1963 C2 Corvette

1963 Corvette Overview

1963 Chevy Corvette was the final result of more than a half-decade’s worth of research both on and off the racetrack.  Conceived by Bill Mitchell and Zora Arkus-Duntov, the second-generation Corvette literally evolved from a racecar – namely the Stingray racer that Mitchell created (and privately funded out of his own pocket.)

Even its title, which was an axiom deliberately given to the race car because of its resemblance to an actual stingray, stuck and further defined the C2 for all time as the “Corvette Sting Ray.”

The car was an instant marketing success.  Given its improved and re-imagined styling from the C1, and the impressive advancements made to the car’s performance and handling, there had been no doubt that the second-generation Corvette would be a triumph.  Even so, nobody could have guessed that Mitchell’s ingenious design and Duntov’s engineering wizardry would produce a sports car that would become as popular or as successful as the 1963 Corvette ended up being.

Model: 1963 Corvette
Generation: C2 Corvette
Type: 2 Door Coupe/Convertible
Available Colors: Tuxedo Black, Silver Blue, Daytona Blue, Riverside Red, Saddle Tan, Ermine White, Sebring Silver
Engine: 327 ci ohv V-8 (fuel injected or carbureted (multiple-horsepower options available.))
VIN: 30837S100001 – 30837S121513
Transmission: 3-speed manual (standard), 4-speed manual (optional), 2-speed Powerglide (optional)
Original Price: $4252.00 (Coupe), $4037.00 (Convertible)
Units Produced: 21,513
Corvette 1963 Corvette Spec List
1963 Chevrolet Corvette Ad
The Inaugural Ad for the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette.

“Only a man with a heart of stone could withstand temptation like this” was what the inaugural Sting Ray ad copy had read.  The words would prove to be prophetic.  When the 1963 Corvette finally made it to market, its sales numbers jumped off the charts, literally skyrocketing Corvette sales to levels never before experienced – even in 1953 when the original C1 had originally been marketed to enthusiastic soldiers returning home from overseas.

The car was exactly the “shot in the arm” that the Corvette program had needed.  To help with the increasing demand, Chevrolet‘s St. Louis factory (where the 1963 C2 Corvette was assembled) increased production by adding a second shift.  Even so, the demand continued to outgrow GM‘s ability to manufacture the new car, and so customers were forced to wait – sometimes up to two months – to take delivery of their new Corvettes.

Even more impressive than the wait was that many of these customers paid full retail price for the “privilege” of being the first to own a 1963 Corvette.

1963 C2 Corvette

Perhaps as impressive as the sales numbers that were being reported for the second-generation Corvette almost immediately after the car hit the retail market was the fact that the first-generation Corvettes began to increase in popularity – so much so that the previous used car value of these Corvettes actually increased beyond their original sell prices, making Corvette one of the first postwar cars to outsell its original list price on the collectors market.

1963 C2 Split Window Corvette
The 1963 C2 Split Window Corvette Coupe.

While nobody could have predicted it then, the C2 Corvette would become one of the most desirable – and most collectible – Corvettes of all, and none more so than the 1963 model year.

While the C2’s styling was both aggressive and radically advanced for its time, there were a number of other advancements made to the second-generation Corvette that also attributed to the Sting Ray’s success.

The Sting Ray had a newly designed chassis that featured a shorter wheelbase and a faster “Ball-Race” steering (a name that was developed by the ad copy (advertisement) writers in 1963,) both of which attributed to providing the car with improved maneuverability and handling.

While having a shorter wheelbase might normally imply a choppier ride, the design of the C2 partially compensated for this by redistributing the weight of the car from front to rear.  By moving some of the weight out of the end, steering the car became more manageable – especially given the fact that the 1963 Corvette did not include power steering as a standard feature.  At the same time, Corvette engineers moved approximately 80 additional pounds on/over the rear wheels, which improved the car’s traction, especially during moments of more aggressive acceleration.

DID YOU KNOW: The original 1963 Sting Ray Coupe is considered to be one of the most collectible Corvettes of all time because of its unique split rear window design. Surprisingly, many split-window coupes were modified by customizers, some of whom replaced the small, individual panes of glass with a one-piece window made of Plexiglass. Even more surprising is that Chevy began offering replacement one-piece windows through its dealerships. As a result, a good many 1963 Corvette coupes lost a considerable amount of their collector value.

1963 Corvette
1963 Corvette ad featuring both the Coupe and the Convertible. “It’s a Gasser!” (Image Courtesy of GM Media.)

A number of items did carry over from the C1 Corvette.  Included in these was a collection of four small-block, 327C.I. V-8 engines, a trio of transmissions, and six axle ratios.  The engines that were offered for the 1963 Corvette included three carbureted versions; a 250-, 300-, and 340-horsepower variants, as well as a 360-horsepower fuel-injected powerhouse engine, which was made available to consumers for an extra $430.40.  As in the 1962 Corvette before it, the base and step-up engine units utilized hydraulic lifters, a mild cam, a forged-steel crankshaft, 10.5:1 engine compression, a single-point distributor, and a dual exhaust system.  Additionally, the 300-horsepower engine produced some additional power via a larger, four-barrel carburetor, plus larger intake valves and exhaust manifold.

The car’s standard three-speed transmission also carried over from the 1962 model year, and remained available in 1963 though neither it nor the optional Powerglide automatic transmission were installed into many second-generation Corvettes.  Instead, the preferred gearbox continued to be the Borg-Warner manual four-speed transmission.

An optional upgrade priced at $188.30, the Borg-Warner gearbox was delivered with wide-ratio gears when mated to the 250- or 300-horsepower engines, and a close-ratio gearing when mated to the top two powerplants.  The standard axle ratio for the three-speed manual transmission or the Powerglide automatic was 3.36:1.  Comparatively, the four-speed manual came standard with a 3.70:1 final drive ratio, although 3.08:1, 3.55:1, 4.11:1 and 4.56:1 gear sets were also made available.  While most of these were desirable alternatives to the standard gear ratio, the last of these (the 4.56:1 ratio) was quite rare in production model Corvettes.

