Super Rare 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 ‘Big Tank’ Fetches Historic Price

Introduced in 1963 and discontinued in 1967, the second-generation Chevrolet Corvette is arguably the shortest iteration of the nameplate. But despite its short time in dealerships, it spawned some of the most iconic and desirable models. The 1963 Z06 is one of them.

Yup, even though Chevrolet didn’t make the Z06 a regular production model until 2001, the badge dates back to 1963, which makes it a whopping 61 years old as of 2024. It was also produced for only one model year, the same one that saw the Corvette feature the now-legendary split rear window.

The Z06 was born on Zora Arkus-Duntov’s drawing board in 1962 as a race-ready Corvette. The bundle included larger-diameter shocks and springs, power brakes with race-spec linings, a vacuum brake booster, and a larger front anti-roll bar. The fuel-injected, 327-cubic-inch (5.4-liter) L84 V8 rated at 360 horsepower was the only engine option.

Priced at $1,814.45, the bundle was quite expensive relative to the base sticker of a Corvette coupe ($4,252). As a result, the Z06 option wasn’t popular, and Chevrolet produced only 199 examples.

There’s no statistic on how many of them survived to see 2024, but the 1963 Z06 is a decidedly rare and desirable classic. It’s also becoming increasingly more expensive at public auctions. The car you see here, for instance, just crossed the block for nearly $1 million.

Auctioned off at Kissimmee 2024 in Florida, this Corvette found a new owner for a whopping $935,000, including fees. That’s a big chunk of dough even for the 1963 ‘Vette, a one-year gem thanks to the split rear window and hood vents. But this isn’t your average 1963 Corvette, so it’s not exactly surprising that it just became the most expensive rig of its kind.

What makes this Z06 special, you ask? Well, for starters, it’s a “Big Tank” version. This term describes the optional gas tank that Chevrolet offered on the Z06 in 1963. Designed for long races such as Daytona and Sebring, the unit had a 36-gallon capacity, a significant increase over the standard 20-gallon tank.

Initially included in the Z06 bundle, the tank was later offered as a separate option. It was also only available on the coupe that year because the tank would not fit in the convertible. Unlike the Z06 package, which wasn’t available for 1964, the tank option remained available through 1967. Only 63 of the 199 Z06s produced in 1963 got the 36-gallon car. This Corvette is one of them (no. 51)

Moreover, it’s a numbers-matching classic that still relies on its factory 327-cubic-inch V8 and four-speed manual transmission. It still sports the original window sticker and has a detailed ownership history. Finally, it’s been restored to a flawless finish. It has quite a few awards to brag about, including the Bloomington Gold certification and MCACN Concours Gold rating.

Oh, did I mention that it’s the only 1963 Corvette Z03 “Big Tank” with a Tuxedo Black/red interior combo? That’s right, this Chevy is a one-of-one gem. Although it’s not the most expensive 1963 Z06 ever auctioned, it’s the priciest “Big Tank” version as of January 2024. 

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