Journal: The C2 Sting Ray Remains the Best-looking American Car

The C2 Sting Ray Remains the Best-looking American Car

Avatar By Alan Franklin
July 16, 2013
8 comments

So I’ll start off this article about a Corvette by admitting until recently I wasn’t at all a fan of the car. I don’t feel very proud to admit any of this, but I always perceived them to be cars bought by clueless, retired Journey fans and Guy Fieri look-alikes. The number of chrome purple automatic C6 convertibles with Lamborghini door conversions at Cars & Coffee only fed this shameful snobbery. A few years ago, though, I had a sudden overnight change in attitude. Motivated by something unknown, I spent a lazy Sunday morning browsing Z06 videos on YouTube—the drama of this evil, dirty car and its evil, dirty noise converted me on the spot. I’d buy one if I had a really thick goatee. Or if I could afford one. Even through the depths of my former Corvette disgust, though, I still recognized the second generation as the prettiest American car ever built.

And not just the split-window, either. Built for the first year of production only, it disappeared in 1964, much in part due to engineer Zora Arkus—Duntov’s strong dislike for it—he felt it restricted rearward vision. Bill Mitchell, Vice President of GM’s “Styling Section”, thought it was an integral design element, though, and I think he was right. Even without the vestigial tailfin, however, it remained a seriously good looking piece of fiberglass. Chevy called it the “Sting Ray”, and it was the first time a Corvette was offered as a coupe.

It was available with a variety of small and big block power, among the rarest of which was the L88 427. Only 20 such examples were built during the C2’s last year of production in ’67, and although factory-rated at 430 HP, a more accurate estimate is said to be nearer 560 HP. There was a huge list of available performance options, including fuel injection on the 327 c.i., four wheel discs, suspension packages, and final drive ratios—as a result, it’s uncommon to see two identical cars. Suspension was by conventional A-arms and coil springs at the front, and introduced the now-traditional, transverse-leaf-spring independent rear.

I don’t know if they handled, and I don’t really care to look it up—they look like grounded mid-century spaceships and sound like a lion with a heavy menthol cigarette addiction, and that’s quite enough for me, thanks. I’ll take a four-speed Fuelie ’63 coupe in Silver Blue over red, please, and I don’t care that it won’t be matching numbers, either. Purists and collectors can scoff, but cars are for driving, not speculating on. None of that is to say I wouldn’t spend quiet hours with adult beverages just staring at it parked in my imaginary garage, though. I’m guilty of this with far lesser cars.

So as I try to distance myself from my former prejudices, I stand by my statement that the C2 is the best-looking American car of all time, at least as far as sports cars go. Even slushbox, softop Sting Rays are cool, but thank God scissor door kits and underglow kits weren’t around in the 1960s.

Image Sources: acarisnotarefrigerator.com, oldcarbrochures.com, oldcarbrochures.com, oldcarbrochures.com

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Joseph DArco
Joseph DArco

My uncle gave me a model of a C2 vette when I was eight, turns out the interior was filled with whiskey so I didn’t have it for very long but the car has always stuck with me. Hands down most beautiful American car.

Tod Frazer
Tod Frazer

My dad has a ’67, small block, 4 speed, soft top. It’s the only car I’ve ever driven without power brakes. Tons of fun to drive until you come to a stop sign and realize it’s too late!

Eddie Relvas
Eddie Relvas

Another one nailed… you lot have pretty spot-on taste!

Ever since I first saw a picture of a C2, it has been my favourite Corvette, it actually spoiled all the others for me. That sharknose front, and the boattail-shaped rear cockpit are some of the most awesome lines ever to grace a sports car.

I wouldn’t mind a non-matching numbers car either (totally subscribe, cars are for driving). Make mine black (for added sinister effect), with sidepipes, and that red interior. Not sure on the wheels, but anything with a centre spinner will do just fine.

John Papalardo
John Papalardo

Who doesn’t like the C2 Vette? There is a nice one featured on Daily Turismo today in their 50 posts in one day special that is being sold for $43k, a fair price for the condition.
http://www.dailyturismo.com/2013/07/43-of-50-candy-1967-chevrolet-corvette.html
[img]http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-o8gEq–jYXM/UecLIJKkHhI/AAAAAAAAP2Q/DpNgtcLaTU4/s1600/43.JPG[/img]

Leigh Brooks
Leigh Brooks

I never really paid too much attention to them either, until a friend bought one – a nice, original ’64 coupe, black with a silver interior. Really nice car. Gets more attention than anything I’ve ever driven. He says it takes at least thirty minutes to fill it up at the gas station – everyone has to chat him up.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

I reckon the prewar Auburn Boattail Speedster is up there as best looking American car, as is the first gen Viper GTS. I’m also quite partial to the early C3 Vettes before middle aged spread set in, but I think you’re probably right about the C2.

john tolle
john tolle

You both have excellent taste. Make that three of us- yes, I agree completely ! Also one of the best looking car from any country, any time. And, the details… split window (or not), fast back “fin”, center rib, hidden classy gas cap, twin dash, …, coupe plus roaster at the same time as pure E Types were available as coupe plus roadster. Perfect !

Josh Clason
Josh Clason

I am not sure if it is the best looking American car but it is awfully close. Whenever I see one I imagine myself cruising one along PCH.