While the powertrain/drivetrain may have been a carry-over from the first-generation Corvette, there were a number of enhancements to the rest of the C2 Corvette that were vast improvements from its predecessor.  Just as the steering/maneuverability had been improved, so too was the Sting Ray’s stopping ability.

The new Corvette came equipped (standard) with wider, four-wheel cast-iron 11-inch drum brakes, which provided a more effective braking area, which, in turn, produced shorter stopping distances.  Optionally, consumers had the ability to order special, sintered-metallic linings that were segmented for better cooling.  They also had the option of ordering finned aluminum (“Al-Fin”) drums, which not only provided faster heat dissipation, but also less unsprung weight.  Optional power assist was available for both braking packages.

Other major improvements that were introduced on the 1963 Corvette included positive crankcase ventilation, a smaller flywheel, and an aluminum clutch housing.  A more-efficient alternator also replaced the old-fashioned generator.

963 Z06 Corvette
The 1963 Z06 Corvette made it possible for anyone to order a race car by selecting a single option. (Image courtesy of GM Media.)

In 1957, the Automotive Manufacturers Association (AMA) introduced a racing ban that prohibited automotive manufacturers from participating in sanctioned racing events.

While General Motors had been an active participant in the ban since its inception, Zora Arkus-Duntov had been against the ban, and had become determined to provide consumers with the ability to build a race-ready Corvette, even after General Motors officially banned their production.

To get around the ban, Duntov had made it possible to turn any Corvette into a racer by informing consumers which options to order when buying their cars.  When he and Bill Mitchell completed the design and development of the second-generation Corvette, he had become more determined than ever to ensure that anyone who wanted to race his sophisticated new Sting Ray should have the ability to do so.  It was with this rationale in mind that he developed RPO Z06 – a new competition-oriented package.

In order to purchase the Z06 option, consumers first had to specify that they were purchasing a fuelie (fuel-injected) coupe equipped with a four-speed manual transmission and a Posi-traction limited-slip differential.  After selecting these options, consumers could add the Z06 option for an additional $1,818.45, which was a formidable up-sell in 1963.

1963 Corvette Sting Ray
The October 1962 issue of Car & Driver Magazine (TM) was one of many to hail the arrival of the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray.

Consumers that ordered the Z06 option received the top-line Al-Fin power brakes with sintered metallic brake linings, a heavy-duty front stabilizer bar, stronger shocks, much stiffer springs, a dual master cylinder, and a long distance 36.5 gallon fuel tank. Additionally, Chevrolet had intended to include a set of beautiful, cast-aluminum wheels with tri-spinner knock-off hubs as part of the Z06 package (and as a separate option.)

However, Chevrolet dropped the wheels from the optional factory equipment for 1963 due to casting problems that made the wheels so porous that they wouldn’t hold air in the tires.  Interestingly, Chevrolet listed RPO Z06 as an option when building a Convertible as well, but Chevrolet production records show that no such cars were ever built – which is doubly interesting since all previous Corvette racers had been open-cockpit roadsters.

The 1963 Sting Ray was not only a commercial success, but was hailed by the automotive press as one of the best Corvettes of all time.  It was praised almost unanimously for its handling, road adhesion, and unrelenting horsepower.  Car Life magazine presented its annual Award for Engineering Excellence on the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray.  It was noted to have a significant edge over past models in both traction and handling because the new independent rear suspension reduced wheel spin considerably compared to the live-axle cars.  Chevy’s small-block V-8 engine, which was recognized as being the most consistent component of past Corvette performance, was rated by car buffs as being even better in Sting Rays.

963 Sting Ray's split rear-window
The 1963 Sting Ray’s split rear-window received many criticisms when first introduced, though it has since made the car one of the most collectible Corvettes of all time.

Although the performance aspects of the 1963 C2 Corvette were hailed by the press, there was one item on the new Sting Ray which received a great deal of criticism by the automotive press – namely the rear split-window design.

Although the split-window Sting Ray would become one of the most sought after Corvettes of all time, the initial reviews from the press criticized the rear window as being a failure both from a design standpoint as well as hampering the driver’s rear view during vehicle operation.

Bill Mitchell, who envisioned the original split-window design and had become a proponent for it even in the face of earlier, but similar, criticisms from Zora Arkus-Duntov, relented – perhaps prematurely – and eliminated the split-window design for the 1964 (and all following) model years.

1963 Corvette Interior
The interior of the 1963 Corvette included vast improvements over the previous generation.

Aside from the critical reviews of the rear window, the 1963 Corvette received few other complaints, save for the somewhat inconvenient accessibility of its luggage compartment.  This one item notwithstanding, the Corvette was praised for its current creature comforts – an area that was notably lacking on the first-generation Corvettes.

Not only was the new C2 a vast improvement over its predecessor in this regard, but it was considered a step-above many of the best European sports cars.

It featured a great deal of “creature comforts” including contoured bucket seats, functional meeting the rigorous demands of the varying North American climate.

Overall, this new Corvette Sting Ray was the most sensational Corvette yet and one of the most refined, well thought out sports cars found in any market.

The optional equipment installations for the 1963 Corvette definitely reflected the consumers’ higher expectations of what they wanted in a sports car.  During the initial production year, 15 percent of the Corvettes built were equipped with power brakes, 12 percent with power steering – both of which were features that were absent in the earlier Corvette.  At the same time, creature comfort alone did not dictate the demand.  Items like air conditioning and leather upholstery were only ordered on a few hundred cars each.  However, almost 18,000 of the 1963 Sting Rays were ordered with a manual four-speed gearbox, which equated to about 4 out of every 5 Corvettes built that year.

