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Rare Split-Window 1963 Corvette is Found

C2 Identity Restored

Jerry Heasley Jan 3, 2017
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Dave Tadder says he “lost his identity” with the sale of his mid-year Corvette, so around Thanksgiving of 2015 he began searching for a 1963-’67 coupe. But, he only had enough money to buy a project.

Incredibly, he found a deal in a classified: $26 grand for a real split-window 1963 coupe. Could this ad be real? Tadder suspected it was a scam after “about five emails and no response.”

In semi-desperation, he sent an SOS-type email stating, “If you sold the car or decided not to sell please advise me or the emails are gonna keep coming.”

A woman named Darlene sent back an email explaining she had received “overwhelming” response to buy the car. Apparently, she was wary of being scammed herself. People were “demanding” she sell the car to them immediately and they could wire her the $26,000 that day. So, what was going on?

“Growing up poor I learned when something is within your grasp that you want, go get it,” Tadder said.

Dave lives in New York State. The Corvette was in Wisconsin. Dave had a Vette friend named Tom that he traded parts back and forth with that lived in the Badger State. He could put something together if he kept trying.

Dave emailed back, “I want to be considered as a buyer. I can pay in full upon an inspection. I have an acquaintance about two hours away that will look at the car for me.”

Tadder even went so far as to give Darlene names as references at his local police department in New York State. Darlene verified Tadder’s claims and the process began to move forward.

“Tom, my acquaintance in Wisconsin, set up a time to inspect the Corvette. It snowed that Sunday terribly and they postponed the inspection to the following Sunday.”

Tom found a 1963 split-window that Dave later described as “straight out of 1970,” with mild fender flares all the way around, an extra taillight on each side and velour upholstery and headliner. The knock-off wheels were aftermarket. The bumpers were drive-quality or good cores. The frame had a little bit of rot at the end of the framerails, which would require some small patches and probably endcaps. Under the hood was a 327 with non-matching numbers. The transmission was a four-speed. The repaint was red, but the trim tag coded Sebring Silver with black upholstery … just what Dave wanted, the colors of his favorite team: the Oakland Raiders.

Darlene’s husband, who died a couple years earlier, had owned the car for about 15 years. She was having a little bit of a hard time letting go.

“Tom told me when he was there during the inspection that he thought she was going to sell the car to me, or there was one other person that she had narrowed it down to.”

The deal was still in limbo when he called Darlene. She “hemmed and hawed” for a couple of weeks before she finally called Dave with the good news. She was going to sell him the 1963 coupe. Dave knew the car was for real and told Darlene he would take it, no haggling.

The $26,000 was a great deal. Darlene didn’t want a wire transfer. Dave sent a check and after his check cleared her bank he sent a transporter to Wisconsin to pick up the split-window.

“Darlene and my wife are now friends on Facebook. Oddly enough, Darlene has a relative with my exact name. The split-window is all me, and I mean all me.”

Mid-year identity has been restored.

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Split Window 2/10

An extra taillight per side was a cool modification on a ’63 split-window.

1963 Corvette 327 Engine 3/10

The 327 engine was not original for this chassis.

1963 Corvette Interior 4/10

Should Tadder keep the velour interior? It’s not stock, but still very nostalgic to the late 1960s and early 1970s.

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Interior Velour 5/10

Even the headliner is velour.

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Velour Seats 6/10

Velour seats.

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Split Window 7/10

The knock-off wheels are not stock, and red is a repaint. Sebring Silver was stock on this 1963.

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Door Panel 8/10

Door panels also feature velour trim.

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Split Window 9/10

Velour must have helped insulate the rear split-window.

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Front Garage 10/10

Dave parked the 1963 in his garage and then pulled the wheels for a cleanup.

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