To understand how the ultra-rare 1963 Corvette Z06 came into existence, you have to step back almost a decade to the 1955 running of the 24 hours of Le Mans. Two hours into the event, Mercedes-Benz driver Pierre Levegh made slight contact with the slowing Austin Healey driver, Lance Macklin. Macklin went for a spin but was uninjured, Levegh on the other hand, flipped violently into the spectators stands tragically killing himself and 77 spectators. The catastrophic events at Le Mans led to the Automobile Manufacturers Association banning all race involvement in 1957.
Chevrolet’s executives believed in the ban and followed suit essentially banning Chevrolet from having any involvement in motorsports. Chevrolet’s chief engineer Zora Duntov understood that buyers were still going to use their Corvettes as racing platforms and thus created the RPO Z06 as a special performance equipment package available for the Corvette. 1963 was the first year that the Z06 was available for purchase, however it came with a hefty price tag. Considering the base price of a 2-door sport coupe Corvette in 1963 was $4,252, very few chose to add an additional $1818.45 to receive the upgrades that came with the Z06. The ones that did were delivered one of the most collectable American sports cars on the planet.
This 1963 Corvette Z06 has a lot going for it, from its one year only styling, to the NCRS Top Flight award that comes along with it. But before we get too far into it, let’s first break down the VIN and fender tag.
37: 2-door sport coupe
S: St. Louis, MO
114581: Production number sequence
I2: Body build date of 2nd week of May 1963.
Style 63 837: 1963 Coupe
Trim STD: Black vinyl interior
Body 7719: Body sequential build number
Paint 923a: Riverside Red
This ’63 Z06 was originally ordered by Harry Mann Chevrolet in Los Angeles, CA with an original production date of May 7th, 1963. 25 years later the Corvette received a complete nut and bolt restoration that restored it to its former glory. Since the restoration, the Corvette has been meticulously cared for and received an NCRS regional Top Flight award with a score of 99%.
Today the body sits in a correct coat of Riverside red and looks as good as it did when it rolled out of the factory bound for L.A. The design for the C2 body was greatly influenced by the design of the Mako Shark concept car which offered a sportiness look that had never been seen before. At the front of the Z06 is a ‘razor blade’ front bumper that sits in front of body-width grille and is flanked by two chrome parking lights. The famous cross flags can be found above the bumper just in front of the famous forward-tilting hood. Move down the sides and you’ll find another cross flags emblem, but below that the words fuel injection give away what is hiding under the hood. As you make your way pass the chrome door handles to the rear of the vehicle you’ll notice the iconic look of the split window that was only available in 1963. Just below the split window is the fuel filler cap with the famous cross flags. Above the ‘razor blade’ rear bumper you’ll find four rear tail lights and chrome Corvette Sting Ray badging. The paint, look, and stance are absolutely flawless.
Tilt the hood forward and you’ll reveal a detailed engine bay housing a period correct 360hp 327ci FI V8. The first thing you notice when you lift the hood is the cross flags emblem that rests upon the Rochester fuel injection. To meet requirements in the Sports Car Club of America’s production classes the Z06 models were equipped with factory exhausts manifolds. Bolted to the engine is a period correct Muncie M20 4-speed.
Put the ’63 Corvette on a lift and you’ll see the real benefit for deciding to choose the Z06 option in 1963. The Z06 option not only meant the inclusion of the fuel injected 327, but it also brought a ton of upgrades to make it a track worthy creation straight from the factory. At the front you’ll find a 20% larger front sway bar than what came stock on the original Corvettes, dual master cylinders, and a vacuum brake booster for better stopping power. Also at the corners you’ll see power assisted Al-fin drum brakes that are cooled by front air scoops and vented braking plates. The Z06 also brought larger diameter shocks and nearly twice as stiff springs throughout. The Z06 was a forced to be reckoned with on the track.
Open the driver’s door and you’ll be greeted by a completely restored standard black vinyl interior. The seats, door panels, and chrome trim look excellent and the black carpet looks extremely fresh. In front of the driver, a three spoke steering wheel houses the iconic cross flags logo in the center. Behind the steering wheel sits the dash that houses the large tachometer and 160mph speedometer with smaller gauges on either side. Of the 199 Z06s, roughly 124 were ordered without a radio, however in the waterfall console resides the original radio. Above the controls sits a massive analog clock. In front of the passenger seat is a locking glove box with the chrome Corvette Sting Ray emblem on the right hand corner. Behind the front seats, the cargo area is covered in the same rich blue carpet as the interior.
Adding to the appeal of this Z06 is how well documented the car is. Included in the sale is a complete binder that contains NCRS judging sheets that proves it scored a 99% at the Bend, Oregon Regional Meet, restoration photos, partial owner history, restoration receipts, and the original owner’s guide.
Ultimately Duntov was right, the Z06 was used by many, despite Chevy’s racing ban, on the road courses throughout America. The less than 200 that were created are wildly sought after by collectors and don’t last long when they do pop up on the market. Their value is only set to increase over the years and is capable of anchoring any collection. Don’t miss your chance to own one of America’s rarest sports cars. Stop by our showroom to behold this gorgeous 1963 Corvette Z06 in person.