The 1963 Grand Sport Corvette.
The 1963 Grand Sport Corvette.

Serious drivers – and racers of course – were indifferent about the many amenities being offered by Chevrolet.  Instead, they sought out the aforementioned Z06 package that had been prescribed by Zora Arkus-Duntov as the key to turning the Sting Ray into a successful race car.  Duntov had been determined that the Sting Ray coupe should be a GT class and SCCA contender, and the Z06 had certainly become the key to making it so.  Even with the Z06 option in place however, Duntov’s ultimate goal was to manufacture a full-blown competition-version of the Sting Ray Corvette – a dream which would be realized, though briefly, in the 1963 Corvette Grand Sport.

The Grand Sport was built in response to Duntov’s general disdain for the AMA ban on racing.  Since GM would not allow commercial models to compete in factory sponsored racing events, Duntov circumvented the situation by building a race car version of the second-generation Corvette.  The car featured heavily modified variants of the factory components installed in the second-generation coupe, including a 327cubic inch V-8 engine that produced 550 horsepower at 6,400rpm, and a massive 500ft/lb of torque at 5,200rpm.  Cosmetically, the car shared similar body-lines to Bill Mitchell’s fastback coupe, though it featured key design characteristics essential for its successful operation on the race track.

1963 C2 Corvette

And race it did, at least briefly.  Ultimately, the AMA racing ban would catch up with the Grand Sport Corvette, bringing its promising career as a race car to an end almost before it began.  In all, only five Grand Sport Corvettes were manufactured before an internal crackdown within General Motors required that Duntov and his team discontinue any further work on the development of the Grand Sport Race car.   Still, for the short period of time that these cars ran on the track, they proved that they were more than capable of competing (and beating) their competition – including the already famous Shelby Cobra, which had dominated the field prior to the Grand Sports introduction.

In all, an amazing 21,513 production model Corvettes would be manufactured for the 1963 model year, which was a 50 percent improvement over the record-setting 1962 model year.  Production was split almost evenly between the convertible and coupe models, with a total of 10,594 couples built (base price of $4,257.00), and a total of 10,919 convertibles built (base price of $4,037.00,) with more than half the convertibles being ordered with an optional lift-off hardtop. Still, while the novelty of the Corvette Coupe certainly drew a strong response from consumers, it would not sell as well again for the remainder of the second-generation’s production run.

In fact, the next time that the sales numbers of coupes would outnumber convertibles would be in 1969, when Chevrolet would introduce the first coupe with removable T-top panels.

See Also

C2 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967
Gen C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7

See full 1963 Corvette Image Gallery

1963 Corvette Specifications

1963 Corvette Main Specs

MODEL: 1963 Chevrolet Corvette
BODY STYLE: Two-door convertible, front engine, rear wheel drive
MANUFACTURING LOCATION: St. Louis, Missouri
CONSTRUCTION: Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic (FRP or “fiberglass”) body, all welded, full length, ladder construction frame with 5 cross-members. Front section flat;rear section contoured over rear axle. Side-rails and intermediate cross members box construction. Rear crossmember “C” shaped; front crossmember concave for engine clearance.
VEHICLE NUMBERS (VIN): 30837S100001 – 30837S121513
ENGINE SUFFIX: RC: 327 CUBIC INCH, 250 HORSEPOWER, MANUAL TRANSMISSION
RD: 327 CUBIC INCH, 300 HORSEPOWER, MANUAL TRANSMISSION
RE: 327 CUBIC INCH, 340 HORSEPOWER, MANUAL TRANSMISSION
RF: 327 CUBIC INCH, 360 HORSEPOWER, MANUAL TRANSMISSION
SC: 327 CUBIC INCH, 250 HORSEPOWER, POWERGLIDE AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION
SD: 327 CUBIC INCH, 300 HORSEPOWER, POWERGLIDE AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION
HEAD NUMBER: 3782461: 327 CUBIC INCH, 300HP, 340HP, 360HP
3795896: 327 CUBIC INCH, 250HP
CARBURETOR NUMBERS: CARTER 3460S #3826006: 327 CUBIC INCH, 300HP, AUTO TRANS
CARTER 3461S #3826004: 327 CUBIC INCH, 300HP, 340HP, MANUAL TRANS
CARTER 3500S #3826005: 327 CUBIC INCH, 250HP, AUTO TRANS
CARTER 3501S #3826003: 327 CUBIC INCH, 250HP MANUAL TRANS
FUEL INJECTION NUMBER: ROCHESTER 7017375
DISTRIBUTOR NUMBER: 1111022: 327 CUBIC INCH, 360HP
1111025: 327 CUBIC INCH, 250HP, 300HP, 340HP
GENERATOR NUMBER: 1102043: 283 CUBIC INCH, 230 HP, 245 HP, 250 HP, 270 HP
1102059: 283 CUBIC INCH, 290 HORSEPOWER, FIRST DESIGN
1102173: 283 CUBIC INCH, 290 HORSEPOWER, SECOND DESIGN
AXLE IDENTIFICATION NUMBER CZ: 3.08:1 RATIO
CA: 3.36:1 RATIO
CX: 3.70:1 RATIO
CJ: 3.08:1 RATIO
CB: 3.36:1 RATIO
CC: 3.55:1 RATIO
CD: 3.70:1 RATIO, 4-SPEED MANUAL TRANSMISSION
CE: 4.11:1 RATIO, 4-SPEED MANUAL TRANSMISSION
CF: 4.56:1 RATIO, 4-SPEED MANUAL TRANSMISSION
PRODUCTION ENDING VEHICLE: SEP. 1962: 100675, OCT. 1962: 102756, NOV. 1962: 104047, DEC. 1962:105972, JAN. 1963: 107976, FEB. 1963: 109814, MAR. 1963: 111833, APR. 1963: 114128, MAY 1963: 116409, JUN. 1963: 118524, JUL. 1963: 120990, AUG. 1963: 121513

