The 1963 Corvette Sting Ray is arguably the quintessential Corvette. So strong is its heritage that Chevrolet has teased us with show cars and brought back the Stingray name for 2014. A lot has been written about the C2 and its origins, but here’s some commentary from the horse’s mouth − the General Motors Heritage Center.
As the Vice President of Design at GM, Bill Mitchell asked his design team in 1957 to create a car that was “a complete breakaway from what we’ve seen around here in the past.” The sketches he received moved away from the rounded forms that were in vogue since World War II. Peter Brock, a young designer who later garnered fame designing the Shelby Cobra Daytona, had a sketch that caught Mitchell’s fancy and was selected for further development. Larry Shinoda took this design to another level and created the 1959 Stingray Racer XP-87. The XP-87 eventually evolved into the production Corvette Sting Ray for 1963.
The split window wasn’t originally part of the Sting Ray, but when it was proposed, it ended up being a fight between the aesthetics favored by the designers versus the businesslike functionality favored by the engineer. For 1963, the designers won out, but in 1964 through 1967 the engineers won. It’s this distinction alone that makes the 1963 iconic.