1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Looks Like a Million-Dollar Gem, but There's a Catch

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport replica 9 photos
Photo: Gause Garage/YouTube
1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport replica1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport replica1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport replica1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport replica1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport replica1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport replica1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport replica1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport replica
As of 2024, the Chevrolet Corvette has been in production for 70 years, making it America's third longest-running nameplate. During this time, Chevrolet built quite a few rare gems. The 1969 Corvette ZL1 tops the list with just two units built, while the 1986 C4 in Copper Metallic comes second with only four made. The 1963 Grand Sport rounds off the top three list. Chevy put together only five, and they're among the most desirable and expensive Vettes.
The Grand Sport was born just as the second-generation Corvette was making its public debut. Developed by Zora Arkus-Duntov, it was essentially a lightweight, race-ready Corvette aimed at the successful Shelby Cobra. It was also a secret program because GM had issued a ban on factory-backed racing.

Duntov wanted to build 125 Grand Sports, which would have allowed Chevrolet to homologate the car for international racing. However, Duntov's plans were cut short when GM executives learned about the secret program and shelved it. Fortunately, Duntvo's team had put together five vehicles when that happened. And GM was unable to stop the Grand Sports from going racing.

The Grand Sport hit American race tracks as early as April 1963 and scored its first SCCA win four months later with Dick Thompson behind the wheel. The cars were raced with several engines through 1968, scoring seven wins and 18 podium finishes. In addition to the SCCA circuit, the Grand Sport also made appearances at the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Daytona. It was raced by famed drivers like Roger Penske, Jim Hall, Dick Guldstrand, and A.J. Foyt.

And amazingly enough, for a vehicle that tackled race tracks for years, the Grand Sport survived to tell its story. Moreover, all five cars are still alive and kicking as of 2024. And they're reportedly worth $5 to $8 million a pop.

With the Grand Sport so rare and expensive, there are quite a few replicas out there. And while some aren't exactly impressive, others look like they actually rolled out of Chevrolet's shop under Zora Duntov's guidance. The black-striped red example you see here is one of those rigs.

If you know your Grand Sports, you're already aware that none of them were finished in this color combo. But aside from that, this 'Vette is very true to its original siblings. It rocks extended wheel arches, a domed hood, and a 12-hole rear fascia with angled gills on the sides. The bumper delete, the front spoiler, and the closed-off headlamps complete the lookalike Grand Sport kit.

So, what's the story behind this tribute car? Well, it's based on a 1965 Corvette, and it was put together in the mid-1980s in Houston, Texas. It was built as a wedding anniversary present, and the story goes that it won 25 of the first shows in which it was entered. GM was so impressed that it rented the Corvette to display at a trade show.

Restored during the 2010s, the Grand Sport replica packs a 345-cubic-inch (5.7-liter) small-block V8 built by Racing Head Services. The unit reportedly cranks out 425 horsepower. The footage below doesn't show the car running, but you get a complete walkaround of the beautiful body and interior. Tell me it's not the best-looking Grand Sport replica you've seen so far.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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