Chevrolet Corvette C2
|Parent company||General Motors|
|Assembly||St. Louis, Missouri|
|Predecessor||Chevrolet Corvette C1|
|Successor||Chevrolet Corvette C3|
|Body style(s)||2-door coupé|
|Related||Corvette Stingray (Concept car)|
Corvette Mako Shark (Concept car)
|Engine(s)||327 in³ Small-Block V8|
|Engine(s)||327 in³ Small-Block FI V8|
|Engine(s)||396 in³ Big-Block V8|
427 in³ Big-Block V8
- For an outline of all the Chevrolet Corvette generations see
The Chevrolet Corvette C2 is a sports car designed by Larry Shinoda under the styling direction of Bill Mitchell, and was produced between 1963 and 1967 at the St. Louis assembly plant. It is commonly referred to as the second generation or mid-year Chevrolet Corvette built and marketed by Chevrolet.
1963 would see the introduction of the new Corvette Sting Ray coupé with its distinctive split rear window and fake hood vents as well as an independent rear suspension. The split rear window was discontinued in 1964 due to safety concerns. Because they made the design too busy, the hood vents were also cut. Power for 1963 was at 360 hp (272 kW) hitting 375 hp (280 kW) in 1964.
Four-wheel disc brakes were introduced in 1965, as well as a "Big Block" engine option: the 396 in³ (6.5 L) V8. Side exhaust pipes appeared on the 1965 Sting Ray. Chevrolet would up the ante in 1966 with the introduction of an even larger 427 in³ (7 L) V8 version of the "Big Block," creating what would be one of the most collectible Corvettes ever. 1967 saw an L88 version of the 427 introduced, which was rated at 430 hp (321 kW), although unofficial estimates place the actual output at 550 hp (410 kW) or more. Only twenty such engines were placed in the 1967 Corvette, and the cars can fetch US$600,000 or more at auction today. From 1967-1969, the 1282 ft³/min (605 L/s) Holley triple two-barrel carburetor, or Tri-Power, was available on the 427. The 1967 model was originally intended to debut the C3 generation Corvette, however due to engineering delays and possibly to avoid internal competition with the new Camaro ponycar, the C3 was pushed back a year until 1968; as such, the C2 carried over for an additional model year. Other early options available on the C2 included AM-FM radio (mid 1963), air conditioning (1963), leather upholstery (1963), telescopic wheel (1965), head rests, presumably to prevent whiplash (1966).
The 1965 introduction of the 425 hp 396 c.i. "Big Block" was ultimately the harbinger of doom for the Rochester fuel injection system. The 396/425 hp option cost $292.70 whereas the 327/375 hp "fuelie" option cost $538.00; few people could find a way to justify spending $245 more and receiving 50 hp (37 kW) less. When only 771 "fuelie" cars were built in 1965, Chevrolet discontinued offering fuel injection on the Corvette. It was 18 years until fuel injection returned.
The design of this generation had several inspirations. The first was the contemporary Jaguar E-Type, one of which Mitchell owned and enjoyed driving frequently. Bill Mitchell also sponsored a car known as the "Mitchell Stingray" in 1959, because Chevrolet no longer participated in factory racing. This vehicle had the largest impact on the styling of this generation, although it had no top and didn't give away what the coupe would look like. The third inspiration came from nature: a mako shark that Mitchell caught while deep-sea fishing.
In 1962 Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov initiated a program to produce a lightweight version based on a prototype that mirrored the new 1963 Corvette. Concerned about Ford and what they were doing with the Shelby Cobra, Duntov's program included plans to build 125 Grand Sport Corvettes to make them eligible for international Grand Touring races. After the GM executives learned of the secret project, the program was stopped, and only five cars were built. All five cars have survived and are in private collections. They are among the most coveted and valuable Corvettes ever built, not because of what they accomplished, but because of what might have been.
The cars were driven by famed contemporary race drivers such as Roger Penske, A.J. Foyt, Jim Hall, and Dick Guldstrand among others. The Grand Sports, however, were never fully developed; poor aerodynamics caused high speed handling problems that were alleviated by a number of modifications but never completely solved. Dick Thompson was the first driver to win a race in the Grand Sport 004. He won a 1963 Sports Car Club of America race at Watkins Glen on August 24, 1963. 
The Corvette Grand Sports were raced with several different engines, but the most serious factory engine actually used was a 377 cubic inch displacement, all-aluminum, small block with four Weber side-draft carburetors, rated 550 hp (410 kW) at 6400 rpm. Body panels were made of thinner fiberglass to reduce weight and the frame was constructed of amazingly light steel tubes.
Zora Arkus-Duntov began work on the CERV II in 1963, which was completed in 1964. This vehicle and CERV I were later donated to Briggs Cunningham Museum, in Costa Mesa, California.
Sold at Barrett-Jackson 2008 for $1,600,000.00
|1963||21,513||$4,037||New coupé body style introduced (only year for split rear window); convertible more expensive than coupé|
|1964||22,229||$4,037||Rear window of coupé changed to single pane; hood louvers deleted|
|1965||23,562||$4,106||396 in³ Big-Block V8 added; last year of fuel injection until 1982; side-discharge exhaust introduced|
|1966||27,720||$4,084||Big-Block is now 427 in³ and comes with unique bulging hood; 300-horsepower 327 small block V8 now standard|
|1967||22,940||$4,240||Five-louver fenders are unique; Big-Block hood bulge redesigned as a scoop; parking brake changed from pull-out under dash handle to lever mounted in center console; Tri-power 427 would become most sought-after Corvette ever|
|327 in³ Small-Block V8||1963–1965||250 hp (186 kW)|
|1963–1967||300 hp (224 kW)|
|1963||340 hp (254 kW)|
|1965–1967||350 hp (254 kW)|
|1964–1965||365 hp (272 kW)|
|327 in³ Small-Block FI V8||1963||360 hp (268 kW)|
|1964–1965||375 hp (280 kW)|
|396 in³ Big-Block V8||1965||425 hp (317 kW)|
|427 in³ Big-Block V8||1966–1967||390 hp (291 kW)|
|1966||425 hp (317 kW)|
|427 in³ Big-Block Tri-Power V8||1967||400 hp (298 kW)|
|1967||435 hp (324 kW)|
- Friedman and Paddock 1989, p. 16.
- Friedman and Paddock 1989, p. 36.
- Friedman, Dave and Paddock, Lowell C. Corvette Grand Sport: Photographic Race Log of the Magnificent Chevrolet Corvette Factory Specials 1962-1967. St. Paul, Minnesota: MBI Publishing Co., 1989. ISBN 0-87938-382-8.
- Mueller, Mike. Corvette Milestones. St. Paul, Minnesota: MBI Publishing Co., 1996. ISBN 0-7603-0095-X.
- Nichols, Richard. Corvette: 1953 to the Present. London: Bison Books, 1985. ISBN 0-86124-218-1.
- 1963 Corvette - C2 Corvette history and technical development
Chevrolet Corvette timeline, 1953–present
|Performance||Fuel Injection||L84||Big Block||Big Block||ZR-1||LT4||Z06||Z06|
|Motorsports: Grand Sport • GTP • C5-R • C6.R|