In the early 1960s, the Chevrolet Corvette was already a classic, if only as one of the few genuine American sports cars of the 50s, but it hadn’t yet achieved legendary status. A little bit more was needed for that to happen, and it did, in the shape of the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray. It was still a fiberglass body, of course, on a separate chassis, but the styling was entirely new, and featured cool new retractable headlights. The suspension also differed from most North American insofar as it had a independent rear suspension, and most cars at the time had a live rear axle. This gave the Stingray a better than average handling, which it needed to balance the huge weight of the engine at the front!
The original, 1963 Stingray came equipped with an available 340 horsepower L76 V8 engine, featuring a higher compression ratio, as well as two other, less powerful V8 – still plenty capable, of course. The real magic came a few years later with the legendary 560 horsepower L88 big-block V8, but all engines were powerful, strong performers. The 1963 model, with the big engine and special Rochester fuel injection could accelerate to 60 in 5.6 seconds, a truly excellent performance.
The 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray remained in production with few changes except bigger engines until 1967, when it was replaced by the next generation, the ‘Coke Bottle’-shaped new Stingray.