1963 Corvette Sting Ray
An American Icon
There’s no question that the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray made a whole lot of heads turn, including mine. The styling that was introduced with this model indicated that the old rules were now being tossed and things were going to be different. Though I remember seeing “fastback” cars as a small child, they really didn’t seem sporty at all to me, such as the early ’40s Fords. This Corvette seemed to epitomize, to me anyway, what California and The Beach Boys were all about: sunny, sexy, tanned, active, fun. All of this was coming into my consciousness in the early sixties and everything became locked together in my mind. For the first time, I had a number of American friends and became aware of the new cultural influence the US had on me, from Levi’s to The Beach Boys to Elvis to McDonald’s.
I guess what I found interesting with this new Corvette styling iteration is the weight reduction and the handling improvement. It seems the Corvette was finally turning into an actual sportscar. Many people, myself included, feel this is the best Corvette of all time – in design, obviously not in performance. One of its most striking features is its split rear window, which was probably controversial within the Chevrolet styling department itself. As visually striking as this was, rearward vision was hampered and the split window was revised to a full width window in the 1964 update. This rear styling approach also appeared to be resurrected in the 1971 Buick Riviera.
The designers at Chevrolet today seem to have a similar viewpoint. The styling cues from this model are definitely in evidence in the brand new 2014 Corvette. I guess you can’t get too much of a good thing.
While thinking about how I was going to illustrate this iconic ’63 Sting Ray, I knew that I had to show it from the rear, which shows a view that is most distinctive. And what better setting than an all-American chromed-up diner. These gathering holes defined cultural America in the sixties. The interesting thing about these two 50-year-old throwbacks is their reincarnation in a lot of new urban architecture, as well as in the new 2014 Chevrolet Corvette.
This 1963 Corvette Sting Ray is a throwback to a simpler, sunnier time, where everything was golden, at least in our minds at the time. That in itself should give it prominence in our collective psyche for some time to come.
Prints of this painting are available at www.thedrawingroomgallery.com.