1963 Corvette Price & Options

Code Description Quantity Retail Price
837 Base Corvette Sport Coupe  10,594 $4,252.00
867 Base Corvette Sport Coupe  10,919 $4,037.00
898 Genuine Leather Seats  1,114 $80.70
941 Sebring Silver Exterior Paint 3,516 $80.70
A01 Soft Ray Tinted Glass, All Windows 629 $16.15
A02 Soft Ray Tinted Glass, Windshield 470 $10.80
A31 Power Windows 3,742 $59.20
C07 Auxillary Hardtop (for convertibles) 5,739 $236.75
C48 Heater and Defroster Deletion (credit) 124 -$100.00
C60 Air Conditioning 78 $421.80
G81 Positraction Rear Axle, all ratios 17,544 $43.05
G91 Special Highway Axle, 3.08:1 ratio 211 $2.20
J50 Powered Brakes 3,336 $43.05
J65 Sintered Metallic Brakes 5,310 $37.70
L75 327ci, 300hp Engine 8,033 $53.80
L76 327ci, 340hp Engine 6,978 $107.60
L84 327ci, 360hp Engine (fuel injection) 2,610 $430.40
M20 4-Speed Manual Transmission 17,973 $188.30
M35 Powerglide Automatic Transmission 2,621 $199.10
N03 36 Gallon Fuel Tank (for coupe) 63 $202.30
N11 Off Road Exhaust System $37.70
N34 Woodgrained Plastic Steering Wheel 130 $16.15
N40 Power Steering 3,063 $75.35
P48 Cast Aluminum Knock-Off Wheels (5) $322.80
P91 Blackwall Tires, 6.70×15 (nylon cord) 412 $15.70
P92 Whitewall Tires, 6.70×15 (rayon cord) 11,383 $31.55
T86 Back-up Lamps 318 $10.80
U65 Signal Seeking AM Radio 11,368 $137.75
U69 AM-FM Radio 9,178 $174.35
Z06 Special Performance Enhancement 199 $1,818.45

1963 Corvette Exterior/Interior Colors

EXTERIOR SOFT TOP WHEELS INTERIOR
Tuxedo Black Black, White, Beige Black Black, Red, Saddle
Silver Blue Black, White, Beige Black – Silver Black, Dark Blue
Daytona Blue Black, White, Beige Black – Dark Dark Blue, Red, Saddle
Riverside Red Black, White, Beige Blue Black, Red, Saddle
Saddle Tan Black, White, Beige Black – Red Black, Red, Saddle
Ermine White Black, White, Beige Black – Saddle Black, Dark Blue, Red, Saddle
Sebring Silver Black, White, Beige Black – Silver Black, Dark Blue, Red, Saddle

Exterior Color Templates

Interior Color Templates

 

1963 Corvette Powertrain Specifications

Order Code Standard L75 L76 L84
Engine Manufacturing Location Flint, Michigan Flint, Michigan Flint, Michigan Flint, Michigan
Type 90 degree V, Valve-In-Head 90 degree V, Valve-In-Head 90 degree V, Valve-In-Head 90 degree V, Valve-In-Head
Cylinders 8 8 8 8
Displacement (cid) 327 327 327 327
Fuel Induction System Carburetor Carburetor Carburetor Fuel Injection
Horsepower 250 @ 4,400 300 @ 5,000 340 @ 6,000 360 @ 6,000
Torque 350 @ 2,800 360 @ 3,200 344 @ 4,000 352 @ 4,000
Bore x Stroke (in.) 4.00 x 3.25 4.00 x 3.25 4.00 x 3.25 4.00 x 3.25
Compression Ratio 10.5:1 10.5:1 11.25:1 11.25:1
Firing Order 1-8-4-3-6-5-7-2 1-8-7-2-6-5-4-3 1-8-7-2-6-5-4-3 1-8-7-2-6-5-4-3
Cylinder Number System (Left) 1-3-5-7 1-3-5-7 1-3-5-7 1-3-5-7
Cylinder Number System (Right) 2-4-6-8 2-4-6-8 2-4-6-8 2-4-6-8
Recommended Fuel Premium Premium Premium Premium

Manual Transmission / Gear Ratios

Gear Ratios

3 Speed 4-Speed (RPO M20)
(for 250HP and 300HP engines)
4-Speed (RPO M20)
(for 340HP and 360HP engines)
1st Gear 2.47:1 2.54:1 2.20:1
2nd Gear 1.53:1 1.89:1 1.64:1
3rd Gear 1.00:1 1.51:1 1.31:1
4th Gear N.A 1.00:1 1.00:1
Reverse 2.80:1 2.61:1 2.26:1
Clutch
Model & Type Chevrolet, single disk, dry plate, centrifugally assisted
Effective Plate Pressure (lbs) 2300 – 2600
Lining Area (sq. in) 90.7

Powerglide Automatic Transmission (RPO M35) Gear Ratios

Gear Ratios
Drive 1.76 and 1.00:1
Low 1.76:1
Reverse 1.76:1

1963 Corvette Exterior Dimensions

Hard Top Dimensions

1963 Corvette Dimensions - Hard Top
Exterior Dimensions (Hardtop) Interior Dimensions (Hardtop)
Wheelbase: 98.0 Inches Headroom: 36.9 Inches
Overall Length: 175.3 Inches Shoulder Room: 48.2 Inches
Total Body Width: 69.6 Inches Hip Room: 52.4 Inches
Overall Height: 49.3 Inches Leg Room: 41.6 Inches
Front Track Width: 56.3 Inches
Rear Track Width: 57.0 Inches
Min. Ground Clearance 5.0 Inches

