1963 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Sport CoupeSOLD
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Estimate: $225,000-$300,000 US

Sold: $192,500

360bhp, 327 cu. in. fuel-injected V8 engine, four-speed manual transmission, four-wheel independent suspension, four-wheel drum brakes. Wheelbase: 98"

After a decade of production for the classic but outdated live-axle Corvette model, the factory pulled out all the stops to present the brand new Corvette of 1963. In this
case, “new” was not a figment of an advertising copywriter’s imagination, since every aspect of the exciting Corvette was totally redesigned. True, the engines and transmissions were carried over from 1962, but they were already engineered to world class standards, as attested to by all of the magazine reviews of the time.

A beautiful new fiberglass body, for the first time available as both a coupe and a convertible, presented the most obvious improvement. Borrowing nothing from the design of any other car, either foreign or domestic, this unique Stingray show car-inspired design still looks as fresh and exciting today as it did at the time of its introduction 40 years ago.

Underneath, a redesigned and much stiffer chassis with independent rear suspension, by now de rigeur for any automobile of sporting pretensions, offered vastly improved handling over its solid axle predecessor. The engineering of this platform validated itself by the fact that it continued, almost untouched, until the 1983 Corvette model year. Under the direct influence of three General Motors titans – Bill Mitchell and Larry Shinoda in styling and Zora Arkus-Duntov in engineering – it is no wonder that this Corvette came out right.

Before the new Stingray even appeared in showrooms around the nation, enterprising road racers like Dick Guldstrand, Bob Bondurant, Allen Grant and Davy MacDonald had them on the track. Doug Hooper, in the new Corvette’s maiden voyage, won at the Riverside Times Grand Prix. One of the kings of Stingray competition was the sensational Dave MacDonald, whose spectacular sideways driving style in his Z06 Corvette compensated for the car’s inadequate (for racing) drum brakes, which were not upgraded by GM until the 1965 model year.

The Z06 Regular Production Option, also known as “Special Performance Group”, was certainly one of the most desirable specifications for the 1963 Corvette. At $1,818.45 it was also tremendously pricey and cost nearly half as much as the car itself. Early in the 1963 model year it was a coupe-only option, but later could be ordered with convertibles as well for a somewhat reduced option cost of $1,293.95. The lower price reflected the deletion of knock-off wheels (which were temporarily discontinued because they leaked air) and the coupe’s 36-gallon gas tank that would not fit in the convertible’s top storage well. Only 199 cars were assembled with the Z06 option in that year and of these, 63 are known to have had the large 36-gallon tank.

Typically checked off on the order form by buyers who intended to road race their Corvettes in the SCCA’s B-Production class, the Z06 package started off with the L84 fuel-injected solid lifter 360 horsepower V8 and M21 close ratio four-speed transmission. The 1963 L84 had improved fuel injection for faster throttle response and the M21 was the first four-speed built at GM’s Muncie transmission plant rather than the Borg-Warner-built T10 M20. Also included were a Posi-Traction limited slip differential and cast aluminum knock-off wheels, for which Z06 buyers probably received credit since casting porosity prevented them from being delivered. The Z06 also included an impressive list of additional, and very special, parts including the 36.5-gallon fuel tank, bigger brakes and stiffer springs, shocks and front anti-roll bar. The car’s braking system, the Corvettes’ Achilles heel, was state of the art with a dual master cylinder, vacuum brake booster and wider-finned aluminum drums with 334 square inches of swept area and sintered metallic linings.

A one year-only option, the “Special Performance Group” option essentially wrapped up all the things a Corvette road-racer needed in one easily-specified package. Save for perhaps a roll bar and fire extinguisher, a Z06-equipped Corvette could be driven directly to the track and run at the front of the pack all day long.

The Corvette presented here is one such particular Z06, equipped with the N03 36-gallon gas tank. A fully documented and original vehicle, it was subjected to a five-year, no-expense-spared restoration conducted to exacting standards. Following restoration, it received 98-percent scoring at National and Regional NCRS events in addition to being honored with the prestigious Top Flight award.

The car is finished in specially-formulated 916A Daytona blue acrylic lacquer paint supplied by DuPont. In fact, only original and NOS parts were utilized in the restoration – from the light lenses and fasteners to the external and internal hardware. The 327 cubic inch, 360-horsepower L84 engine was fully rebuilt and correctly detailed throughout and the rare Rochester fuel injection unit was rebuilt by noted specialist John DeGregory. The chassis is fully restored as well and correctly detailed. In fact, the car retains its original steel wheels, shod in NOS Firestone Champion blackwall tires.

Most impressively perhaps, this remarkable Corvette is offered complete with an extensive array of original factory paperwork, from the original manuals to the original dealer documentation attesting to the Z06 option package. Given its award-winning restoration and thorough documentation, it may very well be one of the finest Z06 Corvettes extant. As one of the few original “big tanks” it is not only exceptionally rare but also tremendously desirable as an icon of sixties muscle and Corvette’s pedigreed performance image.

Reference Number 38601

as of 2/10/2009

Car 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Sport Coupe
VIN 30837S112830 
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