Does the "Perfect Midyear" make for a perfect project car?
In the eyes of a lot of Corvette enthusiasts, the '67 Sting Rays are indeed the ideal midyears, thanks to their build quality, appearance, and array of optional engines.
The quality came from St. Louis Assembly's experience over time with the C2, with more than 95,000 of them having rolled out since the second-generation Vette's Job 1 in September 1962. Shaving off a lot of the chrome trim that had appeared on the Sting Ray since 1963 helped it in the looks department--per many diehard Corvette lovers, anyway. They also point to the four available 427s for '67, from the streetable, hydraulic-cammed, 390hp L36 to the take-no-prisoners, race-intended L88 (whose output was said to be at least 100 horses higher than its factory 430hp rating).
It's also a midyear that almost didn't happen. After the Mako Shark II's enthusiastic reception on the auto-show scene early in 1965, Chevy's top brass wanted that styling carried over to the production Corvette ASAP, if not sooner. That meant the makeover would appear for 1967. Unfortunately for the brass, the engineering and production problems that can crop up in a new-model changeover did--upsetting their timetable and causing them to push back the production shark to 1968. Thus, the C2 was given an extra year.
However, many potential Corvette buyers back then were looking forward to the sharks, and 1967 sales dipped to 22,940, down from 1966's 27,720.
One of those '67s--one of the 8,504 coupes, to be precise--was optioned with the 435hp L71, the close-ratio Muncie M-21 four-speed gearbox, side exhausts, transistorized ignition, Positraction, and Elkhart Blue paint. When Phil Castaldo found it, it still had its original triple-Holley-carbed 427. However, it wasn't driveable. "It was in a restoration shop, and the car's owner wasn't interested in it, [so] I picked up where he left off," he says. "It was in the shop probably 20 years. It was a nice, original-engine car."
It needed help at the front of the body, as Castaldo recalls. "The guy quit because he couldn't put the grille in the car. We had to take it back apart and repair it when I got it." That also meant a new '67 427 hood, to replace the damaged one that was on the car, along with bodywork (by Benchmark Restoration in Lindenhurst, New York) around the corners of the engine bay so the fresh bonnet would fit properly.
The L71 didn't need any attention other than a good cleaning and detailing. In fact, Castaldo says it's never been rebuilt and is still all original inside. The same goes for the rest of the powertrain and chassis. Inside, a set of Al Knoch reproduction carpets complement the OEM black seats, dash, and interior trim.
Once all the restoration work was done, Castaldo had a gem of a C2, as evidenced by the NCRS Top Flight award it received soon after its completion. It's not the only midyear in his collection, though: he has another '67, plus every other year Sting Ray (including a '63 Z06 tanker), along with four first-gen Corvettes ('53, '56, '58, and '62).
What's it like to drive? "It's a nice car," says Castaldo. "It's very tight, and everything works the way it should."
He adds that if you're looking for a midyear to add to--or start--your collection, you may not want to choose one that's a project. "If you're not handy at all, and you're looking for a quality car, then buy one that's already done," he says. "I went through all the heartache and misery of getting it right--finding all the parts, finding the people to do all the work, and [ensuring] it turned out the way I wanted it. Buy the best car you can, put the key in it, and go!"
And go it does, thanks to the L71. Nineteen sixty-seven turned out to be that engine's high-water mark, with production totaling 3,754--considerably more than in the two other years it was offered (2,898 in 1968, and 2,722 in 1969).
Still, the clean look of the '67 Sting Ray sets it apart from its fellow C2s, and in the eyes of many, that makes it the perfect midyear. And given the shape this car was in when Castaldo found it--low original miles, original powertrain in place--he wound up with what turned out to be a perfect project as well.
|Owner||Philip Castaldo; Smithtown, New York|
|Block||Stock cast-iron with four-bolt mains; casting No. 39404351|
|Heads||Stock cast-iron with rectangular ports and closed chambers; casting No. 3904391|
|Camshafts||Stock solid lifter|
|Rocker Arms||Stock 1.7 ratio|
|Pistons||Stock forged aluminum|
|Crankshaft||Stock forged steel|
|Rods||Stock forged steel|
|Intake Manifold||Stock cast-iron|
|Carburetors||Three two-barrel Holleys; R3660A (PN 3902355) for center; R3659As (PN 3902353) for front and rear|
|Fuel Pump||Stock mechanical|
|Ignition||Stock K66 AC Delco transistorized|
|Exhaust System||Stock N14 side-mount system, 17⁄8-in diameter|
|Transmission||Stock M21 Muncie close-ratio four-speed manual|
|Suspension||Stock coil springs, unequal-length A-arms, antisway bar, and tubular shocks (front); stock steel leaf-spring bundle with tubular shocks (rear)|
|RearEnd||Stock with RPO G80 Positraction|
|Brakes||Stock four-wheel manual discs||Wheels||Stock 15x6-in stamped-steel Rallye|
|Tires||Firestone 7.75-15 redline bias-ply||Current Mileage||Approximately 40,000|