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Chevrolet Corvette C2 Sting Ray buying guide (1962-1967)

Chevrolet Corvette C2 Sting Ray buying guide (1962-1967) Classic and Performance Car
To many enthusiasts, only one truly credible sports car has ever come out of America, and that’s the Corvette. It’s not for us to say whether or not this is true (okay – it isn’t), but what we do know is that the Corvette is one of the most desirable classics around, for a whole raft of reasons.

Firstly there are those sensational looks; you’re not going to confuse the Corvette for anything else. Then there’s the performance; with all Corvettes packing V8 power, all variants are fast. But what swings it for many owners is the noise; at full chat a Corvette sets your spine tingling in the way that only an American V8 can.

There’s another aspect which isn’t immediately obvious, and that’s the Corvette’s size. While most American cars are generously proportioned – which can make garaging a problem here in the UK – the Corvette is no bigger than many contemporary European classics. As a result it’s more fun to drive, easier to store, but still plenty big enough for two.

Which one to buy?

There’s a bewildering array of Corvettes to choose from, because as well as coupé and convertible bodystyles there are model year changes to contend with along with colours, options and a slew of specifications too. There are also manual and automatic gearboxes; most Corvettes feature the former. As a result, no two Corvettes are identical.

Only you can decide whether you want an open car or a closed one and you’ll have your colour preferences too. When it comes to specifications, there were 5359cc V8s offered for the whole of C2 production (offering anywhere between 250bhp and 375bhp), while there were 6489cc and 6997cc V8s offered in later years. These big-block cars are now very collectible but the rarer, more collectible editions are easily faked, so tread carefully.

One of the real rarities from this generation of Corvette is the fuel-injected 377bhp Grand Sports. Just five were made in 1963, with twin-plug heads and an all-alloy small-block V8. Other than that, the 1963 split-window coupé is the holy grail of Sting Ray collectors, especially in Z06 form. The reality is that it’ll be a question of tracking down a really good car and buying it – your focus should be on condition rather than specification.

Performance and spec

Engine 5359cc, V8
Power 300bhp @ 5000rpm
Torque 352lb ft @ 4000rpm
Top speed 130mph
0-60mph 7.8sec
Consumption 20mpg
Gearbox Four-speed manual

Common problems

• The Corvette’s glassfibre bodyshell is well-made but not always well-repaired during restoration or after an accident. So check for cracks and crazing, poorly blended in panels and paint that’s sunk, betraying poor preparation.

• The chassis is also well-made, but it does corrode and it can also be distorted through crash damage. Check in front of the rear wheelarch where the chassis kicks up, the base of the front suspension turrets and the lower wishbone mountings.

• Also check the radiator support frame along with the body support frame, which extends up each door pillar, around each door and across the bulkhead.

• The small-block V8 fitted to most Corvettes is tough, simple and cheaply rebuilt. You can even buy a new engine if you need one but if you’re a slave to originality beware of engine swaps, which aren’t unusual.

• A small-block V8 will take a couple of rebores before it’s had it and even when in good condition a bit of smoke on starting up should be expected. Once the valve stem seals have hardened with age though, expect more smoke – and a rebuild.

• Don’t be too keen to buy a Corvette with a big-block V8 as they’re over-burdened with power, cost a lot more to rebuild and you’ll pay a big premium to buy one in the first place.

• The Sting Ray was initially fitted with a three-speed manual gearbox as standard but most cars feature a four-speed unit. There was an auto offered too (a two-speed Powerglide), but these are unusual and not sought after. All gearboxes last well, but if a rebuild is needed the parts are available and the costs aren’t exorbitant.

• The suspension is durable but the bottom wishbones wear out; they’re cheaply and easily replaced though. Be wary of cars that have been fitted with stiffer suspension as this wrecks the dynamics and the chassis isn’t really strong enough to cope with the extra stress.

• The all-drum system of the earlier cars works fine unless you’re driving the car really hard. The all-disc system from 1965 is even better, but it seizes up on cars that are driven sparingly – although fixing this isn’t a difficult job.

Model history

1963: The Corvette C2 is launched in September with all-new styling, a new ladder-type chassis, independent rear suspension and an alternator. Power steering and air-con are optional extras, while power comes from a 327ci (5359cc) V8 in 250, 300, 340 and 360bhp forms. The most powerful cars feature Rochester fuel injection.
1964: There’s now less brightwork fitted, the coupé loses its split rear window, knock-off alloy wheels become optional and the Borg Warner manual gearbox is replaced by a GM-built Muncie unit.
1965: Side exhausts are now optional, comfier seats are fitted and a 425bhp 396ci (6489cc) big-block V8 is now offered. Ventilated discs replace the all-drum system previously fitted. A servo is also optional from here.
1966: Engine options are now 327ci (5359cc) 300 or 350bhp along with 427ci (6997cc) 390 or 425bhp.
1967: There are wider wheels, including optional bolt-on alloys, and reversing lights are added above the number plate.

Key clubs and websites

• www.corvetteclub.org.uk
• www.facebook.com/CorvetteClubUk
• www.chevroletownersclub.co.uk/corvette
• www.nationalcorvetteowners.com
• www.corvettesnccc.org
• www.corvettemuseum.org

Summary and prices

As there are so many different types of C2 Corvette, it’s sometimes difficult to put a value on them. In the UK you can spend between £10,000 for a project, to over £60,000 for a mint example. Split screen rear window cars can carry a 20 per cent premium, while the fuel injected and big-block 6.5-litre cars could be 30-50 per cent premium.

Words: Richard Dredge
Last updated: 27th Aug 2015
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    POA POA

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    POA POA

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    POA POA
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    $38,500(£0) $38,500(£0)

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