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1967 Corvette Sting Ray: A Must-have C2 Classic!


This 1967 C2 Corvette has been meticulously maintained and was appointed with numerous factory options. Other than the 63 Split-Window, the 1967 Corvette Sting Ray is considered the most desirable and collectable C2 Corvettes due to the many refinements that were made during the 5 year production period. Alex and Barbara Downie have owned this car since 2015 and have won numerous awards for how well this car is presented. The 67 Corvette included a number of safety features such as a collapsible steering column, locking seat backs, center mounted reverse light, available 3-point seat belts, and available headrests. This iconic design is the product of General Motors under the creative direction of Bill Michell.


Transcript:

As soon as I saw it, I knew right away. I mean, I felt that feeling, that's the one I want!

Hi folks and welcome to Center Lane. I'm Bruce Hitchen. Today I'm with Alex Downie and Alex is showing us his beautiful '67 C2 Corvette. Gorgeous car Alex. Thank you. Good to be here with you. I'm just wonder if you could tell me a little bit about this car and how long you've had it.


Had this car about 8 years, I bought it in 2015. I always loved Corvettes. I had a Corvette

about 30 years ago which um wound up being the down payment for a home so I always loved the Stingray Corvettes and that was a 65 model same with the coupe but it was a red one. Beautiful car but uh life changes and it had to move on so a bunch of years later I always had in the back of my mind that if opportunity arose and funds were available I'd love to acquire another one. And in and around 2015, that moment came which was great.


So what is it about the Corvette that appeals to you?


When I was a kid, my stepfather he would tear the ads out of men's magazines and brand new cars, and I had a collage on the back of my closet door with all the wide track Pontiacs and the hot Fords and this and that. And of course occasionally there would be an ad for a Corvette which kind of fascinated me because it was the only sports car, an American Sports Car of those days. Most people felt sports cars were a European preserve. So this a Corvette you know, it was American Muscle and it was nice. Of course it was always a little unattainable for most of us us and my stepfather loved cars too. He imbued me with that passion for for automobiles and he purchased a brand new 1967 Mustang Fastback, a white one. He was super proud of that car and of course took me on rides. Later when I became a young man, I was able to manifest it and purchase some cars, fix them up in that. What I really wanted was a proper performance car like a 60s Corvette which came out of the factory with, you know high-compression and and you know, unfettered by emission controls. So I started looking around for Corvettes and I think I was 23 when I bought my first one. And that's when I really you know came to love Corvettes. And they're always kind of a dream item, you know but not too many could afford them and one day I thought you know I'd like to  have one.


This came out of the General Motors Studio under Bill Mitchell. Bill Mitchell was the vice-president of styling and he was a very important influence in the design and the final product that came out of General Motors during the 60s. He introduced certain things that you know, other car makers of course had designers as well but I think Bill Mitchell somehow hit a nerve with me because uh he was responsible for many of the cars that I instinctively really enjoyed looking at and Bill Mitchell used to say, he was quoted as saying that a car has to move you. When you see a car you can't just look at it once, the design has to speak to you so that you want to look at it again and again and every time you look at it again you see something new. He focused on the entire vehicle, the unity of the design. And he was blessed to be working at a time when auto manufacturers weren't by federal emission controls to the degree that they are today, or safety standards, or fuel efficiency standards and all of that. So they could go wild. A lot of these cars originated out of the idea of the dream car. The motoramas of the 1950s where they had these outlandish barges, outlandish cars, whether they be for sports cars or whatever. Corvette was always was the first American sports car, had the Mystique of be having a plastic body the only car, production car with a fiberglass body. In '63 the Sting Ray came out and it was a sensation. No one had seen anything like that before. The option list was endless, the color combinations were endless, so today when you see an older Corvette it's pretty likely that no two are going to be alike. And I like that also. It gives the car personality.


I was basically, I mean so repetitiously shopping for one for many years, before it became possible, just for fun! Always online right? Well online  t

or even you know back in the days when there were there were the AutoTrader magazines and stuff so I would check the ads occasionally and search for Corvette. Used to dream, right! The C2 was really going up in value, they certainly were expensive and you know the trend is ever upwards. I thought I'll never be able to afford or justify spending that kind of money for a 50 odd year old car so I went to see a 1971 Corvette coupe and the seller was a man named Gary York. Low original miles, very nice and every way. Took it for a drive and to be honest Bruce, I thought, it's a Corvette, it's it's nice, there's nothing wrong with this car but it didn't move me. And I said to Gary, you know I like the car but I don't know. What I really want is a C2. I'd love to get a C2. And he says, well a matter of fact I'm thinking of selling. I've got one in another garage over here, one of my units. If you want to look at it? Okay. As soon as I saw it, I thought, oh no! This is bad, how am I going to do this. So looked at the car I said wow that's... I knew right away! I mean, I felt that feeling. Right. That's the one I want. And then I said I'd like to bring my wife back to take a look at it you know for the clincher. So I brought Barbara back with me and we looked at the car, took it for a drive, Barbara drove the car. You know, she knew I wanted the car. At the end of the day, I have to thank my wife for making the deal.


What attracted  me to this car... Beauty! It's just gorgeous isn't it? It's just gorgeous. Yeah, and so when you saw the car, did you, were you right away, Alex I think you should get the car. Absolutely! A car has to match your personality and I think it matches our personality. Well you both have a certain amount of flare and the cars got a lot of flare, so I guess it really does match your personalities. Absolutely!


