The introduction of the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray heralded major changes in the march onward in the Chevrolet Stingray. The Sting Ray was available as both a “Roadster “version with a removable hardtop and a “Coupe” sometimes referred to as a fastback.
Onwards from 1963 to 1967 the Sting Ray got even better with a greater number of options for both luxury and power performance. This was the heyday of the days of sports car customizers. And the Corvette Sting Ray was the perfect 100 % raw material for the sports car customizers. Headlights were molded and in and the bumpers were removed. So many Corvettes received an extra pair of taillights that people that they were actually a General Motors Chevrolet Corvette factory option. Later when the low profile wide tires came along, so did large fender flares. The speed equipment industry had boomed, so the majority of Corvette engine parts were being replaced by the latest: Hot Setup”. Rochester fuel injectors were being removed because of service problems, and everyone heard that the single four barrel in a high riser manifold was better. In 1965 the first Chevy big-block was introduced in the Corvette, and the performance was more than awesome.
Another new body style – both larger and heavier was introduced in 1968. Many thought that this was the beginning of the decline of the Corvette, But in the vital performance department, the 427 cubic inches Rat Motor with its three two-barrel carbs and the 435 horse power ratings more than powered the Corvette legend of lore. No letting down of the powerful image of the ‘Vette.
Things got even better right on up to the 1969 L-88with aluminum cylinder heads the 1970 LS-6 rated at a mighty 465 horse power rating. The word Corvette invokes the image of high performance sports car performance. An older age group replaced the street racer cult as the primary consumers and purchasers of the Vette. More and more of the Corvettes were equipped with such luxury and comfort options as air conditioning, power steering and telescoping steering columns. It was not long before the Corvette with emission devices and soon the real ‘Vette type of performance was history.
What was more than interesting was the response original hot rodder modification group. The amazing part of all of this is how the circle came round. Karma sneaks in.
The same dedicated group of sport car enthusiasts and hot rodders, who modified the older, pre mainstream luxury comfort model Corvettes, is now the very ones who restore this same converted Corvette back to exact stock specifications.
How could these people justify the work and effort of taking these cars back in time to factory specs when a great amount of time, effort and cost had been invested in these very cars? A used Corvette at the time was essentially a very attractive sports car buy.
Why were restore cars in vogue and even preferred over the earlier modified ones. Partially it was a case of limited supply and very high prices being offered by the stock type Corvettes and classic car auctions and the prices being asked in the special car groups and publications. All in all it can be said it can be a combination of the custom cars getting old and needing refurbishing and the 55 mile speed limit in the time. Perhaps as well it was a question of maturity on the kids who were the Corvette hot rodders at the time. See the influence of time, life and having a family with its change of priorities can have on the wildest kids.