Chevy Makes Sweeping Changes and Comes out with a Winner
The 1964 Corvette really owes its success to that of its predecessor and first year C2, the 1963 Corvette. As with any line, the first in the series will be the most highly scrutinized and take a lot of abuse as far as the critics go. While this may be tough for that particular year, it is welcomed news for the next model year as all the feedback can be taken in and rolled out with a new model that is better suited to the wants and desires of the masses. Such was the case with the 1964 Corvette.
The 1963 Corvette proved to be very popular and made the Sting Ray a household name, though it did have its flaws. The designers and engineers at GM took the feedback and coupled it with the momentum that the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray had created and came out with a new and improved version for 1964 and thus the Sting Ray continued to roll.
While not a re-design by any stretch of the imagination, the 1964 Corvette Sting Ray did have sweeping changes. Some of the more notable changes for the year included:
- Back Window: Gone was the cross bar that made the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray a legend. Because of safety issues, the 1964 Corvette did away with the split rear window and left the 1963 as the sole holder of such distinction.
- Hood: Gone too were the faux hood cowls from the previous year. Again, GM cited safety as the reason. The indentations however did remain.
- Suspension: One of the chief complaints from owners of the 1963 Corvette was that the ride got progressively worse as the miles began to accumulate on the odometer. To combat this, GM switched the front coil springs to progressive rate or variable rate from the constant rate used in 1963. The rear leaf springs were also upgraded. The shocks were modified to include a small bag of Freon within the shock’s fluid which helped fight the heating problems that plagued the previous year.
- Body Styling: The 1964 Corvette Sting Ray lost some of its ribs on the rocker panels and the ribs that remained got a coat of black paint in between them. Wheel coverings were made more simplified and the emblem on the deck-lid was revamped to include circles around its crossed flags.
- Engine: The 1964 Corvette proved to be a bit more beefy than the 1963 and had peak horse power of 375. This was due to an upgrade that saw the V-8 engine breathe through a Holley four barrel carburetor as opposed to the stock Carter.
Sales of the 1964 Corvette created yet another milestone for the Vette and broke the previous year’s record by selling 22,229 units proving that the changes that were made were the right calls. While the sales of the coupe slid for that year, the convertible sales were in fact through the roof.
The figures were out and so was the jury with its verdict; a smashing success. While the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray started it all, the 1964 Corvette Sting Ray put the Vette on the map for good.