Could this Daytona Blue 1963 Corvette be the famed “Woodward Racer” that dominated Woodward Avenue back in the day?
The current owner of the car has been searching diligently for answers ever since he discovered a thin copper strip stamped “Test Lab 61” attached to the frame behind the driver-side rear wheel the day after he bought the car in 1986.
Brad Cook was just looking for a split window coupe 32 years ago but may have unknowingly discovered the only test car Corvette to make its way to the public.
Cook tells Jerry Heasley of SuperChevy.com that he sought advice from the late legendary Corvette historian Noland Adams who told him he could have a very important part of automotive history.
Heeding Adams’ advice, Cook has not driven the car over the years and has been careful what he replaced on the car because “what might not seem original might be original to the true testing of the car.”
That includes the 327 engine, which Cook once believed was not the original power plant for the car enabling him to negotiate the price downward at the time he purchased the Sting Ray. Cook thought it had been modified post-factory back then, but Adams believed that it could have actually been a test car engine for this car all along instead.
The code on the engine block is RB, which books as a 300-horse passenger car block. However, this RB-code block has test car features: six-quart oil pan, fuel injected heads, solid lifters, 8-inch harmonic balancer, Carter AFB carburetor (PN 3416S, a very early 340-horse four-barrel), late 1962 dual-point distributor (all 1963s had single point), 6,500-rpm “buzzer” tachometer (early 340-horse or fuel injected engines), 80-psi oil pressure gauge (340-horse or fuel injected engines), and 4.56:1 gears.
Backing up the test car theory is the NCRS Shipping Data Report obtained by Cook, which showed serial number 000101, built on Sept. 11, 1962, was sold to dealer zero in the zone zero with the dealer address listed as “GM Vehicle.” That report says the name of the original dealer was also GM Vehicle.
Cook has preserved the car’s originality over the years, replacing hoses, belts, and clamps with factory correct parts, only when necessary, and has carefully cataloged the old parts for future reference.
As for the “Woodward Racer” possibility, Heasley writes:
The 4.56:1 gears certainly give credence to this legacy. Cook believes any ’63 split-window was rare on the streets in the early production days so this car would have stuck out. The NCRS, Cook notes, believes Test Lab 61 might have been an executive car that was open to test-drive and evaluate because the car wasn’t hacked up like some of the test cars.
Now, Cook is hoping someone out there may still be alive who can help him solve the mystery of the car once and for all, though, with each ticking day, that becomes less and less likely.
Check out the full article and all the photos at SuperChevy.com.