1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray - Unbelievable

Behold, the '63 Split-Window Z06, one of the most desired Corvettes ever

Kevin Shaw Dec 8, 2009 0 Comment(s)

The Corvette had sat for several years despite being involved in SCCA events. Firm in his pricing, John and George paid the owner's fee and took the Corvette home to dissect it.

Buried inside the coupe were the original owner's manual and some various dealer paperwork. Though faded, the name of the dealership and the original owner was still legible, revealing that Carl Mollnow had purchased the Z06 new from Yingling Chevrolet in Topeka, Kansas. George spent the best part of a year tracking Carl down, where he was living quietly in Washington State. Carl, a retired Colonel who had flown nuclear bombers during the Cuban missile crisis era, had his brother-in-law Richard Lannen arrange for delivery of the Z06 to him while he was stationed in Wichita, Kansas. (Interestingly enough, Richard was one of the originators of "Mr. Goodwrench," while serving as Executive Director of GM's Service Technology group for General Motors.)

Corp_0706_08_z 1963_z06 Wheel 1/14

COVERS ::: In lieu of the troublesome knock-off wheels available with the earlier production year Z06s, the C2's original owner opted for the latter-year capped wheels.

Carl explained that, originally, he had ordered the car with knock-off wheels, but Richard advised him that the wheels carried some defects and that there was a silver Z06 with a small tank he could have delivered to Yingling Chevrolet without the troublesome wheels. While Carl owned it, he drove the entire Route 66, raced at SCCA events, and drove it on runs up Mount Lemmon in Tucson, Arizona. But within two short years, after purchasing a new Shelby Cobra, he would sell it to the second owner, who worked at the Tonawanda engine plant for GM in 1965.

John and George were old hands at restoring cars and motorcycles, having tackled several projects before. But it was on this particular restoration that both of the partners' skills were put to their full use. Utilizing George's vast understanding of the intricacies of these historic cars and John's three facilities (an engine and transmission shop, a restoration shop, and a body and collision shop), the split-window was shortly taken down to bags of nuts and bolts and bins of segregated parts and pieces. during the frame-off, John would discover "Z06" written on the transmission hump in green crayon.

While John and George undertook the rebuilding of the running gear, the body was sent to John's operations manager, Gary Prange, who did all the bodywork, paint, and reassembly. Steve Marino, another of John's team, completed all the fine detailing, the installation of the interior, and all the brightwork.

Newly reborn, the first time the Corvette was in public view was at the '06 Corvettes of Carlisle. Amazingly, the first time the Corvette was driven (except on and off the trailer) was to the photo shoot with camera-for-hire Jerry Heasley. During the shoot, John sighed, "I'm a nervous wreck, but pleased that everything's functioning so well."

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