A Guide to 1963 Cars

The best cars of 1963 were built for speed and comfort and include the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, Buick Riviera, and Shelby Cobra.
Written by Mary Alice Morris
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
1963 was a year of performance vehicles built for speed and family wagons built for comfort. The best cars of 1963 include the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, the Buick Riviera, and the Shelby Cobra, among others. 
The 1960s are considered by some to be the golden age of classic cars. If you don’t know much about the classics, read on to learn about 1963’s most notable models. Car enthusiasts may find some of their favorites on this list—or even discover a new obsession. 
With that, here’s a guide to 1963 cars presented by
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The best cars of 1963

In the early 1960s, hot rods and roadsters were all the rage, but the family wagon and full-sized sedans were big sellers, too.

The best car of 1963: Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

Classic car market range: $53,700 to $246,000
Powertrain: 327-cubic-inch small-block V8 with 4-speed manual transmission
What makes it special: 
The 1963
Corvette Stingray
defined the word sleek. Unlike its contemporaries in the American car market, this Corvette was smooth, small, and refreshingly not covered in chrome. The chic two-seater was much faster and more powerful than the first-generation Corvettes—the Stingray came with 360 horsepower and 352 pound-feet of torque. 
To top it all off, this speed machine was available as a convertible or a coupe at a price that many Americans could afford. The 1963 MSRP was $4,037, which would be about $38,142 today.

The best luxury car of 1963: Buick Riviera

Classic car market range: $14,750 to $54,500
Powertrain: 401-cubic-inch Nailhead V8 with twin-turbine automatic transmission
What makes it special: 
The
Buick Riviera
made its debut in 1963 to the delight of critics everywhere, lauded as one of the most beautiful American production cars ever made. It was the General Motors Company’s first foray into luxury vehicles, and it made an impression. 
Besides its unique, tapered-center body design and bold tailfins, the Riviera made waves by offering power-optional leather seats, optional walnut trim, power windows, and air conditioning at a fairly affordable price.

The best SUV of 1963: Chevy Suburban 4x4

Classic car market range: $13,400 to $64,800
Powertrain: 230- or 292-cubic-inch straight-6 engine with 3-speed synchromesh manual or 4-speech synchromesh Powerglide transmission 
What makes it special: 
By 1963, the iconic
Chevy Suburban
was already in its fifth generation. With a tried and true name on the American car market, the model made strides in 1963 by offering a four-wheel-drive option for the first time
The Suburban made the perfect 1960’s surf wagon, with seating for up to eight passengers. And some 1963 Suburbans were even modified to fit up to 15! 

The best luxury SUV of 1963: Jeep Wagoneer

Classic car market range: $6,000 to $66,000
Powertrain: 3.8-liter straight-6 engine with 3-speed automatic or 3-speed manual transmission
What makes it special:
The
Jeep
Wagoneer is another in the lineup of budget-friendly luxury cars available on the American market in 1963. The Wagoneer made its debut that year and is considered by many to be the first American luxury SUV
It offered independent suspension, automatic windows, a radio, a heater, and a comfortable ride with real off-roading capability. Even drivers of the automatic transmission Wagoneer were able to drive off road with confidence. It was a family wagon that could moonlight as an SUV.

The best family car of 1963: Chevrolet Impala

Classic car market range: $9,075 to $54,500
Powertrain: 283-, 327-, or 427-cubic-inch V8 with 3-speed automatic or 4-speed manual transmission
What makes it special: 
Beloved by low-rider enthusiasts today, the 1963
Chevy Impala
originally was a higher-end family car. It was built tall, wide, and low to provide optimal comfort for a family of five—or, for those who opted for the Impala wagon, a family of nine. 
The emphasis on passenger comfort is clear if you examine the vehicle’s interior. It came with leather-like, soft, Seville-grain vinyl upholstery and aluminum trim and set the bar for family car comfort.

The best sports car of 1963: Shelby Cobra 289

Classic car market range: $100,000 to $300,000
Powertrain: 230-cubic-inch straight-6 with 3- or 4-speed manual or 2-speed automatic transmission
What makes it special: 
While there were lots of sports cars to contend with in 1963, the Shelby Cobra 289 holds its own as a sports car for street racing. This model was one without frills and was all for performance. 
There were no windows and no insulation. Every bit of its resources were devoted to power, and it delivered with a top speed of 150 mph. It could go from 0 to 60 in 5.8 seconds, brought a maximum of 271 horsepower, and offered 312 pound-feet of torque. All that force behind a 2,300-pound frame means it could practically fly down the highway.

The best truck of 1963: Chevrolet C/K 10

Classic car market range: $20,200 to $95,400
Powertrain: 230- or 292-cubic-inch straight-6 or 282-cubic-inch V8 with 3- or 4-speed manual or 2-speed automatic transmission
What makes it special: 
A new coil-spring front suspension was introduced on the Chevy C/K 10 pickup in 1963 and turned this practical utility truck into a comfortable ride. It had a simple display and simple features, but it remained popular because it was a reliable little workhouse. 
Its long bench seat in the cab was spacious and comfortable enough for three people across
Easily customizable, you’ll see a lot of mods on the classic car show circuit today, but you also might still see a few being put to good use on the farm. 

What cars came out in 1963? 

Here are a few classic models that debuted in 1963:
Model
Vehicle type
Engine
Fair market range
Notes
Aston Martin DB5
Luxury convertible
4-liter straight-6
$28,393 to $6,385,000
The original James Bond car
Saloon car
3.4- or 3.8-liter I-6
$14,000 to $22,000
Has a face only a mother could love
Jeep Wagoneer
Station wagon/SUV
3.8-liter straight-6
$6,000 to $66,000
The first-ever luxury SUV
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FAQs

The Buick Riviera was the hottest-selling car in 1963. That’s because it was a powerful, beautiful, luxury vehicle with a family-friendly interior and accessible price point. The Riviera’s MSRP in 1963 was $4,333, which would be just shy of $41,000 today.
The Beach Boys released their B-side song “Little Deuce Coupe” in 1963, but the lyrics were actually about a much older model. The band members admired a 1932 Ford Model 18 on the cover of a car magazine, and it inspired them to write a song. The 1932 Ford Model 18 was referred to as a “deuce” because of the number two in its model name.
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