This Classic Split Window Corvette Might Just Be the Hottest Car of All
Lisa Steuer McArdle
Dec 30, 2021 · 4 min read
The Chevy Corvette has been around a long time. That said, it still has some surprises in its history. One of these surprises is the 1963 Corvette Stingray, a classic car with a truly innovative window design.
Curious about what this split window Corvette looked like and the inspiration behind its out-of-the-ordinary appearance? Read on to learn more.
The split window Corvette is an eye-catching car
The 1963 Chevy Corvette, with its split rear window design, is certainly hard to miss. And if it reminds you of a mysterious marine creature, there's a reason for that.
Chevy stylist Bill Mitchell was inspired in his design for the split window Corvette by sea creatures such as the stingray and the mako shark. As MotorTrend puts it, "The folded crease of the tumblehome represented a spine-like design element that divided the back glass into two halves, allowing this spine element to run uninterrupted from the roof to the rear deck."
There's also a theory that GM stylist David Holls found the inspiration for the design all the way back in 1959 at the Michigan State Fair. There, he supposedly came across a rare German 1937 Adler Trumpf Rennlimousine whose split rear back glass and rear greenhouse bear a striking resemblance to the split-window styling on the 1963 Stingray. The thinking goes that he likely used that car's window design as at least partial inspiration for the Stingray.
The Stingray specs are pretty impressive for the time
The 1963 Stingray wasn't just a standout in terms of its design, though. It also offered a great deal of power for its era.
The National Corvette Museum has broken down the main specs on the car. Innovations introduced with the 1963 Corvette included new four-wheel independent suspension, a battery-saving Delcotron generator, and hydraulic self-adjusting brakes.
The standard engine on the '63 Stingray also offered 250 hp of power along with 350 lb-ft of torque. This clearly wasn't a car intended simply for puttering around town.
What Corvette model years featured the split windows?
In the end, despite its revolutionary appearance, the split window Corvette didn't last long at all. For one, there were safety concerns. The bar separating the rear windows created problems for visibility, causing many drivers to replace their split rear windows with one single pane.
While replacing the windows may have helped in terms of safety, it killed the Stingray's standout appearance and was a classic example of the downside of modifying a classic car. As a result of the problems created by the windows, the split window Corvette was gone just a year after it debuted.
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Although the split rear window design didn't last long on the Corvette, the Corvette itself has remained a staple of the Chevy lineup for decades. You may even be considering purchasing one yourself.
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