Chevrolet's Corvette really came of age in its 'Mid-year' form in 1963. Though the V8 engine had grown in size and output since it first revitalised the glassfibre sports car in 1955, the all-new 1963 cars appeared with all-independent suspension and bold new styling by Larry Shinoda, heavily influenced by GM design chief Bill Mitchell's Sting Ray racer. The coupe version was a Corvette first, the famous 'split' rear window separated by a spine for the first year of the new shape only, making the '63s the most collectible. The famous smallblock V8 was standardised at 327cu in (5.4 litres) for 1963, with up to 360bhp available.
The chassis number confirms this as a St Louis-built 1963 car, still with its original engine block. It was imported from Italy, and has been modified for racing, though it remains street legal. The vendor takes up the story: "Willie Green told us the car had to be bought, as its provenance was quite unusual. Apparently it was a one-owner car that had belonged to Berlusconi's right-hand man, and it already had FIVA papers. Well, £70,000 later, the car has to be the best there is (and we still love you, Willie!)".
The car was gone through from stem to stern by RW Racing, the overhaul work including all-new suspension and brakes, changing to the optional front discs. The new rear spring incorporates an extra leaf, and there is a new aluminium radiator and oil cooler. A roll cage was added, but the dashboard remains standard, with extra gauges matching the style of the originals. An extra fuel tank was added for long-distance events.
A refurbished competition-ready four-speed manual gearbox was sourced from the US, and the engine was given to Tim Adams for an overhaul; in FIA-eligible spec, it produces 400-plus bhp on a four-barrel Holley. With new FIA/HTP papers, the car has only run four races in the GT and Sports Car Cup since it was completed in 2008, and the owner admits he is selling only because he's not comfortable with left-hand drive on race circuits.
Describing the coachwork as "excellent and original", and the paintwork as "first class", he adds: "The car comes with hard and soft tops and is genuinely ready to race. Much of the interior is original and even the original radio and electric windows work well. The hood and original seats are currently stored".
Image and description kindly supplied by H&H Classic Auctions