Soft Top Dimensions

1963 Corvette Dimensions - Soft Top
Exterior Dimensions (Soft Top) Interior Dimensions (Soft Top)
Wheelbase: 98.0 Inches Headroom: 38.1 Inches
Overall Length: 175.3 Inches Shoulder Room: 48.2 Inches
Total Body Width: 69.6 Inches Hip Room: 52.4 Inches
Overall Height: 49.8 Inches Leg Room: 41.6 Inches
Front Track Width: 56.3 Inches
Rear Track Width: 57.0 Inches
Min. Ground Clearance 5.0 Inches

Coupe Dimensions

1963 Corvette Dimensions - Coupe

Exterior Dimensions (Coupe) Interior Dimensions (Coupe)
Wheelbase: 98.0 Inches Headroom: 37.0 Inches
Overall Length: 175.3 Inches Shoulder Room: 48.2 Inches
Total Body Width: 69.6 Inches Hip Room: 52.4 Inches
Overall Height: 49.3 Inches Leg Room: 41.6 Inches
Front Track Width: 56.3 Inches
Rear Track Width: 57.0 Inches
Min. Ground Clearance 5.0 Inches

Capacities

Capacities
Passenger Capacity 2 – Driver & Passenger
Curb Weight (lbs) 3,037
– Convertible 3,043
– Convertible (with hardtop) 3,015
Interior Passenger Volume (cu. ft)
Interior Trunk Volume (cu. ft)
– Convertible 8.4
– Coupe 10.5
Engine Oil Capacity (qts.): 20 (36 with RPO N03)
– 250HP and 300HP engines 4 (capacity of crankcase less filter – refill)
– 340HP and 360HP engines 5 (capacity of crankcase less filter – refill)
Coolant capacity without heater (qts.) 15.5
Battery: 12 volt, 61AH, Delco-Remy

1963 Corvette Brakes, Wheels & Suspension

Suspension – Front

Type and Description:  Independant, each steering knuckle spherically-jointed to frame-hinged upper and lower control arms. Frame-secured coil spring and shock absorber (inside coil spring) attached to each lower control arm. Front end stability achieved with stabilizer bar hinged to frame front crossmember and each lower control arm. Front end dive when braking controlled by mounting angle of upper control arms.

Front Coil Springs
Make & Type Steel Alloy
Coil Design Height (in.) 8.56 x 3.80
Spring Rate (lb. per in.) 260 lb. per in.
Rate at Wheel (lb. per in.) 80.5 lb. per in.
Design Load 1340 lb. @ 8.56 in.
Shock Absorbers
Make & Type Direct, double-acting, hydraulic; freon filled envelope in reservoir
Piston diameter 1.00
Piston travel 5.25
Front Stabilizer Bar
Type Link
Material Hot rolled steel
Diameter 0.6875

Suspension – Back

Type and Description: Full independant with frame-anchored differential. Locus of each wheel established by 3 links: universally-jointed axle drive shaft and adjacent strut, and torque control arm pivoted at frame side rail. Vertical suspension loads taken by shock absorbers and transversely-positioned leaf spring. Built-in camber adjustment at struts.
Rear Leaf Springs
Number of Leaves 9
Material Chrome carbon steel
Length, width, height 46.36 x 2.25 x 2.121
Rate at Wheel (lb. per in.) 80.5 lb. per in.
Design Load 1340 lb. @ 8.56 in.
Shock Absorbers
Make & Type Direct, double acting, hydraulic, freon filled envelope in reservoir
Piston diameter 1.00
Piston travel 5.00
Rear Strut
Material Forged Steel
Diameter 0.75

Brakes

Brake Specs
Type:
– Standard Duo Servo – 4 Wheel Hydraulic
– J50 Powered Brakes
– J65 Sintered Metallic Brakes
Drum diameter, front (in.): 11
Drum diameter, rear (in.): 11
Effective area (sq. in.):
– Standard 185.2
– Sintered Metallic 134.9
– Special Performance 144.9

Wheels & Tires

Wheels & Tires Specs
Wheel Type:
– Standard Short spoke spider, steel
– P48 Ribbed integral casting, aluminum
Wheels, size:
– Standard 15″ x 5.5K
– P48 15″ x 6L
Tire, size:
– Standard 6.70 x 15 — 4 Ply Tubeless
– P91 6.70 x 15 — 4 Ply Blackwall Nylon
– P92 6.70 x 15 — 4 Ply Whitewall Rayon
Inflation (cold)
– Front 24 lbs.
– Rear 24 lbs.

Steering

Steering Specs
Type Semi-reversible, recirculating ball
Make Saginaw
Ratio (Gear) 16.0:1
Wheel Diameter (in.) 16
Turns, Stop to Stop
– Standard 3.4
– Power 2.92
Turning Diameter (curb to curb) 39.4 ft. left — 40.4 ft. right (outside front)

1963 Corvette Performance Results

Performance Results Standard L75 L76 L85
3-Speed Transmission
Performance weight (lbs.) 3335 3340 3350 3350
Pounds/gross horsepower 13.34 11.13 9.85 9.31
Pounds/cu.in. piston displacement 10.20 10.21 10.24 10.24
 Gross horsepower/cu.in. displacement .765 .917 1.040 1.101
 Power displacement (cu.ft./mile) 241.6 241.6 241.6 241.6
Displacement factor (cu.ft./mile) 144.9 144.7 144.2 144.2
 0 – 60 mph (seconds)
 Top Speed (mph)
4-Speed Transmission
 Performance weight (lbs.) 3375 3345 3350 3350
 Pounds/gross horsepower 13.50 11.15 9.85 9.31
 Pounds/cu.in. piston displacement 10.32 10.22 10.24 10.24
 Gross horsepower/cu.in. displacement .764 .917 1.040 1.101
 Power displacement (cu.ft./mile) 241.6 241.6 266.1 266.1
 Displacement factor (cu.ft./mile) 143.0 144.5 158.8 158.8
 0 – 60 mph (seconds) 7.2 5.8
 Top Speed (mph) 130 130
Powerglide Transmission
Performance weight (lbs.) 3375 3360
Pounds/gross horsepower 13.42 11.20
Pounds/cu.in. piston displacement 10.26 10.28
Gross horsepower/cu.in. displacement .765 .917
Power displacement (cu.ft./mile) 241.6 241.6
 Displacement factor (cu.ft./mile) 144.0 143.6
 0 – 60 mph (seconds)
Top Speed (mph)

