First Corvette Sting Ray on offer @ Mecum Kissimmee auctiion

First Corvette Sting Ray on offer @ Mecum Kissimmee auctiion

1963 CHEVROLET CORVETTE CONVERTIBLE - The First Corvette Sting Ray 

ESTIMATE $600,000 - $800,000

This car, VIN 30867S100003, is the earliest-known second-generation Corvette in existence
The first Corvette Sting Ray offered to the general public
In the 1970s Brian Richardson and his identical twin brother, Bruce bought and sold Corvettes to finance their college education
Purchased by Brian Richardson in Los Angeles in 1975
In Brian Richardson's possession until he passed away in 2022
Brian Richardson was an Olympic bobsledder at the Albertville, France games in 1992
NCRS confirms this car was shipped on August 29, 1962 with a dealer code
Documented by Corvette author and historian Noland Adams as the earliest known Corvette Sting Ray

Comprehensive restoration
327/360 HP fuel-injected L84 V-8 engine
4-speed manual transmission
Riverside Red exterior
White soft top
Original and unrestored body-color hardtop
Red interior
New upholstery was custom fabricated to match the original early production parts
Bucket seats
AM radio
Unique front inside fender
One-off manually machined sand-cast headlight mechanisms
Unique outer door panels with top rear cutout
Shortened stainless-steel trim bead along the top of the door trim panel compared to later models
Handmade windshield reveal moldings
Holes in body for power windows and passenger side rearview mirror filled with factory bonding adhesive
Luggage compartment rear carpet was similar to 1962 models
Aluminum alloy knock-off wheels
Whitewall tires
Original parts included such as seat covers, seat foam, door panels and carpets
Featured in the book, "Corvette: 1963–1967" by Larry Galloway
Extensive historical photos

All second-generation Corvettes are historic and immensely collectible; however, this wonderful example, bearing VIN 30867S100003, is even more so, documented by noted Corvette author and historian Noland Adams as the earliest known second-generation Corvette in existence and the first Corvette Sting Ray offered to the general public. Upon introduction in October 1962, Chevrolet’s new-for-1963 Corvette Sting Ray ushered in a brave new era and put the cars of the 1950s into the distant past with its unforgettable and almost otherworldly styling. The first Corvette offered with a fully independent suspension, championed by Corvette Chief Engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov, the new Sting Ray was steadily developed and refined throughout production, and it truly brought the Corvette to international racing prominence by 1967, when the second-generation Corvette’s run ended.

The 1963 Corvette’s design and development process was lengthy, rooted in early design sketches penned in 1957 by Peter Brock, who joined GM as the corporate giant’s youngest designer at age 19. Thankfully, Brock’s futuristic renderings were selected for further development, rather than the highly embellished designs favored by Harley Earl, who retired as head of GM’s styling studios in 1958 and named Bill Mitchell his handpicked successor for the influential post.

Arkus-Duntov and GM Styling unleashed a steady succession of concepts, prototypes, show cars and record-breaking race cars throughout much of the 1950s, maintaining the Corvette’s performance character and culminating in the SR-2 that raced at Sebring in 1956 and the SS of 1957, which was intended to compete at Le Mans, until the 1957 AMA (American Manufacturers Association) racing ban halted the program. Intending to go racing in SCCA events with a privately funded and built car, Mitchell managed to secure a mothballed SS frame, which GM Stylist Larry Shinoda cloaked in roadster bodywork clearly influenced by Brock’s early sketches.

Internally designated XP-87 and named Stingray, after the sleek, fast and deadly sea creature, Mitchell’s race car was only slightly distanced from Chevrolet officialdom. Sorted in competition during the 1959 racing season, the Stingray scored the 1960 SCCA C-Modified championship with Dick “The Flying Dentist” Thompson driving. Following its retirement from the track, the Stingray was a regular sight on Detroit-area streets, with Mitchell behind the wheel.

Again drawing from the aesthetic perfection of sea creatures, Larry Shinoda designed the predatory-appearing Mako Shark show car of 1961, clearly foreshadowing the upcoming Corvette Sting Ray, which was guided and refined to production readiness by Shinoda, along with fellow designers Chuck Pohlmann and Tony Lapine. The object of automotive desire and an outstanding performer consistent with its racy looks, the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray sold in record numbers with a daring new “Split Window” body style and a gorgeous Convertible.

This 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible is the first Corvette Sting Ray ever offered for sale to the general public. According to the NCRS, the vehicle was shipped to its selling dealer on August 29, 1962. In 1975, the car was purchased by Brian Richardson, who bought and sold Corvettes with his identical twin brother, Bruce, to finance their college educations. Since their mother worked at a California DMV office, the boys placed a search for the first 20 1963 Corvette VINs, yielding the extremely early production car offered here, which remained in Brian Richardson's possession until he passed away in 2022. In addition to holding many patents, Brian Richardson was also a bobsledder for the U.S. Olympic Team and a participant at the 1992 Albertville, France, Olympiad.

Benefiting handsomely from a comprehensive restoration, this Sting Ray features power from the top-shelf 327/360 HP fuel-injected RPO L84 V-8 engine and 4-speed manual transmission. Finished in Riverside Red with a white soft top and the original and unrestored body-color hardtop, it also sports a red interior with new custom-fabricated upholstery to match the original early production pieces.

Given its early production status, this Sting Ray features a number of characteristic items, beginning with the car’s one-off, sand-cast and manually machined headlight mechanisms. Unique outer door panels display top rear cut-outs. A shortened stainless-steel trim bead runs along the tops of the door trim panels in contrast to later models, and windshield reveal moldings are handmade. Rounding out the tell-tale early features, it was also equipped with holes in the body to accommodate power windows and a passenger-side rearview mirror, but they were filled with a factory bonding adhesive. Additionally, the carpeting used for the luggage compartment was similar to that of 1962 models, and the inner front fenders are of a unique design. 

Features and options in addition to this Sting Ray’s race-derived powertrain include an AM radio, heater/defroster and tachometer, plus aluminum alloy knock-off wheels mounting 1960s-style whitewall tires. A number of desirable original items included with Corvette 003 are seat covers, seat foam, door panels and carpets. Featured in the book "Corvette: 1963–1967" by Larry Galloway, this historic 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray is accompanied by an extensive array of historical photographs.

 KISSIMMEE 2023  / JAN 4-15

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