The 1963 Chevrolet Corvette split-window coupe is a rare model built for one year only, but this example is even rarer.
Heading to auction at Mecum’s sale in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, later this month, the car is one of just 199 Corvettes Z06 models produced for 1963. This was the first year for the Z06, which became a staple of later generations of Corvette.
Designed for racing, the original Z06 was powered by Chevy’s L84 engine, a fuel-injected 327-cubic-inch V-8 rated at 360 hp. It sported a relatively high 11:1 compression ratio, a solid-lifter camshaft, and a high-flow exhaust system. It was also connected to a 4-speed manual transmission. The engine in this Corvette is numbers-matching, the auction listing notes.
Other upgrades included beefier suspension and brakes. This car is finished in Saddle Tan with a matching Saddle interior, and wears the turbine-style knockoff wheels that were a popular choice on the C2-generation Corvette.
1963 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (photo via Mecum Auctions)
Even if it wasn’t a Z06, this Corvette coupe would be notable because of its split rear window. This styling feature was only used for the 1963 model year, the first year for the C2 Corvette. Chevy later removed the divider to improve rear visibility; all C2 Corvette coupes from the remainder of production (model years 1964-1967) have an undivided rear window.
The original Z06 was intended to be a race car, with many being allocated to race teams (racing legend Mickey Thompson ended up with five of them). Modern Z06s have been strictly road cars, but ones that won’t embarrass themselves on the track. The current C8 Z06 carries on the legacy with a flat-plane crank V-8 making 670 hp without forced induction. The engine is also very close to the unit that Chevy actually uses in its Corvette race cars.