1963 Corvette Vehicle Identification Numbers (VIN)

VIN Range 30837S100001 – 30837S121513
3 (First Digit) Model Year. 3 – 1963
0837 or 0867 (Second thru Fifth Digits) Model series. 0837- Coupe or 0867 – Convertible
S (Sxth Digit) Vehicle Assembly Location. S – St. Louis, Missouri
1XXXXX (Seventh thru Twelfth Digits) Plant Sequence Numbers.

The last six digits begin at 100001 and run thru 121513, accounting for each of the 20,536 Corvette Coupes/Convertibles built in 1963. Each Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is unique to an individual car. For all 1963 Corvettes, the location of the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), body style, body number trim and paint combination can be found on the instrument panel brace under the glove box.

1963 Corvette Factory Options

Code Description Quantity Retail Price
837 Base Corvette Sport Coupe  10,594 $4,252.00
867 Base Corvette Sport Coupe  10,919 $4,037.00
898 Genuine Leather Seats  1,114 $80.70
941 Sebring Silver Exterior Paint 3,516 $80.70
A01 Soft Ray Tinted Glass, All Windows 629 $16.15
A02 Soft Ray Tinted Glass, Windshield 470 $10.80
A31 Power Windows 3,742 $59.20
C07 Auxillary Hardtop (for convertibles) 5,739 $236.75
C48 Heater and Defroster Deletion (credit) 124 -$100.00
C60 Air Conditioning 78 $421.80
G81 Positraction Rear Axle, all ratios 17,544 $43.05
G91 Special Highway Axle, 3.08:1 ratio 211 $2.20
J50 Powered Brakes 3,336 $43.05
J65 Sintered Metallic Brakes 5,310 $37.70
L75 327ci, 300hp Engine 8,033 $53.80
L76 327ci, 340hp Engine 6,978 $107.60
L84 327ci, 360hp Engine (fuel injection) 2,610 $430.40
M20 4-Speed Manual Transmission 17,973 $188.30
M35 Powerglide Automatic Transmission 2,621 $199.10
N03 36 Gallon Fuel Tank (for coupe) 63 $202.30
N11 Off Road Exhaust System $37.70
N34 Woodgrained Plastic Steering Wheel 130 $16.15
N40 Power Steering 3,063 $75.35
P48 Cast Aluminum Knock-Off Wheels (5) $322.80
P91 Blackwall Tires, 6.70×15 (nylon cord) 412 $15.70
P92 Whitewall Tires, 6.70×15 (rayon cord) 11,383 $31.55
T86 Back-up Lamps 318 $10.80
U65 Signal Seeking AM Radio 11,368 $137.75
U69 AM-FM Radio 9,178 $174.35
Z06 Special Performance Enhancement 199 $1,818.45

Base Corvette Coupe (837)

  • The base price of the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe without any optional equipment.
  • A 327 cubic inch, 250 horsepower engine, a 3-speed manual transmission, and a vinyl interior were included in the base price.
  • For 1963, the Corvette’s body and chassis were completely redesigned for the first time.
  • 1963 marked the first time that a Corvette coupe was made available.
  • A center wind split on the coupe roof divided the rear glass creating a “split window” unique to this year.
  • The new chassis featured an independent rear suspension with a single transverse leaf spring.
  • The 1963 exterior doors had raised pads for the for the door handles.
  • Coupes had stainless steel trim forward of the vent window.
  • Inside door release knobs and shift knobs were black plastic.

Base Corvette Convertible (867)

  • The base price of the 1963 Corvette Convertible without any optional equipment.
  • A 327 cubic inch, 250 horsepower engine, a 3-speed manual transmission, a vinyl interior trim, and a soft top were included in the base price.
  • For 1963, the Corvette’s body and chassis were completely redesigned for the first time.
  • The new chassis featured an independent rear suspension with a single transverse leaf spring.
  • The 1963 exterior doors had raised pads for the for the door handles.
  • Coupes had stainless steel trim forward of the vent window.
  • Inside door release knobs and shift knobs were black plastic.

Genuine Leather Seats (898)

  • Optional leather upgrade to replace the standard vinyl seats on the 1963 Corvette.
  • Sebring Silver Exterior Paint (941)
  • Optional paint upgrade

Soft Ray Tinted Glass, All Windows (A01)

  • Window tint applied to the upper portion of the windshield and all other windows.
  • Originally manufactured by Libby-Owens-Ford (LOF) the glass plate was specially etched with the LOF logo and date code. It also included the words “Soft-Ray” or “Soft-Ray Tinted” in the etching.
  • Soft-ray is factory manufactured window tint.
  • Soft-ray tint is a bluish-green in color.

Soft Ray Tinted Glass, Windshield (A02)

  • Factory window tint applied to the windshield only.
  • Originally manufactured by Libby-Owens-Ford (LOF) the glass plate was specially etched with the LOF logo and date code. It also included the words “Soft-Ray” or “Soft-Ray Tinted” in the etching.
  • Soft-ray tint is a bluish-green in color.

Power Windows (A31)

  • Factory installed power driver and passenger windows.

