The 1963 Corvette was a dramatic, exciting breakthrough in American automobile design, engineering and specifications. Its four-wheel independent suspension was as good as any European exotic, and it should have ruled the road courses of the timeâ€”and would have, except for Carroll Shelbyâ€™s Cobra.
But the Cobra was gone in five years, while the Corvette that GM styling chief Bill Mitchell and engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov unleashed was still around mechanically in 1983.
The â€™63 Corvette evolved from a racing car called the Mitchell Sting Ray. Bill Mitchell had replaced Harley Earl as head of GM styling in 1958. Like Duntov, he thought it important to race the â€™Vette, so he persuaded Chevyâ€™s general manager Ed Cole to sell him the chassis of the â€™57 Corvette SS â€śmuleâ€ť for $1. Mitchell then had designer Larry Shinoda create a body for the Sting Ray race car inspired by the sea-creature itself.
Mitchell loved the 1963 â€śSplit-Windowâ€ť coupe, but Duntov hated the vision-blocking rear and the style was offered only one year.