Corvette enthusiasts know all about the split-window Sting Ray. No, that’s not a typo – we’re talking about the original C2 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray, back when the moniker was two separate words. In 1963 it also had two separate back windows, with a center spine separating the panes of glass. This was the 1963 Sting Ray split-window, and it was only offered for one year. That's because Chevrolet received a healthy dose of criticism for the car’s understandably poor rearward visibility. A normal window appeared for 1964, and just like that, the split-window 'Vette became a bonafide icon in the sports car world.
Flash forward more than a half-century, and we learn from Muscle Cars and Trucks that the split-window nearly made a triumphant return for the new 2020 Corvette Stingray. The timing sure seemed right – with its engine now positioned behind the driver, rearward visibility in the C8 isn’t the same as previous-generation Corvettes, so a split window likely wouldn’t have made things worse. Beyond that, modern tech like backup cameras and rear sensors offsets a diminished rearward view, so 2020 could’ve been the ideal time to resurrect the split-window Corvette.
Unfortunately, it didn’t happen but not because GM didn’t try. Speaking to Muscle Cars and Trucks, Chevrolet Performance Exterior Design Director Tom Peters explained that every attempt to incorporate a split window “came across as forced.” In short, the dual panes of glass simply didn’t mesh with the C8’s design. That’s not to say the concept was completely abandoned, however. In the report, Peters points out the Stingray’s body lines sweeping across the roof match with lines on the engine hatch and ultimately the Stingray emblem at the rear of the car. This is an ode to the original 1963 split-window, with the engine beneath the glass serving as the spiritual center spine.
It would’ve been cool to see an actual split-window return, but with 490 horsepower and a sub-$60,000 base price for the new Stingray, we suspect buyers won’t be too upset. C8 sales could begin as soon as the end of this year and just about every order slot is already filled.