Split Window Wonderful: 1963 Chevrolet Corvette

There’s not much more that can be said about a ’63 split-window Corvette that hasn’t already been said. I know there’s not much else that I can add and there are C2 Corvette enthusiasts that have probably forgotten more about these storied cars than I’ll ever know. Nevertheless, I can appreciate one when I see it, especially when it is as stellar as this ’63 example, located in Chaptico, Maryland and available here on eBay for a starting bid of $75,000, zero bids tendered as of this writing.

So, what’s the real attraction here? I’ll get to the specifics later but upfront the real draw is the beautiful, original condition of this very desirable and highly sought-after model. The seller admits that some of the exterior has been repainted but that’s not surprising and doesn’t really affect the authenticity of its originality. The body panels appear to be straight and the body looks balanced as one would expect. The seller adds that the chrome and stainless are very nice and they do appear so. It would probably be worth a close inspection as bonding strips on older Corvettes sometimes start to separate and crazing in the paint will occur. I am always told that it is important to inspect the “birdcage” on older Corvettes for corrosion but there is no photographic evidence present to assume that there would be a problem with it.

What looks better with a white Corvette than a red interior? Not much, it’s like peas and carrots, they were made for each other. While the seller gives a lot of detail about his ‘Vette, he doesn’t elaborate much on the interior condition other than to say that it is, “pretty much original and very nice”. The images do the talking here and it does look very, very nice. The upholstery, carpet, and headliner all look perfect. There is even an image of the underside of the dash highlighting the original wiring. The seller states that everything works except the clock (typical) and the temperature gauge (not typical and should be fixed). Further added is the fact that the doors open and close properly and the windows roll up and down as designed.

Moving up front, the base 327 CI V8 engine, good for 250 gross HP, is found under the hood. While there were significantly more powerful engine options available, this entry-level 327 is a perfectly acceptable engine for this vintage Corvette. I would like to quote the owner as his description is lengthy, “This car is very mechanically sound. With motor and trans rebuilt and brand-new correct hoses, belts, clamps, fill tank with correct numbers, tires, exhaust system, etc. It shifts very smooth and idles, drives, steers awesome!! Easy starts and immediately idles properly. All the valves have been recently adjusted, tuned, timing set and original carburetor with original tag works as new. The engine is very quiet and very peppy. Will cruise all day long”. This is a very positive endorsement for all things mechanical. The odometer reads 115,000 miles and while a complete rebuild was probably not necessary at this mileage point, assuming that this ‘Vette was maintained properly and not abused, it will give the new owner some sound piece of mind. I imagine that this Corvette, equipped with this engine, cruises very nicely; I wonder, however, about its acceleration ability with a Powerglide two-speed automatic transmission.

This is a beautiful example of a very desirable American sports car and the classic split-window design will always be revered by Corvette and car enthusiasts in general. It is interesting to think that if the entire ’63 to ’67 Corvette run had been manufactured with this rear window design if it would be appreciated to the extent that this lone year model is – hard to say. While I really like this pristine Corvette, the Powerglide transmission just kills it for me. This really isn’t an automatic transmission type of car and being a two-speed just makes it less enticing and I would think puts a wet blanket on the driving experience. Even at a reasonable price, and I’m not suggesting that $75 large is unreasonable, I wouldn’t want a Powerglide equipped C2 Corvette. Let’s kick this one around a bit, what do you think, would the transmission choice be a non-starter for you or would you be good to go with it?

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  1. 86_Vette_Convertible

    What can you say, it’s a SWC, looks to be in good condition and could be a good driver. Negatives most would say are the price, mileage and transmission. There are conversions to put a Tremec in one along with disc brakes. Disc brakes would be a definite ‘have to do’ IMO. Whether it’s worth the $$ each person will have to decide.


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