Many people, especially the sports car racers, anticipated the 1963 Corvette. The Corvette had been king of its class for
years before winning many local and national championships and Zora Duntov, the late chief engineer for the Corvette, wanted
something more. He wanted to move the bar higher and he did just that with the introduction of the 1963 Sting Ray in late
1962. He and Larry Shinoda, the man who sketched the first drawings of the ageless body style known as the Mid Years, work
tirelessly to develop the car that would set the automobile world on it's heels. Part of the their plan was to develop a race
car that could beat the best in the world.
The Special Performance Package, known as RPO Z06 was created to market a turnkey racecar to the public. The Z06 option
included unique dual circuit power brakes which included sintered metallic linings, that were larger than the standard metallic
linings, vented backing plates, larger finned brake drums, cooling fans in the drums, self adjusters that work going forward
instead of the standard when backing. The suspension modifications included heavy-duty rear transverse spring (7 leaves rather
than the stock 9 leaves), heavy-duty front springs and specially calibrated shock absorbers all around. A 36 gallon fuel tank
that took up most of the area behind the seats and aluminum knock-off wheels were initially required as part of the package
but were dropped from the list in January 1963. Besides the Special Performance Package, additional extra cost options were
required before the package could be ordered. There was the 360 horsepower fuel injected engine, four speed transmission and
a posi-traction rear end. By the time you left the dealer you'd spent nearly seven thousand dollars. The Z06 option at $1,818.14
plus the other required options added $661.75 to the base price of $4,252.
The 1963 Z06 could only be ordered in the Coupe body style, just like today's Z06 but only being able to order the option
in the Fixed Roof Coupe. The original Z06 cars were also limited production cars with only 199 being built in five production
runs. The first cars were built for established racers such as Mickey Thompson. Six cars were built in October 1962 and sold
to the dealers that sponsored Corvette race teams. These cars were picked up at the factory in Saint Louis and driven on the
road to California. Within weeks the Z06 Sting Ray had won its first race at Riverside. Those early racers learned about the
scary brakes. The metallic linings, basically metal on metal had to be heated up for them to stop the car. Even then you never
knew if the car was going to pull hard left or right depending on which brake warmed up faster. Once the brakes finally did
get warmed and you got used to anticipating their behavior you were fine.
The 1963 Z06 was an outstanding car from the start. To drive the car on the street was very enjoyable and not many cars
in their stock configuration could keep up with 63 Z. From the outside there was no way to tell that the car was a Z06, the
badging was the same as the normal fuel injected Corvette.
Click Here for More Pictures & Info
Info and Pictures of Dr. Dick Thompson's Gulft One Z06
VIDEO: Dr. Dick Thompson's Z06 sells for $1.05 Million
On March 23rd 1963, Delmo Johnson and Dave Morgan drove their
1963 Z06 Corvette Coupe to 2nd in class and 16th overall (behind a very heavy combination of Phil Hill, Ken Miles and Lew
Spencer in a factory Shelby Cobra) at the 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race.