History of the Corvette Stingray
The Sting Ray (later spelled as one word "Stingray") has an intriguing connection with Chevrolet Corvettes. The name was used primarily on C2 vehicles produced from 1963 through 1968. And although the Corvette is no longer called the Sting Ray and has not been so called since 1969, nonetheless the moniker will probably be remembered for many years to come as being associated with the Chevrolet Corvette.
First Sting Ray
The C2 Corvette Sting Ray was first introduced in 1963. The initial design was inspired by a car called the Q Corvette, a vehicle conceived by Chuck Pohlmann and Peter Brock but never manufactured. The production 1963 Corvette Sting Ray was designed by Larry Shinoda with styling direction from Bill Mitchell.
The first Sting Ray was a considerable change from the previous C1 Corvette. It was a fastback car with clean lines and distinctive "60's" styling. The Corvette's split rear window was a point of contention between styling director Mitchell and Chevrolet performance car engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov (often called "The Father of the Corvette"). Mitchell felt the window was a key part of the car's overall design while Duntov felt it inhibited the Corvette driver's view to the rear. Duntov eventually won the argument: the window had no split on the 1964 model, which of course makes the 1963 "split window" coupes that much more valuable. Also unique to 1963 Sting Ray were non-functioning hood vents, which were eliminated, too, on the '64 Sting Ray, and an independent rear suspension. The 1963 car produced 360 horsepower (268 kW), upped to 375 hp (280 kW) in 1964.
The 1965 Corvette Sting Ray featured disc brakes on all four wheels for the first time and a "big block," 6.5 L (396 c.i.) V-8 engine. In 1965, drivers could also purchase Rochester fuel injection for the 425 hp, 396 c.i. V-8 and for the 327 c.i. engine, at an added price of $293 or $538, respectively. However, for the additional cost of $245, the 327 engine actually yielded less horsepower. Therefore, Chevrolet stopped the program. Customers could also order side pipes as an option, one which was offered through the 1967 model year and again on the 1969 Corvette. Other electives included a "Wonder Bar" automatic-tuning AM radio, air conditioning, and an AM-FM radio.
In 1967, Chevrolet unintentionally created one of the most sought-after, collectible Corvettes ever by putting an L-88 version of their 427 c.i., 560 horsepower (418 kW) V-8 in 20 production Corvette Sting Rays. Today each of these Corvettes is worth more than $1 million U.S. Also extremely valuable are the five lightweight "Grand Sport" C2 Sting Rays, driven by famous race drivers like Roger Penske, Jim Hall and A.J. Foyt. Production numbers 001-005 are all in private collections and are some of the most valuable Corvettes ever made.
The first production year for the C3 Corvette was to be 1967; however, manufacturing delays put the introduction off one year to 1968. The only connection this model has to the earlier Sting Rays is the emblems on the 1969 C3s, where the single-word "Stingray" is used.