Chevy Corvette Sting Ray
This American icon is a relative bargain compared with an E-type of the same age and condition, argues V8 fan Paul Hardiman
This sharp four-speed manual example, from the second year of C2 production, came to the UK in 1978 and was originally fuel-injected as the flank badges still say. Presumably after problems, evidenced by several bills for diagnostic runs which showed plug fouling, it was converted to carburettor in 2015 using a 600cfm four-barrel Edelbrock with pancake filter. That was at 71,473 miles, fewer than 1400 miles ago. Old Mots confirm the mileage at 57,651 in 1980.
Further options are the hardtop, leather seats, power windows and AM/FM radio – a whopping-for-1964 $176.50, though 94 per cent of ’Vettes had it.
The car was repainted and retrimmed in 2012 at a cost of £12,000, which included new carpets and soft-top (white vinyl) to go along with the factory glassfibre hardtop which is easy for two people to lift off. The paint is holding up well, with just a few small cracks and blemishes at the front, notably from the top corner of the left headlight aperture, though it’s only 5mm long. Headlights line up, which they often don’t on C2s, and lift and retract perfectly. The original bumpers were rechromed because they fit better than repros. Fronts are excellent, the right rear is getting a little speckled. Wheel trims are all good, save for a small ding in the left rear, and tyres are Nexens that were new in 2007 and still show little wear. The exhaust is a custom Vortex stainless system fitted in 2013 along with new Konis.
The motor has been rather crudely brush-painted and should have a less shiny finish. As well as the new carb there’s a new fan, viscous coupling and water pump. Coolant is full and blue-green, oil dark and topped up to the max mark.
Inside, seat leather is just starting to crease lightly and the carpets are unworn. Nothing is missing from the dash, and the stock push-button Delco radio still works.
It starts from cold after a bit of a churn and fairly barks into life through the fruity stainless system, before settling to a very untemperamental idle. It’s equally straightforward to operate. The clutch and gearchange are easy, there’s plenty of go as you might expect, and the exhaust sounds fabulous from what you can hear of its wake, top down. The all-drum brakes pull to the left a bit, but the car hasn’t been driven much in recent years so may well improve with some miles. ’Vette steering of this vintage is low-geared and vague, but they all do that, sir. Oil pressure is 50psi when driving, 40psi at idle, warm, and temperature sits steady under 90 degrees. Everything works including electric windows, except the warning lights for generator and oil pressure, and the clock.
This Corvette is being sold with a decent history file including handwritten notes from a previous owner going back to 1984, and a new MOT. Sadly the original Rochester injection kit is no longer with the car for potential future refitting, but at less half the price of an E-type of comparable year, condition and performance, this ’Vette is worth a look.
Repainted and retrimmed six years ago for £12,000
Some warning lights aren’t working
The engine has been brightly hand-painted