27 April 2013
1966 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray 427/425 'Big Tank' Coupe
To be auctioned on
Sold for $220,000
- Chassis no. 194376S118164
- Engine no. 6118164
- The ultimate 1966 Corvette: 427/425 V-8, four-speed, “Big Tank,” heavy-duty brakes, side exhaust, and radio/heater delete
- Matching-numbers example
- NCRS Top Flight, Bloomington Gold, and Vettefest Gold Spinner Award winner, the “Triple Crown”
It is no wonder that when Chevrolet recently unveiled the 2014 Corvette, they chose to bring back the Sting Ray name. The Corvette Sting Ray of the 1960s had something of a dual personality. With its adroit handling, it was easy to drive fast and was manageable for everyday use, in keeping with the MG-beater it had once intended to be. Yet, as the available V-8s grew ever larger and the options list grew ever hotter, with more and more go-fast goodies available, the Corvette also began to take on an element of muscle car. By the mid-1960s, there were few American production cars that could take on the Bow Tie’s best on road or track, establishing a proud heritage of streetable high performance that the Corvette carries forward proudly to this day.
Don Davis’ 1966 Corvette’s buyer obviously sought speed. From the laundry list of Regular Production Options, they selected first the L72, the 427-cubic inch big block V-8 with a Holley four-barrel carburetor. When it debuted for 1966, this engine was rated at 450 horsepower. Shortly thereafter, Chevrolet downgraded the engine to 425 horsepower, which worked to calm insurance industry figures who had worked themselves into a lather over the “450” rating. Of course, the downgrading was mostly on paper, and the engine itself wasn’t changed, and when put on a dyno, it would still produce the same 450 horses, but that was just between the buyer and the Chevrolet engineers. What the insurance agents didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them. (Unless they were racing a big block Corvette, of course.)
Other selections for this car included such options as J56, heavy-duty racing-style brakes; N14, a side-mounted exhaust; and N03, a 36-gallon fuel tank. The latter was fittingly installed on 66 Corvettes this year, and it was subtly intended towards racing, when having additional fuel for the big V-8 to gulp was a decided advantage. It is among the desired options on a big block Corvette today, and owning a “Big Tank” car adds instant prestige to any Corvette enthusiast. Further indicating the performance intentions of its first owner, this car was ordered with neither a radio nor heater.
Most everything that the knowledgeable buyer seeks on a hot Corvette is here. The engine pad number is matching the chassis number, which appears to identify this clearly as being a “matching-numbers” car. It has been restored to the best of standards, with paint, interior, and carpeting that are, as is typical of restored St. Louis-built Corvettes, actually better than what these cars had when they left the factory. Yet, the restored car is authentic enough to please the judges, earning its NCRS Top Flight, Bloomington Gold, and Vettefest Gold Spinner honors, known as the famed Corvette “Triple Crown.”
The body is in excellent condition, with outstanding panel fit on both sides and sparkling paint, requiring only minor adjustments and detailing to return to show standards. The interior has a very correct appearance and also presents beautifully, with correct carpeting and no signs of obvious use. Similarly, underneath and under the hood, all correct fittings and finishes are present and appear fresh out of the restoration shop, never to have been driven on the road. The underbody and suspension are particularly clean and, in fact, could be described as flawless.
An award-winning restoration, outstanding in both its finish and its accuracy to “how they were built,” this Corvette stands among the finest automobiles of the Davis Collection, and in a market that demands the most desirable options for performance, would prove to be as astute an investment for the future as it is for the track. For a muscle car fan and for a sports car fan, it is the best of both worlds, with the much sought-after “Big Tank” assuring fuel for as long as the track, or country road, holds out.
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