility out the back was not good and no one considered the design “iconic”. When the 64’s came out it was natural for people to want to not only improve their rear vision but to upgrade their car to the look of the latest model. Parts and labor were cheap, so why not do it? I don’t know how many did, there were a lot of ads for the service in the back of car mags of the day. These cars were not the chariots of the gods at the time, a lot were just wrecked or trashed in a short period of time. It’s only in retrospect with the current absurd prices that these things command that one would be considered “crazy” for getting rid of the split window.

    • Stan Marks

      Excellent perspective. Times and tastes change. And so do we. Back in the day, Edsels, Ramblers, Corvairs, even Citroen was considered unattractive. Today, they’re considered iconic. Looking back, how many of us wish we had our old rides. Even those aforementioned cars are now attractive. If this wasn’t the case, we wouldn’t have Barn Finds.

      • Stan Marks

        BTW.. Back then $4K was still a lot of $$$$$,considering average cars costs around half. When my family moved to L.A., in ’62, we purchased a 1150sq.ft. home on a small corner half lot, for $20K. In West Hollywood. I sold it, in 2000, for $360K. Today, Zillow has it valued at $1.4 million. Crazy….

  22. Dave

    65k, interested buyer

  23. Joel S.

    As for the term “Survivor” that is a Bloomington Gold registered Trade Mark. This car is a typical very nice used 63 Corvette. Repainted, replacement motor, replacement radio, wrong air cleaner based on Tach, unknown about the interior being original vs replacement and the list goes on.

    Sorry this car is not a survivor anymore than a fully restored car would be.

    Like 1
  24. jokacz

    RE 63’s with knock offs, here’s one good enough for Bloomington Gold so I’m betting it’s legit: https://www.corvettelegends.com/1963-corvette-z06-tanker/

    • Rick

      Those are exactly the same 2 bar spinner Kelsey Hayes aluminum knock offs I saw on a 63 in 63.

    • ACZ

      That looks exactly like one that used to sit on 1st Avenue in Riverside, IL back in the late 60s.

  25. Bob N

    used to sell vette parts in LA fairgrounds ( George Cross and Sons) years ago … came across two bar gear driven knock offs, thought they were corvair ( smaller dia) but they where 15″s , seller said they where vette, guess I should have bought them … I just didn’t have 12 thousand in my pocket He He

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