1963 Chevrolet Corvette Hidden for Decades Is an Amazing Drag-Spec Time Capsule

1963 Chevrolet Corvette dragster 10 photos
Photo: Hot Rod Hoarder/YouTube
1963 Chevrolet Corvette dragster1963 Chevrolet Corvette dragster1963 Chevrolet Corvette dragster1963 Chevrolet Corvette dragster1963 Chevrolet Corvette dragster1963 Chevrolet Corvette dragster1963 Chevrolet Corvette dragster1963 Chevrolet Corvette dragster1963 Chevrolet Corvette dragster
Built from 1963 to 1967, the second-generation Corvette was the shortest-lived iteration of the sports car. It's widely regarded as the most beautiful 'Vette ever designed, and it spawned quite a few rare gems. In addition to the Z06, L88, and the Grand Sport, the C2 is also the only Corvette with a split rear window. More specifically, it was a one-year-only feature.
The second-gen Corvette debuted with a split window, but the latter was replaced with a one-piece unit in 1964 to address visibility issues. And even though a window might not seem like a big deal, its absence turned the 1963 Corvette into the most desirable version of the C2. With 10,594 coupes built that year, the split-window 'Vette is anything but rare. However, highly original examples can fetch more than $500,000 nowadays.

This brings me to this drag-spec 1963 Corvette, a car that would make purists weep. Not only has its original internals been removed entirely, but this C2 lost its most important design feature: the split window. Additionally, it rocks the front end of a later second-gen Corvette.

How did this happen? Well, drag cars rarely retain most of their original body panels. This is mostly due to accidents at the drag strip, but elements were altered with practicality in mind. This Corvette spent about six years on public roads before transforming into a quarter-mile runner in 1969.

In addition to gaining a 1964-67 rear window and a 1967 front clip, this C2 welcomed a series of John Lingenfelter engines under the hood. Raced through 1976, it relied on small-block Chevy V8 engines displacing 292, 255, and 302 cubic inches (4.8, 4.2, and 5.0 liters). And Mr. Lingenfelter didn't just provide the mills. He also owned and raced the car at the 1971 US Nationals.

The Corvette's racing career came to a halt in 1976 when it was placed in storage. And here's where the even cooler part begins. This C2 was parked for more than 40 years and re-emerged as a fabulous time capsule. Sure, it's not an authentic survivor with factory features, but it's the real deal when it comes to historic drag racers.

It still rocks the 302 V8 it had in 1976, and all the old-school stickers are still in place. This car was obviously repainted at least once in the 1970s, but the white finish looks impressive after nearly five decades. The C2 is now owned by Tom Clary, who still makes wheels-up passes at drag racing events. This Corvette is still alive and kicking!

Granted, it's not the kind of classic that will change hands for $500,000, but it's an integral part of C2 Corvette history. Which includes the fact that people did not know split-window examples would become six-figure classics decades later.

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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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