Auxiliary Hardtop (for convertibles) (C07)

  • An optional hard-top that could be installed in lieu of the convertible top.
  • Of the 5,739 Corvette convertibles sold that included this option, 1.099 Corvettes had the removable hard top installed in place of the factory installed soft top.

Heater and Defroster Deletion (credit) (C48)

  • Deletion of the factory installed heater and defroster.
  • Corvettes that included this option were generally built for racing and rally driving. Often ordered in conjunction with the RPO Z06 option.

Air Conditioning (C60)

  • Factory installed air-conditioning.
  • Only accounted for/installed in 1.3 percent of all Corvettes in 1963.

Positraction Rear Axle, all ratios (G81)

  • Of the 17,554 Corvettes ordered with this option, 2,259 included a 3.08:1 ratio, 6,855 included a 3.36:1 ratio, 613 included a 3.55:1 ratio, 2,570 included a 3.70:1 ratio, 4,506 included a 4.11:1 ratio, and 751 included a 4.56:1 ratio.

Special Highway Axle, 3.08:1 ratio (G91)

  • Highway driving gear ratio.
  • Generally utilized in combination with 4-speed transmission.
  • One of the standard ratio for positronic rear axle.
  • 2,259 of the 1963 Corvettes were originally equipped with this option.

Powered Brakes (J50)

  • Hydraulically assisted braking system.

Sintered Metallic Brakes (J65)

  • Alternative braking material for improved stopping performance.

327ci, 300hp Engine (L75)

  • Alternate engine with improved 300 horsepower output.
  • Included a larger intake and exhaust valves, and a bigger four-barrel Carter AFB aluminum carburetor with dual snorkel air cleaner.
  • Utilizes the same camshaft as the 250 BHP engine.

327ci, 340hp Engine (L76)

  • Alternate engine with improved 340 horsepower output.
  • Utilized a 11.25:1 compression ratio, large port heads with a high speed valve train, mechanical lifters, domed aluminum pistons, special performance camshafts, and bigger oil pans that hold 5 quarts of oil.
  • Could only be purchased with either a 3 speed manual or a 4 speed close ratio manual.

327ci, 360hp Engine (fuel injection) (L84)

  • Utilized a 11.25:1 compression ratio, large port heads with a high speed valve train, mechanical lifters, domed aluminum pistons, special performance camshafts, and bigger oil pans that hold 5 quarts of oil.
  • Featured a larger aluminum intake manifold for better fuel flow.
  • The tachometer included a buzzer on the redline.
  • Could only be purchased with either a 3 speed manual or a 4 speed close ratio manual.

4-Speed Manual Transmission (M20)

  • The 4-speed manual transmissions manufacturer changed from Borg-Warner to Muncie Transmissions during the 1963 model year.

Powerglide Automatic Transmission (M35)

  • Of the 2,621 Corvettes that were ordered with this option, the quantity was split with 1,116 Corvettes that came equipped with a 250 horsepower engine, and 1,505 with a 300 horsepower engine.
  • Powerglide automatic transmissions had staggered shift gates.

36 Gallon Fuel Tank (for coupe) (N03)

  • Larger, optional, 36 gallon fuel tank.
  • Included as part of the Z06 option, the 36 gallon tank was specifically intended for endurance racing.

Off Road Exhaust System (N11)

  • Recessed exhaust system designed to eliminate rubbing in varying road conditions.
  • The mufflers include double-wall construction with a special, raised area on the outer shell that conceals the inner seam crease.
  • Originally made of carbon-steel components.

Wood Grain Plastic Steering Wheel (N34)

  • Faux wood-grain steering wheel.

Power Steering (N40)

  • Hydraulically assisted power steering.

Cast Aluminum Knock-Off Wheels(5) (P48)

  • Two-bar (early in the model year) and three-bar spinner styles were made available.
  • Finish between the wheel fins was a natural color.
  • Knock-off wheels were made available as a 1963 option, though delivery of a Corvette with this option is questionable.
  • Porosity of the aluminum combined with rim seal difficulty in early wheels caused tubeless tires to leak.
  • Delivery of a Corvette with this option to a consumer has never been verified.

Blackwall Tires, 6.70×15 (nylon cord) (P91)

  • When blackwall tires were ordered, the standard wheels were painted to match the body color of the car.(White exteriors had black wheels regardless of the tire type.)

Whitewall Tires, 6.70×15 (rayon cord) (P92)

  • When whitewall tires were ordered, the standard wheels were painted black. (White exteriors had black wheels regardless of the tire type.)

Back-up Lamps (T86)

Signal Seeking AM Radio (U65)

  • Early 1963 radios were AM signal-seeking only. Later units would seek both AM and FM.
  • Even after the introduction of RPO U69, this option remained available as supplies permitted.

AM-FM Radio (U69)

  • An optional radio that gave consumers the option of both AM and FM radio frequency bands.
  • This option was phased in around March, 1963, though both these and the U65 Signal Seeking AM Radio were made available simultaneously as supplies permitted.
  • Special Performance Enhancement (Z06) –
  • The Z06 option was initially offered as a coupe-only option.
  • Later in the production run, the cost of the Z06 option dropped to $1,293.95, and excluded knock-off wheels and the optional 36 gallon tank. It was also offered as an option for convertibles.

Notes:

  • The outside rearview mirror was revised to a taller design with a smaller base about midway through the 1963 model year.
  • The 1963 hoods had simulated air-vent panels which were mounted in two forward recesses.
  • The glovebox in the 1963 Corvette was made of fiberglass and its face was covered with clear plastic.
  • In early 1963 Corvettes, the dash surface around the radio and speaker bezel was painted instead of vinyl covered.
  • Early 1963 Corvettes used roller -type catches for the gas filler doors. Later, changes were made that utilized nylon slide catches instead.
  • Most 1963 Corvettes had fiberglass headlight buckets. Late 1963 Corvettes (and all 1964-1967 Corvettes) had steel headlight buckets.
  • All 1963 Corvettes had built-in adjustment mechanisms for the bottom seat cushions. Early 1963s had under seat.

