1966 Corvette Sting Ray £66,000
This is a fine example that’s been looked after in the UK for 30 years, 20 of them by the dealer who’s selling it, says Rob Scorah
With its sharp colour combination of Tuxedo Black over red vinyl, this later production ‘Mid Years’ Sting Ray manages to strike a balance between guile and brash display. That body in that colour is certainly a statement and those who inspect the car will note that all the panels still fit together nicely; no depressed headlights or warped bonnet, and those curves and blade-like edges all match up. The doors shut with a confident snap and there’s no aftershock of rattling trim.
Overall, the tell-all black retains a good shine with no polishing swirl marks. There are some blemishes – a small blister in the paint above the nearside headlight, and chips to the finish around the door-top edges of windows and where the hood is stowed. The vinyl hood itself is in good order – supple and clean. Its mechanism works smoothly and it stows easily. There are no cracks in its rear window.
Badges and sill covers look equally good, and those aluminium knock-offs are a nice feature. Everything is where it should be, though chips might reveal themselves to the closest inspection.
To a Corvette purist, the biggest cosmetic criticism will be the mirrors. Aftermarket units by Vitaloni Californian, they have a resto-mod vibe. Like the one or two steel braided hoses under the bonnet they’re easily replaced, but the next owner could be happy with the ‘working classic’ feel.
The interior remains as intended and has a gently lived-in patina. It’s also rattlefree on the move. The colours remain strong and the seats retain their support and shape. New carpets were fitted some ten years ago. The Corvette has led a largely sedentary life for the past 20 years, owned by the dealer and looked after by his workshop. Its history file traces its life in the UK back to when it was imported in 1988. It was also featured in Quentin Willson’s book The Ultimate Classic Car.
The ’Vette’s 300bhp small-block fires up readily at the first turn of the key. There is a slight shunt as the two-speed auto connects motor and drivetrain, but the car moves off smoothly and changes gear seamlessly as you accelerate away.
There are no untoward whines from the transmission and the engine makes the typically theatrical audible responses of an American V8. Despite its flourishing snarls, the motor never really needs to move out of the 1500-2700rpm range to dole out enough power to keep the car progressing smartly. It kept its cool in stop-start and country lane motoring.
The steering could be a little more exact around the straight-ahead position and the brakes a bit more commanding, but neither lies outside the norm. Even so, we’re told the car will get a mechanical fettling before leaving the garage.
Not many years ago, £66k was strong money for one of these, but the showstoppers are climbing towards £90k. If your taste is for a real-world car, this feels gently lived in and whole lot of fun to live with.
Tuxedo Black suits the ‘Vette – all the panels fit well too
Engine snarls nicely, but keeps its cool
Interior has gentle patina