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Chevrolet Corvette

Chevrolet Corvette Published: 3rd Aug 2015 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Chevrolet Corvette
Chevrolet Corvette
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Chevrolet Corvette

IN BRIEF

By 1963 the Corvette had competition from imports such as the Jaguar e-type and even Triumph with its TR. The new Sting Ray’s lines were beautiful and independent suspension meant it could compete on looks and cornering ability with the Europeans. Engine sizes grew as Corvette battled its rival AC Cobra on and off the racetrack until, suddenly, in late ‘67 the Sting Ray was gone. With the shortest production cycle of any ’vette, the Sting Ray’s classic status was guaranteed.

TIMELINES

1963 C2 Corvette Sting Ray series launched, coupé model has controversial split rear window, four 327ci V8s available from 250 to 360bhp. Three-speed manual gearbox with optional four-speed or two-speed automatic.

1964 Previous year’s fake bonnet louvres removed, coupe gets restyled roof vents and one-piece back window. Top engine now rated at 370bhp.

1965 Three vertical louvres on front wings, horizontal grille bars plus new bonnet and sill trim. Mid-year addition of 396ci, 425bhp V8, optional high-performance, close-ratio gearbox introduced.

1966 Egg crate grille insert and ribbed sill covers introduced, smooth bonnet styling with power bulge for larger engine cars. The 396ci is dropped in favour of a choice of two 427ci V8s.

1967 Five vents in front wings, bonnet bulge now function air scoop, reversing lights and handbrake repositioned. Seven engine options including five 427s from 390 to 435bhp.

1968 The classic Sting Ray is replaced by all new C3 model.

DRIVING

Interior space is on a par with contemporary British sports cars of the time – i.e. a little tight – and the low-roofed coupés are cosy if you’re wide or tall. Zero to 60mph in under six seconds is still quick today.

Power steering and disc brakes are highly recommended – especially on the larger-engined cars – which tend to have a heavier feel to the front end. Disc brakes on all four wheels were standard but could be deleted for around $46 – it was not money well spent so expect few cars so equipped.

BEST MODELS

Collectors favour the larger 396ci and 427ci versions, but for regular driving the smaller 327ci cars are better on handling and mpg, and provide just as much fun. Over four-fifths of these Corvettes were four-speed manuals and, on average, two-thirds were convertibles.

Rare options such as air conditioning are desirable, so read up and become an expert before buying.

VALUES

We spotted a 1963 coupé for £62,000, a recently restored 1965 coupé at £45,000 and a nice 1964 convertible for £36,000. Big block cars are harder to find but we did unearth a ’67 427 convertible for £92,000.

If your budget doesn’t quite run to a C2 Sting Ray consider a Stingray (from 1969 it became one word) one of the C3 (1968 to 1982) cars. We’ve seen decent C3s go for as little as £8000 recently but around £12,000-£15,000 seems the general range.

Don’t overlook the C4 (1984-1996) Corvette either, they can suffer electrical gremlins (check headlights and dashboard) but as little as £8000 could put you behind the wheel of a decent example. In fact later ’vettes can be exceedingly good value.

BUYING ADVICE

Beware rust in the box chassis, which can cause bodies to twist. Get the car onto a ramp and examine the underside carefully. Odd creases or dents in front chassis rails suggest accident damage

Fresh paint can hide any number of fibreglass issues, check panel gaps – especially doors on convertibles. Body cracks and crazing can be caused by stress several inches away. Most parts are available including complete interiors but things can get expensive. Leaks are common on convertibles. Lack of an opening boot panel means close examination with a torch from inside and out.

Engines are usually unstressed but familiarise yourself with serial numbers to make sure that V8 hasn’t been unscrupulously dropped in from a low performance car or van – not unknown!

 



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