With the all-new 2015 Corvette Z06 just months away from being sold to the public, it’s highly appropriate that one of the original 1963 Corvette Sting Ray Z06s will be on the auction block at the Mecum Monterey sale Aug. 14-16.
This blue 1963 Corvette Z06 has belonged twice to California dealer and racer Paul Reinhart, who had earned the respect of Chevrolet for his efforts behind the wheel of Corvettes since 1957. He had won division championships in 1960 and 1961 in SCCA Pacific Coast B-Production and was chosen to be on the prestigious list of the first six people chosen to get the Z06s, including the likes of Dr. Dick Thompson, Jerry Grant, Dave MacDonald, Doug Hooper, and Bob Bondurant.
Zora Arkus-Duntov’s intention all along was for the Z06 to be used on the race track, and that’s why he added heavy duty competition-oriented suspension parts like much stiffer springs, special shock absorbers, and heavier sway bars. The Z06 also was the only ’63 Corvette to use power-assisted brakes with a unique dual-circuit master cylinder, along with sintered metallic brake linings, cast iron finned drums, and ventilated backing plates with screened openings. Perhaps the most visible addition was the use of a 36-gallon fiberglass gas tank in the passenger compartment behind the seats.
Five owners were able to debut their cars at the Los Angeles Times Grand Prix at Riverside in October 1962. Unfortunately, delivery of Reinhart’s car was delayed so he had to sit that one out. Finally, he was able to climb behind the wheel at Riverside in February 1963 – after removing the bumpers and spare tire and its carrier. He also used straight-through rear-exit pipes in place of the factory exhaust and used Koni shocks in back and Gabriels in front instead of the factory setup.
Once they started competing, Reinhart and his fellow Z06 racers became discouraged with the threat from the Cobra and Chevrolet’s subsequent withdrawal of factory racing support, so by the end of the 1964 season, Reinhart decided to sell his Z06. Ironically, nearly two decades later, Reinhart became interested in vintage racing and accidentally found his old Z06 in the San Francisco area.
After restoring the car, he and others have used it at venues like Montery, Wine Country Classic, and Coronado Speed Festival over the past 30 years.
Now it’s been restored again and will be perhaps the most highly sought after car at Mecum’s auction in two weeks. One of just 199 Z06s produced in 1963, the car is expected to bring $1.5 to $1.7 million.
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