It's got the the base 300 horsepower engine, so it's not a fire breather but it's got lots of performance. Hydraulic lifters, easy to maintain. The only change that I made to the car for drivability was I swapped out the two-speed Powerglide for a three-speed Turbo-Hydromatic 350 it really transformed the car. Now it's a sports car. Now it goes goes well, it accelerates well, uh it passes, it's very confident. I'm very comfortable with it at all speeds and it loves to travel at about 80 miles an hour on the highway as long as the police don't get me. Some other kindof cool features about the car is that it's it's idiosyncratic. All right, let's put it to that way. The layout of the dashboard in that is is this Corvette. It's got the twin coves over the passenger and the driver. All the gauges are very well positioned in front of you. The way it's laid out is is quite ergonomic for a car of this age, in my opinion, where most American cars were pretty you know, with a long band speedometer and idiot lights for things. Of course this is a supporting machine so the center console I think is a real, called the waterfall console, is is really a unique feature to these cars I think. Especially for this era, with the vertical radio, the way, what they created instead of having the radio horizontal as in most other cars, they say well why don't we shift it sideways and have the two knobs at the top. So I think that's really kind of cool. The other thing that's idiosyncratic are the climate control uh, knobs for this car they're all knobs and in my, this is something like, I don't know it it it strikes me like uh Captain Nemo's submarine or something like that. The way the controls are. You got this vent up here, it looks kind of nautical like a submarine and the the knobs...to learn to control the heat, this car, it was quite highly optioned actually but it has air conditioning which is a real plus in a closed car coupe like this. It can be a real little oven in here in a hot summer day so we have air conditioning here. So you have an extra set of two knobs at the top which control the air conditioning system. You have your heating, your ventilating, you've got your defrost, you've got your fan speed, and it's all done with these four knobs. They made a number of refinements to this car in its last year. This car is the first Corvette to have a collapsible steering column. It's one of the first cars that did that. Shoulder belts didn't come on until later in the' 60s but for the Corvettes it was offered as an option. Very few were sold but you could get shoulder belts for this car uh and you could also get headrests as an option. Again, headrests weren't mandated until the late' 60s, I think 69 or' 68. Cars did not have until this year, and this is across the I think across the industry, is locking seat backs. In a car like this you have a release lever here. So the seat belt backs will lock so contents of the in the back storage area won't come flying forward and you know, force you forward. So small things like that started to come in which were good. Another change that actually for this car turned out to be kind of a plus...since 1963 the Corvettes had optional aluminum alloy knockoff wheels and they had a center spinner hub with three ears. They were a quick release wheel basically based on a racing design. But in 1967 the government decided, in their wisdom, that they weren't going to allow 'Spinners' as they called them on hub caps or wheels. So what they did is, they retooled the the bolt-on wheel, the aluminum wheel and they made the fins narrower but they wanted to cover the lug nuts with an attractive kind of cap or something. And so they designed what they call the starburst cap which clips on to conceal the lug nuts and create a spinnerless but a very attractive design that actually was revived in 1982 it was a different wheel but it was based on on this design which has has really endured. The other, the other fact on this car the  improvement was they went from a 5 1/2 inch wide rim to a 6-inch wide rim on the Corvette. They were limited as to how wide they could go because of the fender design but they went as far as they could safely to uh make the wheels wider. And the advantage to that was, you could get more meat more rubber. A lot of the early 60s cars had very narrow tires which created issues for traction. The car did have some really cool features. They changed the tail lights. There's two ways to quickly tell a 67 Corvette from other C2s is the backup light. There's one single backup light above the license plate. Before they had a white little white light kind-of as an afterthought in the two tail lights in each tail light and the other of course is the fender vents in the front. They went kind of to a Ferrari inspired design there with the five louvers. It was a bit of a precursor I think uh to he style to the coming Mako Shark based 68 car. So I think you know those are the two quick ways to tell. They also took off all the side chrome. There used to be a crossed flags emblem on the front fender. They deleted that. There's only emblems on on the back. The cross flags in the front, they reduced the size of it by about 40%, made it discreet and smaller. So there's a number of detailed differences that you know reading the magazines and books that have been written about Corvette, the 67 was deemed to be the most refined of the 5-year run. The 63 is the most, deemed the most desirable, the most of interest. Especially the coupe because it was the first year of the design, because it's the only one with this with a split rear window which was a styling theme that was dear to Bill Mitchell's heart. He insisted on it against the objections of practically minded people. Bill Mitchell insisted on the split because it carried across the theme of of the Sting Ray, of the Sting Ray fish with the center rib running up the entire car and of course it was a natural that you would have a split rear window with that nice bead running uninterrupted. And of course that's endured and made it an iconic vehicle. But then, the next model that um that has collector interest is a 67 in terms of the 67 Coupe.


It just fits. I like the big wheel. It's got a 16-in steering wheel. Power-steering was an option and in order to be able to handle steering a car in tight spaces you had to have a more leverage so you have a bigger wheel. So the big wheel kind of hearkens to me you know a bygone era. I don't know the whole thing fits, you're going down the road and you look at the beautiful fenders uh out the back. The whole thing just is like being a little flying saucer for me. If you just want to have a pleasurable cruise, you want to drive and have a little

verve uh in some corners going  up and down the hills. It's, it's fun. It's a fun car to drive. It's competent, it's fun, it's repairable, uh it makes nice noises, and uh it just gives me nothing but pleasure. And even just to look at it just nice to come and sit in it you know. And uh and think of uh where to go next.


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