The classic 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray is a cultural icon. One of them has been in the same owner’s hands since new. That classic Corvette now has over a half-million miles, and the owner still continues to use it to this day. Classic Corvette enthusiasts are at odds. Should the car be restored, or should the owner continue to use it?
Two arguments for classic car enthusiasts
When it comes to classic cars, there are two schools of thought. Often those behind one thought ridicule those behind the other thought. Sadly, some of those that are adamantly behind their school of thought can sometimes create a rift in understanding with the other side. Yet, both thoughts are equally valid in the story of the classic.
The first school of thought is to restore and trailer the precious artifact to different exhibitions. This limits the classic to potential damage. But, the appearance of the vehicle is relegated to a select few at whatever venue.
The second school of thought is to drive the wheels off of it and enjoy it like it was intended. This puts extra wear on the classic car. But, everybody gets to enjoy the vehicle, not just a select crowd. Also, people get to hear, see, and experience what the original performance envelope of the classic is.
Both approaches to classic cars are valid
Both schools of thought are valid approaches to perpetuating the historical importance of a car. After all, the driving experience is what makes a car culturally important. But, at the same time, preservation ensures that generations to come will be able to show respect to an original.
This classic 1963 Corvette Sting Ray Convertible
This brings us to the story of Steve Stone. At 18 years of age, he purchased the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray convertible. To say that he enjoyed driving it is an understatement. The car came with a 24,000-mile warranty at the time. Mr. Stone surpassed that in the first year of the Corvette’s ownership.
He told our friends at Hot Rod,
“My ‘Vette is the only one I have ever owned, and it is the only one that I ever wanted. Current mileage is 584,000 miles.”
This classic Corvette convertible sportscar is a black on black model. It has a four-speed standard transmission. It has an AM radio and no power steering or power brakes. This is a true brute that hearkens back to the dawn of the muscle car era with a 340-horsepower engine. Mr. Stone still has the hardtop. It was the first year of the C2 generation of the Corvette.
Not afraid to use the classic car
Mr. Stone does his best to keep it reliable because he continues to use the classic Corvette extensively. So, it is certainly no trailer queen. He says,
“We have done many other things with it: parades, drag racing, autocross, Corvette concourse shows, Bloomington Gold (twice), Corvettes at Carlisle, and eight laps on the Indy 500 track.”
Some people will applaud Mr. Stone for using the classic vehicle as much as he does. Others would say that the car needs to have a frame-off restoration and then be put in a museum. Maybe someday Mr. Stone will do a restoration and make the car an automotive educational piece on the history of the Corvette. But for now, it seems, he is just too busy enjoying it.