1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Lightweight

The Grand Sport program began in the early 1960s as a means to combat Ford and the Shelby Cobra and to be homologated for international Grand Touring races. The goal was to build 125 examples of the Corvette Grand Sport for homologation purposes, however, the clandestine project was halted after GM executives learned of the project, and just five examples were built. The AMA and GM had imposed a ban on racing and this clearly violated this edict. With just five examples built, the cars could not be homologated as production GTs like the Cobras, and were forced to run in C Modified, a class they were never designed or intended to race.

The Grand Sport weighed around 800 to 1,000 pounds less than the production Sting Ray and were raced with several different engines, the most potent of the factory engines was the 377 cubic-inch displacement, all-aluminum, small block with four Weber side-draft carburetors and a cross-ram intake, rated at 550 horsepower. To achieve the impressive 1,000-pound reduction, the body panels were made from thinner fiberglass and the inner body structure 'birdcage' was aluminum rather than steel. Large seamless steel tubular side members connected the front and rear with cross-members of about the same diameter tubes. A third cross-member was located next to the transmission and the fourth one at the rear was used to secure the roll cage. Despite being 94 pounds less than the production 1963 Corvette, the ladder-type frame was slightly stiffer. All non-essential items were removed and lightweight materials were used wherever possible.

Dick Thompson won the 1963 Sports Car Club of America race at Watkins Glen on August 24th of 1964, driving Grand Sport 004. This was the first victory for the Grand Sport. At the 1963 Nassau Speed Week, the Grand Sports were finally able to battle the Cobras. The Corvette drivers were Roger Penske, Jim Hall, Dick Thompson, John Cannon, and Augie Pabst. The engines in the Gran Sports were 377 CID aluminum engines and the car's owner was John Mecom. The driving talents and the powerful Grand Sports easily dominated the Cobras. The Grand Sports finished third and fourth at Nassau in 1963. Roger Penske returned the following year and won the Nassau Trophy race.

Chassis number 002 currently resides in the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is the only Grand Sport body that is original and unrestored. Chassis number 004 is part of the Miles Collier Collection at The Revs Institute in Naples, Florida.


by Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2020

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1963 Vehicle Profiles

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Lightweight vehicle information

Fastback Coupe

Chassis Num: 004

The Corvette Grand Sport was built to counter Carroll Shelby's Cobra but the project was killed by GM's refusal to lift its ban on racing. Hidden within Chevrolet's Research Center the 'Skunk Works' was able to produce only five cars and they could n....[continue reading]

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Lightweight vehicle information

Roadster

Chassis Num: 30837X-100002

This is the second of five lightweight, purebred racing cars built in the Chevrolet Engineering Center in 1962 and 1963. Unfortunately, due to a total corporate ban on racing by General Motors in 1963, the Grand Sports would never have the corporate ....[continue reading]

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Lightweight vehicle information

Fastback Coupe

This 1963 Corvette is on display at the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY. Dick Coup created the all-hand-built car. It was inspired by the Chaparral of Jim Hall. In 1964 Dick saw the car lead the first lap of the Sebring race, and after learning ....[continue reading]

1963 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport Lightweight vehicle information

Fastback Coupe

Chassis Num: 003

1963 Corvette Grand Sport #003
Zora Arkus-Duntov and his engineers began a mission to meet the challenge of the purpose built sports racers of Europe and the Shelby Cobra in the U.S. The Grand Sport was already on the drawing board at Chev....[continue reading]

Fastback Coupe
Chassis #: 004 
Roadster
Chassis #: 30837X-100002 
Fastback Coupe
 
Fastback Coupe
Chassis #: 003 

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Model Year Production

#1#2#3Chevrolet
1968Chevrolet (2,139,290)Ford (1,753,334)Volkswagen (1,191,854)2,139,290
1967Chevrolet (2,206,639)Ford (1,730,224)Toyota (1,068,321)2,206,639
1966Ford (2,212,415)Chevrolet (2,206,639)Volkswagen (1,168,146)2,206,639
1965Chevrolet (2,375,118)Ford (2,170,795)Volkswagen (1,174,687)2,375,118
1964Chevrolet (2,318,619)Ford (1,594,053)Toyota (1,068,321)2,318,619
1963Chevrolet (2,237,201)Ford (1,525,404)Fiat (957,941)2,237,201
1962Chevrolet (2,061,677)Ford (1,476,031)Fiat (957,941)2,061,677
1961Ford (1,338,790)Chevrolet (1,318,014)Volkswagen (807,488)1,318,014
1960Chevrolet (1,653,168)Ford (1,439,370)Toyota (1,068,321)1,653,168
1959Chevrolet (1,462,140)Ford (1,450,953)Volkswagen (575,407)1,462,140
1958Chevrolet (1,142,460)Ford (987,945)Volkswagen (451,526)1,142,460

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