Chevrolet Corvette Pilot Line Sting Ray
Penned by GM stylist Larry Shinoda under Bill Mitchell, the all-new 1963 Corvette Sting Ray introduced the aerodynamic styling and superb engineering that created an instant classic. Underneath that gorgeous new bodywork was a serious sports car, riding on a four-inch shorter wheelbase than before and equipped with a simple yet effective independent rear suspension courtesy of Zora Arkus-Duntov.
Of the four 327-cubic inch engine options, the L84 360-horsepower variant propelled the Corvette to 60 mph in under six seconds. Contemporary magazines unanimously praised the new Sting Ray’s handling and performance, with Motor Trend testers remarking, “We thought the old model cornered darn well, but there’s no comparing it to this new one.” Perhaps the most telling endorsement came from Zora Arkus-Duntov, who said, “For the first time I now have a Corvette I can be proud to drive in Europe.”
Both the 1963 Sting Ray and the fuel-injected models, in particular, remain design and engineering benchmarks. This example is particularly remarkable as Sting Ray number 15, being a real "pilot line" or pre-production car for 1963 and believed to be one of approximately four such cars known to exist today. According to a recent inspection, the Corvette shows just 15 miles since it received a body-off-frame restoration. Today, the paint, door fit and interior are good, the brightwork is driver quality, the engine bay is clean and proper but not over-restored, and the undercarriage remains show-quality in presentation. However, as this Corvette has been on display as part of a private collection, we recommend a thorough service prior to extensive road use.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August of 2010 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California.
360 bhp, 327 cu. in. L84 V8 engine, Rochester mechanical fuel-injection, Muncie four-speed manual transmission, four-wheel independent suspension with upper and lower A-arms and coil springs front, and half-shafts, lateral struts, radius rods, and a single transverse leaf spring rear, and hydraulic front disc, rear drum brakes. Wheelbase: 98"
Sources: RM Auctions; Mecum Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel