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Corvette - An American Dream: Sep 22, 2008

Monday, September 22, 2008

The 2nd Generation

A lot was going on in 1963. Probably the most disturbing and memorable event for anyone old enough to have been around at the time was the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22nd. Two days later the alleged assasin, Lee Harvey Oswold was shot on live national television by nightclub owner Jack Ruby.

But life went on. (Heads up, panda, here comes some of that girly girl stuff you wanted.) Fur boots and towering hairdos were the thing for the ladies of the day. Beatlemania infected the younger population after the release of "I Want To Hold Your Hand/I Saw Her Standing There" and "Meet the Beatles". The Lava Lamp was developed by Craven Walker and found its way to millions of homes in the 1960s.

Americans enjoyed Hollywod films including The Birds, Mutiny on the Bounty, and The Great Escape. Popular television programs included The Virginian, The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Lassie.

This was the year State Mutual Life Insurance invented the Smiley Face found on anything and everything around the world including T Shirts. It's popularity was at it's peak in the 1960's

And General Motors completely redesigned both the body and chassis of the Corvette. A coupe was available for the first time since the car’s introduction in 1953. A center split on the coupe roof flowed through the rear glass creating the famous "Split Window". The solid rear axel was replaced for the first time. Chevrolet produced 10,549 Corvettes for model year 1963 at a base unit cost of $4,257. Serial Numbers: 30837S100001 through 30837S121513.

The sides of the front fenders, behind the wheel openings, were decorated with two long, horizontal "wind split" indenta­tions or louvers that were designed to look like brake cooling ducts, although they were not functional. The rear deck treatment resembled that of the previous year's model but the rest of the car appeared totally new.

The twin side-by-side headlights were hidden in an electrically-operated panel which was more than a styling gimmick, because it added to the car's basic aerodynamic design. However, the recessed hood louvers were not actually functional. The interior had circular gauges with black faces, and there was storage space under the seats of early models.

The ’63 was available in seven exterior colors: Tuxedo Black, Ermine White, Riverside Red, Silver Blue, Daytona Blue, Saddle Tan, and Sebring Silver. Interior colors included: Black, White, Silver, Silver Blue, Daytona blue, Red, Tan, and Ermine White. All were available with a Black, White, or Beige soft top. This was the first year a beige soft top had been available since 1957).

The car pictured above is an example of a 1963 Split Window Coupe. The photos were sent by my friend Pat Sheean. He also sent some information about the car that I wanted to share with you. Here it is in Pat's words...

I have a good friend who is a MOPAR guy and he found this car languishing in an elderly woman's garage.

After a couple of year's work and blood, sweat and $$$, it's looking pretty good. It is NOT an NCRS car, but I love driving it to cruise-ins and shows where we always seem to draw a crowd.

327 - 375 HP (cam and carb upgrade), 4 speed - Cragar SS's - new paint and refurbished interior. I live in Fort Wayne, IN and drive the car only about 7 -8 months of the year.

And there you have it. A gorgeous example of a car that was available in only one model year. The following year GM removed the split in the rear window because owners complained that it made it difficult to see the traffic behind them. And a legend was born.

If you like this article, please leave your comments by clicking the link below. And don't forget to enter our Giveaway by going to the September 21st post entitled Corvette - An American Dream Giveaway. Here's hoping you win.

And thanks go out to Pat (and all our friends in Indiana) for sharing this beautiful vintage example with us.