“Corvette Sting Ray Convertible.”
If there are four automotive words that can elicit a stronger visceral reaction on a nice day like today, I’m not sure what they are. And the second generation “C2” Corvette Sting Ray (1963-1967) has to be my hands-down favorite.
I spotted this sunny example in “hot rod corner” at work and simply had to stop and take a closer look (the C6 barely got a glance, natch). Given the legendary nature of the car, there are plenty of highly detailed accounts of the Corvette elsewhere, and besides, I mainly want to enjoy the delightful visual feast this car represents…
1965 would be the last year for optional fuel injection on the ‘Vette until throttle-body injection returned in 1982. First offered on the Corvette in 1957, checking the FI box in 1965 would set you back an additional $538 on a car with a base price of $4,106 (convertible) or $4,321 (coupe). As this car is equipped with an automatic transmission, it should have either a 250hp or 300hp 327 c.i.d (5.4l) carbureted engine under the hood – the 375hp FI engine was only offered with a manual – so either the engine or transmission has been swapped, or someone did a little “stick-on performance” along the way. The gills in the fenders were functional as of this year as well.
Four-wheel disc brakes arrived on the Corvette in 1965, dramatically improving braking under race (or ‘vigorous driving’) conditions. Interestingly, a buyer could “delete” discs for drum brakes (while supplies lasted), receiving a credit of $64.50, and amazingly, 316 buyers actually checked that box in 1965. Those wheels threw me off a bit, as they are sporting 1964 Corvette hubcaps (which look quite sharp to my eye). Each production year of the C2 wore a different hubcap design, and an optional aluminum “knock off” wheel was also available (the spinner was in fact a fake cap that covered a standard five-bolt setup).
Other changes for 1965 included a subtle revision to the front grille as well as removal of the hood depressions from the previous year. Rocker panel moldings and interior trim also received minor tweaks.
This car appears to sport an optional teakwood steering wheel ($48.45), and an optional hard top was available as well ($236.75).
This appears to be a snug, purposeful cockpit – perfect for cruising the beach scene or perhaps doing some exuberant hooning in the hills (an upgraded suspension was also optional at $37.70, a bargain, if you asked me). This car also appears to have leather seats ($80.70 for the option), so I’m leaning more toward it being originally purchased as a cruiser.
Here’s a nice gallery of Corvette Auto Typography – the fuel fill door is actually off a ’63 I shot the same month as the ’65.
This is a car that doesn’t have a bad line on it anywhere and this shade of blue sets off its lines perfectly.
A better shot of the ‘egg crate’ grille and delicate bumperettes.
Hey, look – the radio aerial’s up! There’s a good chance it first pulled in tunes by The Beatles (Ticket to Ride), The Righteous Brothers (You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling), The Beach Boys (Help Me, Rhonda) or perhaps Petula Clark’s Downtown, which would be a perfect place to cruise on a nice day like this! AM/FM Stereo was a $203.40 option, if you were so inclined…
The average American home in 1965 cost around $21,000, and average annual wages were around $6,500. This example, with the options we spotted along the way, had to have totaled out near $5,000 (or more) – almost a year’s wages!
We’ve had some mighty nice convertibles on revue this week, but I really can’t think of any I’d rather tool around in than this one (well, except maybe the Connie). 15,376 convertible Corvettes were sold in 1965 –a much more popular choice than the coupe, of which only 8,186 were sold – and it’s perfectly clear why!
And just for the sake of contrast, we’ll let the C6 fully sneak in frame just once… what a difference 40 years makes!