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Porn on Wheels: ’63 Corvette Grand Sport

The ’63 Corvette Grand Sport is a legend in Chevrolet history, but bore as much resemblance to the C2 Corvette as today’s NASCAR runners bear to their namesakes. The Grand Sports were built to take on Carroll Shelby’s Cobras. On the outside, the Grand Sport’s fiberglass body was visually similar, but from there, the car took an entirely different approach.

It was the opportunity for Corvette engineer, Zora Arkus-Duntov, to address the shortcomings of the production car. Instead of the heavy frame, the innards were replaced with lightweight, oval-shaped steel tubing. The Corvette’s anemic rear drum brakes were replaced with fat rotors and the first five chassis to be built were equipped with 360hp production-built 327cui V8 motors.

At the end of 1963, a showdown was to take place at Nassau Speed week. Three cars were refitted with 485hp V8 engines, topped with quad Weber carburetors. The Grand Sports ran away with the competition, and ultimately led to Carroll Shelby’s development of the big block, 427cui Cobras.

Only five Grand Sport Corvettes were built, due to a GM Executive mandate that prematurely ended the program. Had it been allowed to continue, there was a twin spark plug, fuel injected motor with hemispherical heads in the works. On the test bench, the 377cui engine was rumored to be good for at least 550hp.

Shown here restored to its 1964 Sebring configuration, is chassis number 003. This Grand Sport was seen at the 2008 The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering.



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