Welcome to the latest edition of your favorite new column, This or That, wherein CorvetteBlogger locates a pair of interesting/desirable/similarly priced examples of America’s Sports Car and lets our fine readers decide which would be “the one” to own with a good old-fashioned slice of democracy.
A little over a week ago, the ZTK-equipped 2019 ZR1 ran away from the marked-up 2020 C8 Z51 Convertible. The final front-engine Corvette’s 73% portion of the vote was our largest margin of victory in this column’s short history. We believe that this go-around will be the exact opposite. It is a battle between the twin peaks of 60s Corvette goodness ready for a real nail biter, everyone!
This battle between two of the most lust-worthy vehicles ever made begins in Denver, Colorado, with a stunning 1963 Corvette Split-Window coupe on offer from the classic car restoration and sales experts at Cars Remember When. Under the one-year, only faux vented hood lurks the most powerful engine that Chevrolet had put in its halo car up to this point, RPO L84, the 360 horsepower, fuel-injected 327. This numbers-matching “Fuelie” also features the M20 four-speed manual transmission, Dark Blue interior, Knock-Off wheels, the original AM/FM radio, owner’s manual, and window sticker. It has reportedly traversed only 4,344 miles since its restoration, which earned it Bloomington Gold certification and a Top-Flight award at NCRS nationals.
From the other bookend of the Corvette’s legendary second-generation, we have a Lynndale Blue 1967 427/435 Convertible currently on offer from Overstreet House of Cars in Creve Coeur, Missouri. Its monster L71 V8 is topped by a White Stinger hood and is tied to factory side pipes, an M21 four-speed stick, and a Positraction rear end. Other features include an AM/FM radio, Code 419 Teal leather seats with light blue carpet, a white folding soft-top, and a removable Lynndale Blue hardtop. It also just celebrated its 54th birthday as its official GM production date was January 19, 1967. A full restoration was done in 2003, and the sale includes photos of the entire process and its factory tank and window stickers.
Eye of the Beholder: Where you stand on these differences is entirely based on your personal taste. This edition of ToT repeats last week’s coupe vs. droptop theme but, when you are talking about Sting Rays, cutting off the roof dramatically changes the car’s aesthetics; which way looks best is up to you. The exterior colors are quite similar this time, but there are several small design changes that were applied to Shinoda, Mitchell, and Brock’s masterpiece between ’63 and ’67. We already highlighted the dramatically different hoods, but there is also the “gill” treatment (the ’63 features dual coves that inspired the C6 ZR1, and the ’67 makes use of five shark-inspired vents), wheels, exhaust, and grilles (do you prefer egg-crates or horizontal lines?). Finally, we can’t forget the heart of this conflict; it is Fuel Injected Small-Block vs. Carbureted Big-Block, pick your poison. Now, on to the statistical pieces of the puzzle:
Rarity: On a basic level, ’63 Coupes are rarer than ’67 Convertibles with total production numbers of 10,594 and 14,436, respectively. These two, though, are anything but basic. Diving further down the spec sheet (and the Black Book) reveals how unique each example truly is. 1963’s total color numbers are pretty fuzzy, but we know that there weren’t many cars painted Silver Blue. Record keeping had improved by the end of the C2 line, so we know that our ’67 is one of just 1,381 Corvettes so painted that year. Both of these cars are fitted with the top (mass-produced) engine option of their respective years, and, again, the older example gets the nod for rarity. 2,610 1963 Corvettes left the factory with fuel-injected L84 V8s, compared to the 3,754 1967s that were fitted with L71 power. In summary, both of these cars are fairly hard to find, but the ’63 is our winner here.
Speed: According to an archived story from Road & Track, the ’63 Fuelie could sprint to 60 MPH in 5.9 seconds, cover a quarter-mile in 14.9 seconds with a trap speed of 95 MPH, and top out at 142. We will quote an excellent Car and Driver story from six years ago for the L71’s numbers (keen-eyed viewers and people who read our shared links may point out that the car in the story looks like an L88 and has the aluminum heads from the L89, but we would like to assure you that the numbers at the bottom of the page were achieved by their testers in the late ‘60s). In five short years, Zora and Co. were able to cut their baby’s 0-60 time to 4.7 ticks and the quarter all the way down to 13.6 seconds at 105 MPH, though the redline limited top speed stayed the same at 142 MPH. The ’67 easily takes the cake in the speed round.
Price: These are the two most expensive Corvettes that we have ever included in ToT, but when compared to many of their contemporaries from across the pond (and even across town), they still bring a lot of value, an all-important Corvette trait! Overstreet is asking $175,000 for the Lynndale Blue ’67. Our gut tells us that it is a bit steep, but with all of the options (factory side pipes and knock-off wheels!), it just might be perfect! The ’63 beats that price by more than $15k. CRW has it listed for $159,900.
The Bloggers Weigh-in:
Alex: This is as tough as it gets! When we ranked the best Corvettes from each decade last year, I remember having a long discussion about which example would wear the ‘60s crown but, in the end, Keith put the ball in my court, and I went with the ’67 because it was the one I’d rather see every time I walk into my garage. While I’d probably include both in my top-ten list of prettiest cars ever made, the roadster looks just a bit better to my eyes, and it just might wear my favorite hood-scoop of all time. You also can’t argue with the speed column; one of these cars can still hang with recent-gen Mustang GTs between stoplights, while the other one would have its hands full with my dad’s 9,500 lb. Crew-Cab Long-Box Duramax.
Keith: Finally, we have a choice of Corvettes for “This or That” that Alex and I can disagree on! I’m selecting the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray Sport Coupe with its one-year-only Split Window design that sets it apart from all Corvette models, and the fact that this car with the 327/360-hp fuel-injected motor makes it even more desirable. When compared to the ’67 L71, the 1963 Corvette beats it in rarity in terms of numbers produced, and while both are documented originals, the ’63 Coupe has previously been judged and has both an NCRS Top Flight and Bloomington Gold certification added to its provenance. The fact that it’s $10K cheaper than the 1967 Convertible makes the decision even easier.
Your Turn! So, what’ll it be, Corvette Nation?
This or That: 2020 Corvette Stingray vs 2019 Corvette ZR1
This or That: Which Ultimate Performance Special Edition C6 Would You Choose?
This or That: Which Supercharged Corvette for Sale Would You Choose?