1965 Corvette Sting Ray Coupe
1965 Corvette Sting Ray: An American Icon 2.0
I had already completed my illustration of the 1963 Corvette Sting Ray. I was exhibiting my automobile illustrations at an art show at the Halifax, Nova Scotia waterfront. A distinguished gentleman viewed my exhibit and admired my Corvette illustration. He had only one issue with it – it was a ’63, not a ’65.
It seems this gentleman was a retired RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) officer. During the ’65 Corvette’s heyday, he encountered a few during his stints on highway patrol. He loved the way they looked and more than one out-ran him on patrol.
Not one to hold a grudge, now that he was retired, he located and bought the very car that made his patrols that much more interesting – a silver 1965 Corvette. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em! Seeing my automotive art made him realize his garage was missing a portrait of a vehicle that spanned his career right into his retirement. See above for the result of our encounter.
This former officer’s choice of the ’65 over the ’63 is upheld by the improvements now incorporated in the Sting Ray. Improvements over the ’63 Corvette included improved suspension and more sound insulation. Brakes were all-new and powerplants were beefed up. 4-wheel disc brakes were now standard, with improvements to match pending federal regulations of a duel master cylinder with separate fluid reservoirs for front and rear brakes. A new optional V-8 marketed as Turbo Jet upped the Corvette’s performance capability. And of course, the split rear window had become one in the 1964 model, probably a sensible move for rear visibility, but not quite as distinctive.
What was very distinctive about the Corvette Sting Ray was the exhaust side pipes, first offered as an option in the 1965 model year. With this option, standard factory panels were modified and the exhaust used a chambered design that attempted to balance the noise level that law enforcement agencies would accept, but still offer the exhaust sound owners desired. The biggest challenge for the engineers was allowing entering and exiting the vehicle without getting 3rd degree burns.
GM was right to only offer incremental visual updates to the venerable Corvette Sting Ray. This second generation (C2) Corvette, in my mind, is the most distinctive and iconic example of the 60’s American styling panache.
Prints of this painting are available at www.thedrawingroomgallery.com.