Tuesday, May 24, 2022

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

It’s not every day that you see a 1963 Corvette Grand Sport Coupe in all of its glory so it’s with great pleasure that I make this one today’s find of the day, it’s a find and a half! I could just sit and stare at that Weber cross induction system all day, it looks amazing and performs equally well.

In 1962 Corvette chief engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov initiated a program to produce a lightweight version based on a prototype that mirrored the new 1963 Corvette. Concerned about Ford’s Shelby Cobra, Duntov’s program included plans to build 125 Grand Sport Corvettes to make them eligible for international Grand Touring races. GM executives stopped the program and only five cars were built. They are among the most collected and valuable Corvettes ever built.

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

When you consider that GM built exactly five 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sports—and that the last time one came on the market, a $4.9 million bid wasn’t enough to take it home—the temptation to build a few on your own must have been overwhelming for Mongoose Motorsports. At least that’s the thinking at General Motors, which is suing Mongoose for trademark violations, claiming the company is building unauthorized Grand Sport replicas.

The original Grand Sports were purpose-built racing machines, created under the leadership of Zora Arkus-Duntov, the acclaimed “father of the Corvette.” Arkus-Duntov was the man responsible for transforming the original Corvette from an under-powered roadster into a V8-packing rival to the Ford Thunderbird, and he didn’t want to stop there.

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport

The Grand Sport racing program was disbanded, the five prototypes sold. Arkus-Duntov retired from GM in 1975, and passed away in 1996. Today, each of his beloved Grand Sports is in the hands of private collectors. On the rare occasion they go under the auction hammer, it’s for millions of dollars.

For the Chevy’s second generation, Arkus-Duntov envisioned a true sports car that would outperform the best European two-seaters of the day, and the 1963 Corvette delivered. With its top engine, a fuel-injected. 327-cubic-inch V8 that made 360 horses and 352 lb-ft of torque, the Corvette blazed from 0-60 in under six seconds and hit a top speed of over 140 mph.

The second-gen ‘Vette more than held its own in terms of looks, too. With an amazing exterior developed under legendary GM designer Bill Mitchell, the car took its cues from both Mitchell’s GM-based (but not GM-backed) Stingray race car and a Mako shark he once caught while deep-sea fishing. And while the convertible version remained a hot seller, the ’63 coupe, which featured a unique split rear window and was the first fixed-roof Corvette, was especially striking.

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