The 1965 Sting Rays featured vertical gills behind the front wheels.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Because many mechanical components were carried over from 1962, including the then-new 327-cid engine, the 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray wasn't quite so revolutionary as it appeared.

Underneath, a ladder-type frame replaced the old X-braced chassis. Far more noticeable was the new independent rear suspension: a three-link setup with double-jointed drive shafts on each side, and a single transverse leaf spring.

Power steering became available for the first time, except on the most potent engines. Only 12 percent of Corvettes had it. Even fewer customers opted for air conditioning or leather seats. Corvette fans, it seemed, still scoffed at frills. Four-speed gearboxes were far more popular, installed in more than four out of five cars.

The 1963 Sting Ray models featured redesigned interiors and suspensions.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Output of the carbureted 327-cid V-8 ranged from 250 to 340 bhp, while the $430 fuel-injected version reached 360 bhp. Could it move? You bet! A fuelie could hit 60 in 5.6 seconds, blasting through the quarter-mile in as little as 14.5 seconds (at 102 mph). As for handling, Road & Track reported that the "new Sting Ray sticks [with] great gripping gobs of traction."

The Sting Ray's debut was nearly as startling as that of the E-Type Jaguar a couple of years earlier, and the public yelled "yes" to the design. Production leaped by 50 percent over record-setting 1962, totaling 10,919 convertibles and 10,594 coupes, priced at $4,037 and $4,252, respectively.

Except for the loss of the backbone window and fake hood air intakes, 1964 brought minimal change. Simulated vents on the coupe's pillar became functional and instrument bezels turned black.

Variable-rate springs helped smooth the ride and flatten the cornering. The solid-lifter V-8 got a higher-lift cam for 365 horsepower, while the fuelie added 15 bhp.

Extra inches arrived during 1965: namely, the Mark IV "porcupine" V-8 (named for its valve configuration), with 396 cubic inches eking out 425 horsepower.

To keep all that energy under control, four-wheel disc brakes became available. Anyone craving more attention could order side-mounted exhaust pipes. A 427-cid enlargement followed the next year, adding no horsepower but developing more torque, as an eggcrate-patterned grille replaced the horizontal-bar form.

The 1966 models looked much like the 1965s, but the big-block option grew from 396 to 427 cid.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Final Sting Rays had the cleanest look of all, with every surface smoothed out. Top 427s whipped up 400 or 435 horsepower, using triple two-barrel carburetors and the option of $369 aluminum heads. Regular folks could only fantasize about the ultimate competition mill, with 12.5:1 compression and 560 horses champing at the bit-plus a thirst for 103-octane fuel.

An "ordinary" 427-cid Sting Ray, able to run the quarter-mile in 13.6 seconds at 105 mph, surely was enough to satisfy any reasonable person. At least until the next Corvette generation arrived.

For 1963-1967 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray specifications, go to the next page.

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