Wednesday Rewind: A Look Back At The Split-Window

Sometimes, there are things that become so iconic that they override even the greatest of accomplishments. Take the new-for-’63 Corvette Sting Ray. It was a design home-run, with styling that wooed the hearts of America at first sight. There was no “getting used to it” like some of today’s designs, but the first thought of many Americans was how THEY were going to get into one!

The styling for '63 was all new. Styling had fully digested the space-race theme and personal rocket-ships were the trend. Phony vents up front and a centrally-located blind spot were key features of the new Corvette.

There were a lot of changes for the second-generation Corvette. The car was coming into its own and designers, as well as engineers were passionately pouring themselves into Chevrolet’s halo car. Being an all-new design meant that there would be things that were improved upon in succeeding production years, but there were a few things that may not be considered an improvement. It all depended on which side of the fence you were on.

There are a couple of items that denote specifically a 1963 Corvette. The faux grilles atop the hood were removed the very next year, as was the most heated, yet endearing feature of the ’63 coupes, the split-window. In this story, we take a look back at why the split-window was embroiled in such a heated debate and some of the super-heroes that fought the battle on both sides of the argument. Interestingly, no one ever asks who made the decision to remove the faux grilles from the hood.

In the ultimate "Form vs. Function" battle, then styling head Bill Mitchell fought for the split-window. Chief Engineer, Zora Duntov didn't think that it brought anything to Corvette's performance and therefore, felt it unnecessary.

We’re reminded of the stories where folks would cut the offending bodywork that bisected the rear window and replaced the glass with a later ’64-up piece. Ironically, many of those offending pieces were re-introduced into the car’s bodywork once folks realized how much value they brought to the overall package. Hard to say how many of those cars toggled between the two camps and are in “stock” configuration today.

There’s no doubting that the ’63 Corvette will remain as one of the pinnacles, not only of the C2 generation, but Corvette as a whole. Take a stroll back with us as we re-visit what it took to ensure the first Sting Ray received this main design cue, and what it took to get it removed shortly afterward.

About the author

Andy Bolig

Andy has been intrigued by mechanical things all of his life and enjoys tinkering with cars of all makes and ages. Finding value in style points, he can appreciate cars of all power and performance levels. Andy is an avid railfan and gets his “high” by flying radio-controlled model airplanes when time permits. He keeps his feet firmly grounded by working on his two street rods and his supercharged C4 Corvette. Whether planes, trains, motorcycles, or automobiles, Andy has immersed himself in a world driven by internal combustion.
Read My Articles

Corvettes in your inbox.

Build your own custom newsletter with the content you love from Corvette Online, directly to your inbox, absolutely FREE!

Free WordPress Themes
Corvette Online NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Corvette Online - Corvette Enthusiast Magazine

We'll send you the most interesting Corvette Online articles, news, car features, and videos every week.

Corvette Online - Corvette Enthusiast Magazine

Corvette Online NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Corvette Online - Corvette Enthusiast Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...



Late Model LS Vehicles

Classic Chevy Magazine

Performance Driving

Corvette Online - Corvette Enthusiast Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...

  • Late Model LS Vehicles
  • Classic Chevy Magazine
  • Performance Driving

Corvette Online - Corvette Enthusiast Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Corvette Online - Corvette Enthusiast Magazine

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Loading