1963 Corvette Common Issues

The following list of common issues is intended for individual reference only, and may not reflect the specific issues of every 1963 Corvette.  While the intent of this page is to identify the common issues pertaining to the 1963 Corvette, it is not an all-inclusive list and should be used for reference only.

1963 Corvette Mechanical Issues

HEADLIGHT MOTOR ASSEMBLY

  • There are two common problems that often occur with the headlight motor assembly.  First, it is not uncommon for only one of the headlight motor assemblies to open.  Second, the headlight assemblies may open in tandem, but they open very slowly, making them virtually non-functional.  The cause of these issues are varied, but often occur because of either the failure of the headlight motor drive assemblies, or the mis-alignment of the transmission mechanism that physically rotates the headlight.  In some instances, the headlight switch can also be the cause, and it is recommended that the switch be replaced in addition to other headlight motor mechanical repairs.  There are a number of after-market parts manufacturers that produce OEM spec headlight motor and transmission assemblies.
  • See also “Exterior Issues” (below) for additional headlight related issues)

TAIL LIGHT/REAR TURN SIGNAL

  • All C2 Corvettes (1963-1967) have a persistent problem with poor electrical grounds on their tail lights.  The original design used speed nuts to hold the ground wire on, and these nuts do not remain tight.

REAR SUSPENSION

  • The rear suspension utilized a transverse-mounted leaf spring with nine leaves, axle half shafts with U-joints, control arms and tubular shocks.  Over time, this setup is known to fail due to normal fatigue.  The rear suspension should be checked regularly, especially on vehicles with aging suspension.

WASHER PUMP ASSEMBLY

  • Mechanical failure of the washer pump assembly is a common issue on both C2 and C3 Corvettes.  The washer pump will not disperse washer fluid even though all of the hoses are inspected and properly connected, the washer fluid reservoir is full, and the washer nozzles are lear of debris.  When this occurs, it is often the result of a bad washer pump nozzle valve.  During normal (proper) operating conditions, the valve receives the washer fluid solution from the reservoir, and then it is forced (via the pump) to spray out through the washer fluid nozzles.  The washer pump nozzle valve contains a small rubber diaphragm that can dry out and become brittle with age.   It is generally the failure of this internal diaphragm which causes the mechanical failure within the valve itself.

1963 Corvette Electrical Issues

RADIO STATIC

  • Resistive spark plugs were used in the second-generation Corvettes although they caused degraded engine performance.  However, they were used in conjunction with shielded plug wiring to cut down on radio static.  Because the fiberglass body of a Corvette did not provide electrical shielding like a conventional steel body would, radio static was a genuine problem for all of the second-generation Corvettes.

1963 Corvette Exterior Issues

ELECTRIC HEADLIGHTS

  • Given that the C2 electric headlight assemblies are exposed to weather, they are commonly known to have problems.
  • The 1963 Corvette used fiberglass headlamp buckets for the headlight system.  These are known to crack or break after prolonged usage.  While later C2 Corvettes used metallic headlamp buckets, this item is a specific problem for the 1963 Corvette.

BODY/FRAME

  • The door seals tend to leak fairly regularly, especially the top portion of the door seal.
  • The chassis is one of the C2’s major sources of trouble.  The main frame rails are prone to rusting, as is the rear kick-up behind the cabin and in front of the rear wheel.  Other areas that are prone to serious fatigue from rusting include: the rear trailing/control arms, the inner “bird cage” metal substructure that supports the fiberglass body panels, the inner door frames, the door pillars, and the cowl area at the base of the windshield.
  • Radiator supports and the gas tank are prone to corrosion.

1963 Corvette Interior Issues

SAGGING FLOORBOARDS

  • As the result of age or excessive wear, many 1963-1967 Corvettes are known to have sagging floorboards.  This problem can sometimes be addressed by carefully raising the sagging floorboard using a floor jack & wooden blocks and then installing two rubber spacers on either side of the tunnel between the crossmember and floorboard where the floorboard is sagging (typically just outboard of the exhaust pipe holes).

TURN SIGNAL CAM FAILURE

  • Within the steering column, there is a turn signal cam assembly that regulates the control of the turn signal lever.  As the cam ages, it can stop operating.  When this happens, the turn signal level will not return to its neutral position and the turn signal will continue signaling, even after the completion of the intended turn of the steering wheel.  While replacement of this cam assembly generally takes a couple hours to complete, it is not a difficult repair to make, though it will require the removal of the steering wheel to access the cam.

1963 Corvette Maintenance Schedule

Maintenance Schedule: The information contained here is for reference only.  The time and mileage intervals for each of the maintenance items included on this page was established by General Motors with the introduction of the 1963 Chevy Corvette.
Please note that the original service intervals may not reflect the standard service intervals used in current automobile engines.

From the 1963 Service Manual: The time or mileage intervals are intended as a guide for establishing regular maintenance and lubrication periods for your Corvette.  Sustained heavy duty or high speed operations or operation under adverse conditions may necessitate more frequent servicing.

1963 Corvette Service Bulletins

NHTSA did not track factory recalls for the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette. Please contact your local Chevrolet dealer for more information.

1963 Corvette Recalls

NHTSA did not track factory recalls for the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette. Please contact your local Chevrolet dealer for more information.

1963 Corvette Dealers Sales Brochure

1963 Corvette Dealers Sales Brochure

Download this 1963 Corvette Dealers Sales Brochure for a quick look at the features of the car.

Download 1963 Corvette Dealers Sales Brochure

See Also

C2 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967
Gen C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7

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