What makes a car stand out? Is it the make and model, the performance upgrades, the model year, or the person who owns it? Well, for the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray known as 7 11, it is all of the above and more. Raced back in the 1960s on some of the country’s most famous tracks, filmed in the Elvis Presley flick Viva Las Vegas, and just recently unearthed and restored after 40 years, this gorgeous car is truly one of a kind. Check it out in the Electric Federal video above, sent to us by crew member Rony Karkar.
Driven by Gary Pickens, the 7 11 Sting Ray became a dominating force on tracks across the country in 1963. Named for Pickens’ gambling hobby, the car came about after Ford and Chevrolet went head to head in the ultimate track showdown on October 13, 1962 with the Corvette and Cobra holding both brands to their highest standards. In the crowd at the Riverside race, Gary Pickens watched as Corvette dominated and approached Harry Mann Chevrolet following the race win to order himself a new Sting Ray with the “Special Performance Package” (the Z-06) for the coming race season.
Although there was a wait for the package to be released to the public due to engineering issues, Pickens was finally able to order his car in December. He purchased a red, fuel-injected ‘63 coupe through Harry Mann and fitted the car with full race gear – from a roll bar to performance brakes. He also eliminated as much weight from the car as possible.
In 1963, Pickens ran the 7 11 Corvette at tracks like Laguna Seca, Pomona, and Dodger Stadium, where he competed against the likes of Ferrari, Porsche and, of course, Ford and their Cobra powerhouse. The car also played a staring role in the film Viva Las Vegas with Elvis Presley, which you can see clips of below. In late 1963, Pickens decided to sell the car and it left his possession with a brand new ‘64 competition engine to replace its original one blown during a race.
Since then, the car’s whereabouts have been a mystery, that is until just last year when a search for vintage performance parts at a swap meet led to the discussion of the car’s current status.
According to Mike Vietro, current owner of the vehicle and owner of Corvette Mike in Anaheim, California, Nabers Brothers of Texas was then notified about the car, who in it turn notified Vietro.
In a partnership, Vietro purchased the car and the crew at Nabers agreed to restore it to “as raced” condition. In the process, the car was stripped down to its frame and built back up, using many of its original racing components, including the four-speed manual transmission, ‘64 327CI/360HP engine, and fuel injection rebuilt at Corvette Mike’s facility.
Just under a year later, the 7 11 Corvette is flying high again, just like in its glory days. So far, Vietro has taken the car to a few shows, like the La Jolla Concours D’Elegance show, where the car won second place in the Race Car class. For the remainder of the season, Vietro plans to continue displaying the car on the show circuit, including at the National Corvette Restorers Society Regional at Lake Tahoe, and the Dana Point Concours D’Elegance. After the car is shown, it will more than likely end up going to auction in Monterey or Pebble Beach California during August, when Central California hosts five major automotive auctions.
The 7 11 Corvette is truly one of a kind and has all the makings of an exceptional collectors piece. If you’d be interested in potentially adding this car to your Corvette collection, contact Corvette Mike!