Chevrolet Corvette C2 (1963 – 1967) – the Second Generation
The second generation of Corvette, the C2, debuted in 1963 as fans eagerly anticipated a stronger, better performing Vette than the C1. While the C2 had a relatively short lifetime with production ending in 1967, it became the fastest Corvette of its time, breaking through a quarter mile in 11.02 seconds as demonstrated by the 1967 convertible Sting Ray.
The 1963 split rear window Sting Ray was an iconic Corvette though its production was terminated after a year due to visibility issues arising from the unconventional rear window. The coupe features an open exhaust system and can do an impressive 155mph on regular street drives.
The C2 Corvette featured completely new engineering ideas, distinguishing itself from the C1 Corvette. Some of the unique features included an electronic ignition, rear suspension with a transverse leaf sprig and an extended steel chassis.
While the core structure of the C2 was noticeably beefier, this was counterbalanced by thinner fiberglass body panels, making the C2 Corvette significantly lighter than its C1 predecessor.
The coupe Sting Ray of the 1960s demonstrated poor stability under high speed. While most people thought the end rear lift contributed to the C2’s instability issues, front axle lift is what really undermines this car’s performance. The C1 records 125lbs of lift at 85mph with passengers on board. Meanwhile, the C2 records 146lbs. of lift when the headlamps are lowered and 153 lbs. when they are raised, making the C2 one of the most unstable Corvettes in history.
The C2 design is largely borrowed from the ’59 Sting Ray Racer. The concept featured a reversed wing design, wide flat top surface and a stylishly hunkered down shape that slouched toward the road. In spite of the C2’s swanky new style, the design concept caused too much air to rush underneath the car, creating formidable lift issues.
By 1967, the C2 Corvette had a larger V-8 engine with 430 horsepower output and four-wheel disk brakes to stabilize the car under high speed. Yet, as the curtains fell for the C2, it was clear that more engineering advances would be needed to retain the Corvette’s relevance in history.
Regardless of the flaws or less than favorable features noted in the post, there are thousands of C2 owners who have had no (or little) reservations about buying, owning, driving, and showing off their much loved C2 Corvette. And this won’t soon change regardless of the next best new Corvette that hits the showroom floor.